Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/357

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356 Southern Historical Society Papers.

subject, he was admitted to the bar and rose rapidly to the highest eminence capable of attainment by a practitioner in the most august courts of that realm. His success was most phenomenal. When he laid aside his gown and wig, there was no one in the long list of advocates, lawyers, barristers, and Queen's counsel who could claim superiority over him. When, moved by age and warned by physi- cal infirmities, he determined to seek that repose which had been fairly earned by long, laborious, and conspicuous service, the English bench and bar distinguished beyond all others united in public testimonials to his unsurpassed professional learning and abilities, and gave cordial expression to the general regret at his retirement from a practice which he had done so much to dignify and adorn. With our flag at half mast, on the loth of May, we participated, at this remove, in the last tributes paid to this noted Confederate, as his body was committed to the earth in a land far distant from that which, during years of privation and peril, had claimed and received his loves and devotion.

A little more than three months afterwards he was joined in the realm of shadows by the Hon. Leroy Pope Walker, who, on the morning of the 22d of August, fell on sleep at his home in Huntsville, Alabama. He was the first Confederate Secretary of War. His was the difficult mission to mobilize and arm the forces of the Confed- eracy at a formative period when that nation was little more than a political name. Volunteers there were of the most exalted spirit and capable of the highest endeavor, but the problem was, how to equip them for immediate and efficient service. In the language of the venerable historian, Mr. Gayarre, of Louisiana: "If Minerva, with wisdom, courage, justice, and right, was on the side of the Southern champion, yet it was Minerva not only without any armor, but even without necessary garments to protect her against the inclemencies of the weather; whilst on the other side there stood Mars in full panoply, Ceres with her inexhaustible cornucopia, Jupiter with his thunderbolts, Neptune with his trident, Mercury with his winged feet and his emblematic rod, Plutus with his hounds, Vulcan with his forge and hammer." It is even now a marvel, passing comprehen- sion, how the Confederate States were able so rapidly to equip and to place in the field large bodies of troops. Equally astonishing is it that a government, born in a day and erected in the midst of a population almost wholly agricultural, could so quickly establish machine shops and foundries, compass the importation and manu- facture of munitions of war, man heavy batteries, supply field artil-