My personal experiences in taking up arms and in the battle of Malvern Hill.Address by James F. Crocker, before Stonewall camp, Confederate Veterans, Portsmouth, Virginia, February 6th, 1889, and published at its request.
Commander and Comrades: It is my turn, by appointment, to give to-night some reminisences of the war. It is expected, as I understand it, that these reminisences may be largely personal and that it is not to be considered in bad taste to speak of one's self. In fact our soldier lives were so much the same, our experiences and performances, our aspirations and devotions to our cause were so common to each and all, that to speak of one's self is but to tell the story of the rest. Let it be understood at once that no true soldier can speak of himself and of his services in the Confederate Army, however humble the sphere of his service, without a tone of self commendation. And if I seem to speak in self praise, remember I but speak of each of you. Comrades! I would esteem it the highest honor to stand an equal by your side. For here before me are men—heroes—in courage and in patriotism equal to those who fell at Thermopylae—who with those to whose sacred memory yon monument is erected, aided in achieving a lustre of arms such as is not recorded in all the annals of the past. The one thing in my personal history touching the war which I recall with most delight and hold in my supremest pride and satisfaction before all else, is, the ardor with which I took up arms. This ardor was not the mere ebullient force of passionate excitement, but the inspiration of unquestioning conviction that our duty to ourselves, to posterity, to our State, imperiously demanded that we should at all hazards and whatever might be the outcome, take up arms in defence of our rights as a free,