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The Morale of General Lee's army.

Rev. J. William Jones, D. D.
In his testimony before the “Committee on the conduct of the War,” Major General Joseph Hooker says: “Our artillery had always been superior to that of the rebels, as was also our infantry, except in discipline; and that, for reasons not necessary to mention, never did equal Lee's army. With a rank and file vastly inferior to our own, intellectually and physically, that army had, by discipline alone, acquired a character for steadiness and efficiency unsurpassed, in my judgment, in ancient or modern times. We have not been able to rival it, nor has there been any near approximation to it in the other rebel armies.” [Italics mine.] I do not propose to enter upon any “odious” comparison between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia, as to the character of the men who composed them; yet, I think I shall be able to show that General Hooker is entirely mistaken in attributing the confessed superiority of the Army of Northern Virginia to “discipline alone,” and that this army was composed of a body of men who, in all the qualities which go to make up what we call morale, were rarely, if ever, equaled, and never surpassed by any army that ever marched or fought “in all the tide of time.”

The very circumstances which produced the organization of that army called into it the flower of the South. On the memorable 17th day of April, 1861, the day on which the Virginia Convention passed its Ordinance of Secession, I witnessed at-the little village of Louisa Court-House, Virginia, a scene similar to those enacted all [192] over the South, which none who saw it can ever forget. The “Louisa Blues,” a volunteer company, composed of the very best young men of the county, were drilling at noon on the Court green, when a telegram from Richmond ordered them to be ready to take a train of cars at sundown that evening. Immediately all was bustle and activity; couriers were sent in every direction to notify absentees, and in every household busy fingers and anxious hearts were engaged in preparing these brave volunteers to meet promptly the call of their native Virginia. There was scarcely a laggard or a skulker in the whole company. Delicate boys, of scarcely sixteen, vied with gray-haired fathers in eagerness to march to the post of duty, and an hour before the appointed time that splendid company (numbering considerably more than its original roll strength) gathered at the depot, where an immense crowd had assembled to see them off. An aged minister of the Gospel spoke words of earnest counsel, and led the multitude in fervent prayer that the God of Jacob might go forth with these patriot soldiers, keep them in the way whither they went, and bring them back to their homes in safety and peace; but, above all, that he would shield them from the vices of the camp, and lead them into paths of righteousness.

The man of God is interrupted by the shrill whistle of the iron horse — the train dashes up to the depot, all are soon aboard, and, amid the waving of handkerchiefs, the cheers of the multitude, and the suppressed sobs of anxious mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters, those noble men go forth at the bidding of the sovereign power of their loved and honored State. At Gordonsville they are joined by companies from Staunton, Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia; and Orange, Culpepper, and other counties along the route swell their numbers as they hasten to the capture of Harper's Ferry, and the defense of the border. The call of Virginia now echoes through the land, and from seaboard to mountain valley the tramp of her sons is heard. Maryland, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and distant Texas, catch the sound-her sons in every clime heed the call of their mother State; and these rush to our Northern border — the very flower of the intelligence, the wealth, the education, the social position, the culture, the refinement, the patriotism, and the religion of the South--to form the armies of the Shenandoah, and Manassas, and Norfolk, which those masters of the art of war, J. E. Johnston and Beauregard, moulded into what was afterward the famous Army of Northern Virginia, with which our peerless Lee won his series of splendid victories. [193]

It was common for the Northern press to represent that “secession leaders” betrayed the people of the South, and led them unawares and unwilling into “the rebellion,” and many of the so-called “histories” still insist that the “Union” men of the South were forced against their will into “the revolt.” Never were a people more misrepresented. The simple truth is, that after Mr. Lincoln issued his proclamation, calling for troops to coerce sovereign States, there ceased to be any “Union” party in the South, and the people of every class and every section prepared for resistance to the bitter end, and forced their leaders to join the secession movement. A public sentiment was at once formed, which not only impelled our best men to enter the army, but branded, as a “skulker,” the able-bodied young man who failed to do so. This spirit affected the character of all of the armies of the Confederacy, and none more than the Army of Northern Virginia.

