Manassas, Sept. 5th.
In a previous letter I spoke of the ceremony of raising a monument upon the spot where the noble Bartow
fell while leading on his men in the battle of the 21st.
The members of the 8th Georgia Regiment, desiring to erect some memorial on the spot, purchased a shaft which was placed in position yesterday evening.
It was reported that General Toombs
and Vice-President Stephens
would both speak upon the occasion, and consequently a large crowd of soldiers walked to the field, some from a distance of six and eight miles.
When I arrived, about one thousand were present, and others were pouring in from every quarter.
Groups of soldiers were roaming about in every direction over the battle-field, gathering relics of the fight and gazing at every object of interest connected with it. The cen- tre of attraction was the Evans house
, which was so riddled with shot, and which now stands a perfect ruin, with holes marking the passage of cannon shot, and with bullets still imbedded in its wall.
Throughout the day the house was crowded by curiosity-hunters, who carried away many pieces of the doors and windows to preserve as relies.
After waiting until near 2 o'clock it was found that Mr. Stephens
had gone to Richmond
with his brother, and that Mr. Toombs
was too ill to be present.
The services were delayed no longer, and the soldiers were ordered to form in rank to proceed to the spot.
The 7th, 6th and 9th Georgia, and the Kentucky
regiment, under Col. Taylor
, formed in a square around the prostrate shaft, with the officers and civilians in the centre.
A few ladies were present, and among them Mrs. Braneb
, mother of Adjutant Branch
, of the 8th Georgia, who was also killed in the battle of Stone Bridge
The day was beautiful, and the scenery around perfectly charming.
Standing upon an eminence, the whole battle-field was spread out before us, with its patches of wood land and desolated field.
Beyond were thriving farms and hillside covered with corn, while in the distance the Blue Ridge
stood out boldly against the sky. The picture was indeed beautiful and worthy the pencil of a Claude.
But a few yards away was the small field which proved the mausoleum of so many New York Zouaves, and close by the half-destroyed Evans house.
But little change has taken place since the day of the battle, except that which Nature has made.
Little mounds mark the grave of both friend and foe, and the green grass is now springing from each.
The altheas by the old house once more look fresh and green, and roses again bloom where the dead lay in heaps.
The brass band, belonging to the Second Georgia Regiment, was present, and at a signal the colors of the Eighth Georgia, perforated by many a bullet, were brought in front.
The flag was saluted by each regiment in turn, and then, with an air from the band, Rev. Mr. Jones
, chaplain of the 8th, made a fervent and touching prayer, after which the Hon. Mr. Semmes
, made a short speech to the assembly.
He said: ‘"Citizen soldiers of the Confederate States of America
! An accidental visit to the battle-field of Manassas plains has afforded me the pleasure of being a participator in the ceremonies of to-day.
I have, with great hesitancy, yielded to a request made but a few moments since, by your commanding officer, to make a few remarks to you upon this interesting occasion.
My hesitancy arises from the consciousness that the voice of Georgia
should be heard at the planting, by Georgians, of a monument to commemorate the locality of the fall of their gallant Bartow
This hesitancy has given way, however, to the reflection that fortune, perhaps, has favored the occasion for the manifestation of that paternal sympathy which Louisiana
feels for the loss sustained by Georgia
, and it would be improper, perhaps, to decline giving vent to those feelings which I know swell the heart of every true son of Louisiana
--yes, and not of Louisiana
alone, but of every Confederate patriot.
"When I lift my eyes from the fatal spot where the patriot breathed his last and survey the magnificent country within reach of vision, and when I behold this array of patriot soldiers assembled on the battle-field, to do honor to the patriotic dead, I can fully appreciate and realize the sentiment of the Roman
'Dulce et decorum est, pro pan ia mori,:
"It is sweet, indeed, to die for a cause upheld by the stalwart arms of such compatriots.
"Here, citizen soldiers, the gallant Bartow
has not only achieved that earthly immortality so prized by the brave, but I believe his patriot spirit, purified by a baptism of blood, has been wafted to the enjoyment of an immortality of another and a holier sphere.
"Emulate, my friends, the courage and devotion of your noble Bartow
Remember his parting words, breathed forth while in the agony of death on this blood-stained field. 'They have killed me, boys, but never give it up.' No, never give up the holy cause of Southern independence.
If our ancestors, in 1776, considered holy the struggle in which they directed their efforts to throw off the yoke of the British King
, how much holier must our present struggle be regarded to throw off a worse than despotism ! The oppression of a single despot being less insupportable than that of a licentious mob, the patriot of to-day, when battling with the Northern
hordes precipitated on us, raises his arm in a cause far holier than that of our revolutionary sires.
in daring, in courage, in devotion; but forget not the conduct of the fathers of the Revolution of 1776.
"You have announced yourself ready to give up your lives in this cause, and have readily dared all perils and hardship.
Our Government is new, and its vast machinery so recently constructed must necessarily work imperfectly; hence your wants and necessities may not be supplied as promptly and as efficiently as might be desired.
This is not the result of neglect, but rather of the imperfection of the newly-formed Government.--The wonder is, that so much has been accomplished in so short a time.
If, therefore, you should occasionally suffer somewhat, remember your revolutionary sires.
Your sufferings are small compared to theirs; no Southern soldier will be called on in this holiest of all causes to undergo the privations and sufferings of the army which could be traced in blood across the frozen plains of New Jersey
A paternal Government looks to you to maintain it, and I know
it will not look in vain.
"I say it looks to you, citizen soldiers, and relies only on your own brave hearts and stalwart arms to achieve the independence of the Confederate States
We must not trust to foreign intervention to accomplish that which can be accomplished by your own prowess and bravery.
, like all other nations, will be controlled by their own interests, which may or may not accord with yours.
Rely, therefore, on yourselves, for that is your safest and, perhaps, your only reliance.
‘"But why should I address the soldiers of Georgia
I am confident you will take the words of the dying hero for your motto, and 'never give it up.' Have you not already evinced the determination to die on the field rather than give up this glorious cause, consecrated by the blood of your martyr-hero, Bartow
I only speak as I do to manifest to you that the heart of Louisiana
and of every Confederate State beats in unison with yours: Falter not, therefore, but follow the illustrious example of the gallant dead, and be assured glory and success a waits you."’
was followed by Maj. Cooper
, of the 8th Georgia, who made a spirited and patriotic speech, which I would like to give you, but really feel too much indisposed to write out my notes to-night.
After the stone was raised in position, each officer present threw a little earth upon the base and then retired.
They were followed by Mrs. Branch
and Miss Semmes
, and then by the privates.
This concluded the ceremonies, and preceded by the excellent band, the regiments marched again to their various camps.
I have thus given you a hasty sketch of the day's proceedings, but cannot do justice to the interesting occasion, or say half I wish to in memory of the noble man who fell in defence of his country on the spot where this plain white marble shaft is standing, bearing his dying words.
I regret to see that a slight error has been made in the inscription, which will hand down in history a much less forcible sentence than that really spoken by Bartow
He said, ‘"They have killed me, boys, but never give it up." This inscription reads, ‘"Never give up the field."’ ’
The mail arrangements are very bad here, and I fear for the transmission of my letters to you. They may be delayed, which would almost entirely destroy their value.
I will do the best I can, until I can get the matter systematically arranged.