Many years after I stood upon the ground made memorable by the thrilling events of the 9th of June, as well as by the gallant stand, for many months immediately succeeding that day, by the heroic Army of Northern Virginia as it wrestled in mortal strife with the overwhelming forces of the enemy; but what a change
No screaming shells were rushing through the air like demons released from the abyss profound, blent on their mission of destruction; no din of direful war rivalled the fury of the elements in their fiercest rage, but all around was serene and still.
Undisturbed by the clash of war the birds twittered forth their evening gossip, the mocking-bird sang his sweetest lay— the well cultivated fields, the tinkling of the cow-bells in the distant pasture, all proclaimed that Peace was queen.
And yet while the direful war has passed away, and the animosities and acerbities engendered by it are fast being buried in the grave of Oblivion — where is the gray-headed Confederate whose eve does not kindle at the remembrance of those four heroic years?
Does he not feel like re-echoing the glowing words which the great dramatist puts in the mouth of Henry
the Fifth the night before Agincourt
This story shall the goodman teach his son.—
The that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors,
And say, To-morrow is Saint Crispin;
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, These wounds I had on Crispin's day.
And does not his heart burn while he tells with pride of the days when with unfaltering steps, though weary and hungry, but with the light of battle in his eye, he followed in the lead of those illustrious captains and masters of war, A. P. Hill
, Kirby Smith
and a host of other gallant spirits—and last, though not least, of Robert Edward Lee