The colleges of the South were deserted, and professors and students alike enlisted. The “learned professions” were suspended, and the office abandoned for the camp. The hum of the workshop ceased, the plough was left in the furrow, the ledger was left unposted, in many instances the pastor enlisted with the men of his flock, and the delicate sons of luxury vied with the hardy sons of toil in meeting patiently the hardships, privations, and sufferings of the camp, the march, the bivouac, or the battle-field. I remember that the first time I ever saw the Rockbridge artillery --that famous battery which was attached to the Stonewall Brigade at the first battle of Manassas, with Rev. Dr. (afterward General) Pendleton as its captain — it had as private soldiers in its ranks no less than seven Masters of Arts of the University of Virginia (the highest evidence of real scholarship of any degree conferred by any institution in this country), a large number of graduates of other colleges, and a number of others of the very pick of the young men of the State, among them a son of General R. E. Lee, and a score or more of theological students. Two companies of students of the University of Virginia were mustered into service, and fully nine-tenths of the five hundred and fifty students, who were at the University that session, promptly entered the Confederate service-most of them the Army of Northern Virginia--as private soldiers.

When Rev. Dr. Junkin, of Pennsylvania, who was then president of Washington College, Lexington, Virginia, called a meeting of his faculty to devise means of punishing the students for raising a secession flag on the dome of the college, the day after Virginia seceded, he found the faculty in hearty sympathy with the students; [194] and while the doctor resigned his position, and went North, the students formed a volunteer company, and marched to the front under Professor White as their captain. Even Dr. Junkin's own sons threw themselves heartily into the Confederate struggle, while his son-in-law left his quiet professor's chair at Lexington to become the world-famous “Stonewall Jackson.” The president of Hampden-Sidney College, Virginia (Rev. Dr. Atkinson), entered the service at the head of a company of his students. Major T. J. Jackson marched the corps of cadets of the Virginia Military Institute from the parade-ground at Lexington at precisely twelve o'clock on the day he received orders from the Governor of the Commonwealth, and all these young men entered active service. Indeed, every college in Virginia, and throughout the South, suspended its regular exercises, and the “midnight lamp” of the student was exchanged for the “camp-fires of the boys in gray.”

There might have been seen in the ranks of one of the companies a young man who met every duty as a private soldier with enthusiasm, but who carried in his haversack copies of the Greek classics, which he read on the march or around the camp-fires, who has, since the war, borne off, at a German university, the highest honor ever won there by an American; who now fills the chair of Greek in one of the most important universities at the South, and who has already won a place in the very front rank of American scholars. I remember another (a Master of Arts of the University of Virginia), whom I found lying on an oilcloth during an interval in the battle of Cold Harbor, in 1864, oblivious of everything around him, and deeply absorbed in the study of Arabic, in which, as in other Oriental languages, he has perfected himself, since the war, at the University of Berlin, and by his own studies in connection with the professorship he fills, until he has now no superior, and scarcely an equal, in that department in this country. In winter quarters, it was very common to organize schools, in which accomplished teachers would guide enthusiastic students into the mysteries of Latin, Greek, modern languages, and the higher mathematics.

One single shot of the enemy, at first Fredericksburg, mortally wounded Colonel Lewis Minor Coleman (professor of Latin at the University of Virginia), who was widely known and loved as the accomplished scholar, the splendid soldier, the high-toned gentleman, and the humble Christian; Randolph Fairfax, one of the most accomplished young men and brightest Christians in the State; and Arthur Robinson, a grandson of William Wirt, and a worthy son of an illustrious sire. [195]

