What is a Confederate Veteran?
The definition of a Confederate veteran has been very concisely and beautifully given by Judge Robert L. Rodgers
, the gifted historian of the C. V. A., of Fulton county, Ga.
, as follows:
In taking an account of ourselves as Confederate veterans we need not speculate about the facts before the war. A Confederate veteran was not a fact before the war. We frequently hear of things which existed “before the war.”
Some people were rich before the war. Some people were slaves before the war. Some men were born and lived before the war who are living yet. There were governors, senators, judges, and “militia majors,” but never was a “Confederate veteran” before the war.
A Confederate veteran is to-day a unique figure in life, and will ever be unique in history.
Unique? Yes, sir, that is the single word which may define him, signifying incomparable, alone!
Nothing else, and nobody else, on earth to-day like a Confederate veteran.
He is an evolution of a revolution—a relic of the “Lost cause.”
In the sorrows and ruins of his defeat he stands like Napoleon, grand, gloomy, and peculiar, though the veteran is not by any means a fossil.
A Confederate veteran to-day is a living and active factor in public events.
Coming as a result or product of the war, he is grand
in his heroic courage, gloomy in defeat and wreck of fortune, and peculiar in being solitary in his Qwn generation.
Having no predecessor of his kind, he likewise can have no successor.
“A Confederate veteran” is a rank and position of distinction.
It is an honor which no power on earth can take away.
Confederate veterans are one by one passing away, and as each goes out we gather at the bier to give a final farewell, to drop a tear as we listen to the dull thud of the clods upon his coffin, and are reminded of the fact that we are one less in our numbers.
Fewer and fewer they become as we leave them in their graves, and we feel sad to contemplate that soon the last one must go from earth, and then there can never be another “Confederate veteran.”
The last one must be the last of the kind.
Holding firmly and conscientiously, as we do yet, to the correctness of the principles for which we fought, in our great defeat there must ever be with us a shadow of that heavy sorrow which “never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,” in our households; but we may take such consolation in our “ Lost Cause” as we may find in praising the valor and cherishing the memories of those who died to make it otherwise, and realizing the consciousness in those who yet live of having done their duty as well and as fully as they could.
Giving honor to whom honor is due, too much praise cannot be given to our braves who died in the din of battle, yielding up dear life as a holy sacrifice to the principles of freedom for which they contended, and in which they honestly and conscientiously believed they were right.
Aye, indeed they were right!
It was the right they dared to defend and maintain, and for which they died willingly with an approving conscience, sealed with their blood, and sanctioned in high heaven.
O! if there be on this earthly sphere
A boon, an offering heaven holds dear,
'Tis the last libation Libery draws
From the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause.