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Monument to the Confederate dead at the University of Virginia.


Address by Major Robert Stiles, at the Dedication, June 7, 1893.

Surviving Comrades of the Confederate Armies, Citizen Soldiers of Virginia, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On the outskirts of the historic capital city of Virginia, between it and the great battle-fields, out of the midst of 16,000 graves, rises a simple granite shaft with this inscription:

The epitaph of the Soldier who falls with his Country is written in the hearts of those who love the Right and honor the Brave.

To-day, in this silent camp, we unveil another sentinel stone, bearing this legend:

Fate denied them Victory, but clothed them with glorious Immortality.

Both these monuments memorialize defeat, but what witness do they bear? What do they declare? Against what do they protest? What is their deepest significance?

The Oakwood monument reminds us that the brave may fall, the right may fail. This shaft, the silent orator of this occasion, claims glory for the vanquished, immortality of glory for the brave who have fallen in a cause that is lost. The one challenges that basest and most debasing of falsehoods, ‘Success is the test of merit.’ The other denies that darkest and most depressing of creeds, ‘Success is the measure of fame.’ Both are noble protests—the very marrow of true manhood. They do honor to human nature; they nerve it with indomitable valor for the batttle of life. It is much to know that the victor does not always wear the laurel, nor the vanquished the chain. It is more to feel that the chain may be more glorious than the laurel.

By the verdict of history, the Persian monarch who carried the Pass of Thermopylae has fallen before Leonidas and his Spartans who fell in defence of it.. Who now ranks Scipio above Hannibal, or Wellington above Napoleon? How many of you can so much as name the general who drove the great Corsican out of Russia?

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