To the Confederacy's soldiers and sailors. Monument Unveiled on Capitol Hill, Montgomery, Alabama, with impressive ceremony, December 7, 1898.Instructive and eloquent speeches by prominent men. Southland Moans for its heroes. Reverence and patriotism guiding spirits of the occasion.
Splendid oration by Ex-Governor Thomas G. Jones, with inspiring addresses by Colonel W. J. Sanford, Colonel J. W. A. Sanford, Captain Ben. H. Screws, and Hon. Hilary A. Herbert.
Historic tribute of Alabama women.Five thousand earnest persons yesterday witnessed the unveiling of the Confederate monument on Capitol Hill. Close to the historic structure in which the ‘Lost Cause’ was born, a marble shaft now rears aloft its figured crest in impressive tribute to those who died under the ‘Stars and Bars.’ Cradle and tombstone stand side by side. And around them, their leafless branches murmuring a requiem mass in the autumn breezes, tremble a hundred trees transplanted  from battle-fields where Confederate soldiers fought and fell. From a period of dreary, rainy weather, yesterday dawned crisp and clear as if nature had lent her auspices to the unveiling ceremonies. Visitors had come to Montgomery from all over the South to witness the exercises. The Ladies' Memorial Association had arranged an impressive programme and nothing occurred to mar its rendition. Tasteful floral decorations had been arranged around the pedestal of the monument, and benches were erected for the accommodation of 2,000 persons. But the assemblage that had gathered at noon stretched from the northern wing of the capitol to the northernmost edge of the hill. The bright colors of the women's gowns, the crimson sashes and immaculate white dresses of the pretty sponsors and the gaudy trappings of the militia combined in lending to the situation a gala aspect. But the solemnity of the occasion was breathed in the speeches of the orators, was reflected in the earnest faces of the gathering and was told all too plainly by the purposes of the programme. Now and then something occurred to stir to enthusiasm the aching hearts of grizzled veterans who had assembled to pay homage to the memory of dead comrades. Some telling phrase in an oration or an irresistable bar from ‘Dixie’ would bring to these mourning patriots a fancy of ‘those other days.’ At such moments, tears glistened in sad eyes or the ‘rebel yell’ resounded. On the temporary platform, erected between the capitol and the monument, were stationed the members of the Ladies' Memorial Association, members of the Legislature, Governor Johnston and members of his staff, and other prominent persons. The pedestal of the monument itself was tastefully garnished with ferns and chrysanthemums. Long before noon, Capitol Hill was rich in color with the dresses of several thousand women. The spectators experienced some disappointment over a delay in the parade. But their patience did not desert. It was a good natured crowd. Many of the spectators stood uncomplainingly for three hours, straining their ears for phrases from orators who were concealed from view.
The parade.From the corner of Bibb and Moulton streets, the parade made its way out to Commerce street, thence to Dexter Avenue to the Capitol,  and then around the hill. The crowd around the monument greeted the head of the procession with cheers as it hove in sight. It was after 12 o'clock when Colonel W. J. Sanford, of Opelika, the chairman, in a few appropriate sentences, introduced Rev. Dr. George B. Eager to open the exercises with a prayer. Dr. Eager delivered an eloquent invocation, as follows:
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, Thou hast taught us to cherish our yesterdays, to “ call to remembrance the former days,” even though they be days of darkness wherein we endured a great fight of affliction. Standing to-day under the shadow of a great loss, but in the light of Thy love, we realize that it is greatly wise to commune with our past hours. We come to recall our precious and immortal dead who poured out their lives as a holy libation upon the altar of their country, verily believing that they were doing God's service. O come to consecrate this completed and enduring monument to the memory of those whom we loved, and cherish for their lofty devotion to duty and fidelity even unto death; who laid the heart of the South at the feet of God with their wounds to tell the story. Help us, O God, to come in faith and with fit speech, remembering that Thou art God over all blessed forevermore, that Thy kingdom ruleth over all, that Thou sendest the darkness as well as the light, and that Thou hast given us “songs in the night.” We pray Thee to imbue us with the spirit that actuated them and made their lives glorious, to help us to cherish the principles for which they died, and teach us in Thine own wise way the lessons of this hour and occasion. We recognise that Thy wisdom is higher than ours, and that Thy burning and purifying love is ever at work illuminating our ignorance, consuming the dross of our earthliness and bringing out the gold of character which is our true riches. Thou hast given us the grievous discipline of defeat and tears, Thou hast carried us through a, long, hard schooling in a school where everything was difficult and there was constant clashing with our will. It has been bitter and hard upon us, O God, and often when we sought light and help it seemed at such cloudy distances that we could not realize its ministry. But we bless Thee, O, Thou God, of infinite wisdom and love, that by faith we have learned at last that all is well because Thou hast done it, that behind a frowning providence Thou did'st hide a smiling face. We bless Thee for a reunited country, for the loving hearts, the  ministering hands, the loyal souls, and the beautiful voices that remain to us to-day, true to Thee and to duty, for young and old gathered here to-day to take loving and tearful and hopeful part in this new consecration. Be with those who shall speak to us, and may they speak such words as shall help us and glorify Thee; and to Thy great name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we will give the praise forever. Amen.Chairman Sanford opened the oratory in this language: Ladies of the Memorial Association, Ladies and Gentlemen. Borrowing