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was so conspicuous in seconding Jackson at Second Manassas, whose
name is indissolubly associated with Sharpsburg, Marye's Hill, the
Wilderness, and many other noted fields ; who was ever ready to
strike great blows alongside ot his Virginian colleagues and under the
leadership of his great Virginian commander.

McDonough, Maryland, July 26, 1886.

''Died for Their State." 119

" Died for Their State."



[Lowell (Mass.) IVeekly Sun, June 5th, 1886.]

The communication printed below is from the pen of Mr. Benjamin
J. Williams, of this city, and treats of a subject of deepest interest to
the people of this country, North and South. It treats of Mr. Jeffer-
son Davis and his connection with the Southern Confederacy from a
Southern standpoint. The writer handles his subject in a manner un-
familiar to our readers, who, if they do not agree with the sentiments
expressed, will at least find it a very interesting- and instructive com-
munication, particularly at this time.

Editor of the Sun :

Dear Sir, — The demonstrations in the South in honor of Mr. Jef-
ferson Davis, the ex-President of the Confederate States, are certainly
of a remarkable character, and furnish matter for profound considera-
tion. Mr. Davis, twenty-one years after the fall of the Confederacy,
suddenly emerging from his long retirement, journeys among his
people to different prominent points, there to take part in public ob-
servances more or less directly commemorative, respectively, of the
cause of the Confederacy, and of those who strove and died for it,
and everywhere he receives from the people the most overwhelming
manifestations of heartfelt affection, devotion and reverence, ex-
ceeding even any of which he was the recipient in the time of his
power ; such manifestations as no existing ruler in the world can ob-
tain from his people, and such as probably were never before given
to a public man, old, out of office, with no favors to dispense, and

Such homage is significant, startling. It is given, as Mr. Davis
himself has recognized, not to him alone, but to the cause whose
chief representative he is. And it is useless to attempt to deny, dis-
guise, or evade the conclusion that there must be something great,
and noble, and true in him and in the cause to evoke this homage.
As for Mr. Davis himself, the student of American history has not
yet forgotten that it was his courage, self-possession and leadership,
that in the very crisis of the battle at Buena Vista won for his country
her proudest victory upon foreign fields of war ; that as secretary of

120 Southern Historical Society Papers.

war in Mr. Pierce's administration, he was its master-spirit, and that
he was the recognized leader of the United States Senate at the time
of the secession of the Southern States. For his character there let
it be stated by his enemy but admirer, Massachusetts' own Henry
Wilson. "The clear-headed, practical, dominating Davis," said Mr.
Wilson in a speech made during the war, while passing in review the
great Southern Senators who had withdrawn with their States.

When the seceding States formed their new Confederacy, in recog-
nition of Mr. Davis's varied and predominant abilities, he was unani-
mously chosen as its chief magistrate. And from the hour of his
arrival at Montgomery to assume that office, when he spoke the
memorable words, " We are determined to make all who oppose us
smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel," all through the
Confederacy's four years' unequal struggle for independence down
to his last appeal as its chief, in his defiant proclamation from Dan
ville. after the fall of Richmond, " Let us not despair, my country
men, but meet the foe with fresh defiance, and with unconquered and
unconquerable hearts," he exhibited everywhere and always the
same proud and unyielding spirit, so expressive of his sanguine and
resolute temper, which no disasters could subdue, which sustained
him even when it could no longer sustain others, and which, had it
been possible, would of itself have assured the independence of the
Confederacy. And when at last the Confederacy had fallen, literally
overpowered by immeasurably superior numbers and means, and Mr.
Davis was a prisoner, subjected to the grossest indignities, his proud
spirit remained unbroken, and never since the subjugation of his
people has he abated in the least his assertion of the cause for which
they struggled. The seductions of power or interest may move
lesser men, that matters not to him ; the cause of the Confederacy,
as a fixed moral and constitutional principle, unaffected by the tri-
umph of physical force, he asserts to-day as unequivocally as when
he was seated in its executive chair at Richmond, in apparently irre-
versible power, with its victorious legions at his command. Now,
when we consider all this, what Mr. Davis has been, and most of all,
what he is to day in the moral greatness of his position, can we won-
der that his people turn aside from time-servers and self-seekers, and
Irom all the commonplace chaff of life, and render to him that spon-
taneous and grateful homage which is his due?

