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[182] Sidney Johnston, of Stonewall Jackson, of Stuart, with his waving plume; of Forest, with his scorn of death. Tell them of Wade Hampton and Gordon, the Chevalier Bayards of the South. Tell them of Zollicoffer, of Pat. Cleburne and Frank Cheatham, of Pelham, of Ashby. Tell them of the great soldier with the spotless sword and the spotless soul who sleeps at Lexington, in the Valley of Virginia. Tell them of the great president, who bore upon his sad heart the sorrows of all his people, and upon whom fell all the blows which passed them over.

This, my comrades, is your last commission. Do this for the dead, that they may be loved and honored still. Do this for the living, that they may also become worthy of love and honor. Do this for your couutry, that when the time is ripe she may again be rich in heroes and in noble deeds.

Shall not the self-same soil bring forth the self-same men?

When the great account is taken which page, think you, my countrymen, will the South most willingly spare? Will it be the old page, torn and ragged, stained with blood and tears, which tells the story of secession and defeat, or will it be the new page of the latest census with its magnificent figures of wealth and prosperity?

Whatever she chooses, give us old soldiers the old page to read and read again. This blood and those tears mean more to us than to all the world. The cause in which they were shed will never be lost to us and the love we gave it will not die till the last gray jacket is folded and the last gray head is buried beneath the sod.

My comrades, neither do I believe our descendants will ever hesitate to make the same choice. The people of the South would not exchange the story of the Confederacy for the wealth of the world. At their mother's knee the coming generations shall learn from that tragic history what deeds make men great and nations glorious. A people who do not cherish their past will never have a future worth recording. The time is even now that the whole people of the United States are proud of the unsurpassed heroism, self-sacrifices and faithfulness of the soldiers and people of the Confederacy.

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