Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/143

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127
A Tribute of Love.

ters say that the reward of one duty done is the power to do another. The reward of the duty so nobly performed in the past is that now you ladies have had the power to erect this monument of enduring iron and stone "to the memory of the hero soldiers of Petersburg, who sacrificed their lives for our South."'

MORE SOLDIERS THAN VOTERS.

Who were these heroes? Every school boy knows that when the final call to arms came, Petersburg sent more soldiers to the field than she had voters on her poll books. The roll of companies speaks well for the martial spirit of the town, and embraces all of the different branches of the service; twelve companies of infantry, three of cavalry, two of artillery and last, but not least, that immortal home guard of boys and superannuated men, whose names have been inscribed in loving remembrance upon the walls of old Blandford Church, and who under the gallant Archer won imperishable fame on the 9th of June, 1864.

Who were these men? They were the flower of the youth of this old city. They were the representatives of all that was of the best in the civilization of their time and country. Almost every home had its soldier, and the proudest boast of those of later day is that they come from the lineage of those who went from the Cockade City to wear the gray, and to fight under the starry cross.

Who were these soldiers? The history of their achievements is the history of the Lost Cause. On every stricken field from Manassas to Appomattox — through all the long years of civil strife — hemmed in by superior numbers, without shoes, without clothes, without medicine, without food, these are the men who kept their powder dry and their weapons bright by constant use, whom no odds could unnerve, and who were overpowered, but never knew defeat.

Who were these veterans? From the Appomattox to the Monocacy, from the mountains to the sea, through the Valley campaign with Jackson, or in the Army of Northern Virginia with Lee, the slogan: "This way, Mahone's Brigade!" guided the Petersburg boys to battle under the Stars and Bars, charging to victory, "while all the world wondered."