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Boys; there's Stonewall Jackson's old flag. Don't you wish God had spared him to be with his men at Gettysburg?

Could these battered and torn and soiled banners speak to us to-night, what a story of sacrifice and suffering and anguish and bloodshed and death would they unfold? It does not take much stress of the imagination for these old soldiers to interpret the silent story they tell. They represent over fifty organizations of Virginia troops. Some saw first Manassas and heard the shouts of the victors on that historic field. Others waved along the ramparts at Yorktown and saluted John Bankhead Magruder as he passed over the sacred soil on which the Father of his country won American Independence. Others were borne in triumph at Gaines' Mill and Cold Harbor; at Savage Station and Frasier's Farm, or went down amidst carnage and death on Malverns' blood-stained hill. Others passed from hand to hand at Slaughter's Mountain, until the field was red with blood and the Thirteenth Virginia led by gallant James A. Walker saved the day.

Some were borne in triumph at Groveton, where the genius of Jackson made sure a great victory. Some others were gathered by the foe on the heights of Gettysburg, because Jackson was not there to put in the last brigade as he had done at Groveton. Others were carried over with Johnson's men at the Bloody Angle, the artillery having been withdrawn and the position exposed.

These ensigns might tell a pathetic story of beleaguered Petersburg; a story of hardships cheerfully borne, of heroic deeds unsurpassed in the annals of war; of poor fare and grim want; alas, of some desertions too, when soldiers saw the end had come, and wives and children were without food at home!

These old flags refuse to dwell on the scenes at Five Forks and Sailor's Creek. At the latter place a number of them fell into the hands of the Federals. We were passing the brook ‘Cedron’ to our ‘Gethsemane.’ Brave men wept like children bereft of their mothers. Virginia was in ashes; every landscape marred by ruins; every breath of air a lament, and every home a house of mourning. When the last command to ‘stack arms’ came to that ragged starving army many soldiers tore the ensigns from their staffs and concealed them in their bosoms. These are sometimes seen at reunions and Camp Fires. The flag of the eighth Alabama Regiment, and the second company of Richmond Howitzers was cut into small pieces and distributed among the men.

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