Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/366

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

followed with affectionate solicitude by friends in every portion of the country. Defenders of the heart of our territory, your movements have been the object of intensest anxiety. The hopes of our cause greatly depend upon you, and happy it is that all can securely rely upon your achieving whatever, under the blessing of Providence, human power can effect.

Though you have done much, very much yet remains to be done. Behind you is a people providing for your support and depending on you for protection. Before you is a country devastated by your ruthless invader, where gentle women, feeble age, and helpless infancy have been subjected to outrages without parallel in the warfare of civilized nations. With eager eyes they watch for your coming to their deliverance, and the homeless refugee pines for the hour when your victorious arms shall restore his family to the shelter from which they have been driven. Forced to take up arms to vindicate the political rights, the freedom, equality, and State sovereignty which were the heritage purchased by the blood of your revolutionary sires, you have but the alternative of slavish submission to despotic usurpation, or the independence which vigorous, united, persistent effort will secure. All which fires the manly breast, nerves the patriot, and exalts the hero, is present to stimulate and sustain you.

Nobly have you redeemed the pledges given in the name of freedom to the memory of your ancestors and the rights of your posterity. That you may complete the mission to which you are devoted, will require of you such exertion in the future as you have made in the past — continuance in the patient endurance of toil and danger, and that self-denial which rejects every consideration at variance with the public service as unworthy of the holy cause in which you are engaged.

When the war shall have ended, the highest meed of praise will be due, and probably given, to him who has claimed least for himself in proportion to the service he has rendered, and the bitterest self-reproach which may hereafter haunt the memory of any one will be to him who has allowed selfish aspiration to prevail over a desire for the public good. United as you are in a common destiny, obedience and cordial coöperation are essentially necessary, and there is no higher duty than that which requires each to render to all what is due to their station. He who