Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/332
Orations at Unveiling of Stonewall Jackson's Statue. 331
country would cry" from this humble child up to the Commander- in-chief, who wept as only the strong and brave can weep, at the tidings of his fall; from the weather-beaten sea-captain, who had never seen his face, but who burst into loud uncontrollable grief, standing on the deck of his vessel, with his rugged sailors around him wondering what had happened to break that heart of oak, up to the English earl, honored on both sides of the Atlantic, who ex- claimed, when the sad news came to him, "Jackson was in some respects the greatest man America ever produced."
The impressive ceremonies of the hour will bring back to some here present the memories of that day of sorrow, when, at the firing of a gun at the base of yonder monument, a procession began to move to the solemn strains of the Dead March in Saul the hearse on which the dead hero lay preceded by a portion of the command of General Pickett, whose funeral obsequies you have just cele- brated, and followed by a mighty throng of weeping citizens, until, having made a detour of the city, it paused at the door of the Capitol, when the body was borne within by reverent hands and laid on an altar erected beneath the dome.
The Congress of the Confederate States had adopted a device for their flag, and one emblazoned with it had just been completed, which was intended to be unfurled from the roof of the Capitol. It never fluttered from the height it was intended to grace. It became Jackson's winding-sheet. Oh! mournful prophecy of the fate of the Confederacy itself!
The militaiy authorities shrouded him in the white, red, and blue flag of the Confederacy. The citizens decked his bier with the white, red, and blue flowers of spring until they rose high above it, a soft floral pyramid; but the people everywhere embalmed him in their hearts with a love sweeter than all the fragrance of spring, and im- mortal as the verdure of the trees under which he now rests by the river of life.
And where, in all the annals of the world's sorrow for departed worth, was there such a pathetic impersonation of a nation's grief, as was embodied in the old mutilated veteran of Jackson's division, who, as the shades of evening fell, and when the hour for the closing of the doors of the Capitol came, and when the lingering throng was warned to retire, was seen anxiously pressing through the crowd to take his last look at the face of his beloved leader. " They told him he was too late; that they were closing up the coffin for the last time; that the order had been given to clear the hall. He still struggled