The unveiling. [Richmond Dispatch, June 10, 1890.]
Petersburg, June 9th, 1890.At an early hour in the afternoon crowds began to wend their way to the cemetery, all bearing flowers and evergreens with which to decorate the graves of the soldiers.  The procession was one of the finest ever seen in Petersburg. It was composed of A. P. Hill Camp of veterans, Pickett-Buchanan Camp of Norfolk, R. E. Lee Camp and Sons of Confederate Veterans of Richmond, the Prince George Cavalry, Petersburg Grays, Petersburg Artillery with full battery of guns, the Fire Department with engines beautifully decorated, civil societies, and a long line of citizens. The line was headed by Chief-Marshal Henry and his associates, the ladies of the Memorial Association and the orator of the day, with the Mayor and Miss Hill. It was fully half-past 6 o'clock before the ceremonies commenced in the cemetery, where fully 10,000 people had assembled around the monument and the stand. The scene was an inspiring one. The first to ascend the stand were thirteen beautiful little girls dressed in white, representing the thirteen Confederate States. On the stand were also seated the ladies of the Memorial Association, Miss Lucy Lee Hill, ministers of the gospel, and Mayor Collier. Prayer was offered by Rev. C. R. Haines, D. D., after which Mayor Collier introduced Captain W. Gordon McCabe as the orator of the day, who spoke as follows:
Captain McCabe's address.My Fellow-Citizens: If from the happier land the dead look down and are touched in any measure by concerns of earth, surely there is deeper joy in Heaven this day as those dear comrades who have fallen on sleep gaze upon this eager concourse of old companions in arms, of loyal kinsmen, and of steadfast friends who have gathered here at the bidding of the noble women, who in the brave old days cheered these men as they trod the thorny path of duty and who to-day unveil to the broad light of Heaven this beautiful monument, reared by pious hands to perpetuate to all coming time the constancy and valor of those who lived heroic life and died heroic death. Other and grander monuments, perchance, may rise to tell in storied beauty or impressive majesty a people's gratitude and reverence for those who counted life itself a worthless thing when freedom was at stake, but surely nowhere in all our southern land could be found a spot more instinct with all the mournful glory of that heroic past than this historic ‘Cemetery Hill,’ overlooking those
labour'd rampart lineswhere our matchless leader, girt with a handful of devoted soldiery,  ‘greatly stood at bay’ and ‘taught’ astonished nations ‘what long-enduring hearts can do.’ Yonder to the left frowns Fort Steadman, made glorious by that daring stroke of desperate valor, where Gordon's ‘fiery few clashed’ and for the moment ‘won’—here almost at our very feet the long ravine now clothed in summer bravery, which it seems but yesterday we saw one moment shrouded in billowing smoke and then agleam with serried bayonets, as the men of the ‘Virginia brigade’ sprang along its slope with fierce, wild cries, and by the magic touch of veteran steel transformed disaster into ‘swift winged victory’—and far afield, where yonder fringe of solemn pines sharply cuts the distance sky-line, we mark the spot where this day, twenty-six years ago, the gray-haired men and eager boys of this heroic town with stubborn valor held ‘the outer works’ and freely shed their blood for hearth and home and country. Surely then, I say, it is most meet that on this spot, above all others in our southern land, should rise some monument in breathing marble or enduring bronze to tell our children and children's children of the courage and devotion of these heroes, who chose death in resistance rather than safety in submission. And as in those eventful days, when selfish dross was purged away in steady fires of patriotism, these noble women ministered with tenderest touch alike to humblest soldier as to famous captain, and counted none a stranger who wore with honor his country's gray, so now to-day we bid their southern sisters mark that those who closed the dying eyes of these their ‘unreturning brave’ have reared this monument not alone to those who called Virginia mother, but to all ‘Our Southern Dead.’ Crowning this monumental shaft, ‘the counterfeit presentment’ of a simple Confederate soldier, fashioned so true to life by cunning art, that we almost catch the merry quip or wild, defiant yell, looks down upon the serried graves of sleeping comrades from ‘the Old North State,’ from the rice-fields of Carolina, from the cotton-lands of Georgia and Alabama, from Arkansas and Mississippi, from the savannahs of Florida and Louisiana, from happy homesteads on the banks of the Cumberland, and from that teeming empire beyond ‘the Father of Waters,’ whose ‘Lone Star’ banner has ever blazed in Glory's van—a mighty patriot host, who, at the trumpet call of duty put aside the clinging arms of wives and little ones, or turned from aged sires and weeping mothers to attest upon these distant fields their fidelity to constitutional liberty, and who here  upon Virginia's soil sealed with their brave young blood their devotion to those principles, which, since the days of Runnymede, have been the common heritage of all English-speaking folk. Well nigh one hundred years ago at Oberhausen, in Bavaria, fell in the full flush of victory, Latour d'auvergne, ‘the first grenadier of France’—and there, upon the very spot, where like a soldier he met a soldier's death, his comrades reared in that foreign land a monument to his memory, which his commanding general, in the ‘order of the day,’ declared was ‘consecrated to virtue and to courage, and placed under the protection of the brave of every age and country.’ Not in vain was this soldierly appeal made to German honor. Faithfully was that monument guarded and cared for by his ancient foes, who had so often yielded to his headlong valor. So standing here by the once imperial clay of these dear comrades, in full reliance on the soldierly sympathy of our old adversaries of the North, we consecrate to-day this shaft ‘to virtue and to courage,’ and feel assured that the gallant men from whom these dead heroes so often wrested victory by skill and daring, will take no shame to stand uncovered here, and yield that tribute of respect and reverence which ‘the brave of every age and country’ ever accord to those who on field of battle lay down their lives for what they count the right. To all such, indeed, whether the uniform be blue or gray, a generous soldier yields a soldier's homage. But on one point let us be explicit, lest silence seem to discredit the patriotism of the living and cast dishonor on the memory of the dead. In the Constitution itself, built as it was upon compromise, lay the germ of inevitable future strife. As time passed, and the nation grew apace in power and splendor, as the interests of the two sections became divergent, the North insisted upon a wider and looser interpretation of that instrument, while the South as strenuously clung to the ‘strict construction’ of ‘the fathers of the Republic.’ Deeper than the question of slavery lay the essential cause of the great civil conflict—but slavery furnished the occasion, and as the North became more radical in its demands, and nullified with fiercer passion the explicit guarantees of the Constitution, the South met defiance with defiance, and finally claimed the right of secession, which not even Massachusetts had denied previous to 1830—nay, a  right which that State explicitly affirmed by legislative resolution as late as 1845. The North was strong and resolute, and how terribly in earnest was the South may be gauged by the simple fact that five millions of people, destitute of arms and arsenals, shut off from the outer world by a rigorous blockade, ringed around by steel and fire, took twenty-two millions by the throat—a people rich in all appliances of war, with ports wide open, and Europe pouring in recruits—took twenty-two millions by the throat and for four long years shook them with such vehement fierceness that twice we came within an ace of wrestling from them an honorable peace. We fought as ever fights the freemen of Anglo-Saxon strain, and in good faith we have accepted the stern arbitrament of the sword as settling once and forever the practical interpretation of the Constitution. Such acceptance is all that honorable men can yield, and all that brave men should ask. But when the ‘cheap patriot’ of the press or of the rostrum, insolent by reason of success won by others, goes still further and demands that we shall now confess the ‘unrighteousness’ of our contention, his must, indeed, be a dastard's heart who would thus brand himself a traitor, or offer any craven apology for his fealty to a cause which is forever ‘strong with the strength of truth and immortal with the immortality of right.’ Peace has come—God give His blessing
On the fact and on the name;
The South speaks no invective,
And she writes no word of blame—
But we call all men to witness
That we stand up without shame.
Nay! send it forth to all the world
That we stand up here with pride—
With love for living comrades,
And with praise for those who died—
And in this manly frame of mind
Till death we will abide.
God and our consciences alone
Give measure of right and wrong—
The race may fall unto swift
And the battle to the strong—
But the Truth shall shine in history
And blossom into song.
 That we should be thus firm and outspoken is the simple duty which we owe our own self-respect and manhood—which we owe to our children, who must inherit their fathers' glory or their fathers' shame—which we owe that matchless leader sleeping yonder at Lexington in ‘the Valley,’ whose ‘soul was set in the royalty of discernment and resolve,’ and who, along with the blood, inherited the spirit and the virtues of the old champions of freedom. Above all, comrades, it is a solemn duty which we owe these dauntless spirits, who have fought the good fight and passed away—who, at the bidding of Virginia and her Southern sisters, went forth to battle in all the joyous valor of youth or stern resolve of sober manhood, counting their lives a worthless thing—whose memory soars high above the reach of malice, and gains but brighter lustre from the ‘touch of time.’ In such measure as we honor the memory of these men—in such measure as we suffer no breath of obloquy to pass unchallenged touching the righteousness of the cause for which they died—so shall be measured to us the respect of those who hereafter shall read the story of that momentous struggle with eyes unclouded of prejudice and passion. A brave singer of our English blood has sung: They never fail
Who die in a great cause.
And yet another rings out in trumpet tones:
Eternal right, though all else fail,As to whether these men died in vain, our own lives and the lives of our children can alone give the answer. If we, their surviving comrades, pondering in our hearts their unshaken resolution in the face of cruel odds, their serene constancy in adversity, rise up from the contemplation of all their stern and gentle virtues, strengthened even to this day for the ‘homelier fray’ of daily life, then they have not died in vain. If, when we tell our children, gathered about happy firesides, how these men braved driving sleet and torrid sun, and uncomplaining bore the pangs of fevered famine, the ceaseless vigil, and hurt of shot and steel, and all for duty's sake—if in the story they shall plainly read, as quicker stirs their pulses play,
Can never be made wrong.
That Life may go, if Honor stay-then, they have not died in vain.  I do not fear for the answer. We have mourned them as only brave men can mourn each other, and now belong to us the unfinished tasks of many a noble life. To borrow the language of the greatest historian of the ancient world, ‘whatever we loved, whatever we admired in the lives of these men, survives, and will survive, in the hearts of their comrades, in the succession of the ages, in the fame that waits on noble deeds.’ With them all is well. They are not dead but sleeping! Well we know
The forms that lie to-day beneath the sod
Shall rise when time the golden bugles blow
And pour their music through the courts of God.
And there amid earth's great heroic dead,
The war-worn sons of God, whose work is done!—
Each face shall shine as they with stately tread
In grand review sweep past the Jasper Throne.
The address met with enthusiastic applause throughout its delivery. At its conclusion Mayor Collier introduced to the assemblage Miss Lucy Lee Hill, daughter of the lamented General A. P. Hill. The young lady was received with great cheers, which she gracefully acknowledged with bows.