Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/249

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The First North Carolina Volunteers. 243

victory and renown. Aye, it was on this spot, in the days that tried men's souls, that the smoke of battle might have been seen ascend- ing from the valley and the hill top ; it was here that Cornwallis, the pet of the lion King of Great Britain, surrendered his sword to the leader of that little Spartan band who were then in mortal strife for their homes, their firesides and for liberty, that inestimable boon which they have given us as an inheritance, and which we so highly prize, that anathema would be pronounced upon any degenerate son who would essay to name its equivalent.

Is it not, my friends, a remarkable coincidence that you are here to-day, in this boasted age of progress in civil and religious liberty, near the same spot, prompted by the same motives and actuated by the same feelings that animated the breasts of your noble ancestors, in making red with blood the field of Yorktown and consecrating it to liberty, and as it was their mission then so it is yours to-day to lay bleaching upon the plains of Virginia the bones of the invader who is seeking to rob you of your birthright, to subjugate, devastate, lay waste and utterly destroy, aye, everything that is near and dear to the heart of an American freeman. Continue, my friends, to meet them as you have begun upon the threshold ; meet them, as I know you will do, like men ; let their blood be upon their own hands ; let their graves be in Virginia.

As to how you have acquitted yourselves as soldiers thus far, I must be permitted to say that you have discharged your every duty with a conscientious regard for the welfare of your country, which will ever endear you to every true Southron. With characteristic patience and cheerfulness you have submitted to the many hardships and inconveniences which must ever be attendant upon the tented field; and you have yielded implicit confidence and obedience to the orders of your superior officers, which is the first duty of soldiers, and by so doing you have gained the applause of our entire army as being one of the best disciplined, best officered regiments now in the tented field; and your many friends at home feel that while you have a Magruder, a Hill, a Lee, a Lane, et als of the same stamp to lead you, that they have nothing to fear. The results of the battle of Bethel have spoken, and do speak for themselves; it was then that all the resources of your minds were called into requisition, and there was naught that you would not have cheerfully sacrificed to attain the ends of your superior officers, and give success and eclat to the Confederate arms. And I trust I may be pardoned for mentioning