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The patriotism of peace.

Colonel William H. Stewart on the lessons of adversity-the Star Spangled banner and the Southern cross on the same Rock.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Soldiers and Veterans of the Portsmouth Light Artillery .
What is the meaning of this vast throng of people?

Why have these men turned from their daily labor to pause here in the highway?

Why this rest of strong soldiers in martial ranks?

Why these happy, beaming eyes of youth and beauty?

Why these grateful hearts of venerable sires?

Why the one mind to halt here in the presence of mute blocks of stone at this hour? Is it the force of patriotism? Is it the spontaneous outburst of gratitude for the chivalry of fathers? Is it the love of household gods—home love? Is it to honor virtue and kindle the flame for this (monument) stone vestal lamp to light the path of honor and glory forever?

Yes. It is Portsmouth striking the cords of civic pride in the hearts of her young people. [156]

Looking backward, you see her sons, in the long ago, bearing the goddess of virtue, pass through the gates of honor and place upon the brow of Portsmouth a crown of fame.

Now her young people bow in prayer around the monument of her heroes as the altar of good will and peace between all the American States.

Here the old and the young display the patriotism of peace.

From pitying Heaven a radiant angel came;
     Smiling, she bade all sounds of conflict cease,
Her wide wings fanned away the smoke and flame;
     Hushed the red battle's roar—God called her peace.
She sheathed the dripping sword; her soft hands pressed
     Grim foes apart, who scowled in anger deep.
She laid two grand old standards down to rest,
     And on her breast rocked weary war to sleep.

From land and sea she swept mad passion's glow,
     Yet left a laurel for the hero's fame;
She whispered hope to hearts in grief bowed low,
     And taught our lips, in love, to shape her name.
Peace spreads her pinions wide from South to North;
     Black enmity within the grave is laid,
The church towers chime their holy anthems forth,
     To still the thunders of the cannonade.


Here is the first peace monument of the nation, where the flag of the Southern cross and the Star Spangled Banner are graven on the same rock to say: ‘Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind.’

Nearly two thousand years ago Julius Ceasar invaded the British islands and forced the Celtic race to yield to his Roman Eagles; afterward the Saxons planted their banners on the land of the conquered people, and in turn the battle of Hastings brought Englishmen under Norman rule. But these invasions gave new arts that stimulated recovery from spoliation. The war of the roses in the fifteenth century made bitter days for England, and perhaps the lessons Britain learned from adversity aided in making her mistress of all the seas. The Northmen came upon us in 1861 ‘to save the Union.’ They despoiled our homes, and made [157] poverty and deep humiliations possess our fair Southland. By preponderance of arms they forced us to surrender our independence; but ours was not a ‘ lost cause,’ because, as the Rev. Dr. McKim puts it: ‘If it is due the valor of the Northern army and navy that we have today an indissoluble Union, it is due to the valor of the Confederate soldiers and sailors, that that indissoluble Union is composed of indestructible States.’ Who can say that the Southern States will not come out like the British Kingdom of old, and be the heart of our great republic.

The manufactories of the South are marvelously growing year by year. Cotton is still king, and when the $380,000,000 worth of raw cotton now shipped to Europe and the Orient is manufactured at home, the South will take her place as one of the richest sections of the globe.

Peace shall give us victory outlasting the stings of war and enthrone the reign of charity for our happiness and pleasure.

I thank God, every day, that I have lived to see an era of love supplant the wrath of war.

Peace has grown upon us with imperceptible silence and sweetness, and has possessed us like a charm of mythical mystery.

It germinated in the hearts of firing line of soldiers and drew as the wind blows from all quarters.

Twenty-five years ago a brave captain of the Blue Line, when many at the North were still denouncing the South, said:

There was a time, during the war, when I was mad, too, but when our regiment, well to the close of the struggle, flanked a regiment of Johnnies out of their camp, and I saw and heard the prisoners, I felt like lifting my hat to them, and as I now recall them and their condition, it pretty nearly brings tears.

The ground was frozen and every lost prisoner was barefooted, and they told us that not more than a quarter of the regiment had boots and shoes.

For two weeks their rations consisted of one ear of hard corn, on the cob for each man a day, and some of the poor fellows were so hungry they ate it raw—couldn't wait to parch it. And yet those men fought like tigers for what they thought was right.

Yes. What they knew was right. He wrote further to his comrades: ‘The way I look at it, boys, it was an honor, a great credit to us to fight and get the best of an army of such men and soldiers. I am glad as any of you that we won, but I could no more say mean things of those brave fellows, that some of our [158] chaps are saying, than I could say mean things about George Washington and my dear old grandmother.’

That was the echo of the patriotism of peace from the Pacific shore, then from great New York a dying soldier called his son to his bedside, to place a Confederate flag in his hands to be returned to the Virginia regiment from which it had been captured, ‘With my heartiest good wishes and fraternal feelings.’ So from heart to heart reason spreads, and then the dove of peace flew from the North, bringing home the emblems of war, which had waved in our comrades' hands on many bloody fields of honor, and some had fallen from the dead hands of our color bearers, to go into the forum for the victor's trophies.

What Southern soldier will not respond to these beautiful tokens of peace out of the fullness of heart?

All hail. Peace in the hearts of Northmen! All honor! for the true Southern souls which follow the white plumes of Fitz Lee, Gordon and Wheeler into the realms of charity and forgiveness!

