Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/190

This page needs to be proofread.


182 Southern Historical Society Papers.

ardor nothing could quench, with matchless courage, they sprang forward at the call of their State and country in a time of need, anxious to show that the training they had received and the tender care which had been bestowed on them had not been in vain, but that they were willing and ready to repay all this with their blood and their lives. They never doubted, never faltered, but insisted, when their prudent general suggested that they should not be ex- posed, that they should be allowed a place in the forefront of battle, that they too might participate in the glories of the victory which they were assured would be won."

And with ambitious feet, secure and proud, Ascend the ladder, leaning on the cloud.

It has been beautifully said of them, how could they have achieved in a long life a fame more noble and more pure, than that which now glorifies their names. Proud as the laurel or bay around the head of the warrior or the poet, but amarinthine, like that of God's martyrs, is the crown that liberty places upon the brows, flushed with immortal youth, of these her boy defenders, who offered their virgin lives upon her altars.

AN INSPIRATION.

To you, my young cadets, let this monument ever be an inspira- tion to noble deeds; many of that battalion have had representatives among you, and standing in your ranks to-day are the sons of some of us. To have been trained within these walls should be an inspi- ration to your life work, indissolubly connected as they are with the fame of Stonewall Jackson, and with the example of devotion to duty, heroism and courage of that war battalion, of which you are constantly reminded by this memorial, which to-day we have dedi- cated to virtue and valor. Besides, under the shadow of these eter- nal hills sleeps Robert E. Lee, the knightliest chevalier of them all, the Christian hero and model soldier and citizen. You can have no higher human model. And now my task of love is done. "With fate for oarsmen, my comrades, our dissimilar lives have crossed some waves of time in company," and then we parted. And now for the space of a generation we have not clasped hands or seen each other face to face until in the performance of a holy duty, many of us who are still spared have met again under the roof tree of our alma mater, no longer in the vigor of youth, but most of us approach- ing the evening of life. Perchance we part here now not to meet