Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/109

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Annual Reunion of the Association of A. N. V. 101

bleeding back across the Rappahannock. These mark the salient points of the campaign in Virginia, and challenge the annals of war for a parallel. But in another and distant field, the great Confederate paladin of the West had fallen in sight of victory at Shiloh. The death of Albert Sidney Johnston was an irreparable loss to his army and to the Confederacy. Earth never bore a nobler son or heaven opened wide its gates to receive a knightlier spirit.


Operations in Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri had decided finally the status of the border States towards the Confederacy. The shackles of Federal power had been firmly riveted upon them, and henceforth their gallant sons, who upheld the rights of their States and the cause of the South, were to be exiles from their homes until the return of peace, or until they should seal their devotion with their lives. Faithfully, bravely, grandly they stood to their colors to the bitter end. We salute them to-night with uncovered heads.


The fortunes of the Confederacy reached their spring-tide early in 1863. Its middle milestone stands at Chancellorsville. It will always stand there, a double monument to victory and to death. Its summit wreathed with laurels and bathed in sunlight ; its base shad- owed darkly by the cypress and the willow. It commemorates the triumph of courage directed by genius ; it mourns the fall of that im- mortal soldier whom death only had power to claim from victory. And even victory's bright visage was stained with tears and clouded by the shadow of coming events as it looked upon Jackson dead.

" Dead ! but the end was fitting, First in the ranks he led. And he marked the height of a nation's gain, As he lay in his harness— dead."


The Army of Northern Virginia now girds up its loins and striding across the Potomac, throws down the gage of battle to its enemy upon his own soil. ** A field of the dead rushes red on the sight '* as the heights of Gettysburg foom up before it. For three fearful days the storm rages and slaughter stalks red-handed, while the fate of