I count it my proud privilege to have entered the service as “high private in the rear rank” of the famous old Thirteenth Virginia Infantry, and I do not hesitate to affirm that (while that regiment was not superior to others of our army in morale) it would be impossible to pick out of any community in the land a nobler body of men than they were. Our colonel was A. P. Hill, who, by gallantry and skill, and solid merit, rose to the rank of lieutenant general; achieved a reputation for the highest qualities of the soldier, and on that last sad day at Petersburg, with a sick furlough in his pocket, yielded up his noble life in an attempt to restore his broken lines. Our lieutenant colonel was James A. Walker, who won his wreath and stars by cool courage and notable skill; who was the last commander of the old “Stonewall Brigade;” who led Early's old division to Appomattox Court-House, and who has since occupied a prominent position; is now Lieutenant Governor, and exerts a potent influence in the affairs of the Commonwealth. Our major was J. E. B. Terrill, one of the very best drill-masters in the service, whose gallantry was conspicuous on every occasion, and whose well-merited appointment as brigadier general the Confederate Senate confirmed at the very hour at which he fell at Bethesda Church, in June, 1864, while leading the old Fourth Virginia Brigade in a heroic charge. Our company officers were, many of them, men fitted for the highest command, and among the rank and file were those competent, in every respect, to command a brigade, or even a division. There were not a few private soldiers in that army who were wealthy planters, merchant princes, leading citizens, men of. rank and influence, at home.

It has been a subject of general remark that since the war our Governors, legislators, Congressmen, Senators, Judges, city and county officers, our leading business and professional men, the engineers on our railroads, the professors in our colleges, and even our preachers, have been, as a rule, selected from among those who “wore the gray.” The Radical press has sneered at this, and held it up as a proof of the existence of a “rebellious spirit” still in the South. It is true that there is a feeling among our people that they owe something to the men. who risked their lives for what they believed to be the cause of justice and right; but the real truth of the matter is that when we look for one of our best men to fill any position of honor, emolument or trust, we naturally turn to a Confederate soldier — for the native talent, education, and moral worth of the South were in our army.

But the religious element which entered that army, or was developed in it, has absolutely no parallel in all history. Our [196] noble old chief (General Lee) was a Christian, not merely in profession, but in reality, and did everything in his power to promote the moral and spiritual welfare of his army. The piety of “StonewallJackson is as historic as his splendid military achievements, and the influence which he exerted for the religious good of his officers and men can never be fully known in this world. These noble leaders had at the first the co-operation of such Christian soldiers as Generals D. H. Hill, T. R. Cobb, A. H. Colquitt, J. E. B. Stuart, W. N. Pendleton, John B. Gordon, C. A. Evans, John Pegram, and a large number of other general, field, staff, and subordinate officers; and, during the war, Generals Ewell, Longstreet, Hood, Pender, R. H. Anderson, Rodes, Paxton, Baylor, and a number of others made professions of religion. Of the first four companies from Georgia, which arrived in Virginia, three of the captains were earnest Christians, and fifty of one of the companies belonged to one church. I remember one single regiment which reported over four hundred church members, when it first came into service, and another regiment which contained five ministers of the Gospel — a chaplain, one captain, and three privates.

I have not space to give the details, but I have in my possession the minutes of our Chaplains' Association, my diary carefully kept at the time, files of our religious newspapers, a large number of letters and memoranda from chaplains and army missionaries, and other data, going to show that the world has rarely witnessed such revivals as we had in Lee's army from the autumn of 1862 to the close of the war. I never expect to address such congregations, or to witness such results, as we daily had in that army. I frequently preached to several thousand eager listeners, and I have seen over five hundred inquirers after the way of life present themselves at one time, and have witnessed hundreds of professions of conversion at one service. I preached one day in Davis' Mississippi Brigade to a large congregation who assembled in the open air, and sat through the service with apparently the deepest interest, notwithstanding the fact that a drenching rain was falling at the time. Upon several occasions I saw barefooted men stand in the snow at our service, and one of the chaplains reported that in February, 1864, he preached in the open air to a very large congregation, who stood in snow several inches deep during the entire service, and that he counted in the number fourteen barefooted men. And this eagerness to hear the Gospel was even more manifest during the most active campaigns. On those famous marches of the Valley campaign of 1862, which won for our brave fellows the soubriquet of “Jackson's foot cavalry,” I [197] never found the men too weary to assemble in large numbers at the evening prayer-meeting, and enter with hearty zest into the simple service. At half-past 7 o'clock in the morning the day of the battle of Cross Keys, a large part of Elzey's Brigade promptly assembled on an intimation that there would be preaching; the chaplain of the Twenty-fifth Virginia Regiment (Rev. Dr. George B. Taylor, now a missionary to Italy) was interrupted at “thirdly,” in his able and eloquent sermon, by the advance of the enemy, and soon the shock of battle succeeded the invitations of the Gospel.

