Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/250

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244 Southern Historical Society Papers.

the fact that I but echo the public sentiment when I say, that nobler men, more accomplished gentlemen, and purer patriots, were never known to draw a sword or shoulder a musket in defence of any country. And permit me in behalf of the ladies of the town of Fayetteville, whom I have the honor to represent on this occasion, to offer you their profoundest gratitude for the protection that you have thus far given to our homes and our liberties; they thank you for your patriotic courage, your heroic gallantry and your noble daring, exhibited upon the battle field of Bethel; they congratulate you, whose glorious privilege it was to participate in that ever to be remembered struggle; and they desire to assure you that Bethel Church will ever stand as a monument to the unflinching courage and bravery of the twin sister States of Virginia and North Carolina; and that it will be the pride and boast of your children in all time to come to say that on the memorable loth of June, 1861, my father was at Bethel. Need I tell you that the struggle in which you are engaged is one of gigantic importance, and that the single issue presented to you is literally "liberty or death; " need I remind you that in this contest the God of battles has already given you unmis- takable evidence that He is with you "and if He be for you who can be against you." Need I say to you that at dewy morn and sultry eve the prayers of loved ones at home are offered up to the throne on high to guide, protect and defend each and every one of you, and if it be His will, when you have accomplished your mission here, that you may return in safety to the bosoms of your families and friends, whose hearthstones have been made desolate by the foot- fall of the invader homes in the sunny South, where the best feelings of our nature have been wont to cluster. And as an earnest that you have the approving smiles, tender sympathies and undying con- fidence of those noble Spartan women that you have left behind, they present to you this beautiful regimental flag, upon which you will find inscribed (by authority of the Old North State) the word " Bethel," the talismanic influence of which simple word must ever inspire you with renewed vigor and courage; and they desire that you never cease to strike while Southern soil is polluted by the foot- prints of the invader; and, if needs be, that the ample folds of this flag may float gaily o'er the dome of the Federal Capitol.

The standard-bearer was then ordered to advance and receive the flag, the regiment being at a " present arms," and the Adjutant, on behalf of the officers and soldiers, officially responded as follows^