Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/225

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221
Battle of Fredericksburg.

of the times by putting him in chains, though so enfeebled by age and disease as to make his escape impossible; I heard his cry of pain and indignation when, in the name of national humanity and national honor, he protested against the wicked outrage; I felt the sympathy of his surgeon as he witnessed the crying shame and disgrace, and heard him saying: "that it was a trial more severe than had ever been inflicted in modern times upon one who had enjoyed such eminence." He was but the vicarious sufferer for the people he loved and had so faithfully served.

I have seen him since, an unpardoned rebel, without the privileges of the humblest citizen, in a land he had illustriously served as a statesman and heroically defended as a soldier with his blood. In all this there was no manifestation of weakness, no retraction}} of principle, no surrender of manhood. Eighteen years of disability and isolation have passed. He is now an old man, and stands upon the verge of the grave, and will die as he has lived, a patriot and hero. Grand old man. Grander still in the disabilities and isolation, which environ you in the land you love, twenty millions of hearts to-day invoke upon you and yours heaven's richest blessings, and generations yet unborn will be taught to cherish thy memory.

No, we were overwhelmed by numbers. The contest degenerated into a war of friction and waste. They could lose two to one and yet be greatly superior to us in numbers. The immigrants from the Old World, in countless numbers, were rushed to the front to supply the places made vacant by wounds, desertion and death.

Grant, in his campaign, but continued the policy inaugurated early in the war, of accomplishing, by a wearing out process, what he could not accomplish by skill or prowess. We yielded to overwhelming numbers; we fell commanding the respect of our enemies and the admiration of the balance of mankind. Richmond was the objective point of every movement. For this Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and all the battles of the Army of the Potomac were fought. For this Sherman marched through Georgia to the sea, leaving in his wake burning cities,