The morning Early's Brigade was relieved from its perilous position at Warrenton White Sulphur Springs, on the second Manassas campaign, and recrossed to the south side of the Rappahannock, one of the largest congregations I ever saw, assembled for preaching. A fierce artillery duel was going on at the time, across the river, and a shell would occasionally burst nearer than was entirely comfortable; but the service went on, despite this strange church music, and the woods rang with hundreds of strong voices, swelling the strains of an old hymn, which recalled precious memories of home, and the dear old church of other days, as, at the same time, it lifted tender hearts up to the God whom they worshiped. Just as the last stanza of the last hymn, before the sermon, had been finished, and the preacher arose to announce his text, an immense rifle-shell fell in the very centre of the congregation, and buried itself in the ground, just between the gallant colonel of the Thirteenth Virginia and one of his captains. Fortunately, it failed to explode, and only threw dirt over all around. There was, of course, some commotion in that part of the congregation; but quiet was soon restored, and the chaplain announced his text, and was proceeding with his sermon, when Colonel Walker informed him that, if he would suspend the service, he would move the brigade back under shelter of the hill. Accordingly, the command was moved back (a member of an artillery company was wounded just as our rear left the ground), and I preached to one of the most solemnly attentive congregations it was ever my fortune to address. At “early dawn” of the next day, we moved on that splendid match which threw “the foot cavalry” on Pope's flank and rear, and compelled him (despite his general orders) to look to his “lines of retreat,” and to realize the now prophetic words of that famous order: “Disaster and shame lurk in the rear.” Alas! many of those gallant fellows heard that day, on the Rappahannock, their last message of salvation.

The night before the last day at the second Manassas, Colonel [198] W. H. S. Baylor was in command of the old Stonewall Brigade, of which he was made brigadier general the very day he was killed. Sending for his friend, Captain Hugh White, he said to him: “I know the men are very much wearied out by the battle of to-day, and that they need all of the rest they can get to fit them for the impending struggle of to-morrow; but I cannot consent that we shall seek our repose until we have had a brief season of worship, to thank God for the victory of to-day, and to beseech His continued protection and blessing during this terrible conflict.” The men were quietly notified that there would be a short prayer-meeting, and nearly the whole of the brigade, and a number from other commands, assembled at the appointed place. The service was led by Rev. A. C. Hopkins, of the Second Virginia Infantry-one of those faithful chaplains who was always at the post of duty, even though it should be the post of danger. Captain Hugh White entered into the meeting with the intelligent zeal of the experienced Christian. Colonel Baylor joined in with the fervor of one who had but recently felt the preciousness of a new-born faith in Christ, and it was a solemn and impressive scene to all. In the great battle which followed, the next day, Colonel Baylor, with the flag of the “Stonewall” Brigade in his hands, and the shout of victory on his lips, fell, leading a splendid charge, and gave his noble life to the cause he loved so well. Hard by, and about the same moment, Captain White was shot down, while behaving with most conspicuous gallantry; and these two young men had exchanged the service of earth for golden harps, and fadeless crowns of victory.

I remember that on the comparatively quiet Sabbath with which we were blessed at Cold Harbor, in June, 1864, I preached four times to large and deeply solemn congregations. The service at sundown was especially impressive. Fully three thousand men gathered on the very ground over which had been made the grand Confederate charge which swept the field at Cold Harbor and Gaines' Mill, on the memorable 27th of June, 1862. It was a beautiful Sabbath eve, and all nature seemed to invite to peace and repose; but the long lines of stacked muskets gleaming in the rays of the setting sun, the tattered battle-flags rippling in the evening breeze, the scattering fire of the picket line in front, the occasional belching of the artillery on the flanks, and the very countenances of those powder-begrimed veterans of an hundred fights, all spoke of victories in the past, and terrible conflicts yet to come. The whole scene was inspiring, and as I gazed into those eager, upturned faces, and saw that [199]

Something on the soldier's cheek
Washed off the stain of powder,

I tried, with an earnestness I have rarely, if ever, commanded, to tell them the story of the Cross — to hold up Christ as “the way, the truth, and the life” ; and I remember that there were quite a number who, at the close of the service, signified their personal acceptance of the way of salvation.

