Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/115

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hi.-, defences and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction a\v;iits him."

Contrast the two, Jackson's modest, confident, hopeful, relying on his cause and his God. Hooker's frightened, boastful, arrogant, vain-glorious. The two messages are characteristic of the two men and the two people.

But this battle has been so often described in its minutest detail that I forbear to tax your patience. I forbear for another reason. While I can write about it, I cannot speak of it to old soldiers with- out more emotion than I care to show. The result of that great battle the wide world knows. Except for the unsurpassed, the won- derful campaign of 1864, this is perhaps the finest illustration of General Lee's genius for war, and yet, in writing to Jackson he says: " I have just received your note informing me that you are wounded. I cannot express my regret at its occurrence. Could I have directed events, I would have chosen, for the good of the country, to have been disabled in your stead. I congratulate you on the victory, which is due to your skill and energy."

See the noble spirit of our great commander! Not further re- moved is pole from pole than is any mean jealousy, or thought of self, in his great soul. He at heart obeyed the hard command that "In honor ye prefer one another." This note displays his greatness, yet it is also history, in that we know on his testimony that Jackson shared with him the glory of that battle. These great soldiers loved and trusted one another, and in death they are not divided. How sacred is the soil of Lexington! for here they rest side by side.

The story of Jackson's death is so familiar to you all that, though intimately associated with its scenes, I will not narrate it. I will only declare that he met this great enemy as he had met all others, calmly and steadily, expecting, as always, to conquer, but now trusting, not in his own strength not as heretofore in the prowess of mortal arms, nor in the splendid fibre of mortal courage, but in the unseen strength upon which he always relied the strength that never failed him and so, foreseeing the re^t that awaited him on the other side, he crossed over the river.

" My hand is on my mouth and my mouth is in the dust."

Already I have told you much that you already knew. In this, I beg you to observe, I have but fulfilled my promise. My apology is that we are in Lexington, and that we stand by the grave of Jackson.