Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/354

This page needs to be proofread.


346 Southern Historical Society Papers.

in Virginia was fourteen hundred and twenty-two, the number ex- empted in North Carolina was fourteen thousand six hundred and seventy -fiveĀ ; more than ten times as many as in any other Southern State.

THIRD. A third claim made by another distinguished North Car- olina writer is, that one of the effects of the fight made by the "-Bethel Regiment " at Bethel, was the "possibly holding Virginia in the Confederacy." (See article by Major Edward J. Hale, ist N. C. Regt, '61 to '65, p. 123).

The only theory on which we can account for this uncalled for suggestion is, that the writer wished to attribute to this regiment the greatest possible achievement the fecundity of his imagination could conceive of, and hence this " unkindest cut of all " made at our old Mother. Virginia joined the Confederacy before North Carolina, and we will show later on, by the testimony of all the representatives of all the Southern States, that no State in the Con- federacy showed more devotion to the cause, and that none was ready to make, or made greater sacrifices in its behalf.

We have no intention or desire to magnify either the services rendered by Virginia to the Confederacy, or the sufferings and sacri- fices of her people for the Confederate cause. Indeed, from what we know of these, we think it would be difficult to do this. But, since some North Carolina writers have laid so much stress on the part performed by their State in these directions (a claim we have no disposition to contest), it seems to us both pertinent and proper, to call attention to two things, which apply to Virginia but do not apply to North Carolina, or to any other Southern State. These are

(i) Virginia was a "battle-ground" from the beginning to the close of the war. No people who have not had this experience can form any conception of what it means, and this was literally true of Virginia, "from her mountains to her seashore." Every day and every hour, for four long years, the tramp or the camp, the bivouac of the battle of both armies, were upon Virginia's soil; six hundred of the two thousand battles fought were fought in Virginia, and the fenceless fields, the houseless chimneys, the charred ruins and the myriad graves left all over Virginia at the close of the war, marked and measured the extent to which her material resources had contri- buted to that struggle, and the devotion of her people to the Con- federate cause. These things also shewed in the utter desolation