The Confederate cause and its defenders.
An Address delivered by Judge George L. ChristianBefore the Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans at the annual meeting held at Culpeper C. H., Va., October 4th, 1898, and published by special request of the Grand Camp.
Great wars have been as landmarks in the progress of nations, measuring-points of growth or decay. As crucibles they test the characters of peoples. Whether or not there is fibre to bear the crush of battle, and the strain of long contest:—not only in this determined; but also another matter, of yet more serious import, and of deeper interest to the student of history and to a questioning posterity. The grave investigator of to-day, searches the past to know whether man is of such character, whether the causes for which he has fought are such, that the future is always to be dark with ‘wars and rumors of war’ He asks what men have regarded as sufficient causes of war? He does not enquire whether ‘the flying Mede’ at Marathon, or the Greek with ‘his pursuing spear,’ are types of their nations: he rather seeks to know how the apparently unimportant action of an insignificant city, provoked the great Persian invasion. His question is, not whether Athens or Sparta bred the better soldier, but he searches the records to find out the causes of the Peloponnesian war. He does not consider whether Vercingetorix, standing a captive in the presence of Caesar, was, after all, the nobler leader; nor whether Attila at Chalons was a greater general than Aetius, nor why the sword of Brennus turned the scale on that fateful day at Rome. He is more concerned to know why the Roman legions marched so far, and why the world threw off the imperial yoke. The causes of wars test yet more deeply than conduct in the field, the characters of peoples, indicate yet more surely what hopes of peace or fears of war lie in the future, to which we are advancing. The foregoing considerations press on no people on earth more heavily than on those of the Southern States of this country. The question of the justice of the cause for which our Southern men fought and our Southern women suffered, in the great war which convulsed this country from ‘61 to ‘65, will always interest the philosophical historian,