Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/239

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First Congress.

I prefer to delay my own gratification in recommending them to your special notice, rather than incur the risk of wounding the feelings of any by failing to include them in the list. Where such a victory has been won over troops as numerous, as well disciplined, armed, and appointed as those which have just been so signally routed, we may well conclude that one common spirit of unflinching bravery and devotion to our country's cause must have animated every breast, from that of the Commanding General to that of the humblest patriot who served in the ranks.

There is enough in the continued presence of invaders on our soil to chasten our exultation over this brilliant success, and to remind us of the grave duty of continued exertion until we shall extort from a proud and vainglorious enemy the reluctant acknowledgment of our right to self-government. But an all-wise Creator has been pleased, while vouchsafing to us his countenance in battle, to afflict us with a severe dispensation, to which we must bow in humble submission. The last lingering hope has disappeared, and it is but too true that General Albert Sidney Johnston is no more. The tale of his death is simply narrated in a dispatch first received from Col. William Preston in the following words: "General Johnston fell yesterday at half-past two o'clock, while leading a successful charge, turning the enemy's right and gaining a brilliant victory. A Minie ball cut the artery of his leg, but he rode on till, from loss of blood, he fell exhausted, and died without pain in a few minutes. His body has been intrusted to me by Gen. Beauregard, to be taken to New Orleans, and remain until directions are received from his family."

My long and close friendship with this departed chieftain and patriot forbids me to trust myself in giving vent to the feelings which this sad intelligence has evoked. Without doing injustice to the living, it may safely be asserted that our loss is irreparable; and that among the shining hosts of the great and the good who now cluster around the banner of our country, there exists no purer spirit, no more heroic soul than that of the illustrious man whose death I join you in lamenting.

In his death he has illustrated the character for which, through life, he was conspicuous, that of singleness of purpose and devotion to duty. With his whole energies bent on attaining the victory which he deemed essential to his country's cause, he rode