And we cannot indeed wonder when we consider the cause for
which Mr. Davis is so much to his people. Let Mr. Davis himself
state it, for no one else can do it so well. In his recent address at

''Died for Their State." 121

the laying of the cornerstone of the Confederate monument at
Montgomery, he said: " I have come to join you in the performance
of a sacred task, to lay the foundation of a monument at the cradle
of the Confederate Government which shall commemorate the gal-
lant sons of Alabama who died for their country, who gave their
lives a freewill offering in defence of the rights of their sires, won in
the war of the Revolution, the State sovereignty, freedom and inde-
pendence, which were left to us as an inheritance to their posterity
forever." These masterful words, "the rights of their sires, won in
the war of the Revolution, the State sovereignty, freedom and inde-
pendence, which were left to us as an inheritance to their posterity
forever," are the whole case, and they are not only a statement, but
a complete justification of the Confederate cause to all who are ac-
quainted with the origin and character of the American Union.

When the original thirteen colonies threw off their allegiance to
Great Britain, they became independent States, " independent of her
and of each other," as the great Luther Martin expressed it in the
Federal Convention. This independence was at first a revolutionary
one, but afterwards, by its recognition by Great Britain, it became
legal. The recognition was of the States separately, each by name,
in the treaty of peace which terminated the war of the Revolution.
And that this separate recognition was deliberate and intentional,
with the distinct object of recognizing the States as separate sover-
eignties, and not as one nation, will sufficiently appear by reference
to the sixth volume of Bancroft's History of the United States. The
Articles of Confederation between the States declared, that "each
State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence." And the
Constitution of the United States, which immediately followed, was
first adopted by the States in convention, each State casting one
vote, as a proposed plan of government; and then ratified by the
States separately, each State acting for itself in its sovereign and
independent capacity, through a convention of its people. And it
was by this ratification that the Constitution was established, to use
its own words, "between the States so ratifying the same." It is
then a compact between the States as sovereigns, and the Union
created by it is a federal partnership of States, the Federal Govern-
ment being their common agent for the transaction of the Federal
business within the limits of the delegated powers. As to the new
States, which have been formed from time to time from the terri-
tories, when they were in the territorial condition, the sovereignty
over them, respectively, was in the States of the Union, and when

122 Southern Historical Society Papers.

they, respectively, formed a constitution and State government and
were admitted into the Union, the sovereignty passed to them res-
pectively, and they stood in the Union each upon an equal footing
with the original States, parties with them to the constitutional com-

In the case of a partnership between persons for business pur-
poses, it is a familiar principle of law, that its existence and contin-
uance are purely a voluntary matter on the part of its members, and
that a member may at any time withdraw from and dissolve the
partnership at his pleasure; and it makes no difference in the appli-
cation of this principle if the partnership, by its terms, be for a fixed
time or perpetual — it not being considered by the law sound policy
to hold men together in business association against their will.
Now if a partnership between persons is purely voluntary and sub-
ject to the will of its members severally, how much more so is one
between sovereign States; and it follows that, just as each State
separately, in the exercise of its sovereign will, entered the Union, so
may it separately, in the exercise of that will, withdraw therefrom.
And further, the Constitution being a compact, to which the States
are parties, "having no common judge," "each party has an equal
right to judge for itself as well of infractions as of the mode and
measure of redress," as declared by Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison,
in the celebrated resolutions of '98, and the right of secession irre-
sistibly follows. But aside from the doctrine either of partnership or
compact, upon the ground of State sovereignty, pure and simple,
does the right of State secession impregnably rest. Sovereignty,
as defined by political commentators, is "the right of commanding
in the last resort." And just as a State of the Union, in the ex-
ercise of this right, by her ratification of the Constitution, delegated
the powers therein given to the Federal Government, and acceded to
the Union; so may she in the exercise of the same right, by repeal-
ing that ratification, withdraw the delegated powers, and secede from
the Union. The act of ratification by the State is the law which
makes the Union for it, and the act of repeal of that ratification is
the law which dissolves it.

