368 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Honor. And although worn out by ceaseless conflct, half-famished, and overwhelmed by numbers, they were at last forced to yield, those to whom they surrendered might well envy the glory of their defeat.
THE PART OF THE PRIVATE.
And the glory of that great struggle for constitutional liberty and home rule belongs not alone to those who wore the officer's uniform and buckled on the sword, but as well to those who wore the coarser gray of the private and shouldered the musket. We do well to honor those who served in the ranks, and faithfully and fearlessly per- formed the duties of the common soldier and sailor. It was their valor and worth, no less than the courage and genius of the officers who led them, that won for the battle-flag of the South a fame which
" on brightest pages,
Penned by poets and by sages, Shall go sounding down the ages. 1 '
In intelligence and thought they were, from training and associa- tions, far above the average soldiery of the world. Notwithstanding all that has been said about the illiteracy of the South. I believe that no country ever had a larger percentage of intelligent and thinking men in the ranks of its army. Thousands of them were highly educated, cultured, refined and in every way qualified to command. Sitting on the brow of the mountain overlooking the winding Shen- andoah, and the little town of Strausburg, and the beautiful valley stretching away towards Winchester, and, at that time, dark with the blue colums of Federal soldiers, a Louisiana private, idly talking of what he would do were he in command, gave me almost every detail of the plan which, afterwards perceived and executed by the com- manding officer, carried confusion and defeat to the Federals. Had the need risen, as in the case of the Theban army in Thessaly, more than one Epaminondas might have been found serving as a private in the Confederate ranks.
And I believe that no army was ever composed of men more thoroughly imbued with moral principle. As a rule, they were men who recognized the obligation to be just and honest and merciful, and to respect the rights of others, even in time of war. Never flinching from conflict with armed foemen, their moral training and disposition forbade them to make war upon the weak and defenceless. To their everlasting honor stands the fact that in their march through