All during that memorable campaign, as well as in the trenches at Petersburg, the revival spirit was unabated, and incidents of thrilling interest occurred. I have in my possession carefully-collated statistics, to show that, during the four years of its existence, at least fifteen thousand soldiers — of the Army of Northern Virginia professed faith in Christ, and that these professions were as genuine and as lasting as those of any of the churches at home.

These statistics are not given at random, but are very carefully compiled from the minutes of our Chaplains' Association, the reports of chaplains and army missionaries made at the time, and other sources of information, which fully satisfied me that fifteen thousand is a really low estimate of the number of converts. And as to, the genuineness of these professions, I am prepared to prove that in their after lives in the army-their triumphant deaths-or the conduct of the survivors since the war, these army converts as a rule (of course there were some cases of sad backsliding, as there have been in every revival since the days of Judas Iscariot and Simon Magus) gave as conclusive evidence of the genuineness of their conversion, as is ever found in revivals at home. Among our chaplains there were some of the ablest and most devoted men in all of the evangelical denominations. We had some inefficient men, of course, and the hard jokes which irreligious officers sometimes perpetrated at the expense of their chaplains (such as telling one making for the rear, when the battle was growing hot, “You have been preaching about what a sweet place heaven is, and, now that you have a chance to go there in a few minutes, you are running away from it” ), were, doubtless, well deserved. And yet an intimate acquaintance with the chaplains of the Army of Northern Virginia, enables me to say as I do, without reserve, that they were, as a class, as self-sacrificing, devoted a band of Christian workers as the world has seen since apostolic times. The public sentiment, among both officers and men, in that army, would speedily drive away a chaplain who was unfaithful to his trust.

Religion became among us such a real, living, vital power that even irreligious officers came to recognize and encourage it-many of them having preaching regularly at their headquarters, and [200] treating the chaplains and missionaries with the greatest courtesy and respect. I can testify that, in constant intercourse with our officers, from Generals Lee, Jackson, Ewell, Stuart, A. P. Hill, Early, J. B. Gordon, J. A. Walker, and others of highest rank down to the lowest rank, I was never treated otherwise than with marked courtesy, kindness, and respect, and I usually found them ready to give me their cordial co-operation in my work.

I have dwelt at such length on the morale of Lee's army, because this was the key to its discipline. In the sense in which the term is understood in the regular armies of Europe, or of the United States, we really had no discipline. The degraded punishments resorted to in those armies; the isolation of the officers from the privates; the mere machine performance of duty, and the carrying out of any routine, simply because discipline required it, were almost unknown in our army. The private mingled in freest social intercourse with his officers, and learned to obey them, because he loved them, and loved the common cause for which they fought. Right or wrong (and I do not propose to discuss that question here), the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia enlisted from a thorough conviction that they were defending the principles of constitutional freedom — the humblest private in the ranks could “give a reason for the faith that was in him” --indeed, could make an argument in favor of the justice of his cause, which it would puzzle the ablest lawyer on the other side to answer. And thus they marched forth gayly to battle, and needed not the spur of discipline to drive them on.

Personal devotion to their leaders was also an important element in their discipline and morale. They ceased their loud murmurs against retreating from Darksville without fighting Patterson, because their honored chief ( “old Joe Johnston” ) said it was best not to do so, and they started with the utmost enthusiasm from Winchester to Manassas, because he told them, in general orders, that it was “a forced march to save the country.” They would march, many of them barefooted, thirty or forty miles a day, because “Old Stonewall” said they must “press forward” to accomplish important results, and because he would frequently gallop along the column and give them a chance to cheer him. And they would make the welkin ring with “General Lee to the rear,” while they counted it all joy to fight five times their numbers when the eyes of their idolized chief were upon them. General Hooker was certainly right in testifying that Lee's army had “acquired a character for steadiness and efficiency unsurpassed in ancient or modern [201] times” but it was not from “discipline alone,” but because each individual was a hero, and the morale of the whole army such as the world has never seen.

