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My comrades of the army of Northern Virginia,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

In the remarks I submit to your Association to-night I shall attempt no abstract consideration of policies or principles, no philosophic discussion of the course and current of events, or of the effect and influence of results on the great and stirring times of our generation. The occasion would scarcely justify it, and such a line of thought would be aside from the purpose I have in view, which is to present some of the proofs of the powers of our Southerners in great emergencies.

I shall do this in plain narrative form, and without effort at rhetoric or declamation. I trust I shall not entirely exhaust your patience and forbearance in delivering this address hastily prepared amid engrossing official duties, and that you will make due allowances for its crudities and imperfections.

The late war between the States destroyed a good many fallacies and delusions theretofore prevailing in regard to the qualities of the Southern people. Their capacity for the conduct of affairs, their genius for the organization and operation of large armies and fleets, their inventive talent for meeting and overcoming unexpected and great difficulties and providing for impending exigencies, and their energy and practicability had always been denied by their Northern cousins, and were not known to themselves.

It will be remembered that when, in the spring of 1861, the first levies of three months troops of seventy-five thousand men were provided at Washington to put down the so-called rebellion, it was currently asserted at the North that no longer enlistments would be [282] necessary, as the ‘Rebel’ forces would easily be dispersed in that time, and a peace conquered.

The result of the first battle of Manassas was a startling awakening to the folly of such a boast, and staggered the confidence, so hastily and unwisely adopted by a misapprehension of the Southern character.

On the other hand, the success of the Confederate arms at Manassas was, at the same time, damaging to the Southern cause by creating over-confidence, and causing the Southern people to underestimate the fighting qualities of the Northern soldier.

It was no uncommon thing to hear it said in the early days of the conflict that ‘one Southern man could whip five Yankees,’ inconsiderately failing to bear in mind that the Yankees were largely the same race as ourselves, and undervaluing the fact that organization and discipline will make good fighting soldiers of almost any race. So that the war relieved us also of many errors into which we had fallen in measuring the character of the Northern people.

Assuming then, that the personnel of both armies were equal in courage, in fortitude, in intelligence, and in all those qualities that make good soldiers—it cannot be denied that the South was greatly at a disadvantage, in comparison with the North, in every other particular.

In the first place, the North was largely superior in numbers—in the numbers of her own people, and unlimited in the drafts which she could make on foreign countries. She had a thoroughly equipped, organized, regular army—organized, by the way, in its perfect staff appointments, by that greatest of war secretaries the United States Government ever had, Mr. John C. Calhoun, and developed and improved upon by one equally great in all the essential elements of statesmanship, Mr. Jefferson Davis—an army capable of almost indefinite expansion. She had also a navy in fighting trim, organized for prompt action, with a large merchant marine subject to her demands, all manned with trained sailors and seaman. The North had a government, complete in all its departments, in full vigor and operation, well supplied with revenue and material of war. She had workshops for the fabrication of arms, material to supply them, and the whole civilized world from which to draw whatever was best and most desirable in modern improvements.

On the other hand what had the South? She had, it is true, separate State governments, with power to enlist troops and defend their own borders, but these the North also had, in addition to her [283] other advantages. There was no general government; no organized army or navy; no quartermaster, subsistence, ordnance or medical department; no vessels of war; no arms or ammunition or other war material, except such as fell into her hands with the capture or surrender of United States forts, arsenals or magazines within her borders; no levies to draw upon, except her own sons, to supply the ranks of her armies and ships, when called into being; no money, except that supplied by the States in their individual capacity.

I think, therefore, it may be safely claimed the North had every advantage except in the pluck and prowess and patriotism of her soldiers.

A distinguished German, Colonel Von Scheliha, LieutenantColo-nel of Engineers in the Confederate Army, in his Treatise on Coast Defence, states the conditions of the two sections very fairly and fully when he says:

As an almost exclusively agricultural region the South had left to the North not only the manufacture of arms, powder, shot, and, in general, implements of war, but also of the necessary accessories—railroad iron, locomotives, cars, wagons, steam-boilers and engines, telegraph wire, carpenters' and entrenching tools, spikes and nails, chains and cordage, harness and saddles, cotton and woolen fabrics, shoes, agricultural implements, chemical preparations and drugs; in fine, of all the things absolutely necessary for the maintenance of an independent warfare.

