« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
You have arms in your hands; you are under a gallant leader, and you are to march under a flag honored by the ladies of your own State, worked by their own fair hands. You are here not merely to fight our battles. No, I am not so selfish as to presume that; but to fight the battles of civil liberty in behalf of the entire South. You are on a high mission.
You are not the first Marylanders who have crossed the border. We had, in the days of the first Revolution, a Maryland line, whose name has passed into history without one blot upon its fair escutcheon - a Maryland line who illustrated upon every field in the South their devotion to the civil liberty of that day-a Maryland line, who, in the remote savannahs of the Carolinas, spilled their blood like water at Camden, at Guilford Court House, at the Cowpens, and at Eutaw, where the last battle was fought, and the enemy finally surrendered. They were your ancestry. They travelled barefooted, unclothed, without blankets or tents, and but few muskets, and you came after them. But you have this peculiar distinction: You are volunteers in a double sense-you are volunteers for the war, and you are volunteers for the great cause of the South against the aggressions of the North. You are no strangers; you are our neighbors. My own home
is upon the confines of your State. I went there, four weeks ago, immediately after Virginia had denounced the unholy movements in the North, to learn the spirit of your people. I went to Frederickstown, where the Legislature were assembled, anxious to ascertain whether Virginia could rely upon you in the hour of trial. I knew the political incubus by which your people were crushed to the earth; but such were the indications I perceived on every side, that when I returned to Virginia I unhesitatingly reported that Maryland is with the South. I staked my word upon it as a man of principle and a man of truth. The giant arm of the oppressor has been too strong for the time being, but the spirit is still alive, unsubdued and unrepressed. You are here to confirm this fact by your presence.
You are in Richmond. What is Richmond? It is a large city-a city of gallant men and refined women; a city whose inhabitants are engaged in all the useful and honorable pursuits of life tending to the advance of civilization and prosperity. At the present moment, however, Richmond is a huge camp, where but one mind, one heart, and one determination animates every occupant, man, woman, and child. (Applause.) Our wives, mothers—and I appeal to the ladies, if I may not also say our sweethearts have entered into it with a zest, which
shows that their hearts and affections are fully in the work. You will have no child's play. There is no time now for vain boasting. I confide as much as I can in the prowess of the men of this section, and you will be false to the fame of your fathers if you are not victors; but your enemies relies upon mere brute force. There are doubtless brave soldiers among them whom it will be hard to conquer, but you will remember that you are fighting for your fathers, mothers, and firesides. They are mercenaries fighting for pay, you are men fighting for your homes and rights. All you require is subsistence. "Give us," you say, "the means of living, the arms to fight with, and show us the enemy." (Applause.) It may be, that in the providences of war, not one among all those who are before me will return. You may come here, if necessary, to lay your lives upon the altar of your country, and I feel assured that every man will do his duty.
I will tell you an incident connected with the Alabama troops. They were attended by a minister of the Gospel, who was a guest at my house. He told me that he had with him a purse of gold, which had been given to him by the parents of two young men in the ranks, with injunction that it should be sacredly preserved during the war, unless his sons
should fall upon the field of battle. Then, said the father, "Give them a Christian burial." There was a patriot father, who had devoted his sons to the service of his country, and that man does not stand alone.
Such is the object with which you have engaged in this war. The true duty of the soldier is not merely to fight a battle or kill an enemy. He has also to endure the trials of the camp; the weariness of the forced march; the vigilance of day and night; the restraints of discipline, and the patience to bear with discomforts and disappointments. This is the real test of courage, and he who comes out of the war with the reputation of having thus done his duty through the sunshine and through storm, is the true man, and the thorough soldier.
But I will not detain you longer, except to dis charge the grateful duty which remains, of presenting to you, in behalf of the ladies of Baltimore, this beautiful banner. There it is unfurled before you for the first time. There are emblazoned the fifteen stars of the Southern States, looking prospectively to the day when they will all be with us! The star of Maryland is among them, and the women of your State have put it there, confiding it to your safe keeping. Look upon it as a sacred trust. In passing through the storm of battle, it may be tattered
and soiled, but I believe I can say that you will bring it back without a spot of dishonor upon it. But you are not only to return that flag here-you are to take it back to Baltimore. (Cheers, and cries of "We will.") It came here in the hands of the fair lady who stands by my side, who brought it through the camp of the enemy, with a woman's fortitude, courage, and devotion to our cause; and you are to take it back to Baltimore, unfurl it in your streets, and challenge the applause of your citizens. (Applause.)