Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/70

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66 Southern Historical Society Papers.

court green: I told them that I was born in the ranks of the plain people, a circumstance not to be paraded nor denied, and I knew their wants; I remember saying that among some savage tribes when a child is grievously sick they change its name in the hope of averting evil. You perceive this to be a goodly country and a very dear people to me. I have torn a leaf from my life the past quarter century, and I associate it with this Reunion. I deem myself fortunate, as my official life, which extended to the entire State, opened here, so now perceiving the advance of years to have abated my natural force I shall close with this tribute of my public activities, and speak my last message to my beloved countrymen now and here. I wish to dissent sharply, as I have done before, from the vogue of to-day, which clamors to have a sort of prece- dence accorded the soldiers of North Carolina in the War: First at Bethel,* furtherest at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, and last at Appomattox. The inference to be extorted from this reverent but exaggerated apostrophe to the soldiers of North Carolina is not of historical proportion.

The Southern people were an homogenious population; no crazy quilt contrasts were exhibited in their composition. Anglo- Saxon was the warp and woof of their body and blood. A spot of emerald, like a speck upon our great luminary, might be detected; but, sirs, in its last analysis, in their appetite for battle, in their divine intoxication for the conflict, the children in arms of all those blessed States were transported alike, with the same flag ; the Triune God, their God of hosts, ravished in heart with the same revelation, they went to battle at the same place, and after a short crisis were united in death. If this is not true then history is the playground of liars. The soldiers from each Southern State fought with equal valor. The regiments had their moments of hesitation; this was the mischance of each State and regiment alike. If the dead of our State were nearest the enemy on any of the great scenes of carnage, it was the fortune of war and not the paralysis or the courage of others. I know as much of the bloody onsets of that struggle of giants from the underside, from the side of the rank and file, as any citizen of our State; I put it on record as coming from such a source that the soldiers of our State were as brave, as gloriously brave, as any soldiers who shared our common cause, whether they came from Virginia, from Texas, from the

  • See appended editorial from the Danville Register Oct. i7th, 1905.