William Henry Chase Whiting, Major-General C. S. Army.An Address delivered in Raleigh, N. C., on Memorial day, May 10th, 1895, at the request of the Ladies' Memorial Society.
By C. B. Denson, of the Engineer Service, C. S. Army.
Respectfully dedicated to the surviving partner of the joys and sorrows of the matchless genius, the heroic soldier and the unselfish patriot, to whose memory these pages are devoted.Ladies of the Memorial Association, Comrades of the Confederate States Army, Ladies and Gentlemen: The poet has said in touching numbers— Fold up the tattered, blood-stained cross,
By bleeding martyrs blest,
And heap the laurels it has won,
Above its place of rest.
It lived with Lee, and decked his brow
From Fate's empyreal Palm;
It sleeps the sleep of Jackson now—
As spotless and as calm.
Sleep, shrouded ensign! not the breeze
That smote the victor tar
With death across the heaving seas
Of fiery Trafalgar,
Can bid thee pale! Proud emblem, still
Thy crimson glory shines!
Sleep in thine own historic night!
And be thy blazoned scroll,
A warrior's banner takes its flight
To greet a warrior's soul!
Character is the foundation of human greatness. In its perfection, it represents, in the individual, the sum of the activities of life; in a national sense, it is the development in history of the ruling spirit of a people, leading to the flower of achievement—to the utmost limit of moral, physical and intellectual effort, in the discharge of duty.  The element of character most God-like, is self-sacrifice. According to this standard, we are here to-day, thirty years after the deep-mouthed cannon have hushed their voices, to honor the memory of the most peerless heroes in the annals of the world. He who imagines that the statesmen of the South, above all the people of North Carolina, rushed into the tremendous conflict of the Civil War in thoughtless pride, or mad determination to preserve a single species of property, knows nothing of the true spirit that filled the hearts of the best of the land. The Union had been the beloved object of Southern patriotism. Alamance and Mecklenburg sounded to arms for the revolutionary struggle, Patrick Henry's eloquence fired the torch of liberty, Washington led her hosts, Madison drafted the Constitution, Marshall interpreted the laws—Southern men all. King's Mountain and Guilford were the precursors of the inevitable close of the drama of the revolution at Yorktown. For seventy years and more Southern genius dominated the country and led it, step by step, to the pinnacle of fame. Jefferson and Jackson were the great executives of the first half of the century. The second War of Independence, in 1812, was maintained chiefly by Southern valor. Scott and Taylor, as well as Lee and Davis, in the Mexican war, were men of the South. Fought by an overwhelming majority of Southern men, that war, with the purchases previous thereto and succeeding, by Southern statesmanship, had doubled the area ruled by the Federal government, against the repeated protest of the North. The South had given to the general government, of her own accord, the princely territory of the States between the Tennessee and the Great Lakes. There was never a a conflict in behalf of the Union and the Constitution of these United States, in which the men of the South did not far outnumber those of any other section, and give their precious lives in due proportion. The world will never know how much it cost the South; how stupendous was the price that North Carolina paid to defend the Constitutional rights of the States. Was there no sorrow in contemplating the destruction of the fabric reared by the efforts of Southern statesmanship and cemented with the blood of her children? Who, to-day, would have had this old Commonwealth trample upon her traditions—even from the earliest colonial days, ‘of the freest of the free,’ in Bancroft's words—and tamely submit to military usurpation from Washington to send her sons into the field, against every dictate of conscience and settled conviction of the sovereign  rights of the States; to send her sons, I say, against their brethren of Virginia and South Carolina—bone of their bone, and flesh of their flesh, not only in the claims of blood, but in history and sentiment? Never have the annals of history known a line of statesmen like those who guided the fortunes of this country for three-quarters of a century or more! Think of the purity of character of Nathaniel Macon, of John C. Calhoun, of William A. Graham, of Jefferson Davis! Who knew more of the constitutional authority of the State to order her citizens to stand in her defence than such statesmen? My comrades, when men stand above the graves of our sacred dead and drop a flower there to honor them, because they died for what they thought was right, and bend their heads before your gray hairs, in token that your suffering for long years touches them, because you thought you were right—there is a vain and empty echo to such words, kindly meant as they may be. For one, I am here to affirm, before high Heaven, that they were right, and that North Carolina would have been recreant to every principle of honor and duty had she done otherwise. When I see the saintly Bishop-General, who was born on your own soil, leaving the pulpit under the imperative sense of overwhelming duty and sharing the dangers of the field; at one moment stretching forth his arms in blessing upon the stricken people, and the next moment torn apart by an enemy's shot, I feel, with the poet— A flash from the edge of a hostile trench
A puff of smoke, a roar,
Whose echo shall roll from Kennesaw hills
To the furthermost Christian shore,
Proclaim to the world that the warrior priest
Will battle for right no more;
And that for a cause which is sanctified,
By the blood of martyrs unknown,
He kneels, a meek ambassador,
At the foot of the Father's throne.
