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[57]

The monument to Mary Washington proclaims the virtues of the women of the Revolution, represented in the mother of that great Virginian, who, while his little army was shivering and almost starved at Valley Forge, with our liberties at their last gasp, crossed the Delaware on that dark and stormy Christmas night and through snow and ice, marked by the bloody footsteps of his men, waked the frozen echoes of the morning with the thunder of his guns and the sound of a great victory, and thus poured the living tide of hope into the bosoms of our forefathers.

While there are monuments to him—one the highest on earth; while a monument has lately gone up to his mother; while monuments to our heroes stand all over the land, yet we want a monument in which should be represented the mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters of R. E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Albert Sidney Johnston, Jubal A. Early, G. T. Beauregard, J. E. B. Stuart, George E. Pickett, Fitz Lee, and all the mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters of the Confederate Soldiers, living and dead; in short, to the ‘Confederate Woman,’ looking as she did, when, with fair hands and bright eyes, she worked the banners and gave them to the boys to be unfurled in the bloody tempest; looking as she did when the shouts of victory throbbed her true, loving heart and flushed her cheeks; looking as she did when bad news reached her, and with anxious face and downcast eyes she waited for the impending calamity; looking as she did when she met the pale, cold face of the loved one—father, husband, brother, or son—kissed his wan cheek, oh! so cold, bathed it with her tears, while prayers, with inarticulate sobs, shook her angelic frame; looking as she did in the Nitre and Mining Bureau, making gunpowder; in the arsenals, making cartridges and filling shells; in the hospitals, preparing bandadges and lint, and dressing wounds; closing the eyes of the poor dead boys, whose mothers were in the far South; looking as she did in the night and darkness of the tempest of disaster and defeat, a glorified saint, wrapped in prayer, and ascending to Heaven, like the last ray of sunshine lingering on the cloud before the burst of the cyclone, the hissing lightning and the crashing thunder.

The very existence and greatness of Virginia were due, on two occasions, to woman's love and courage. Who can forget the act of that fair Indian maiden, who first saved the life of Captain Smith, and three years afterwards came alone through miles of tangled wilderness, on a dark and tempestuous night, to warn the colonists

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Valley Forge (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)

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