Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/203
Presentation of Statue of A. P. Hill. 197
What constitutes a State ?
Not high raised battlements, nor labored mound, Thick wall, nor moated gate,
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crowned, Not bays, not broad armed ports,
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride ; Not starred nor spangled courts,
Where low browed baseness lends perfume to pride. No, men ! highminded men,
Men who their duties know, But know the right, and knowing dare maintain,
Prevent the long aimed blow, Then crush the tyrant, while they rend the chain,
These constitute a State.
And it was of such as these that the artillerists of the Army of Northern Virginia was composed. As they served their guns in war, so they served their country in war and in peace, and deserve wel! of their countrymen and countrywomen. God bless them always.
But the end of the war came, and with that end came the beginning of sacrifices and sorrows, as well as the greatest services to their country, of the artillerists of the Army of Northern Virginia. When on the fated field of Appomattox these old soldiers grounded their trusted and well worn arms, to what did they return ? Not to the homes of peace and plenty they had enlisted from four years before, but to devastation, desolation, ruin and almost to despair.
Where my home was glad, were ashes, For horror and shame had been there.
We had seen from the smoking village
The mothers and daughters fly, We had seen where the little children
Sank down in the furrows to die ; From the far off conquered cities
Came the voice of stifled wail, And the moans and shrieks of the houseless
Rang out like a dirge on the gale.
It was with scenes and surroundings like these that the old artil- lerists of the Army of Northern Virginia found themselves confronted when they laid down their arms. Could they have faced these new and frightful dangers and surroundings, this "abomination of deso- lation standing over against them" without their hearts sinking