I could fill a volume with incidents of individual heroism on the part of private soldiers in that army. I have space for only a few. At first Fredericksburg, just after Lawton's Georgia Brigade (under the command of Colonel Atkinson) had driven the enemy out of the woods on Early's front, and made their gallant dash across the plain (the men growling loudly at being ordered back, saying, “If it had been those Virginia fellows that made the charge, ‘Old Jubal’ would have let them drive the Yankees into the river” ), a Georgia boy, who seemed to be not over sixteen, rushed up to me with his two middle fingers shattered, and exclaimed (mistaking me for a surgeon), “Doctor, I want you, please, to cut off these fingers and tie them up as soon as you can. The boys are going into another charge directly, and I want to be with them.” I procured him a surgeon, the wound was dressed, and the brave boy hurried to the front again. At Cedar Creek, on the 19th of October, 1864, Sergeant Trainum, the color-bearer of the Thirteenth Virginia Infantry, was surrounded by a number of Sheridan's troopers, but-exclaiming, “You may kill me, but I will never give up my colors” --he fought until he fell insensible, and the flag was stripped from his body, around which he had wrapped it.

Looking through a port-hole in the trenches, below Petersburg, one day, a sudden gust of wind lifted my hat off, and landed it between the two lines. Private George Haner, of Company D, Thirteenth Virginia Regiment, at once stepped up, and offered to get my hat for me. I peremptorily forbade his doing so, as I knew the great risk he would run; but the fearless fellow soon disappeared, and before long returned with the hat. “How did you manage to get it?” I asked. “Oh! I crawled down the trench leading to our picket line, and fished it in with a pole.” “Did not the Yankees see you?” “Oh, yes! they shot at me eight or ten times; but that made no difference, so they did not hit me.” Poor fellow, he was afterward killed, bravely doing his duty. I frequently saw men in the trenches at Petersburg watching the shell from the enemy's mortars, as they came over, claiming some particular one as “my shell,” and scarcely waiting for the smoke from the explosion to clear away, before eagerly rushing forward to gather up the scattered pieces, which were sold to the ordnance officer for a few cents (Confederate money) per pound. They called shells which went far to the rear, “quartermaster hunters;” and one day a gallant fellow [202] (utterly reckless of personal danger in his eagerness for a joke) mounted the parapet, the target of many sharpshooters, and pointing to a shell that was flying over, exclaimed: “A little further to the right. Captain B (the name of a worthy quartermaster) is down yonder under the hill.”

Upon another occasion, I saw a good-natured fellow frying some meat on the side of the trench, while the Minnie balls of the sharpshooters whistled all around him. At last, one struck in his fire, and threw ashes in his frying-pan, when he quietly moved to the other side of the fire, as if to avoid smoke, and went on with his culinary operations, coolly remarking: “Plague on those fellows; I expect they will spoil all my grease yet, before they quit their foolishness.”

I have frequently seen men of that army display a fortitude under severe suffering, a calm resignation or ecstatic triumph in the hour of death, such as history rarely records. A noble fellow, who fell at Gaines' Mill, on the 27th of June, 1862, said to comrades who offered to bear him from the field: “No! I die. Tell my parents I die happy. On! on to victory! Jesus is with me, and can render all the help I need.” Another, who fell mortally wounded at second Manassas, said to me, in reply to my question as to what message I should send home for him: “Tell father that it would be very hard to die here on the roadside without seeing him, or any of the loved ones at home; but I have fallen at the post of duty, and, as I have with me the ‘friend that sticketh closer than a brother,’ he maketh it all peace and joy.” A Georgia soldier, who was shot through the mouth, during the battle of the Wilderness, and unable to speak, wrote in my note-book this sentence: “I am suffering very much; but I trust in Christ, and am perfectly resigned to His will. I am ready still to serve Him on earth, or to go up higher, just as He may see fit to direct.” Another, who was mortally wounded in the “bloody angle” at Spottsylvania Court-House, said to me, with a radiant smile: “Well, my hours on earth are numbered. But what care I for that? Jesus says, ‘Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.’ Now I have gone to Him, and I am happy in the assurance that He will not falsify His word, but will be true to His promise.”