For this reason the South was still wanting in manufacturing establishments of all kinds when the first gun fired at Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor, gave, on the 12th of April, 1861, the signal for the commencement of hostilities in good earnest. Necessity, the mother of invention, taught the Confederates—who, by a strict blockade of all their ports, were soon to find themselves isolated from the balance of the world—to develop the rich, heretofore hardly imagined, resources of their land.

Foundries, powder mills, and other establishments for the manufacture of implements and equipments of war sprang up as if by magic; but here another difficulty was encountered, in the fact that the tide of immigration had hitherto turned almost entirely to the Eastern, Middle, and Western States, the inducement of higher wages offered by certain Southern capitalists being, in the opinion of the immigrants, more than counterbalanced by the greatly exaggerated danger of climatic diseases.

The South thus found herself, in a great measure, deprived of [284] skilful and experienced mechanics, a want that made itself sorely felt during the whole war, as the full capacity of the fine works at Richmond, Savannah, Augusta, Selma and Mobile, from scarcity of workmen, could at no time be taken advantage of. By the fall of New Orleans, in the earlier part of the war, an even greater want of foundrymen, and especially ship-carpenters, was created in the Confederacy.

And again he says:

In regard to sea-coast defence two things resulted then from this combination of unfavorable circumstances in the condition of the South. Southern engineers were compelled, in the first place, to recognize the inefficiency of the existing modes of defence, and to draw on their scientific knowledge and on their ingenuity for new ones; and secondly, the shifts to which they were reduced originating new combinations and improved methods, which, in some cases, proved to be of the highest value.

These observations of an intelligent, well informed foreigner describes graphically and explicitly our true condition. The forts for sea-coast and harbor defence had been constructed when the largest guns in use were 8-inch Columbiads, so that they were wholly inadequate to resist high-power modern guns brought to bear upon them by the Federal fleets. New modes of defence had to be improvised, and there is perhaps nothing in the history of warfare in any age that surpassed the skill and ingenuity of the Confederate officers and engineers in providing against our weakness. The torpedo system of the Confederate Government worked a revolution in naval warfare.

The limits of an address like this will, of course, not permit me to go into details to establish this assertion, but an examination of ail authorities, Confederate, Federal and foreign, will fully justify it.

The wonderfully inventive genius and energetic action of the Confederate officers and engineers astounded the world by their achievements in this hitherto practically untried science in naval warfare. They not only made it most effective for sea-coast and harbor defence, but terrible as an agency of attack upon hostile ships of war. Not only that, they brought the torpedo system to such a high state of perfection that little or no advance or improvement has since been made in it.

Considered in the light of the exigencies to be promptly met and difficulties to be overcome, in the language of a distinguished United States naval officer, Lieutenant Soley, ‘they were little less than phenomenal.’ [285]

Another writer of accepted authority, Lieutenant Commander Barnes, United States Navy, after giving a history of the torpedo and its partial, but ineffectual, use by the Russians against the allied fleets in the Crimean war, says:

Having traced the history of the torpedo from its first inception to its use in recent European wars, we shall now advance into a more interesting period of its history, when its employment was accompanied by results so unexpected and extraordinary, that it seems to have sprung with one bound into the foremost rank of the novel and tremendous engines of war which have so completely changed the aspect of modern battlefields and scenes of naval conflicts. This sudden and astonishing development of a previously derided and apparently insignificant theory has been due, first, to the naval superiority of one of two parties to a stupendous contest, which called for all the ingenuity and boldness of which the weaker side was capable to counteract; and, secondly, the appearance upon the scenes of conflict of ironclad ships impenetrable by ordinary artillery and indestructible by the usual machinery of war.

And again—

Under such a pressure, the pressure of dire distress and great necessity, the Rebels turned their attention to torpedoes as a means of defence against such terrible odds, hoping by their use to render such few harbors and streams as yet remained to them inaccessible, or in some degree dangerous to the victorious gunboats.

Within a very short period after the inception of the design a system was formed, so far perfect and complete that our progress upon the water was materially checked.

These and other equally well accredited testimonials establish the primacy and supremacy of Confederate officers in the employment of these novel and terrible engines of naval warfare, and pronounce the highest encomiums upon their surpassing skill and ingenuity. Who introduced the first ironclad upon the scenes of conflict? The history of the Merrimac vouches the fact that the first ironclad ship of war ever used in battle was designed and prepared for action, and first carried into action, by Confederate officers, thus still further revolutionizing the science and art of war.

