Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/409

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Lee's Birthday. 403


Then giving a brief biographical sketch of him " whose name is emblazoned on the walls" around him, he said that commencing at Malvern Hill and running through the battle-fields of Second Ma- nassas, Antietam, Frederieksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness, and in trenches around Petersburg, his name was en- circled with a halo of glory as bright as the facient breastplate of an angel, and even when his ranks had been reduced to a mere skirmish line, and his ragged and worn veterans were hemmed in by the mighty hosts of Grant, and the impulses of his great soul impelled him to sue for terms, yes, on the dark and dismal field of Appomat- tox his name still shone with the brilliancy of the richest diadem in a royal crown.


Colonel O'Ferrall in conclusion said: " In meeting here on this occasion we are guilty of no wrong to the Government under which we live. When the darkness of defeat closed around us we pledged our allegiance to the flag against which we had fought. We have kept our pledge ; we are loyal to our Government ; and base is the tongue that dares to question our sincerity. We are here in no spirit of dis- loyalty, unless the cherishing of sacred memories and the honoring of our dead be disloyalty ; and if so, then I glory in the fact that I am in the midst of one of the most disloyal bands that ever stood under the rays of Heaven's sun since manhood was made to grow in the hu- man breast, and man's heart was filled with the impulses of honor and truth, courage and fidelity. While we are loyal to the Union by the mothers who bore us, by the fathers who taught us, by the wives who cherish us, by the children who love us, by the homes that shelter us, by the land that nurtured us, by the heavens above us, by the earth beneath us, we swear to be loyal to our dead.


" While we are loyal to the Stars and Stripes " by the graves all around us, by the battle-fields all about us, by our blood that is crimson, by our bosoms that swell, by all that is noble and exalted, by all that is good and true, we swear to be loyal to the memory of those who fell in defence of the Stars and Bars. When you can dam up the waters of the mighty Mississippi and hold them in the hollow