Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/145
A Tribute of Love. 129
shrined in the hearts of their countrymen. Cut so long as the memory of Pegram's Battery survives among our children, we need not fear lest they lack for inspiration in deeds of patriotic service and heroic daring.
STORY OF THE WAR.
When the historian of the future seeks to write the impar- tial story of the great War between the States he will be inter- ested to inquire, "What were the principles for which an un- trained citizen soldiery became the unmatched infantry of modern times and endured for four years the horrors, the suf- ferings and the privations of war?"
He will find that the Southern soldier not only fought for home and fireside, to repel invasion and to resist usurpation, all of which are, in a sense, what may be expected of any animal in the defense of his home ; but that the seeds of the great con- flict were sown in the compromises by which the Federal Con- stitution itself was adopted. That the South fought for the pre- servation of State sovereignty, for local self-government, and for that kind of individual liberty of which Patrick Henry had said, "Give me liberty or give me death !"
It is not my intention within the brief time at my disposal to attempt to investigate the arguments advanced by the parties to this discussion. The people of the South have long since con- ceded that the war has settled for all time that the United States are a nation, to use the constitutional phrase. Afore than this, I venture to assert that in no section of our country are the peo- ple any more ready to-day to serve in the nation's army or navy, or to maintain an indivisible union of indestructible States than are the people of the South.
Practically the surrender at Appomattox ended the conflicc, and, contrary to the history of other civil wars, there was no guerrilla fighting to add its horrors to the great war. The people ' of the South returned from the field of war to the field of agri- culture, and began at once to build up their waste places, to repair the ravages of war, and to create on the ruins of the old a new social system.
That the South to-day is admitted to be the most progres- sive portion of the country ; that the material prosperity of this