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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/11

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Washington Lif/hf Infantry. 3

momentous struggle, was to the W. L. I. to take possession and guard the United States arsenal, in Cannonsboro, a few days after the Presidential election, 6th November, 1860, and the service was continuous thereafter, first under authority of the State, and then, "for the war," in the Confederate army; "one company in peace, three full companies in war; one hundred and fourteen dead," and so the W. L. I., of Charleston, has the longest war-service record of any company in the South.



" The affair of the ' Leopard and Chesapeake' involved no dese- crated homes, no abandoned altars, no social insults, no unspeaka- ble injuries what wrongs perpetrated by England, can compare in results, with the storm of fiery desolation, that swept over our country, and left us, in 1865, from the seaboard to the mountains, in fettered destitution, without a home, without a country, and al- most without a hope. The question of duty in 1860 repeated the demand of 1807; that of 1865 combined them both! What do my people need ? Arms and a life! Let them be given! This was the question of 1807 and 1860 what do my people need? Bread and hope! This was the great question of 1865. Bread and hope were given, and something more was added. The bivouac of the dead was marked with a shaft of honor, that the stranger might know that the men who slept there died for their country! What heart and hand could do for the widow and orphan, was done; and in the charter of the 'Charitable Association,' was laid the corner-stone of this ' Reorganization of the old corps of 1807.' "*

The war ended in the spring of 1865, and Generals Lee and John- ston, in final orders, so announced to their respective armies, and advised the soldiers to return to their homes and resume their citi- zenship.

Charleston had kept a protracted and successful defense, had "been kept virgin to the Jast," but at untold cost and sacrifice. With most of the city for many months within reach of hostile guns, and shot and shell, a large part of the population had become refu- gees in the interior of the State. From Appomattox to Greens- boro, from prison camps and hospitals, the Confederate soldiers from Charleston slowly made their way homeward during the sum-

  • General F. W. Capers' address before W. L. I,, 1874.