Modern builders of war-ships have made little progress on the design of the Merrimac, and the gallant and distinguished Confederate naval officers who prepared and fought her in that memorable naval conflict of the 8th and 9th of March, 1862, may well [286] claim, as they certainly deserve, the eminent distinction of having been the first to discover and employ armored ships of war in battle, certainly ships of this style.

They startled naval constructors and officers in the civilized world by the rapidity, audacity and novelty of their original methods, and will be known through all ages for their wonderful achievements. Maury, Buchanan, Brooke, Jones, and their assistants, are the central figures, around whom revolve to the present day the changes from the old to the new in naval warfare. And Ericsson of the North is the originator of another type. Together, they form a group of which any country may well felicitate itself.

It would require a volume to recite in detail the wonderfully ingenious inventions of Confederate officers in different waters and regions of the South to meet and overcome difficulties and obstacles that obstructed their professional paths, to recount the daring and novel expedients resorted to by them to carry on the unequal contest, and to illustrate their unexampled ability in the face of overpowering opposition.

The historian who comes after us will do justice to their brilliant achievements, and rank them with the most conspicuous naval heroes of any age.

Coming now to the military operations of the Confederate armies, I shall avail myself of a letter lately received from Professor William LeRoy Broun, President of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, who held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of Ordnance under the Confederate States Government, and give it in full as a part of this address. It is a most interesting contribution to the subject I have chosen, and well worthy of preservation. It is as follows:

Auburn, Alabama, October 2, 1888.
Hon. M. C. Butler, United States Senate:
Dear Sir,—In reply to your letter asking for any information in my possession in regard to the difficulties the Southern people had to overcome during the war in providing themselves with arms, I take pleasure in submitting the following, which may, in some degree, illustrate your subject, and shall be gratified if any of the facts will serve your purpose.

Early in 1863 I was taken from the artillery service and appointed Lieutenant-Colonel in the Ordnance Department, and assigned to duty as commandant of the Richmond arsenal. Prior to that, I was [287] appointed by Secretary Randolph president of a Board of Examiners, and, in conjunction with other officers of the board, conducted in the armies of the Confederacy examinations for the purpose of selecting competent ordnance officers. This was an early application of the ‘Civil Service System’ to the military department.

The arsenal in Richmond was located near the river, below Cary street, in a number of large brick houses formerly used as tobacco manufactories. On the island, connected by a foot-bridge, was the cartridge-house, where female employees made the cartridges then used. It employed from one thousand to fifteen hundred operatives, and furnished the chief part of the ordnance supply used by the Confederate armies.

In the early part of the war ordnance stores were bought in Europe, and in many instances reached their destination despite the blockaded forts. With these the troops were armed during the first year.

After the Seven Days battles around Richmond, large numbers of Enfield rifles were secured from the battlefield and carried to the arsenal, repaired and issued to the troops to take the place of the old Austrian rifles and smooth-bore muskets with which many were first provided. Subsequently the blockade became more stringent, and the supplies were becoming exhausted. All the arms used by the Confederates were muzzle-loaders, and it became a matter of extreme importance to furnish a supply of percussion caps. The machines then used by us, modelled after the old United States machines, failed to do the work with sufficient rapidity.

In this emergency an ingenious mechanic from Lynchburg, Virginia, invented and made a machine by which we were enabled in twenty-four hours to make, fill and press a million of caps. But in a short time our supply of sheet copper was exhausted, and after the occupation of Chattanooga by the Union troops and the loss of our copper mines in Tennessee, we were placed in a serious dilemma. We had no copper—no mines—and the blockade was very stringent —it was impossible to obtain it. In this emergency, in the spring of 1864, an officer was sent to North Carolina by my order and with the approval of the Chief of Ordnance, Colonel Gorgas, and directed to purchase, cut up, and ship to the Richmond arsenal all the turpentine and brandy stills he could find. He was very efficient and successful, and with the copper of these old stills we made all the caps used by the army for the last year of the war.

