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[282] Captain Thomas Ellett, Colonel Charles S. Venable, General W. H. Payne, and Mr. James B. Pace.

Zzzopened with prayer.

Judge Christian called the vast assemblage to order at 5:30 promptly, and Rev. Dr. J. William Jones, who is now chaplain at the University of Virginia, opened the proceedings with the following prayer:

Oh! Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; God of Israel, God of the centuries, God of our fathers, God of Robert Lee and of Stonewall Jackson; our God, our help in years gone by, our hope for years to come—we bring Thee the adoration of grateful hearts as we gather in our annual reunion.

We thank Thee that in the dark days of war, when real men were needed, Thou didst bless our Southland with leaders so able, so heroic, so patriotic, so true, and with men of the rank and file worthy to follow these to an immortality of fame.

We thank Thee, O! God, that, whilst so many fell in battle or died of disease, and so many have been falling out of our ranks in days of peace, that Thou hast graciously preserved our lives, and that Thou dost graciously permit us to gather here to-night to honor those who struggled so bravely for the great principles of constitutional freedom.

We humbly invoke Thy blessing upon those who remain. Preserve their lives, we beseech Thee; comfort the afflicted, and raise up friends who shall supply the needy.

Bless our land and country with fruitful seasons, plenteous harvests, and returning business prosperity.

Bless the President of the United States, and the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and all in authority under them, and grant that peace and plenty may smile upon every section of our common country, and that justice, righteousness and fraternity may prevail in all of our borders.

Bless Thy servant, our old comrade, who shall speak to us this evening on a heroic chapter of our history, and God grant that we may learn, as the lesson of the hour, to follow our great captains— Lee and Jackson—‘even as they, also, followed Christ.’

All of which we ask, and offer in the name and for the sake of our Lord, Jesus Christ—‘the Captain of our Salvation.’ Amen!

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