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[310] of the great unseen Architect of Nations who brought the Monitor into the waters of the Chesapeake to grapple in deadly conflict with the Merrimac for the supremacy of the seas. And we concede that it was He who delayed Ewell's coming until the heights of Gettysburg were crowned with the Federal army under General Meade, and thus pitted the impregnable mountains against the fierce assaults of the cohorts of Lee under the gallant and daring Pickett. It was never intended by the Divine Hand that this nation as a nation should perish from the earth. On the contrary, cemented by the blood of its bravest and best, it was foreordained that it should continue to live, to bless and guide the nations of the earth. And I have no doubt that the time will come when this great republic as a nation will feel proud of the courage and achievements of the Southern soldier, and will revere the names of Lee and Jackson as it now reveres the names of Grant and Sheridan.

I am not unmindful that there be those who would rob us of our title to courage and honor—all that remains to us as a result of the war. But of this rest assured, they are not of the soldiers who fought in that struggle. These, if they would, could not afford to disparage our courage or bravery, for on this pedestal rests their own prowess and fame. For, take notice of this fact, no nation will discredit its own deeds of heroism. All men love glory, and all men admire courage, and without courage and love of glory a nation is doomed.

While the harvest of death through four long years of terrible war enriched our soil with the blood of our purest and noblest, it was not shed in vain; for in that martyrdom which tried men's souls our people coined a reputation for courage and duty, for patriotism and love of country, which glorified them, and of which nothing can ever rob or despoil us. That honor and courage henceforth is consecrated to the preservation of the nation, and we will transmit it as a precious legacy to our children. May they not forget the immortal dead; may they emulate their example.

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Robert E. Lee (2)
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