It appears, then, from this review of the origin and character of
the American Union, that when the Southern States, deeming the
constitutional compact broken, and their own safety and happiness
in imminent danger in the Union, withdrew therefrom and organized
their new Confederacy, they but asserted, in the language of Mr.
Davis, " the rights of their sires, won in the war of the Revolution,

''Died for Their State." 123

the State sovereignty, freedom and independence which were left to
us as an inheritance to their posterity forever," and it was in defence
of this high and sacred cause that the Confederate soldiers sacrificed
their lives. There was no need for war. The action of the Southern
States was legal and constitutional, and history will attest that it was
reluctantly taken in the last extremity, in the hope of thereby saving
their whole constitutional rights and liberties from destruction by
Northern aggression, which had just culminated in triumph at the
presidential election, by the union of the North as a section against
the South. But the North, left in possession of the old government
of the Union, flushed with power, and angry lest its destined prey
should escape, found a ready pretext for war. Immediately upon
secession, by force of the act itself, the jurisdiction of the seceding
States respectively, over the forts, arsenals, and dockyards within
their limits, which they had before ceded to the Federal Government
for federal purposes, reverted to and reinvested in them respectively.
They were of course entitled to immediate repossession of these
places, essential to their defence in the exercise of their reassumed
powers of war and peace, leaving all questions of mere property
value apart for separate adjustment. In most cases the seceding
States repossessed themselves of these places without difficulty; but
in some the forces of the United States still kept possession. Among
these last was Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Caro-
lina. South Carolina in vain demanded the peaceful possession of this
fortress, offering at the same time to arrange for the value of the
same as property, and sent commissioners to Washington to treat
with the Federal Government for the same, as well as for the recog-
nition of her independence. But all her attempts to treat were re-
pulsed or evaded, as likewise were those subsequently made by the
Confederate Government. Of course the Confederacy could not
continue to allow a foreign power to hold possession of a fortress
dominating the harbor of her chief Atlantic seaport; and the Federal
Government having sent a powerful expedition with reinforcements
for Fort Sumter, the Confederate Government at last proceeded to
reduce it. The reduction, however, was a bloodless affair; while the
captured garrison received all the honors of war, and were at once
sent North, with every attention to their comfort, and without even
their parole being taken.

But forthwith President Lincoln at Washington issued his call for
militia to coerce the seceding States ; the cry rang all over the North
that the flag had been fired upon ; and amidst the tempest of passion

124 Southern Historical Society Papers.

which that cry everywhere raised the Northern miUtia responded
with alacrity, the South was invaded, and a war of subjugation,
destined to be the most gigantic which the world has ever seen, was
begun by the Federal Government against the seceding States, in
complete and amazing disregard of the foundation principle of its
own existence, as aflirmed in the Declaration of Independence, that
"governments derive their just powers from the consent of the gov-
erned," and as established by the war of the Revolution for the people
of the States respectively. The South accepted the contest thus
forced upon her with the eager and resolute courage characteristic of
her proud-spirited people. But the Federal Government, though
weak in right, was strong in power ; for it was sustained by the
mighty and muldtudinous North. In effect, the war became one be-
tween the States ; between the Northern States, represented by the
Federal Government, upon the one side ; and the Southern States,
represented by the Confederate Government, upon the other — the
border Southern States being divided.

