previous next

The land of Dixie. [from the Richmond, Va., dispatch, September 1, 1901.1

Extract from a reunion speech delivered by Governor Taylor.

Governor Taylor has a style peculiar to himself. This is a fair specimen. The ‘orator’ has this acknowledgment. His sentiment all must heartily commend.—Ed.

I love to live in the land of Dixie, under the soft southern skies, where summer pours out her flood of sunshine and showers, and the generous earth smiles with plenty. I love to live on southern soil, where the cotton fields wave their white banners of peace, and the wheat fields wave back their banners of gold from the hills and valleys which were once drenched with the blood of heroes. I love to live where the mocking birds flutter and sing in the shadowy coves, and bright waters ripple in eternal melody, by the graves where our heroes are buried. I love to breathe the southern air, that comes filtered through jungles of roses, whispering the story of southern deeds of bravery. I love to drink from southern springs and southern babbling brooks, which once cooled the lips of Lee and Jackson and Forrest and Gordon, and the worn and weary columns of brave men who wore the gray. I love to live among southern men and women, where every heart is as warm as the southern sunshine and every home is a temple of love and liberty.

I love to listen to the sweet old southern melodies, which touch the soul and melt the heart and awaken to life ten thousand precious memories of the happy long ago, when the old-time darkies used to laugh and sing, and when the old-time black ‘mammy’ soothed the children to slumber with her lullabies. But, oh, the music that thrills me most is the melody that died away on the lips of many a Confederate soldier as he sank into the sleep that knows no waking,

‘I'm glad I am in Dixie.’

A brilliant civilization.

I doubt if the world will ever see another civilization as brilliant as that which perished in the South a third of a century ago. Its whitecolumned [362] mansions under cool spreading groves, its orange trees waving their sprays of snowy blossoms, and its cotton fields stretching away to the horizon, alive with toiling slaves, who sang as they toiled from early morn until the close of day; its pomp and pride and revelry; its splendid manhood and the dazzling beauty of its women, placed it in history as the high-tide of earthly glory. But the hurricane of civil war shattered it and swept it away. Billions of wealth dissolved, and vanished in smoke and flame. The South lost all save honor. But the Confederate soldier, the purest and proudest type of the Anglo-Saxon race, stood erect amid its charred and blackened ruins. The earth was red beneath him, the sky was black above him, his sword was broken, his country was crushed. But without a throne he was no less a ruler; his palace had perished, he was no less a king.

Slavery was dead, but magnificent in the gloom of defeat, he was still a master. Has he not mastered adversity? Has he not built the ruined South?

Look yonder at those flashing domes and glittering spires; look at the works of art and all the fabrics and pictured tapestries of beauty. Look what southern brains and southern hands have wrought. See the victories of peace we have won, all represented within the white columns of our great industrial exposition, and you will receive an inspiration of the Old South, and you will catch glimpses of her future glory.

I trust in God that the struggles of the future will be the struggles of peace and not of war. The hand of secession will never be lifted again.

Danger to the Republic.

The danger to the republic now lies in the mailed hand of centralized power, and the South will yet be the bulwark of American liberty. If you ask me why, I answer, it is the only section left which is purely American; I answer that anarchy cannot live on southern soil; I answer that the South has started on a new line of march, and while we love the past for its precious memories, our faces are turned toward the morning. Time has furled the battle-flags and smelted the hostile guns. Time has torn down the forts and levelled the trenches and rifle-pits on the bloody field of glory, where courage and high-born chivalry on prancing chargers once rode to the front with shimmering epaulets and bright swords gleaming; where thousands of charging bayonets, at uniform angles, reflected thousands of [363] suns; where the shrill fife screamed, and the kettle drum timed the heavy tramp, tramp, of the shining battalions, as the infantry deployed into battle line and disappeared in the seething waves of smoke and flame; where double-shotted batteries unlimbered on the bristling edge and hurled fiery vomit into the faces of the reeling columns; where 10,000 drawn sabres flashed and 10,000 cavalry hovered for a moment on the flank and then rushed to the dreadful revely.

The curtain dropped long ago upon these mournful scenes of carnage, and time has beautified and comforted and healed, until there is nothing left of war but graves and garlands, and monuments, and veterans, and precious memories. Blow, bugler, blow; but thy shrillest notes can never again call the matchless armies of Grant and Lee to the carnival of death!

Let the silver trumpets sound the jubilee of peace. Let the veterans shout who wore the blue. Let him kiss the silken folds of the gorgeous ensign of the republic, and fling it to the breeze and sing the national hymn. Let the veterans bow who wore the gray, and with uncovered head salute the national flag. It is the flag of the inseparable Union. Let them clasp hands with the brave men who wore the blue, and rejoice with them, for time has adorned the ruined South and robed her fields in rich harvests, and gilded her skies with brighter stars of hope. But who will scorn or frown to see the veterans of the South's shattered armies, scattered now like solitary oaks in the midst of a fallen forest, hoary with age and covered with scars, sometimes put on the old worn and faded gray and unfurl for a little while that other banner, the riddled and blood-stained Stars and Bars, to look upon it and weep over it? For it is hallowed with recollections, tender as the soldier's last farewell!

