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 question. Did you ever see one man out of the nearly seven hundred thousand who were in the Confederate army who was ashamed of that fact in his history? I never did, and never expect to, and if I should be so unfortunate as to meet any such creature, I shall tell him he is a craven and a coward, and I know I can talk as I please, with impunity, to ‘such a wretch’ as that. Could this be so if our cause was an unholy one? No, never. No nation rose so white and fair
Or fell so free of crimes.
Eternal right, though all else fail,
Can never be made wrong.
But, although this is a most attractive strain to me, I must forbear, in order to say something in responding to the toast which has been assigned to me this evening—‘The Artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia.’ What possibilities were once embraced within what was represented by that name. Nay, what almost impossibilities have they not performed in the field and on the march, and what memories of the deeds of this heroic band come trooping before me in imagination as I stand here to-night? Within the limits of a ten minutes speech I cannot begin to recount them, but must content myself with only a very few ‘glittering generalities.’ I must say in advance that, in my opinion, that credit has not been generally accorded the artillery of the army, which that branch of the service is entitled to, and, I think, this is conceded by all who thought and who know anything of the subject. The artillery, although recognized as the highest branch of the service, and therefore demanding in its service and equipment the best talent and best materials can only be used in the ‘real business’ of the engagement, and the commanding generals, being almost always promoted from, or in immediate command of infantry or cavalry, are almost always, unintentionally or unconsciously, partial to these last named branches of service. Then again the artillery affords little or no opportunity for individual deeds of gallantry, which are so often performed, which attract attention on the field, and are commented on in each of the other branches of the service; each artillerist being dependent on the conduct of several others for the proper discharge of his duties. The artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia too
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