Percussion caps were filled with fulminate of mercury, made from [288] mercury and nitric acid. The nitric acid was made at the arsenal of nitre and sulphuric acid—the nitre was made under the management of special officers from artificial nitre beds, and the sulphuric acid was made in North Carolina. There were no private manufactories, and these essential materials were all made during the war by the officers of the Confederate Government. Towards the close of the war our supply of mercury, of foreign importation, became exhausted. This was an extremely serious situation, as no mercury could possibly then be obtained in the limits of the Confederacy. We began to experiment in substitutes, and fortunately found in Richmond two chemicals, chlorate of potash and sulphuret of antimony, which, when properly combined, we found answered our purposes satisfactorily, and the battles of the last few months of the war were fought with caps filled with this novel substitute. Our lead was obtained chiefly, and in the last years entirely, from the lead mines near Wytheville, Virginia. The mines were worked night and day, and the lead converted into bullets as fast as received. And the amount used, as shown by the reports, confirmed the old statement made in reference to the wars in Europe that for each man killed in battle his weight in lead is used. The old regulation shrapnel shells were filled with leaden bails and sulphur; we had neither lead nor sulphur to spare and used instead iron balls and asphalt.

The Tredegar Works made very superior cannon, field and siege, and when the copper was exhausted we planned a light cast-iron (banded with wrought-iron) 12-pounder, that, in all respects, was equal to the bronze Napoleon. But our best field guns, and in large numbers, were taken from the Federals—captured in battle.

We had no private manufactories to assist, and frequently everything had to be done by the department and the army. During the winter men from General Lee's army cut the timber and shipped it to Richmond, with which artillery carriages were made on which to mount the guns to fight the battles in the spring.

Men followed the army and collected the hides of the slaughtered animals, with which to cover the saddle-trees made of timber cut by details from the men in the field.

The out-put of the army, brought from Harpers Ferry to Richmond, was wholly inadequate. Our arms were of foreign importation somewhat, but mostly captured from the enemy. At the close of the war the Richmond arsenal, the main one in the Confederacy, could not have armed five thousand troops.

To make nitre a special bureau was organized; and on a large [289] scale, throughout the Confederacy, artificial nitre beds were early formed, and an abundant supply was furnished with which to manufacture gunpowder.

The large arsenal at Augusta, Georgia, under the management of Colonel Rains, was especially devoted to the manufacture of powder. Towards the close of the war it was making an abundant supply of very superior character, equal and superior to the best importation from foreign sources. In the explosion of the magazine by my order, on the morning of the surrender of Richmond—probably the last official act of the Confederacy in Richmond—a large amount of this superior powder was destroyed, and its force manifested by a destruction not contemplated.

When we consider the absence of manufactories and machinery, and of skilled mechanics in the South at the beginning of the war, its successfully furnishing ordnance supplies for so large an army during the four eventful years is a striking evidence of the wonderful energy and resources and ability of its people to overcome difficulties.

The success of the Ordnance Department was, in a large measure, due to the intelligence and devotion of its officers, selected by the sifting process of special examinations.

I must add this, that never was an order received from General Lee's army for ammunition that it was not immediately supplied, even to the last order of sending a train-load of ammunition to Petersburg after the order was received for the evacuation of Richmond.

Very respectfully yours, etc.,

I shall not apologize for quoting this letter at length, because it is full of interesting information, and I thank the author for his prompt response to my request, and for the valuable contribution he makes to the subject I am discussing. His letter tells, in a brief and concise form, the story of difficulties, and the ability with which they were overcome by a devoted people. It discloses how full of expedients the Southern people were and with what singular ingenuity and energy they put them in practice.

It would be highly instructive and interesting if I could procure, in this connection, statements in regard to the other great bureaus of the Confederate Government—the quartermaster, subsistence and medical—and lay before you what was accomplished by them, and enumerate some of the disadvantages under which the distinguished [290] heads of these bureaus labored. They were organized without even a nucleus, and organized and put in vigorous operation after active hostilities had begun, and while armies were fighting in the field. The staff corps, including the adjutant and inspector-general's and engineer departments, were equal to any in the military establishments of modern times, and although material to supply them was scarce, they were able to meet the exigencies of a stupendous destructive war in a satisfactory manner, and kept armies in the field which often defeated, by their irresistible courage and discipline, the finest armies in Christendom. They enabled these armies to continue an unequal struggle for four years, and command the admiration of the world by their dashing courage, fortitude and sacrifices.

