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[183] I found an opportunity to discharge this sad duty in person. Mrs. Simkins was the accomplished daughter of Judge Wardlaw, of South Carolina, and not long since she joined her heroic husband in rest eternal beyond the stars. The limit of this address would be far exceeded to give any account of the operations which for forty-eight days were incessantly prosecuted for the reduction of this indomitable battery. Suffice it to say, that it was never reduced by artillery or captured by assault, and was finally evacuated on the night of the 6th of September, 1863, after the Federals, resorting to the science of engineering, had pushed their sap to its counterscarp and were about to blow up the work with gunpowder. In alluding to the defence of Charleston the Rev. John Johnson, of that city, who was a gallant officer and the distinguished chief of engineers at Fort Sumter, in the conclusion of his admirable work entitled ‘The Defence of Charleston Harbor,’ from which I have drawn much valuable data in the preparation of this address, says: ‘It did not end in triumph, but it has left behind a setting glory as of the western skies, a blazonry of heroism, where gold and purple serve to tell of valor and endurance, and the crimson hue is emblem of self-sacrifice in a cause believed to be just.’

No sting is left in the soldier heart of the South for the brave men who fought us. The great Captain and Lord of Hosts, who guides the destiny of men and nations, directed the result of the struggle, and made the Union of the North and South indissoluble. Thus united, this great country which, in its marvelous development of progress, power and wealth, has startled the world, is yet destined to compass inconceivable possibilities of achievement in its onward march in the race of nations. Let us, therefore, accept, like a brave and patriotic people, the result of this great war between the States. Let us bow with reverence to that Divinity which shaped it. Let us rejoice in the peace and prosperity which has followed it. Let us give our hands and hearts in cordial friendship and greeting to the gallant boys who once wore the blue. Let us forgive them more freely, because time has made them like ourselves at last—the wearers of the gray. But comrades, let us never cease to honor and revere the martyred heroes who died in a cause they believed to be just.

Forgive and forget? Yes, be it so
     From the hills to the broad sea waves;
But mournful and low are the winds that blow
     By the slopes of a thousand graves.

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