an idea from another, if expression of my appreciation of being selected as chairman on this occasion, were commensurate with the honors conferred on me, I should need a full measure of gratefulness in my heart and brilliancy on my tongue. The measure of gratitude is not lacking, but my stammering speech compels me to ask these good ladies who have thus honored me to be content with the assurance that I mean all that is expressed by the good old Anglo-Saxon words, I thank you for having given me this distinction; for, indeed, it is an enviable distinction to be prominently connected with these exercises, that will take their place in the annals of this State, both because of their intrinsic interest and worth, and because they transpire on these historic grounds, where, thirty-seven years ago, a chivalrous young government took its position in line with the great nationalities of earth. Born in the throes of revolution, its young, proud ship of state was launched on tempestuous political seas, whose angry waves and raging billows rocked its infancy ‘in the cradle of the deep.’ No friendly beacon light streamed across the stormy waters to give warning where maelstroms endangered and rocks were submerged. Rather instead, from storm tossed waves there flashed the lurid glare of the lightning of battle, and the deep, bellowing thunders of war clouds came ‘sounding o'er the sea.’ The dew was not off the grass on the natal morn of the Confederacy before this sunny land was one vast martial camp, and war's frowning visage darkened the land. It is not for me, to-day, to speak of the causes of the great revolution, nor to discuss the statesmanship and policies of that stormy era. But I will take a moment to say, in defense of those whose honor and valor are commemorated by that granite shaft, that they offered their lives, living sacrifices on the altars of country, in defense of that glorious product of this western world, the great right of  local self-government, and in defense of the principles of the American Constitution. Such sentiments are no detraction from the position of the Federal soldier—the differences are not under discussion now—much less are they disloyal to the sentiments of a restored union and to a common flag. That flag is now the flag of my country and your country, and beneath its shadow the interests and honor of all sections of this grand country repose in security. This is not the superserviceable cant, that considers it necessary to degrade the memory of the Confederate States, in order to exalt the Union—or to deify the New by anathematizing the Old South; sentiments born of that inspiration that ‘crooks the pregnant hinges of the knee, that thrift may follow fawning.’ “The old South” needs no defense before a Southern audience. For more than a half century of the history of this government, the grand men of the Old South, on the battle-fields of chivalry, illustrated the loftiest valor, and in the parliamentary tourney they magnified statesmanship—while Southern women, worthy mates of splendid men, reigned with queenly dignity in Southern homes, and dispensed that royal hospitality that has been the theme of poesy and ‘the toast of history.’ To others more competent than I have been assigned the agreeable duty of speaking of the valor and virtues of the Confederate dead. They will tell of the splendid generalship of the chieftans of the South. How the names of her Lees, her Johnstons, of Davis, of Stonewall Jackson, of Gordon and a host of other great captains, by the blaze of battle were photographed on the fore-front leaf of fame. How Jeb Stuart and Forrest and Alabama's own gallant Wheeler and Clanton and others led their ‘rough riders’ into the very jaws of death and immortality. But they will be neglectful if, in these memorable exercises, they forget him who carried the knapsack and musket, the bright boy who bowed his head for a father's blessing and took his shield from a loving mother's hand with the Spartan injunction: ‘With this when the battle's won, or on it from the field’—the young father, who gently unlocking loving arms of wife and weeping children, turned his back on the happy home, on the vine clad hills, and took up his steady, stately march down the road to duty and to death, and by his glorious courage made a faded ‘gray jacket’ a priceless heirloom in the homes of the South. Yea, more, the tongues of Southern men will forget their cunning,  when we fail to tell that the beauty of roses paled and ‘morning sunbeams cast shadows’ in presence of the bloom on the cheek and the light in the eye of the homespun clad girls of Dixie. Some years ago I had the honor to offer some remarks at the opening of the bazaar, inaugurated by the ladies of the Memorial Association to further the erection of this splendid monument. For years without remuneration or recompense other than the consciousness of a noble duty, these noble ladies have been working for this good day. Somewhere I have read ‘that it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ That Divine utterance had a sacred illustration when Woman anointed the head of the Saviour, and washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. Humanity, I speak reverently, can make no nearer approach to it, than woman's sacrifice on the altar of unselfish devotion. The gentle footpace, the soft touch, the tender words—oil on grieving wounds—the balm of consolation to breaking hearts, have enshrined the names of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton in the hearts of humanity. So, inspired by generous impulse, these noble women of the Memorial Association have enshrined in granite and bronze, the memory of the Confederate dead; that memory will be green when granite has crumbled and bronze has corroded, around the apex of that splendid shaft, kissed by the first rays of the rising sun, there will forever linger a halo, in memory of the loving hands that reared this shaft and of the unselfish devotion that inspired it. They have reared a noble monument to the memory of the Confederate dead, and in doing so, have safely perpetuated their own glorious memory and worth. At the conclusion of Colonel Sanford's eloquent words, Miss Gorman sang ‘Dixie,’ in a sweet voice, to the accompaniment of the Second Regiment band.