Wayland Fuller Dunaway.

Reminiscences of a Rebel online

. (page 6 of 6)
Online LibraryWayland Fuller DunawayReminiscences of a Rebel → online text (page 6 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

war came to them. Not to gain military
glory did they fight, although this meed must
be awarded to them. Nor was the perpetua-
tion of African slavery the object for which
they took up arms, for in Virginia nineteen-
twentieths of the citizens owned no slaves, and
there was perhaps the same proportion in the
other States of the Confederacy. Neither
was it for conquest that they so long waged
the unequal contest; for though they twice
crossed the Potomac it was not to gain an acre
of territory, but only to relieve their own
beleaguered capital. From first to last it was
a purely defensive struggle to maintain for
themselves the freedom they cheerfully ac-
corded to other communities, and to make
good the inherited belief that ( "all just gov-
ernment derives its power from the consent
of the governed." They simply resisted sub-
jugation by a hostile governmen. whose right
to rule them they denied.


As we review the history of that gigantic
struggle we are not surprised that the South
was subdued, the only wonder being that it
was not sooner done. It required two and a
quarter millions of soldiers four years to over-
come one-third of that number. The South
had no navy to open her ports, no commerce
for her products, no foundries for the manu-
facture of arms. During the first year there
were not muskets enough to supply her vol-
unteers, though later on sufficient numbers
were taken on the fields of battles, fifty-two
cannon and thirty thousand small arms being
captured in the battles around Richmond, be-
sides the many thousands that were taken in
subsequent engagements.

That the South for so long a time resisted
the attempts of her powerful enemy, and dur-
ing that period gained so many remarkable
victories, is attributable to the skill of her gen-
erals and the valor of her soldiers. In these
respects only was the advantage on her side.

The fame of her generals has spread
throughout the world, and their campaigns


enrich the text-books of the military students
of Europe and Asia. They rank with the
most famous commanders that ever led armies
to victory. Their names are immortal, and
their memory is enshrined not only in poetry
and history, in marble and bronze, but also in
the admiration of mankind and in the affec-
tions of the Southern people.

But what could strategy have achieved un-
less there had been soldiers to make it effec-
tive? The men had confidence in their com-
manders and were responsive to their genius.
In attack they exhibited impulsive courage,
and in defense possessed unyielding firmness.
They made days and places forever historic,
when their pay was money in little more than
name, their garments torn, their rations coarse
and scant. Footsore they charged against the
dense Blue lines, or made those rapid marches
that bewildered opposing forces.

When the end had come both officers and
men surrendered as they had fought, вАФ with-
out mental reservation. Sadly they furled
and yielded up the bullet-riddled battleflags


they had carried so proudly. Now while they
manfully accept the hard arbitrament of war,
and yield unaffected loyalty to the United
States, they make no confession of criminality.
While the war continued they were asserting
what they believed was a God-given right, and
now they recall with pride the valor and vic-
tories of the Southern armies.

Those armies are rapidly disappearing from
the land they loved so well. Many of the
men fell in battle, and many died in prisons
and hospitals, and since the close of the war
more of them have fallen asleep in peaceful
homes. Those who have departed and those
who survive will not want a eulogist while one
remains; and when the last of the men who
wore the gray shall have joined his comrades
beyond the river of death, coming generations
will celebrate their heroism and scatter flowers
upon the mounds that mark the places where
their ashes repose.


1 2 3 4 6

Online LibraryWayland Fuller DunawayReminiscences of a Rebel → online text (page 6 of 6)