I hold no view of Southern degeneracy, but I deplore the irreparable loss to my country and the coming generations when those splendid men, the bravest and best the world has ever held, went down in death. Some one has said that every generation must have its war. If so, in God's name let it not be a real war. The burning houses, the wasted fields, the ravaged cities—I could see them all go until the wilderness was back again, and contain my grief; but I can never bear to think of the strength and beauty, the manly courage, the stubborn nerve, the pure chivalry, the peerless devotion, the unstinted faith and loyalty which went into the battle's deadly front and never returned. It is the loss of men like these that made the South poor indeed—a loss that can never be restored, not in forty years! No, not in forty centuries!
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