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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/221

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Maryland and the South.

brief pang was quickest and the battle's wreck lay thickest,' there old Maryland's flag was held aloft by her dauntless sons.

"And we, the wives and mothers of Maryland men, for us the proudest heritage to be handed down to our children's children is that their fathers fought as privates in the ranks of the Confederate army! That marching, footsore and weary, under the burning rays of the summer sun; or, illy clad, half frozen, shoeless and hungry, shivering through the icy winds and snows of winter, in camp and on picket duty; starving in Northern prisons in the midst of plenty; dying of disease, far away from home and friends in Northern hospitals; they gave the best four years of their beautiful young manhood, and often life itself for principle and the cause of freedom. Think of that glorious host of heroes, 20,000 of the flower of Maryland's youth and chivalry, who left home and luxury and comfort for bitter privation, prison, wounds and death—for what? In defense of the firesides of their Southern brethren and the homes of the women of the South! This was their prayer voiced by a Maryland poet:

"'Still let the light feet rove
Safe through the orange grove.
God keep the Land we love
Safe from thy wrath.'

"Can we women of the South ever forget?

"See them hastening across the dark river in little companies of twos and threes; the tears of their loved ones yet wet on their cheeks; without money and without price was their sacrifice made, and, throwing themselves into the deadly breach before the foe, they, stood the shock of the first charge and led the last rally. They shed the first blood of the war in Baltimore and were the last of Lee's heroes at Appomattox. Who is greater, the man who fights for home and country, or the friend who, for pure love of him, throws himself between him and the foe? In their own noble hearts they received the death wound, aimed at another, and 'Virginia's green fields were crimsoned with the blood of the Maryland boys!' They fought and died for principle and the South, not for themselves. In the words of the Divine Master, and very reverently I use them, 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'

"And would you see with a clearer knowledge the vision called forth by these words of mine, go and stand by the monument which