Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 22.djvu/296

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

284 Southern Historical Society Papers.

nearly one-half of the Northern people voted that it was wrong, and in their platform denounced the administration of Lincoln in the con- duct of the war as a usurpation, and said " that the Constitution itself had been disregarded in every part," and "that justice, hu- manity, liberty, and the public welfare demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities." Out of their own mouths let us judge them.

On the third day of November, 1870, a few weeks after the death of our great chieftain, Lee, there assembled, in pursuance of a call issued by General Early, as the ranking officer of the army of Northern Virginia, then residing in Virginia, the grandest body of men and heroes that it was ever my privilege to look upon. That meeting, composed of representative men and soldiers from all parts of the South, was called to pay respect to the memory of General Lee, and to inaugurate the movement which culminated in the erec- tion of the equestrian statue which adorns our western suburbs. It was presided over by President Davis, and was addressed by Mr. Davis, General Early, General Wise, General Gordon, Colonel Preston, Colonel Venable, Colonel Marshall, Colonel Preston Johnston, and Colonel Withers, in the most elegant and eloquent addresses that I ever heard.


That meeting adjourned to meet in this house on the following day, to form the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia. And so, here in this place, on the 4th day of November, 1870, was formed the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, with General Early as its first president. How he loved this association is best attested by the fact, that with a single exception when he was too sick to come he never failed to attend its meetings. How I love it no one cares to know. But I want to make it known, that I have never yet failed to attend one of its meetings, and I believe that I am a better man and a better citizen by reason of the inspiration I have drawn from attendance on these meetings. Aside from the contributions which the addresses made before this association have made to the history of our struggle, the value of which is beyond computation, it was the parent Confederate organization in the South, and from this association has emanated those influences which have dotted this whole Southland of ours with Confederate Camps and kindred organizations, and which, with the fidelity to duty of our woman (God bless them always), have done more to keep our