has its symbols no less than Grace—through which it gives shape and substance to the truths it would seal upon the minds and hearts of men. Of these impressive emblems nothing could be more suggestive than the consentaneous death of the two commanders who were pitted against each other through a great part of this historic struggle—pre-eminently so in the memorable retreat from the mountains of Tennessee
to the border of the Atlantic
, and then northward through the Carolinas almost to Virginia
I cannot here undertake to signalize this retreat, except to say it is difficult which most to admire, the prowess and energy of the advance, or the masterly, stragetic defence which retarded that advance and conducted an orderly retreat.
It was a retreat which will take its place in future history with that of the famous Ten Thousand
from the neighborhood of Babylon
along the upper Tigris
, through the mountains of Kurdistan
, to the Greek settlements upon the Euxine.
The whole nation stood in solemn silence when the first of these warriors, at an advanced age, breathed his soul into the hands of his Creator.
But when the Confederate
chieftain, whom we mourn tonight, stood with an ungloved hand beside the bier of his formal rival and foe, performing the last act of earthly friendliness in reverently bearing the body to the repose of the tomb, a sublime object-lesson was furnished by an ordaining Providence
to the entire republic.
Then, as if the destinies of the two were interblended to the last, he who had assisted at the funeral rites of the other reached home himself to die. And now the comrades and followers of this distinguished leader are assembled in the house of God, in the solemn Sabbath hour when night has drawn her curtain around the earth, to gather the memories of the past into garlands, which shall be laid in affectionate reverence upon this new-made grave.
It appears to me almost a sacred inspiration, veterans, which prompted the observance of this memorial with religious rites.
Had it occurred in an earlier year, it would perhaps have called for a great civic demonstration, with all the pomp and circumstance of military display, disinterring the records of the past and throwing the furled banner again upon the breeze.
But the instinct of reverence has brought you here, without the blare of trumpet or flash of armor, to sit between these twin graves and recognize the burial of an ancient feud.
That these two warriors, almost the last who fought on either side,