Now, when we can look back and calmly survey the fields of our embarrassments, and dispassionately contemplate what was accomplished in the face and in spite of them, it does appear ‘almost phenomenal.’

Who of those trying days does not recall the shifts which the Southern people had to adopt to provide for the sick and wounded: the utilization of barks and herbs for the concoction of drugs, the preparation of appliances for hospitals and field infirmaries? What surgeons in any age or in any war excelled the Confederate surgeons in skill, ingenuity or courage?

Who does not recall the sleepless and patient vigilance, the heroic fortitude and untiring tenderness of the fair Southern women in providing articles of comfort and usefulness for their kindred in the field, preparing with their dainty hands from their scanty supplies food and clothing for the Confederate soldiers, establishing homes and hospitals for the sick and disabled, and ministering to their wants with a gentle kindness that alleviated so much suffering and pain? Do the annals of any country or of any period furnish higher proofs of self-sacrificing courage, self-abnegation and more steadfast devotion than was exercised by the Southern women during the whole progress of our desperate struggle? If so, I have failed to discover it.

The suffering of the men from privations and hunger, from the wounds of battle and the sickness of camp, were mild inconveniences when compared with the anguish of soul suffered by the women at home, and yet they bore it all with surpassing heroism. No pen can ever record the half of their sacrifices, and no tongue can ever do justice to their imperishable renown. The shot and shell of invading armies could not intimidate, nor could the rude presence of a sometimes ruthless enemy deter their dauntless souls. [291]

To my mind there has been nothing in history or past experience comparable to their fortitude, courage and devotion. Instances may be cited where the women of a country battling for its rights and liberties have sustained themselves under the hardest fate, and made great sacrifices for the cause they loved and the men they honored and respected, but I challenge comparison in any period of the world's history with the sufferings, anxieties, fidelity and firmness of the fair, delicate women of the South during the struggle for Southern independence and since its disastrous termination. Disappointed in the failure of a cause for which they had suffered so much, baffled in the fondest hopes of an earnest patriotism, impoverished by the iron hand of relentless war, desolated in their hearts by the cruel fate of unsuccessful battle, and bereft of the tenderest ties that bound them to earth, mourning over the dismalest prospect that ever converted the happiest, fairest land to waste and desolation, consumed by anxiety and the darkest forebodings for the future they have never lowered the exalted crest of true Southern womanhood, nor pandered to a sentiment that would compromise with dishonor. They have found time, amid the want and anxiety of desolated homes, to keep fresh and green the graves of their dead soldiers, when thrift and comfort might have followed cringing and convenient oblivion of the past. They had the courage to build monuments to their dead, and work with that beautiful faith and silent energy which makes kinship to angels, and lights up with the fire from heaven the resistless power of woman's boundless capabilities. When men have flagged and faltered, dallied with dishonor and fallen, the women of the South have rebuilt the altars of patriotism and relumed the fires of devotion to country in the hearts of halting manhood. They have borne the burden of their own griefs, and vitalized the spirits and firmness of the men.

All honor, all hail to woman's matchless achievements, and thanks, a thousand thanks, for the grand triumph and priceless example of her devoted heroism. Appropriately may she have exclaimed:

Here I and sorrow sit,
This is my throne, let kings come bow to it.

And yet even to this day, in certain minds, the ‘staying qualities’ of the Southern people is denied. Quick to anger they say, impetuous, irascible, but unequal to continuous effort or the accomplishment of great ends. To the world at large, this delusion was dispelled by their conduct in the great war. In the few minds [292] diseased by prejudice and malignity it may be denied, but we can afford to interpose the recorded facts of history to offset these, and pity the bigotry that will gainsay them.

A recent writer in one of the periodicals of the day has graphically described the straits of the Press of the South, in the following language:

Side by side with the reports of battles and the records of peace commissions, congresses and legislatures, the blurred columns of the Confederate Press were wont to teem with domestic recipes for cheap dishes, directions for raising and utilizing various vegetable products, instructions for making much of little in matters pertaining to every phase of household life. Hard by a list of dead and wounded would stand a recipe for tanning dog skins for gloves; while the paragraphs just succeeding the closing column of the description of a naval engagement off Hampton Roads were directions for the use of boneset as a substitute for quinine.