As the great cavalry chief, General J. E. B. Stuart, was quietly and calmly breathing out his noble life, he said to President Davis, who stood at his bedside: “I am ready and willing to die, if God and my country think that I have fulfilled my destiny and discharged my duty.” Colonel Lewis Minor Coleman, of the University of [203] Virginia, who fell mortally wounded at first Fredericksburg, and lingered for some weeks in great agony, uttered many sentiments which would adorn the brightest pages of Christian experience, and, among other things, sent this message to his loved and honored chieftains: “Tell Generals Lee and Jackson that they know how a Christian soldier should live; I only wish they were here to see a Christian soldier die” Not many months afterward Jackson was called to “cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees,” and left another bright illustration of how Christian soldiers of that army were wont to die. Colonel Willie Pegram, “the boy artillerist,” as he was familiarly called, left the University of Virginia, at the breaking out of the war, as a private soldier, rose to the rank of colonel of artillery (he refused a tender of promotion to the command of an infantry brigade), upon more than one occasion elicited high praise from A. P. Hill, Jackson, and Lee, arid, at the early age of twenty-two, fell on the ill-fated field of Five Forks, gallantly resisting the overwhelming odds against him. His last words were: “I have done my duty, and now I turn to my Saviour

And thus I might fill pages with the dying words of these noble men, which are, indeed, “apples of gold in pictures of silver,” and show that they were taught by God's spirit how to live, and how to die. But I have already exceeded my allotted space, and must hasten to close. No! it was not discipline alone which made the Army of Northern Virginia what it was — which gave to it that heroic courage, that patience under hardships, that indomitable nerve under disaster, and that full confidence in its grand old chief, and in itself, that won, against fearful odds, a long series of splendid victories, and which, even in its defeat, wrung from Horace Greeley the tribute, “The rebellion had failed, and gone down, but the rebel army of Virginia and its commander had not failed;” and from Swinton, in his “Army of the Potomac,” the following graceful eulogy: “Nor can there fail to arise the image of that other army, that was the adversary of the Army of the Potomac, and which who can ever forget that once looked upon it?-that array of tattered uniforms and bright muskets — that body of incomparable infantry, the Army of Northern Virginia, which, for four years, carried the revolt on its bayonets, opposing a constant front to the mighty concentration of power brought against it; which, receiving terrible blows, did not fail to give the like; and which, vital in all its parts, died only with its annihilation.”

It was a noble band of intelligent, educated, patriotic soldiers, [204] with a morale such as the world has rarely, if ever, witnessed-men who were devoted to their leaders, and to the cause for which they fought, who were very heroes in the fight, but who submitted with no bitter, or unmanly murmurings, when their idolized chieftain told them that he was “compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources;” who have preserved unsullied their honor as they have observed to the letter the terms of their parole, and who will transmit to posterity, as a proud legacy, the story of their deeds as they marched, and fought, and suffered, and counted it all joy to be members of “Lee's army”

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Meadow Mills (Virginia, United States) (1)
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (1)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Kentucky (Kentucky, United States) (1)
Jackson (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Harper's Ferry (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Gordonsville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (1)
Florida (Florida, United States) (1)
Five Forks (Virginia, United States) (1)
Europe (1)
Darksville (Missouri, United States) (1)
Culpepper (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Charlottesville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Arkansas (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Alabama (Alabama, United States) (1)

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June, 1864 AD (2)
June 27th, 1862 AD (2)
1862 AD (2)
October 19th, 1864 AD (1)
February, 1864 AD (1)
1864 AD (1)
April 17th, 1861 AD (1)
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