Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/22
10 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Confederate. All honor, all glory to the private soldier. I am only too glad to place in this hall this, the first relic that has been given in his honor, and I am glad, too, that here, amid the many trophies of generals and chieftians, this sword and picture of a private sol- dier, bedewed with a sister's tears, will stand forever as a monument of what the world and the Confederacy, above all, owed to the pri- vate soldier."
General Chalaron was applauded to the echo.
The choir sang " Rock of Ages," and then Mrs. Behan presented the distinguished jurist, Judge Charles E. Fenner, one whom all knew and honored, a friend of Jefferson Davis and the man at whose home the immortal chieftian breathed his last.
Judge Fenner was greeted with a burst of applause. He delivered a matchless oration, which was not a defense of the Confederacy, but a presentation of the truths of that great and holy cause. When Judge Fenner said that the cause of the Confederacy is still debated to-day, and that the burning question "Does the Constitution fol- low the flag? " which is agitating the people of this great Common- wealth, was the same question which brought the men of the South to arms in defense of the Constitution in 1861, the applause was deafening. The oration was listened to with deepest interest. Judges of the Supreme Court, distinguished citizens in every path of life, crowded up to the eloquent speaker as he closed and thanked him for his bold and true defense of the immortal principles of the Constitution.
Judge Fenner spoke as follows:
Jefferson Davis was born on the 3rd of June, 1808, in Christian (now Todd) county, Kentucky. He came of revolutionary stock. His father and two of his uncles rendered honorable service as sol- diers in the revolutionary army.
During his childhood his father removed first to Louisiana, and then to Wilkinson county, Mississippi. He received his primary educa- tion in the local schools, and then became a student at Transylvania University, in Lexington, Ky., where he studied until November, 1823, when, at the age of fifteen years, he was oppointed to West Point, where he was a contemporary, amongst others, of his life-long friends, Albert Sidney Johnston, Bishop Leonidas Polk and Alexan- der Dallas Bache.
He graduated honorably in 1828; received his brevet as lieutenant of infantry, and was immediately ordered to service on the frontier.