Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/97

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borough, Washington, Wellington, Robert Lee, and Stonewall Jack- .son. 1 heard them declare that Jackson's campaign in the Shenan- doah Valley, in which you, and you, and you, and I myself in my subordinate place, followed this Immortal, was the finest specimen of strategy and tactics of which the world has any record; that in this series of marches and battles then- was never a blunder committed by Jackson; that this campaign in the Valley was superior to either of those made by Napoleon in Italy. One British officer, who teaches strategy in a great European college, told me that he used this cam- paign as a model of strategy and tactics, and dwelt upon it for several months in his lectures; that it was taught for months of each session in the schools of Germany; and that Von Moltke, the great strate- gist, declared it was without rival in the world's history. This same British officer told me that he had ridden on horseback over the battlefields of the Valley, and carefully studied the strategy and tactics there displayed by Jackson. He had followed him to Rich- mond, where he joined with Lee in the campaign against McClellan in 1862; that he had followed his detour around Pope; his manage- ment of his troops at Manassas; that he had studied his environment of Harper's Ferry and its capture; his part of the fight at Sharps- burg, and his flank move around Hooker, and that he had never blundered. "Indeed," he added, "Jackson seemed tome (him) inspired." Another British soldier told me that for its numbers the Army of Northern Virginia had more force and power than any other army that ever existed.

High as is my estimate of the Second Corps of the Army of Nor- thern Virginia, I heard these opinions with a new elation, for I knew they presented the verdict of impartial history; the verdict that pos- terity will stamp with its approval ; a verdict in itself such a tribute to valor and virtue, devotion and truth, as shall serve to inspire, exalt and ennoble our children and our children's children to the remotest generations.

You will not be surprised to hear of my telling them, that of these five, thus over-topping all the rest, three were born in the State of Virginia; nor wonder that I reverently remember that two of them lie side by side here in Lexington, while one is sleeping by the great river, there to sleep 'till time shall be no more; the three conse- crating in death the soil of Virginia, as in life they stamped their mother State as the native home of men who, living as they lived, shall be fit to go on quest for the Holy Grail.

And now I hope I may be able to tell you what evidence of this