The odds in numbers and means in favor of the North were tre-
mendous. Her white population of nearly twenty millions was four-
fold that of the strictly Confederate territory ; and from the border
Southern States and communities of Missouri, Kentucky, East Ten-
nessee, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, she got more men
and supplies for her armies than the Confederacy got for hers. Ken-
tucky alone furnished as many men to the Northern armies as Mas-
sachusetts. In available money and credit, the advantage of the
North was vastly greater than in population, and it included the pos-
session of all the chief centres of banking and commerce. Then she
had the possession of the old government, its capital, its army and
navy, and mostly, its arsenals, dockyards, and workshops, with all
their supplies of arms and ordnance, and military and naval stores of
every kind and the means of manufacturing the same. Again, the
North, as a manufacturing and mechanical people, abounded in fac-
tories and workshops of every kind, immediately available for the
manufacture of every species of supplies for the army and navy ;
while the South, as an agricultural people, were almost wanting in
such resources. Finally, in the possession of the recognized govern-
ment, the North was in full and free communication with all nations,
and had full opportunity, which she improved to the utmost, to im-
port and bring in from abroad not only supplies of all kinds, but men
as well for her service ; while the South, without a recognized govern-
ment, and with her ports speedily blockaded by the Federal navy.

''Died for Their State." 125

was almost entirely shut up within herself and her own limited re

Among all these advantages possessed by the North, the 'first,
the main and decisive, was the navy. Given her all but this, and
they would have been ineffectual to prevent the establishment of the
Confederacy. That arm of her strength was at the beginning of the
war in an efficient state, and it was rapidly augmented and improved.
By it, the South being almost without naval force, the North was
enabled to sweep and blockade her coasts everywhere, and so, aside
from the direct distress inflicted, to prevent foreign recognition ; to
capture, one after another, her seaports ; to sever and cut up her
country in every direction through its great rivers ; to gain lodg-
ments at many points within her territory, from which numerous
destructive raids were sent out in all directions ; to transport troops
and supplies to points where their passage by land would have been
difficult or impossible; and finally to cover, protect and save, as
by the navy was so olten done, the defeated and otherwise totally
destroyed armies of the North in the field. But for the navy
Grant's army was lost at Shiloh ; but for it on the Peninsula, in the
second year of the war, McClellan's army, notwithstanding his mas
terly retreat from his defeats before Richmond, was lost to a man,
and the independence of the Confederacy established. After a glo-
rious four years' struggle against such odds as have been depicted,
during which independence was often almost secured, when succes-
sive levies of armies, amounting in all to nearly three millions of men,
had been hurled against her, the South, shut off from all the world,
wasted, rent and desolate, bruised and bleeding, was at last over-
powered by main strength; outfought, never; for, from first to last,
she everywhere outfought the foe. The Confederacy fell, but she
fell not until she had achieved immortal fame. Few great estab-
lished nations in all time have ever exhibited capacity and direction
in government equal to hers, sustained as she was by the iron will
and fixed persistence of the extraordinary man who was her chief;
and few have ever won such a series of brilliant victories as that
which illuminates forever the annals of her splendid armies, while
the fortitude and patience of her people, and particularly of her noble
women, under almost incredible trials and sufferings, have never been
surpassed in the history of the world.

Such exalted character and achievement were not all in vain.
Though the Confederacy fell as an actual physical power, she lives,
illustrated by them, eternally in her just cause, the cause of constitu-

126 Southern Historical Society Papers.

tional liberty. And Mr. Davis's Southern tour is nothing less than
a vertical moral triumph for that cause and for himself as its faithful
chief, manifesting to the world that the cause still lives in the hearts
of the Southern people, and that its resurrection in the body in fit-
ting- hour may yet come.

Here, in the North, that is naturally presumptuous and arrogant
in her vast material power, and where consequently but little atten-
tion has, in general, been given to the study of the nature and prin-
ciples of constitutional liberty, as connected with the rights of States,
there is, nevertheless, an increasing understanding and appreciation
of the Confederate cause, particularly here in the New England
States, whose position and interests in the Union are, in many re-
spects, peculiar, and perhaps require that these States, quite as much
as those of the South, should be the watchful guardians of the State
sovereignty. Mingled with this increasing understanding and appre-
ciation of the Confederate cause, naturally comes also a growing
admiration of its devoted defenders ; and the time may yet be when
the Northern as well as the Southern heart will throb reverently to the
proud words upon the Confederate monument at Charleston : —

"These died for their State."