The journals of that day were printed usually upon the poorest paper, made of straw and cotton rags, and so brittle that the slightest touch mutilated it. The ink, like the paper, was of the cheapest and commonest, and left its impression, not only on the face of the sheet, but on the hands no less than on the mind of the reader. Few fonts of new type found their way into the Confederacy during the war, and at the end of four years the facilities for printing had come to a low ebb. It was no uncommon thing for publishers to issue half sheets in lieu of a complete paper, with scarcely an apology to subscribers for the curtailment of their literary and news rations. It was generally understood that this happened only through stern necessity, and not from any disposition on the part of the newspaper men to give less than an equivalent for the subscription price.

Sometimes the journal which on yesterday appeared in all the glory of a six-column page was to-day cut down to a four-column half sheet, or publication was suspended with the announcement that the stock of materials had been exhausted, and that as soon as the office could be replenished publication would be resumed. Eagerly as the rough sheets were looked for, and closely as they were read, a diminution of matter in them, or a failure to appear, caused only passing comment or dissatisfaction. Men's minds were so filled with the thousand things that each day brought forth about them, there were so many rumors in the air, and news flew so rapidly, even without newspaper aid, as to cause them not too greatly to miss that which to-day has come to be one of the veriest necessities [293] of American life—a daily journal full of all the doings of all the world.

Sometimes even the coarse straw paper failed the publishing fraternity, when an edition was absolutely imperative, yet in such emergency the inventive talent never deserted them. It was considered a wonderful journalistic feat on the part of its publishers for The Vicksburg Citizen, during the siege of that city, to make its appearance, when all other resources had failed, upon wall-paper.

Publishers of books and sheet-music occupied a scarcely less helpless condition than the newspaper people. Their sole grounds of superiority consisted in the fact that the demands upon them were not so urgent. The girl who sang to her soldier-lover the popular songs of that time, ‘Lorena,’ ‘When This Cruel War is Over,’ ‘The Standard Bearer,’ or ‘Harp of the South,’ which were all duly advertised ‘at the retail price of $1 per sheet; the trade supplied, however, at half off, with an additional discount where one hundred of one piece are ordered,’ did not experience that immediate and insistent need of the song and its music which men and women alike felt for the newspaper that would tell them where the last battle had been fought, which army had been victorious, who had been promoted, and who had fallen. The fateful column might contain evil or good report of some dear one, and its coming was full of interest and apprehension. Yet the sheet-music, printed, like the newspapers, in the roughest style, upon the commonest paper, with now and then a caricatured lithographic likeness of some Confederate general on the title-page, continued to be sold and sung, even though its price ran from $1 to $2 per sheet.

War-songs and war-music were the order of the day, and the soldiers in the camps and the small boys in ragged jackets shouted with an equal zest,

The despot's heel is on thy shore!


Farewell forever to the star-spangled banner!

from diminutive paper-covered books of martial ballads. The little song books cost anywhere from two and a half to five Confederate dollars, and their contents, with a few notable exceptions, were as mediocre as the paper on which they were printed. The sentiment was there, nevertheless, and this was cared for by the singers more than the music or the lyrical or literary excellence of the songs. [294]

The missionary and religious publishing houses never ceased their praiseworthy labor of printing tracts and pamphlets for distribution among the soldiers, but publications of a more ambitious or secular standard were very few. Now and then some adventurous firm in Richmond, or Charleston, or New Orleans, would issue a badly-printed edition of a new novel, reproduced from a copy smuggled in ‘through the lines,’ or brought by the blockade runners from Nassau. Still, even ‘John Halifax, Gentleman,’ and ‘Les Miserables,’ which first appeared in the South in this way and this dress, lost much of their attractiveness in their Confederate garb of inferior ink, bad type, and worse paper.

A. C. Gordon in The Century.

Some of the sentiments which found their expression under such circumstances are as imperishable as the human language, and will survive the brilliant exploits of war and outlive the glamour of military glory.

I need not advert to the perfect form of constitutional government, brought into being by Southern men, nor do more than refer to the Constitution framed by her statesmen, to prove their capacity for the conduct of affairs, and to disprove the charge that they aimed at the subversion of republican government.

The Confederate Government and the Confederate Constitution was an improvement in many essential particulars on the one under which they had lived, and to which they have renewed their allegiance. In principle they are the same, but in detail they differ.

