their self-discipline; obedience to orders, and patience under restraints. They could be relied on to withhold their fire, under the most trying exposures, and upon the signal, to fall upon the enemy with most impetuous force. I have seen them when their work was accomplished with swift, short blows. Again when the bloody encounter drew out the day, and was furious, away past the midnight watch. I have heard them when there was nothing left but vast avenues of gloom. They were never unduly elated by success, nor overborne by ill-fortune. ‘These men were not self-seekers and self-worshippers, but seekers and worshippers of something far better than self.’ Not personal enjoyment was their object, but a high heroic idea of patriotism, in which cause they neither shrunk from suffering, nor called on the earth to witness it as something wonderful, but patiently endured—counting it blessedness enough, so to spend and to be spent. How shall we acquit ourselves of our duty and responsibility to these dead and these survivors who lift their withered, white hands towards us? Reverence the dead—cherish the living. Where our dead lie the choicest wild flowers bloom and shine. These dead were our comrades in the anguish of the struggle; we know why they tarry so long on the homeward march. The record is made up. North Carolinians, when they would exalt their fame, are not obliged to turn their eyes away from dishonoring, or equivocal features.
Rest on gentle and heroic spirits,Distant ages in their majestic march will pause at your graves, while philosophers and lofty souls will say: These men had a just cause—they were dutiful sons of indestructible States. Their actions were worthy of their day, their achievements were worthy of all time.
Heed not thine accusers,
The living South will defend your memories.