Benj. J. Williams.

The Confederate Steamship " Patrick Henry."


During the winter of 1 864-' 65, Commodore Lynch was detailed
by the Navy Department at Richmond to write a report on the bat-
tles and combats fought or participated in by the Confederate States
Navy. Commodore Lynch wrote to Flag-Officer Tucker, then com-
manding the Confederate States Naval Forces at Charleston, for
information in relation to the battle of Hampton Roads and the sub-
sequent repulse of the United States squadron at Drewry's Bluff.
Flag-Officer Tucker having, as Commander Tucker of the Confed-
erate steamship Patrick Henry, been present at both these engage-
ments. I was in command of the Confederate steamship Palmetto
State, one of the iron-clads of Fiag-Officer Tucker's squadron at
Charleston, when he received Commodore Lynch's letter, and as I

The Confederate Steamshi}! ^^ Patrick Henry." 127

had been executive officer of the Patrick He?iry, the Flag- Officer
requested me to give him my recollection of the principal events
connected with that vessel. The letter which follows is my reply to
that request.

August 2J, 1886.

Confederate Steamship Palmetto State,

Charleston S. C, January jo, i86§.

Flag- Officer ]oYi^ R. Tucker,

Conunanding Afloat at Charleston, S. C:

Dear Sir, — I am glad to learn from you that Commodore Lynch
has been directed by the Department to prepare a narrative of
the memorable and gallant deeds of the Confederate Navy ; judging
from the former works of the Commodore, I think we may congratu-
late ourselves that the navy has fallen into good hands, and feel
confidence that the proposed book will not only be a valuable contri-
bution to the history of this giant war, but also a pleasant addition
to the literature of the day. Hitherto there has been no effi)rt made
to popularize the navy, our officers, trained in an illustrious and
exclusive service, have looked with a feeling akin to contempt on
both the praise and blame of the periodical press, hence the only
records of the navy are to be found in dry and terse official dis-
patches, exceedingly uninteresting to unprofessional readers, and un-
intelligible to the great mass of the people. Let us hope that the
forthcoming work will be popular with the people, remove many of
the prejudices against our service, and assist the present generation
to the just conclusion that the Confederate navy has done well its
part, notwithstanding the almost complete lack in the Confederate
States of all the necessary constituents of naval strength. Among
the naval events that Commodore Lynch will be called upon to relate,
the career of the Confederate steamship Patrick Henry will, per-
haps, claim a prominent place, and if you think there is anything in
this letter which will aid the Commodore to a fuller understanding
of the services of that vessel, you are quite at hberty to send it to

The Patrick Henry,-A. side-wheel steamer of beautiful model and
of about fourteen hundred tons burthen, was called the Yorktown
before the war, and was one of the line of steamers running between
Richmond and New York. She was considered a fast boat, and de-

128 Southern Historical Society Papers.

served the reputation. When the Commonwealth of Virginia seceded
from the Union this vessel was, fortunately, in James river. She was
seized by the State, and the Governor and Council determined to fit
her out as a man-of-war. She was taken up to the wharf at Rock-
etts, Richmond, and the command conferred upon Commander John
Randolph Tucker, late an officer of the United States Navy, who
had resigned his commission in that service in consequence of the
secession of Virginia, his native State. Naval Constructor, Joseph
Pearce, with a number of mechanics from the Norfolk Navy Yard,
commenced the necessary alterations, and in a short time the passen-
ger steamer, Yorktown, was converted into the very creditable man-
of-war steamer, Patrick Henry, of ten guns and one hundred and
fifty ofiicers and men. The vessel being properly equipped, so far
as the limited resources at hand could be used, proceeded down

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