Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/119
Life and Character of Lt.- General />. II. //;//.
These object lessons constrain those of us who are now distinct- ively known as old veterans, to remember that the mention of the stirring days of sixty-one reminds the majority of this audience of no such vivid scenes as pass in review before the imaginations of the old soldier and the wives, sisters and daughters, whose hands in all these years have trimmed the turf, and whose tears have moistened the immortelles that cover the resting places of our loved and hon- ored dead.
Seven States South of us had solemnly asserted their right under the Constitution to sever their connection with the Federal Union, and had, through their representatives in convention, established the provisional government of the new Confederacy, with Montgomery, Alabama, as its capital city. But North Carolina, with characteristic conservatism, still clung to the federative union of States, which was conceived in the patriotic resolves of Mecklenburg, and ultimately established by the timely strategy and heroic valor of her volunteer troops at Kings Mountain and Guilford Courthouse. In 1789 she had awaited further assurance and guarranty that her rights as a sovereign Stale would be respected and protected before she would agree to enter into the more perfect union then formed. In 1861, she adhered to that union, and stood under the aegis of the old flag till those in whose custody the political revolution of the previous year had placed it, had already broken the compact, and attempted the subjugation of her sister States.
The defiant answer of Governor Ellis to Lincoln's demand for North Carolina's quota of Federal soldiers, and his prompt call for volunteers to support our kindred and man our forts, went to the people on the wings of the wind. Telegrams, trains, single engines, pony express and runners were so effectually employed as to reach every precinct and every hamlet in three or four days. South Carolina had been invaded, and every voice demanded that the invader should be resisted to' the death. The response of the clan to the bearer of Vich Alpine's bloody croslet was not more ready, nor supported by a more determined courage than was that of the brave sons of our grand old State to the call of her chosen chief. In a little while drums were beating, bands were playing, girls were singing, boys were shouting, flags were flying, orators were appealing, and stalwart men were weeping. But behind all this the firm resolve of the volunteer to do or die found an echo even in the heart of the