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[48] believe that the rank and file of our troops were, as a mass, the real martyrs of our cause. The world will never know, never appreciate what they underwent for the vindication of their country. To all the unspeakable calamities which inevitably follow in the bloody footsteps of war, were added all those evils resulting from our peculiar position. Cut off from all the world, they daily felt the want of all the necessaries of life. The want of shoes, when the continual marches tore their bleeding feet; the want of warm clothing, when the pitiless blasts and the driving rains pierced them to the bone; the want of medicine, when the wounds and the diseases of army life stretched them upon the hard hospital bed—nay, more than this, the want of needful food to enable them to support the exhausting fatigues of war. Yes, fellow Southerners, the world will not credit, and even our own posterity, perhaps, will deem an exaggeration what is but the literal fact, as you well know, you that were there. Yes, for more than two long and weary years the Confederate army, as a whole, never knew what it was to have enough to eat. As early as the winter of 1863, the Confederate ration was reduced to less than one—third of that of our enemies, which experience had proved to be necessary to support soldiers in the field. Where is another example in all history of an army, neither clothed nor paid, nor more than half fed—always unsatisfied, always hungering for bread enough, and yet keeping together and battling for more than two lingering years of such unparalleled privations. And remember how those starving, ragged, barefooted privates marched and toiled and fought, through the burning suns of summer—through the frozen blasts of winter—fought until over-powered by irresistible odds, having lost their best blood and the most of their brothers, they yielded at last, less to numbers than to famine, but saving bright and unstained from the fearful ruin their sacred honor, the honor of the Southern land.

And who, then, were they, these humble privates, these anonymous heroes, who were content to die unknown, expecting neither reward nor fame? Most of them possessed neither lands nor slaves, nor anything worth the risk of their lives. But they thought not of this. They gave their lives for their country, their principles, their sacred right to self-government, inherited from the founders of the Republic. Politicians may have been incapable or corrupt—commanders intemperate or incompetent—but let us never forget it, the rank and file, when properly led, never failed to do their whole duty as long as human nature could endure, with a heroism that has


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