Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 23.djvu/368

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

Yes, these Spartan wives and mothers, with husbands or sons, or both, at the front, directed the farming operations, supporting their families and supplying the armies; they sewed, knitted, weaved, and spun; then in the hospitals they were ministering angels, turning the heated pillow, smoothing the wrinkled cot, cooling the parched lips, stroking the burning brow, staunching the flowing blood, bind- ing up the gaping wounds, trimming the midnight taper, and sitting in the stillness, only broken by the groans of the sick and wounded, pointing the departing spirit the way to God; closing the sightless eyes, and then following the bier to a Hollywood or some humble spot, and then dropping the purest tear.

They saw the flames licking the clouds, as their homes, with their clinging memories, were reduced to ashes; they heard of the car- nage of battle, followed by the mother's deep moan, the wife's low sob for, alas! she could not weep the orphan's wail, and the sis- ter's lament. But amid flame, carnage, death, and lamentations, though their land was reddening with blood, and their beloved ones were falling like leaves in autumn, they stood, like heroines, firm, steadfast, and constant.

Oh! women of the Confederacy, your fame is deathless; you need not monument nor sculptured stone to perpetuate it. Young maid- ens gather at the feet of some Confederate matron in some remi- niscent hour, and listen to her story of those days, now more than thirty years past, and how God gave her courage, fortitude, and strength to bear her privations, sufferings, and bereavements and live.

But I must not permit my feelings to secure the mastery of me. My soul must be still. I have felt that this tribute to the Daughters of the Confederacy, poor and brief as it is, would not be inappro- priate on this occasion.

And now, why is it we are here ? What has brought us together ? What means this concourse of people ? The answer is ready upon every tongue. Southern women's love for the memories of a gene- ration ago; Southern women's devotion to the cause which, though enveloped in the clouds of defeat, yet is circled by a blaze of glory, has called us from our firesides and business to this spot. The daughters and granddaughters of the women who did so much to make this sunny clime of ours so classic and rich in historic lore in time of war and battle-sound, are here to attest their fealty to the traditions of that period by dedicating this structure as a depositor)' of Confederate relics, setting apart a room for each of the States