Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/332

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328 Southern Historical Society Papers.

observers, as he gaily led the charades. He was so brilliant, so handsome and daring, that he was called the Prince Rupert of the Confederacy, as he used to dash around Richmond on his noble charger, with his black plume flying in the breeze. That night he left the smiling throng with a flower that some pretty girl had just pinned in the lapel of his coat, and the next day news came that he who was always in the most advanced line of battle, he who was al- ways ready for a fight or a frolic, had been killed, his bright blue eyes looking into the very face of death without a quiver, and ready for the worst.

"His remains were brought to Richmond, and every eye was dimmed with tears as the soldiers bearing the body of their dead general marched down the street, while the band played ' Maryland, My Maryland.' Only a few hours before that stalwart soldier him- self had been singing ' Old Joe Hooker, will you come out of the Wilderness?' and now he was cold in death, and never would we look upon his like again."

Mrs. Semmes related with tears in her eyes how the news of Stonewall Jackson's death had been received in Richmond. Many refused to believe that this bravest Roman of them all was dead. She herself went out on the street to ascertain the truth, and as she approached the capitol she met some soldiers carrying a covered corpse and marching with bowed heads to the beat of the muffled drums. " Who is it that they are carrying," she asked with white lips. And the simple answer came back. " Stonewall Jackson."

"The death of General Jackson," said Mrs. Semmes, "cast a shadow on the fortunes of the Confederacy that reached to the catas- trophe of the war. His death was not only a loss to his country; it was a calamity to the world. As some one has nobly said: ' It was a subtraction from the living generation of genius; the extinction of a great light in the temple of Christianity.' Thousands followed him to the grave and consecrated it with their tears."

Then he spoke of Robert Lee, that grand old chieftain whose name is never mentioned to this day without throbbing heart by the old veterans of the South. " General Lee was a frequent visitor at our house in Richmond; he was then, as he is to-day, the great ideal of Southern chivalry and truth. Great in defeat as he was in victory, the annals of the world's history bears no purer or greater name than that of Robert Lee."

Many reminiscences did Mr. Semmes recall of Mason and Slidell, Yancey and Breckenridge, and Mallory and Stephens, Beauregard