Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/183

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The Confederate Veterans. 177

it is certainly true that devotion to their glorious past is not only the surest guarantee of future progress and the holiest bond of unity, but is also the strongest claim they can present to the confidence and respect of the other sections of the Union.


In conclusion, I beg to repeat in substance, at least, a few thoughts recently expressed by me to the State organization, which apply with equal force to this general brotherhood.

It is political in no sense except so far as the word "political" is a synonym of the word "patriotic." It is a brotherhood over which the genius of philanthropy and patriotism, of truth and of justice will preside; of philanthopy, because it will succor the disabled, help the needy, strengthen the weak, and cheer the disconsolate; of patriot- ism, because it will cherish the past glories of the dead Confederacy and transmute them into living inspirations for future serviceto the living republic; of truth, because it will seek to gather and preserve as witnesses for history the unimpeachable facts which shall doom falsehood to die that truth may live; of justice, because it will cultivate national as well as Southern fraternity and will condemn narrow- mind- endess and prejudice and passion, and cultivate that broader, higher nobler sentiment which would write on the grave of every soldier who fell on either side: "Here lies an American hero a martyr to the right as his conscience conceived it."


I rejoice that a general organization too long neglected has been at last perfected. It is a brotherhood which all honorable men must approve and which heaven itself will bless. I call upon you, there- fore, to organize in every State and community where ex- Confede- rates may reside and rally to the support of the high and peaceful objects of the "United Confederate Veterans," and move forward until by the power of organization and persistent effort your benefi- cient and Christian purposes are fully accomplished.

J. B. GORDON, Commanding General.