Zzzpeerless and stainless.
As my mind recalls the persons and events of those years in which the Confederacy
struggled for life, there rises before me the majestic figure of the great Southern chief—the peerless soldier and the stainless gentleman; the soldier who was cool, calm and self-possessed in the presence of every danger, and who, with marvelous foresight and skill, planned masterly campaigns, directed the march of war, ruled the storm of battle, and guided his men to victory on many a well-fought field; the gentleman who was as pure as a falling snow flake, as gentle as an evening zephyr, as tender as the smile of a flower, and as patient as the rock-ribbed mountain.
I need not name him, for his name is written in ever-enduring letters on the heart of the South
, and honored throughout the civilized world.
Around him I see a company of intrepid leaders, whose achievements have surrounded their names with a glory which outshines the lustre of coronets and crowns.
I would not pluck one leaf from the laurel with which they are garlanded.
I would, if I could, lift to a still higher note and sing in still loftier strains the peans that are chanted in their praise.
But I see also the men whom those noble captains led—men unswerving in their devotion to a noble purpose, self forgetful in their fidelity to what they saw to be right, and sublimely self-denying and self-sacrificing in their adherence to the cause they espoused; men who loved their country with a love stronger than the love of life, and with no thought of compensation beyond that country's freedom and honor and safety, bravely toiled and suffered and endured, and gave their bodies to be torn by shot and shell, and poured out their blood like water to the thirsty ground.
I see the battle-scarred soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy
, and, with uncovered head and profoundest reverence, I bow before those dauntless heroes, feeling that, if the greatest suffering with the least hope of reward is worthy of the highest honor, they deserve to stand shoulder to shoulder with Lee
and his lieutenants in the brotherhood of glory.