This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 was a man of positive convictions and without the shadow of turning, adhered firmly and steadily to his party's tenets and principles. For almost half a century he was one of the ablest and most eloquent defenders of Democratic principles in this State. On the hustings, in the press, in the legislative halls of the State and nation, he was the bold, brave champion of Democracy; its acknowledged and most beloved leader. When a small minority of Democrats bolted the Democratic caucus united with Whigs and defeated him of his election to the United States senate, which he had richly earned and deserved, he manfully acquiesced, never sulking or swerving from party fealty. He was too good and great a man to desert his people because they failed to crown him king. Governor Smith was a man of absolutely scrupulous honesty. A great orator well said: ‘Honesty is the oak around which all other virtues cling; without that they fall and groveling die in weeds and dust.’ The paths of his public life were crowned with vast power, responsibility and opportunity, yet no stain ever followed his footsteps. His pure, clean hands were never soiled by betrayal of private or public trust. Governor Smith was a man of unflinching courage and intrepid spirit. When the Civil War commenced he was more than 64 years of age, yet, so ardent was his patriotism, so brave his heart, so resolute his will, that he volunteered and was commissioned as colonel of the Forty-ninth Virginia Regiment. Directed by his valor and military genius, this regiment soon attained a fame exceeded by none of the great Army of Northern Virginia. In the night assault at Fairfax Courthouse, almost the first of the war, he exhibited a coolness, a courage, a resourcefulness that made a profound impression at the time and marked him as one eminently fitted for military command and responsibility. At the battle of First Manassas, rallying around his regiment other troops that were disorganized and retreating, he stationed himself on Jackson's left, fought heroically and kept his line unbroken in all the vicissitudes of that fierce and terrific conflict. Subsequently, at Seven Pines, he attained yet loftier heights of courage and endurance. The figure of this old hero, waving his flag and with sunny smile leading his troops against the enemy under a murderous fire that wounded and killed more than half will live in the hearts of all Virginians as long as courage and gallantry are cherished. The annals of war can scarcely furnish a
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.