The laws passed by the Confederate Congress, composed exclusively of Southern men, may well challenge comparison in wisdom, in simplicity, in sufficiency with the statutes of any country. They are matters of record, and I cannot and need not do more than refer to them to illustrate how well equipped and capable Southern statesmen were for the successful conduct of constitutional government.

And I need only call attention to the messages of that illustrious man, the chief executive of the Confederate Government, profound in their knowledge and acquaintance with the truest science of human government, to the reports of his chief Cabinet officers, to prove how well fitted they were for the administration of a republican form of government. Nor is it needful to do more than invite criticism of the opinions and decisions of the judges who adorned the Confederate courts, to demonstrate their capabilities for judicial administration. [295]

If I were to venture into the domain of criticism myself, I should be tempted to complain that all departments of the Confederate Government hewed too closely to constitutional lines for the most efficient results in times of revolution. But if this be true, it only shows how devoted they were to the principles of a government restrained by constitutional limitations.

The strategic and tactical talent of Confederate generals, their capacity to organize large armies, to discipline and supply them from scanty and constantly diminishing stores, their executive ability, their fertility in expedients; in fine, their genius for war will not, I think, be questioned by any fair-minded critic. And the dash and elan of the private soldier, his aptitude for arms, his powers of endurance, his audacity and pluck in battle, his tenacity, his intelligent conformity to the rigid rules of discipline, will be readily admitted by the most hypercritical observer.

Our enemies of that day, in fact, the military students of all countries, learned some valuable lessons in the art of war from Confederate soldiers, and the former turned many of them upon us, and thereby compassed our discomfiture and ultimate defeat.

I think we may, therefore, safely claim, without the charge of vain. glory and boasting, that the Southern people, in their prolonged and desperate struggle for a separate existence, developed a wonderful civil, military and industrial genius, and may confidently rely upon the judgment of impartial history for their vindication in that behalf. The same elements exist with us to day, intensified in the crucible of adversity, and will exert themselves in bringing their section abreast with the foremost regions of the enlightened world, and thereby contribute, as they have always done, to the success and permanency of republican institutions in America; and to the glory and greatness of that Union to which they have, in good faith, renewed their allegiance.

On motion of William L. Royall, Esq., it was—

Resolved, That the thanks of the Association be tendered General M. C. Butler for his able address, and that he be requested to furnish a copy of it for publication.

On motion of Hon. Theodore S. Garnett, of Norfolk, Virginia, it was— [296]

Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to nominate officers of the Society for another year.

Whereupon the Chairman appointed as a committee on nomination, Messrs. T. S. Garnett, John B. Cary, Robert Stiles, Frank D. Hill and Joseph V. Bidgood. Before the committee retired the President, General Taliaferro, briefly addressed the Association, expressing his appreciation of the honor with which he had been invested for several years—one which he held to be among the greatest that could be conferred on man. His descendants to the third and fourth generation, he declared, would be proud of the fact that he had been thus distinguished by his fellow-soldiers and patriots. But he thought that the enviable honor should not be monopolized by one man, and he hoped that it would now be conferred upon some one among the many worthy then present.

On motion of Hon. George L. Christian, it was—

Resolved, That Comrade Carlton McCarthy be appointed a committee of one to solicit subscriptions in sums of one dollar or less for a monument to the private soldiers of the Confederate States Army, said monument to be erected on Libby Hill.

The committee on the nomination of officers returning, reported the following, who were unanimously elected:

President, General William H. Payne, of Fauquier county; Vice-Presidents, General John R. Cooke, of Richmond city; Colonel Charles Marshall, of Baltimore, Maryland; Hon. James H. Skinner, of Staunton; Captain Philip W. McKinney, of Farmville; General Thomas T. Munford, of Richmond city; Treasurer, Robert S. Bosher, Esq., of Richmond city; Secretary, Private Carlton Mc-Carthy, of Richmond city. Executive Committee: Colonel William H. Palmer, Colonel Archer Anderson, Major Thomas A. Brander, Hon. George L. Christian, and John S. Ellett, Esq.

The meeting being adjourned, the Association then repaired to the refreshment rooms of Captain Andrew Pizzini, Jr., where a choice and bounteous collation was served, and a season of joyous greeting and interchange prevailed.

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