They followed it amid the earthquake throes of Shiloh, where Albert Sidney Johnston died; they followed it amid the floods of living fire at Chancellorsville, where Stonewall Jackson fell; they saw it flutter in the gloom of the Wilderness where the angry divisions and corps rushed upon each other and clinched and fell and rolled together in the bloody mire. They rallied around it at Gettysburg, where it waved above the bayonets, mixed and crossed on those dread heights of destiny; they saw its faded color flaunt defiance for the last time at Appomattox, and then go down forever in a flood of tears. Then who will upbraid them if they sometimes bring it to light, [364] sanctified and glorified as it is by the blood and tears of the past, and wave it again in the air, and sing once more their old war songs?

When these heads are white with glory,
     When the shadows from the west,
Lengthen as you tell your story,
     In the vet'ran's ward to rest,
May no ingrate's word of sneering,
     Reach one heart of all the brave,
But may honor, praise, and cheering,
     Guard old valor to the grave.

War officers of the First regiment Virginia volunteer infantry,

With some notice of the Advisory Council of Governor John Letcher in 1861.

I am indebted to my friend Captain Louis Zimmer, of the Ordnance Department, C. S. A., now of New York city, but a former comrade in F company, volunteers of Richmond, for the following memo. Some efficient and providential service by Captain Zimmer, in securing from New York at personal hazard, percussion caps, which were essential for use in the first battle of Manassas, is given under the caption ‘A Secret Service Episode,’Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXVIII, pp. 14-18. Zimmer was entrusted by the Advisory Council of War, which in 1861 was composed of Governor John Letcher, Lieutenant-Governor Robert L. Montague (father of our present Executive); Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, State Senator Thomas S. Haymond (later of West Virginia), Colonel (later Major-General) Francis H. Smith, Superintendent Virginia Military Institute, Captain Robert B. Pegram, C. S. Navy, and perhaps others. The private secretary of Governor Letcher, Colonel S. Bassett French, acted as Secretary of the Board. Of the proceedings of this ‘Board’ of War, so able in its constitutional personnel, and which would be so informatory as to early appointments, only those of the early months of 1861 are preserved [365] in our State Library—a lamentable loss. Further, of the ‘Executive Journal,’ which might assist in the want of the ‘proceedings’ referred to, there is preserved in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth only the record to the month of December, 1860, inclusive, and then—a hiatus—taken away by the Federal authorities in April, 1865, to the incumbency of Governor Francis H. Peirpont (or Pierpoint, as he then subscribed himself), commencing in 1864.

The list of the dates of the commissions of the officers of the First Regiment Virginia Volunteers will be held of interest by our community. Nearly all of them received deserved promotion for gallantry in the field.


Memorandum roster First regiment, Virginia Volunteers.

P. T. Moore, colonel, commissioned May 2, 1861.

Wm. Munford, major, commissioned May 3, 1861.

Samuel P. Mitchell, adjutant, commissioned July 27, 1860.

J. S. D. Cullen, surgeon, commissioned May 3, 1861.

T. F. Maury, adjutant, commissioned May 17, 1861.

F. Miller, captain company K, commissioned May 30, 1859.

John Dooley, captain company C, commissioned January 1, 1860.

Wm. H. Gordon, captain company G, commissioned May 25, 1860.

James K. Lee, captain company B, commissioned April 16, 1861.

Joseph G. Griswold, captain company D, commissioned April 12, 1861.

Thomas J. Boggs, captain company H, commissioned May 3, 1861.

W. O. Taylor, captain company I, commissioned May 18, 1861.

David King, first lieutenant, commissioned January I, 1860.

F. W. E. Lohmann, first lieutenant, commissioned February 4, 1861.

Wm. H. Palmer, first lieutenant, commissioned April 18, 1861.

John Greanor, first lieutenant, commissioned April 24, 1861.

S. J. Tucker, first lieutenant, commissioned May 14, 1861.

John T. Rogers, first lieutenant, commissioned May 16, 1861.

Wm. English, second lieutenant, commissioned April 12, 1860.

J. W. Archer, second lieutenant, commissioned April 16, 1861.

——Tyree, second lieutenant, commissioned May 18, 1861.

F. H. Langley, second lieutenant, commisssioned May 4, 1861.

F. H. Hagemeyer, second lieutenant, commissioned February 14, 1861.

Henry Harvey, second lieutenant, commissioned April 18, 1861. [366]

H. H. Miles, second lieutenant, commissioned April 23, 1861.

W. M. Harrison, second lieutenant, commissioned April 18, 1861.

Henry Linkenbauer, second lieutenant, commissioned April 25, 1861.

J. T. Vaughan, second lieutenant, commissioned April 24, 1861.

George Hatley Norton, second lieutenant, commissioned May 13, 1861.

——Tabb, second lieutenant, commissioned May 18, 1861.

M. Seayers, second lieutenant, commissioned April 19, 1861.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Richmond (Virginia, United States) (1)
Chancellorsville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Appomattox (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: