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The orator introduced.

Mr. W. L. White then introduced the orator of the occasion, Mr. Leigh Robinson, of Washington, and in so doing said:

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Proud of the distinguished honor conferred upon me by the Association, I present to you with pleasure and satisfaction the silvery-tongued orator of the Howitzer battalion, as brave and chivalrous in war as he has become renowned in peace.

At the battle of Bethel, the first land engagement of the war it will be remembered, the Howitzers received their first baptism of fire. There the Confederates successfully met and defeated the Federals against odds of from three to four to one, driving them panic-stricken back to the guns of Fortress Monroe, and causing them to leave their dead and wounded upon the field from which they were driven as ‘leaves upon the strand.’ Among the prominent men killed were Lieutenant Grebble, commanding the artillery, and Major Winthrop, of Boston, a volunteer commander of the famous Billy Wilson Zouaves, and I may be pardoned for saying here, a braver man never drew sword in defence of any cause. The next day a flag of truce was sent for his body, with the inquiry from General Butler, ‘What artillery was that which did such magnificent firing and execution?’ General McGruder smiled and said: ‘Why, sir, it was nothing more than a parcel of school-boys, with primers in their pockets.’ And true it was, for but few had reached the age of manhood.

It is of these boys and their heroism, from Bethel to Appomattox, that our distinguished orator will speak to you this afternoon, and while one of the battalion survives to recite and recall the daring deeds of the Confederate dead and living, it can never be said of the honored dead:

Out of the world's way, out of its light,
     Out of the ages of worldy weather—
Made one with death, filled full of the night,
     Forgotten as the world's first dead are forgotten.

We have read of the valor of the heroes of Marathon, Thermopylae, and ancient Macedonia, but, Mr. President, I have the honor to present to this audience this afternoon not only a gifted orator, [263] but a ‘Virginian’ (to the manner born), a Howitzer, and a hero of one of the grandest armies that was ever marshalled upon a field of battle. To this large and cultivated audience he needs no further introduction, and I present to you Mr. Leigh Robinson, an adopted citizen of Washington City.

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