All, glory! to the men of the South and the North who strive onward with one mind for the honor and safety of the republic!

M. W. Allen, Wilson B. Lynch, John H. Thompson and other soldiers of the Portsmouth Light Artillery, living and dead, whose names are inscribed on this shaft, are the types of manhood who welcome peace.

Although this Union was made indissoluble by blood and iron, against their will, Robert E. Lee told them that it must be their country—its flag their flag—and that they should live and labor for its honor and welfare.

They have obeyed the injunction of their beloved chieftain since the close of hostilities with the same faithfulness as they were wont to obey his battle orders.

They are now heroes in peace as they were heroes in war. They stood up when the sun appeared to stand still over the field of blood and the day to have no ending.

These venerable artillerymen, before you, stood up where Mars flashed and thundered; stood up at the muzzles of their cannon as flashes quickened and grew together into one terrible glare of blinding light; stood up with rammers ready as the blaze from brazen mouths shone down upon the upturned faces of dead comrades; stood up as valiant men for honor and country; stood up for homes and firesides; stood up for priceless virtue and the glory of our city of Portsmouth. [159]

These veteran artillerymen strikingly illustrate the truth, that honor lies not in wealth or emoluments, but only in the memory and consciousness of high, noble and unselfish deeds.

I do not mean to draw any distinction between Grimes' soldiers and the men of Craney Island under brave Emmerson, for that glorious victory saved our twin towns from destruction, and no braver soldiers stood up on any field of blood. It was said that the valiant Emmerson fired the shot which sunk the Centipede, resulting in the retreat of the British.

Resolutions were offered in the General Assembly of Virginia tendering the heroes of Craney Island a vote of thanks, and directing the Governor to present swords to Major James Faulkner, Captain Arthur Emmerson, Lieutenant Parke G. Howle and Lieutenant Thomas Godwin, and gold medals to Sergeants William P. Young and Samuel Livingston and Corporal William Moffett, three non-commissioned officers of the Portsmonth Light Artillery Company, for their zeal and gallantry in this action. So the faces of this monument bear the names of soldiers of two wars, as valiant as ever trod battlefields of any nation—equal honor for the heroes of the years 1813 and 1861-65.

Fellow citizens, well do you praise them by graving their names with an iron pen on this everlasting rock, a tribute to virtue and valor forever.

The ancients said that virtue is the most manly ornament; that truth, the mother of virtue robed in garments as white as snow, made the road to honor by a passage through the temple of virtue. Then place all these artillerymen who stood up in the fiery strife of two wars upon the highest plane of honor. The patriotism of peace springeth from their inspiration.

Kindness subdued the hate of sectional strife; then with a flash of glory, all our instruments of war pointed outwardly to make our republic a leading world power among the nations.

This monument to the virtues of our artillerymen under two flags is also a vestal lamp for peace between all the Commonwealths of the American Union. It is a peace monument which Portsmouth dedicates today.

Vesta, the sister of Jupiter, was the household goddess. So great was her devotion to virginity that when her brother gave her liberty of asking what she would, she requested that she might [160] always be a virgin and have the first oblations in all sacrifices. She was not only granted her desire, but received this further honor among the Romans, that a perpetual fire was kept in her temple, not upon an altar, nor in the fireplace, but in earthen vessels hanging in the air, which the vestal virgins tended with so much care, that if by chance this fire was extinguished, all public and private business was interrupted, and a vacation proclaimed, till they had expiated the unhappy event with incredible penalties and pains.

In recompense for this severe law the vestals obtained extraordinary privileges and respect; they had the most honorable seats at the games and festivals; the consuls and magistrates gave way whenever they met them; their declarations in trials were admitted without the form of an oath, and if they happened to encounter in their path a criminal going to the place of execution, he immediately obtained pardon.

Upon the calends of March every year, though the fire was not extinguished, they used to renew it, with no other fire than that which was produced by the rays of the sun.

This vestal fire, while kept by virgins in Rome, was kept by widows in Greece—a beautiful symbol for purity in womanhood and honor in manhood.

The men of the names on this stone stood like a wall of steel and iron for the safety of our town, at Craney Island in 1813, and ‘like a stone wall’ for State's rights and our city's honor and glory in 1861-65.

The spirit of chivalry and the patriotism of peace have erected this shaft for their remembrance, constituting it a vessel, not earthen, hanging in the air, but solid granite firmly planted in the highway under the azure dome of the sky for an altar where the fire of patriotism will forever burn, and these old veterans have decreed, not the virgins of Rome nor the widows of Greece, but the Daughters of the Confederacy of Portsmouth Chapter No 30, vestals to keep its blaze, withour penalties and pains, but with more honor than thundering Jupiter could order or Grecian art could picture.

Captain Charles A. Cuthriell, your Portsmouth Artillerymen and their successors, must be the guards of this temple as long as the vestal lamp holds out. Let your young soldiers make duty [161] and truth their aim, and the Master, who maketh the clouds His chariot and walketh upon the wings of the wind, will decorate them with the richest ornaments of virtue.

My Countrymen: The soldiers and sailors are the defenders of the State, and duty requires them to endure the severest hardships of war and peace.

The citizens are the foundation of the State—duty makes them provide sustainance and equipment for the safeguards.

All citizens, sailors and soldiers should love the truth as the glory of the State.

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