Ladies and gentlemen: In the absence of the Hon. Isham G. Harris, himself a distinguished figure in the war between the States, and who for many years enjoyed the personal friendship of the late General Joseph E. Johnston, I have been requested to preside over these memorial exercises. As the epoch of the war recedes into history, the matchless spirits who guided the contending armies are passing away. Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, McClellan, Hancock, Meade, Thomas, Logan, Farragut and Porter; Davis, Lee, Bragg, Hood, Forrest, Cheatham, Price and Semmes have all passed the mysterious border which divides time from eternity, and are resting with the spirits of Albert Sydney Johnston, Jackson, McPherson, Polk, Hill and Cleburne. At last the beloved commander whose death we mourn, returning from the funeral of his great antagonist, full of years and of honor, bade the world adieu, and passed into history side by side with Sherman. As the struggle recedes into the past our sense of its magnitude deepens, and the figures who stood in its forefront grow in proportion. As each year rolls by it becomes clearer and clearer to the patriotism of the American people that these great names are a common heritage. The future patriot from Maine and the future patriot from Texas, under a common flag, and in the pride of a common country, will do equal honor to the memories of Grant and Lee, and Johnston and Sherman. If I were asked to state the most important incident in American history, I would answer the magnanimity extended by Grant and Sherman in accepting the surrender of the Confederate armies, and the absolute good faith of Lee and Johnston in guiding the steps of their people back to the fold of the Union. Distinguished gentlemen will, before the conclusion of these exercises, speak of the military achievements of General Johnston. I wish, in a word, to emphasize the dignity and loyalty with which he returned to the flag of his fathers. He has demonstrated in his life, which was prolonged to us for so many years, that patriotic devotion to a common country is not
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