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Battle-field, not a forum.

But, Appomottox was not a judicial forum; it was only a battlefield, a test of physical force, where the starving remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia, ‘wearied with victory,’ surrendered to ‘overwhelming numbers and resources.’ We make no appeal from that judgment, on the issue of force. But when we see the victors in that contest, meeting year by year and using the superior means at their command, to publish to the world, that they were right and that we were wrong, in that contest, saying that we were ‘Rebels’ and ‘traitors,’ in defending our homes and firesides against their cruel invasion, that we had no legal right to withdraw from the Union, when we only asked to be let alone, and that we [193] brought on that war; we say when these, and other wicked and false charges are brought against us from year to year, and the attempt is systematically made to teach our children, that these things are true, and therefore, that we do not deserve their sympathy and respect, because of our alleged wicked and unjustifiable course in that war and in bringing it on—then it becomes our duty, not only to ourselves and our children, but to the thousands of brave men and women who gave their lives a ‘free — will offering,’ in defence of the principles for which we fought, to vindicate the justice of our cause, and to do this, we have to appeal only to the bar of truth and of justice


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