Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/316
Southern Historical Society Papers.
of Tacitus, to "honor them not so much with transitory praises as with our reverence, and, if our powers permit us, with our emulation."
Reminding her children, who were faithful to her in war, that "the reward of one duty is the power to fulfill another," she points to the tasks left unfinished when the "nerveless hands drooped over the spotless shields," and with imperious love claims a fealty no less devoted in these days of peace.
I claim no vision of seer or prophet, yet I fancy that even now I descry the faint dawn of that day, which thousands wait on with expectant eyes; when all this land, still the fairest on the globe—this land, which has known so long what old Isaiah termed the "dimness of anguish" shall grow glad again in the broad sunlight of prosperity, and from Alleghany to Chesapeake shall resound the hum and stir of busy life; when yonder noble roadstead, where our iron-clad "Virginia" revolutionized the naval tactics of two continents, shall be whitened by many a foreign sail, and you, her children, shall tunnel those grand and hoary mountains, whose every pass Lee and "old Stonewall" have made forever historic by matchless skill and daring. Thus, comrades, assured of her heroic Past, stirred by a great hope for her Future, may we to-night reecho the cry of Richmond on Bosworth field:
"Now civil wounds are stopped, peace lives again;
January 1st, 1865—New Year's Day—The first day of 1865 is far from bright and cheerful; it is snowing, cold and windy. Our little band of Confederates remain closely in quarters, discussing the past and speculating on the future, now apparently dark and gloomy, of our sorely pressed county. Recently captured prisoners tell us of the great straits to which General Lee's army around Richmond has been reduced, of the long, thinly scattered line of soldiers, pale and worn by hunger and constant watching, and of the gloom and despondency enveloping the heroic citizens of the beleaguered Confederate capital. They confirm also the disheartening accounts of the dastardly conduct of Sherman in my native State, dear old