Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 26.djvu/305

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Alabama's Heroes—Pelham and Wheeler.

As Mr. Cox concluded, he was very loudly applauded. His address made an excellent impression, and its delivery was particularly facile.


Another selection by the quartette followed, and then Captain Laughton, as Chairman of the Portrait Committee, introduced Governor Tyler, who, he announced, would, in time, introduce "the most distinguished exponent of patriotism of the State of Alabama." Governor Tyler, who was warmly greeted, said:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

In the short span of years allotted to man, it falls to the fortune of but few to serve through two wars and be a hero in both. Who that saw the gallant boys in gray, so bravely led under the Stars and Bars, could, even in fancy, in little more than a quarter of a century, see the same brave spirit leading the boys in blue on to victory beneath the Stars and Stripes? But such has been the fortune of the gallant hero whom we have with us to-night, and to whom we shall have the pleasure of listening, as he will receive the portrait that has just been presented to this camp of one of the bravest and knighthest of our Southern sons.

With equal fortitude and courage General Wheeler has met the duty of the hour, and has been crowned with the laurel wreath of victory, leading Southern boys on Southern fields of glory, and at the head of the soldiers of a reunited country at Santiago and up the bloody heights of San Juan. He has come to attest by his presence his unchanging interest in the old Confederates. With him the gray and blue threads have been woven into the beautiful fabric of devotion to country. May we, in the rush of the onward destiny of our republic, never forget those who wore the gray, but keep their memories green and ever sacredly enshrined in our hearts.

The presence among us here to-night of our old Confederate leader recalls to many of us scenes, incidents, and emotions of a past that has been immortalized in history by the achievements of the Confederate soldier. He needs no introduction. He is one of us. His battles have been our battles, his cause our cause, his achievements our admiration, his fame our joy, his services our nation's pride, and his whole life an offering to the welfare of his countrymen. I therefore simply present him to his people.