When I think of Stonewall Jackson, wounded unto death, yet wrestling in prayer with his God, as he was wont to do, in the valley of the Shenandoah, before some bloody enterprise of the next day, like the stern Covenanters of old, and then committing his cause and  his fellow-soldiers to a Heavenly care, ‘to rest under the trees’ this day, thirty-two years ago—the question recurs: ‘Was he not in the right?’ When I picture the matchless dignity of Robert E. Lee, looking from his charger in grave serenity upon a field tumultuous with every form of effort of horse and man, and incarnadined with human gore; or recall him, as it was my fortune to see him, in the peace and quiet of his headquarters, and mark the signs on his countenance, of the God-given intellect, and regal dignity of spirit, that afterwards refused fortune and honor abroad to share poverty and labor with his own at home, I am forced to declare—if such immortal spirits were wrong, then let me be wrong with them! In a memorial address twenty-six years ago, the brave and lamented Colonel Robert H. Cowan used this language, when our people were sitting amid the thickest gloom of their great calamity, and patriotic Wilmington was erecting a memorial to our dead. He declared:
In the Pass of classic Thermopylae, there is a monumental pillar reared by the decree of the Amphictyonic Council, to the memory of Leonidas and his devoted three hundred. It bears an inscription, written by the poet of the time, in a style of true Lacedemonian simplicity, and yet it is so tender and touching in its tone, and so lofty in its sentiment, that it appears to me to be sublime:The tongue that spoke these words has long been silent in the grave, but they are forever true. The mother State, conservative in all her history, pondered her steps long and well. What she ordered was done in the plain path of duty, when all other resource had departed. But that duty once ascertained, was performed with a tenacious determination almost without a parallel. In this transitory life, the most precious things are the spiritual forces—the invisible, but immortal, powers that mould men's lives. Look about you, in your beautiful Capital City, putting on anew the garniture of spring. Consider the swift passing away of the material objects about us. A century or two, and where are the  most pretentious of our structures? Where are our marts, our factories, and temples? Forms, fashions, institutions change—the rich and the poor exchange places—animated nature bows to decay and passes in turn to oblivion! But the ashes of the noble dead remain in mother earth, and the memory of their deeds hallows the soil. Think you that the valor of George B. Anderson is lost, the gallantry of L. O'B. Branch, the calm and intrepid patriotism of the host of lesser rank that lie beside them in either of our cities of the dead—Burgwyn, and Turner, and Shotwell; the Haywoods, Manlys, Rogers, Engelhard; the knightly Smedes, the great—hearted William E. Anderson—ah! where shall I pause in the bead-roll of heroes; how dare we not include every private, who bore his musket well, in that great brigade that lie in eternal bivouac on our eastern slopes, awaiting the trump of the resurrection morn? Tried by the standard of devotion to duty, and sublime selfsacri-fice, the men whom your fair women delight to honor were worthy of the highest niche in the temple of military fame—the brightest crown, as patriot martyrs. They lie on every battle-field of importance throughout the South. At Winchester, where the sacred ashes have been gathered from many bloody contests, they exceed in melancholy array those of any other State. At Fredericksburg, the dead and wounded of North Carolina exceeded those of all other States of the South combined. In the Seven Days struggle around Richmond, one-half of the number of regiments in Lee's entire army were sons of your soil. Would you seek the most magnificent spectacle of undying courage? Behold the 5th North Carolina atOh stranger! tell it to the Lacedemonians,Let the stranger, whoever he may be, that visits this sacred spot, go and proclaim it to all the world that these brave men lie here in obedience to the laws of North Carolina.
That we lie here in obedience to their laws.