Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/445

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First Congress.

Army, and that the only exception to such magnanimous tender will be of those who, having originally entered for the war, cannot display anew their zeal in the public service. It is, therefore, deemed appropriate, and it is hoped will be equally acceptable, to make a general acknowledgment, instead of successive special responses. Would that it were possible to render my thanks to you in person, and in the name of our common country as well as in my own, while pressing the hand of each war-worn veteran, to recognize his title to our love, gratitude, and admiration!

Soldiers! By your will (for you and the people are but one) I have been placed in a position which debars me from sharing your dangers, your sufferings, and your privations in the field. With pride and affection my heart has accompanied you in every march; with solicitude it has sought to minister to your every want; with exultation it has marked your every heroic achievement. Yet never, in the toilsome march, nor in the weary watch, nor in the desperate assault, have you rendered a service so decisive in results as in this last display of the highest qualities of devotion and self-sacrifice which can adorn the character of the warrior patriot.

Already the pulse of the whole people beats in unison with yours. Already they compare your spontaneous and unanimous offer of your lives for the defense of your country with the halting and reluctant service of the mercenaries who are purchased by the enemy at the price of higher bounties than have hitherto been known in war. Animated by this contrast, they exhibit cheerful confidence and more resolute bearing. Even the murmurs of the weak and timid, who shrink from the trials which make stronger and firmer your noble natures, are shamed into silence by the spectacle which you present. Your brave battle cry will ring loud and clear through the land of the enemy as well as our own, will silence the vainglorious boastings of their corrupt partisans and their pensioned press, and will do justice to the calumny by which they seek to persuade a deluded people that you are ready to purchase dishonorable safety by degrading submission.

Soldiers! The coming spring campaign will open under auspices well calculated to sustain your hopes. Your resolution needed nothing to fortify it. With ranks replenished under the