Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/293

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Reunion Virginia Division Army Northern Virginia.

Annual Reunion of the Virginia Division, A. N. V.

On the evening of October 31st, the hall of the House of Delegates, in the historic old Capitol at Richmond, was crowded to its utmost capacity with such an audience as always greets these annual reunions. As one glanced through the throng, he could see on every side bronzed veterans of an hundred fights, who had written their names on bright pages of the history of the Confederacy—wearing worthily the "wreath and stars," "the stars," or "the bars" they won—or "the unknown hero" of the rank and file, who by splendid courage and patient endurance had done so much to make their leaders famous, and their own fame immortal. There, too, were many of the noble women who watched, and waited, and prayed at home, or were "ministering angels" in the hospitals, together with sons and daughters of noble sires.

The president of the Association (General W. H. F. Lee) called the Association to order, and at his request Rev. J. William Jones opened the exercises with prayer.

General Lee then gave the audience a hearty and cordial welcome, and said that these reunions were not only for the pleasure of comradeship which they afford, but also to perpetuate the heroic deeds of the mighty men who composed our grand old army. It was gratifying to see that the fame of these men grows brighter and brighter as the years go on, and we now wonder that such true valor, patriotism and virtue could have been so long hidden from the appreciation of the world.

He eloquently and earnestly insisted that although the battle had been finally lost, it is our privilege and our duty to perpetuate the fame of our great army. He said that in selecting orators for these reunions the Executive Committee had endeavored not only to choose a suitable speaker, but also to have different States represented. Acting on this principle, they had elected this year General J. B. Kershaw, of the noble Palmetto State. As late as August he had written that unforeseen engagements would compel him to withdraw his consent to speak.

But the committee naturally turned to the old Second corps—"the right arm of the Army of Northern Virginia"—and ordered into their service a distinguished member of Stonewall Jackson's staff. He was happy to say that, even on this short notice, he had responded, and took pleasure in introducing, as orator of the even-