The spirit of the army.
--Every letter that appears from Gen. Lee
's army breathes the highest spirit.
There is something affecting, grand, and sublime in the magnificent courage of these heroes — a courage which not only scorns the perils of the battle-field, but is proof against the unmanly croaking at home of men who have never yet heard a bullet whistle, but have been living in security and plenty during the whole of the war. It is a humiliating truth that the only sections of the country in which repining, disloyalty, and treason have found utterance are the most remote from the seat of hostility and danger, whose people have never been disturbed even by raids, who have been making money out of refugees, and out of everybody and everything else which could be turned into gold.
With these exceptions, and others who have managed to find exemption from the toils and perils of the strife, there is a universal determination never to make any terms except entire and eternal separation and independence from an infernal foe. But, of all classes of our countrymen, none are so uncompromising as the men of the army — the men who have made the most sacrifices, and endured all the hardships and perils of the war. The Southern army is in fact the Southern
It contains the cream of the chivalry, the patriotism, the physical stamina, and the moral worth of the land.
If we desire to find the only infallible exponent of the spirit and purpose of the Southern Confederacy, we must look to the army, and its universal voice is that it would prefer death to the last man to life and subjugation.
Never was there a body of men anywhere which more fully realized than this army that life is of no value without honor and independence; that the few years' of man's stay upon earth — few at the utmost — would better be cut short in the path of duty than protracted in a miserable existence of woe and humiliation.
The army — the always valiant and always victorious army — which has suffered and dared so much, proclaims itself ready to suffer and dare a thousand fold more rather than discolor its bright banners with the shame of submission and conquest.
It has fought a hundred battles; it has endured hunger, heat, cold, and raggedness; it has beaten the foe over and over again, and all it asks of those who have never fired a gun, or endured a pang of hunger, or suffered a single discomfort of life, is not to discourage with their dismal croaking the spirits of the men who are faithing for their security, comfort, and independence.
If these disconsolate stayers at home will not fight, let them at least cease from groaning, wailing, predicting all manner of evil, and dimming with their despondent breath the bright mirror in which brave men only see the lineaments of hope and victory.
Let them cultivate faith in God, and have some confidence in the justice of their cause, and the vigilance and valor of the heroes by whom it is upheld.
has made some nine or ten enterprises of "On to Richmond
," in each and all of which it has been signally defeated, and yet, after all their failures, it renews its efforts with unabated perseverance.
What shall be said of Southern men who have not as much confidence and determination after ten victories as the North
after ten defeats?
If they were a fair specimen of Southern manhood the subjugation of the South
would be no longer a question.
That they are not is evident enough from the fact that we are still independent, still free, still determined, and defiant.
For all this we may thanks, under God, the army, who represent the patriotism, honor, and fortitude of the Southern
race, and who have not one quality, sentiment, or emotion in common with the degenerate and emasculated beings who cannot draw a long breath there is a single cloud in the sky, and who quake with terror at every thunderclap as if the end of the world was come.
We invoke the soldiers of the South
to turn a deaf ear to the raven-croaking which come up from in their rear from these unfortunate mortals whose unbalanced minds and disordered livers prevent them from forming an intelligent and dispassionate judgement of public affairs.
The great heart of the country, all that is good and true in it, keeps time with the inspiring pulsations in the hearts of its heroes.
Noble, generous, devoted men — men of whom the world is not worthy — men whose deeds have never been surpassed in all Greek
, all Roman fame — your countrymen and country-women are not only grateful for your Fast, but full of Hope and Faith in your Future.
They are proud of your courage, proud of your humility, proud above all, of the lofty spirit which has resolved, with God's help, to deliver this land from an accursed tyrant, and to light in every hill and in every valley beacons of glory and victory, which shall blaze till the stars have ceased to shine.