Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/94
86 Southern Historical Society Papers
eye and ears and what is told us, a solid South is now marching on Richmond. To-morrow the whole of the South which comprised the Confederacy will unite in glorifying and magnifying her greatest son. No soldier who followed Lee will regret his presence here on this occasion.'*
The General then, in a few graceful words, introduced General E. M. Law, of South Carolina, the orator who had been invited to de- liver the annual address.
General Law was received with applause.
ORATION OF THE EVENING.
The address was as follows :
Mr, President and Comrades :
It was the custom of the ancient orators on ascending the Bema to invoke the assistance of the gods in what they were about to speak, and so to-night, as I stand in this august presence, before the living representatives of the grand army which for four years of battle and of blood carried on its bayonets the destinies of a new- born nation ; in the presence of the scarred veterans of those heroic days, on whose brows the snows of a quarter of a century are mingled with the laurel ; in the presence of our comrades who have '* crossed over the river and rest under the shade of the trees, and whose freed spirits I would fain believe are hovering around us to-night, let me invoke the aid of some higher power that I may do justice to both them and you, and rise to the ** height of the great argument" which vindicates their and your right to the proud title of American patriots.
A quarter of a century has elapsed since the close of the Confede- rate revolution, since the tattered banner of the Southern Cross, made glorious by heroic deeds and by still more heroic suffering, was loosed from its staff, wrapped as a winding sheet about our dead hopes, and buried forever in the grave of the Confederacy. And as time has softened the asperities and smoothed down the rough edge of war, the close of this period seems an appropriate occasion for a dispassionate review of the causes, incidents and results of the great- est revolution of modern times.
REBELLION IT NEVER WAS.
For a revolution it was in its broadest and most catholic sense.