Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/88
72 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Just as the blood of the martyr is the seed of the Church, the blood of the patriot is the germ of nationality — "it is for the healing of the nations." Are the thoughts I have uttered, the sentiments expressed, the suggestions offered, the facts ad- vanced, the questions asked, the conclusions aimed at, disloyal to the Lost Cause, false to the memories of the past, in forgetful- ness of the trying period of i86i-'65? I apprehend not!
Those who fought under the banner of the Confederacy have no excuses to make or apologies to offer. Their splendid achieve- ments, their heroism and fortitude was unsurpassed in ancient or modern warfare. The Confederate volunteer army was the greatest, grandest and most self-sacrificing ever aligned under any flag or fought in any cause. They believed their first alle- giance was due to their respective States, and when their mother called it was their duty to obey. This idea of fealty and loyalty was "My country, may she ever be right, but right or wrong, my country!" When their country was invaded they fought in defence of their homes and friends.
To the survivors of the heroic struggle, the sentiments of fel- lowship engendered by the touch of elbows, the companionship of the camp, the familiarity of the bivouac, the admiration ex- cited by deeds of chivalry, the association of common danger, the friendship formed by mutual sufferings, the feelings kindled by courage and fortitude will endure as long as life lasts. All these things are but tributes to the prowess and sensibilities of the English-speaking race. Our reunions imply no disloyalty to the flag we live under — we would not lower it and substitute our furled banner in its stead if we could. These reunions called for by former associations are a tie between the living and the dead, mystic chords of memory uniting the present with the past, a tribute to departed comrades, a hand-shake with those who are left, heart echoes, shadows of long ago, cemented by tears, prayers and blood, gradually fading beneath the horizon of time and soon to disappear. Our camp-fires will soon die out, the last reveille soon be sounded, as one by one we answer the final roll-call.
To thus meet in the course of years is now our only privilege, to mingle together at our camp-fires and fight our battles over again our sole heritage. There are revived memories, incidents of the past long dormant, for