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[283]

Judge Christian's remarks.

At the conclusion of the prayer Judge Christian introduced Senator John W. Daniel, the orator of the occasion, and in doing so said:

Ladies and Gentlemen and Comrades of the Army of Northern Virginia:

On this day, thirty-two years ago, the Army of Northern Virginia met the Army of the Potomac on the bloody field of Fredericksburg, and the result was that the Army of the Potomac was driven pell-mell from that field and across the Rappahannock. And, with two exceptions, whenever these two armies met each other the same result followed, although the odds, both in numbers and equipment, were always greatly on the side of the Army of the Potomac. The two exceptions to which I refer were, of course, Sharpsburg and Gettysburg, and whilst on these two bloody fields the battles were drawn and the lion held at bay, yet the Army of the Potomac knew it was the lion still, and did not dare to attack. The record of the Army of Northern Virginia, from Manassas to Appomattox, is one of the brightest and most glorious that ever did or ever can adorn the pages of history; and, therefore, the man ‘whose soul is so dead’ that he is not proud to have been a part of that army, battling not for what he thought was right, but what was right, is too contemptible, in my opinion, to be by any human power raised to the level of the brute. We, who are assembled here to-day, who were in that army, are proud of that fact, and those who have assembled with us to do honor to this occasion, who could not be in it, would be ashamed of us if we were not.


Zzzreflect the South's sentiment.

This Assembly reflects the sentiment of this whole Southland to-day, and such a statement could never be predicated of men engaged in an unholy or unrighteous cause. Indeed, my countrymen, it is impossible to conceive that a cause espoused and led by such men as Davis, Lee, Jackson, the two Johnstons, Early and their compatriots was wrong, whilst that led by Lincoln, Seward, Stanton, Sherman, Thad Stevens, and Ben Butler, et id omne genus, was right, and in the presidential election of 1864, when the issue between Lincoln and McClellan was distinctly made, as to whether the war then being waged against the South was right or wrong, [284] nearly one-half of the Northern people voted that it was wrong, and in their platform denounced the administration of Lincoln in the conduct of the war as a usurpation, and said ‘that the Constitution itself had been disregarded in every part,’ and ‘that justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities.’ Out of their own mouths let us judge them.

On the third day of November, 1870, a few weeks after the death of our great chieftain, Lee, there assembled, in pursuance of a call issued by General Early, as the ranking officer of the army of Northern Virginia, then residing in Virginia, the grandest body of men and heroes that it was ever my privilege to look upon. That meeting, composed of representative men and soldiers from all parts of the South, was called to pay respect to the memory of General Lee, and to inaugurate the movement which culminated in the erection of the equestrian statue which adorns our western suburbs. It was presided over by President Davis, and was addressed by Mr. Davis, General Early, General Wise, General Gordon, Colonel Preston, Colonel Venable, Colonel Marshall, Colonel Preston Johnston, and Colonel Withers, in the most elegant and eloquent addresses that I ever heard.


Zzzthe Association formed.

That meeting adjourned to meet in this house on the following day, to form the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia. And so, here in this place, on the 4th day of November, 1870, was formed the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, with General Early as its first president. How he loved this association is best attested by the fact, that with a single exception—when he was too sick to come—he never failed to attend its meetings. How I love it no one cares to know. But I want to make it known, that I have never yet failed to attend one of its meetings, and I believe that I am a better man and a better citizen by reason of the inspiration I have drawn from attendance on these meetings. Aside from the contributions which the addresses made before this association have made to the history of our struggle, the value of which is beyond computation, it was the parent Confederate organization in the South, and from this association has emanated those influences which have dotted this whole Southland of ours with Confederate Camps and kindred organizations, and which, with the fidelity to duty of our woman (God bless them always), have done more to keep our [285] people true to themselves than all others combined. Without these, by this time I believe our people would have forgotten the most glorious period of their whole history, and the splendid heritage which that period bequeaths to their children. The soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia ought to be ashamed to let this association die as long as there is a ‘corporal's guard’ of that army left alive; and they ought to bind themselves in a solemn league to that effect to-day.


Zzzthe death of Early.

Since our last meeting our first president, and our faithful and intrepid old hero and comrade, General Early, has died. Your Executive Committee thought it peculiarly appropriate that at this meeting the story of his campaigns, and especially that of his last campaign, should be the theme of the occasion.

They knew, and you know, that no one can tell that story like General Early's devoted friend and faithful aide, the peerless Virginia orator, John Warwick Daniel, who was as gallant and glorious in war as he is devoted and distinguished in peace. Senator Daniel needs no introduction to a Southern audience, and he will now address you on ‘General Early and His Valley Campaign.’


Zzzdaniel on Early's Campaign.

Judge Christian's remarks were frequently interrupted with applause, and when he had taken his seat Senator Daniel advanced to the front of the stage to make what, from an historical point of view, at least, was one of the great addresses of his life. He was received, as he always is by Virginia audiences, with marked cordiality and enthusiasm. When the applause that greeted the distinguished orator had subsided, he made a characteristic bow, and said:

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades of the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia:

By your invitation, which I could not regard as less than a command, I am here to speak to you of Lieutenant-General Jubal Anderson Early; one of the great soldiers of history, second to none that ever lived in valor and devotion; second to but few in military ability—and second only to Lee and Jackson among the chieftains of the war for Southern independence.

But this is not his sole title to renown. He has a higher claim. [286] The men who hold the world at peace, as long as peace is tenable with honor, and who bear the burden of the battle when duty demands the sacrifice, are mankind's truest heroes and benefactors. And he who, being overtaken by adversity, meets it with equal fortitude and a reassuring hope, is indeed a noble example. This is his triple distinction—that he was a man of peace before the war, a hero in the war, a hero in fidelity and fortitude after the war, and the very incarnation of its glorious memories.

It would doubtless be more entertaining for the passing hour did I rehearse the congenial reminiscences, incidents and anecdotes that cluster around the name of this unique, original and remarkable man, and did I depict the thrilling adventures and vivid scenes through which he passed. But this association has for its object the vindication of the truth of history. A people's right is the only just warrant for war, and the honor of the soldier's name is the only reward that war can bestow that is worthy to be cherished. General Early not only made history, he preserved history and wrote history, and he had that prophetic forecast that prefigured history before it was enacted. He was the vindicator of the people's right as well by pen as sword, and if I may collect from records and memories such testimony as will put in a faithful light the nobility of the man and the greatness of his deeds, I shall feel that I shall render to history its best tribute and be more content than were I to engage and charm your fancy. Follow me, then comrades, with some of the patience you have often shown upon the weary march. I will appeal to facts and by them shall hope to vindicate my theme.


Zzzgeneral Early's battles.

Let me lay before you, to begin with, some of his most important and distinguished services. He was a graduate of West Point, a veteran of three wars, and he took part in the civil war in well-nigh fifty battles and skirmishes. He was engaged therein at

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