|REMARKS OF MR. DAVIS.
Friends, Countrymen, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am thrice happy in the circumstances under which
you have called upon me. The eloquent and beautiful address to which you
have listened has been so full in its recital as to require no addition.
Again, the speaker saw all, and was a large part of
that which he described, giving a life and vigor to
his narration, which could not be attained by one who
only, at second-hand, knew of the events.
Your honored guest and orator, General Fitzhugh Lee, rode with Stuart in
his perilous campaigns, shared his toils and dangers, took part in his
victories, and became the worthy successor of that immortal to Appomattox
Court-house, a numerous foe hovering on his flanks
and rear, "little Fitz" was there with the remnant
of his cavalry to do and dare, and, if need be, die for Dixie. How vain
it would be for any one to add to what has been said by such a witness.
Again, and lastly, Jackson's character and conduct
so filled the measure of his glory that no encomium
could increase or adorn it. When he came from the academic shades of the
Virginia Military Institute,
who could have foreseen the height of military fame
to which the quiet professor would reach. He rose
with the brilliancy of a meteor over the blood-stained fields of the Potomac,
but shone with the steady light of the orb of day, a light around which
no evening shadows gathered, but grew brighter and brighter the longer
it shone. It is not alone by us that his merit has been recognized.
In Europe, so far as I had opportunity to learn, he
was regarded as the great hero of our war, and appreciative
men in England have contributed the bronze statue to him, the first and
only one which
they have given to one of our soldiers. The column
which stands before me, crowned with a statue of enduring stone, which
you have reared to commemorate his services and virtues, is a fit tribute
from you, and teaches a useful lesson to posterity, because it is erected
not to perpetuate the story of his military prowess merely, but also, and
perhaps even more, to record his pure patriotism than this for such a testimonial,
for the fame of Jackson is closely identified with the heroic history of
In the beginning of the war the Confederate States
were wanting in all the material needful for its prosecution, and there
was nothing which it was more difficult to supply than field batteries.
Then the Washington Artillery came full-armed to fill that want.
From the first battle of Manassas, where Jackson won his sobriquet of Stonewall,
in the East and in the West, the guns of the Washington Artillery were
heard wherever battles were fought. In the
ever memorable campaign of the Shenandoah, where Jackson,
with the swoop of the eagle, attacked the divided columns of the enemy,
and, beating them in succession, drove his vast host from out soil, the
sons of Louisiana were a staff on which he securely leaned.
At Port Republic, a battle as noticeable for the strategy
which preceded it as for the daring and resolution by which it was characterized,
Jackson in making the disposition of his forces, assigned an important
duty to the Louisiana brigade commanded by General Dick Taylor. This was
to gain a position
on the mountainside above the enemy's most effective
battery and descend to attack him in flank and reverse. After Taylor had
put his troops in motion, he went
to receive from Jackson his final orders. He
found him in front of his line of battle which had just been forced back.
Shot and shell were hissing and bursting around him, and there he sat motionless
on his old campaigner, a horse as steady under fire as his master, the
bridle-reins were hanging loosely, and Jackson was wrapt in prayer. He
had done all which his human foresight could devise, and now was confiding
himself, his compatriots and his cause, to the God of the righteous.
Taylor's brigade was marching in rear of the column,
and Jackson seeing the enemy advance in force where
there was none to check him, directed Taylor to form
line of battle for resistance. Taylor said this was
done, though at fearful cost, and added, "This brigade would, if ordered,
have formed line to stop a herd of elephants."
I will not, at this late hour, longer detain you.
Jackson died confident of the righteousness of his
country's cause and never doubting its final success. With the same conviction
I live to-day, and reverently bowing to the wisdom of Him whose decrees
I may not understand, I still feel that the Confederacy ought to have succeeded
because it was founded in truth and justice.
In one sentence may be comprised the substance of
all I could say-Jackson gave his whole heart to his
country, and his country gave its whole heart to his country, and his country
gave its whole heart to Jackson.
At the close of Mr. Davis's speech, the benediction
was pronounced by Father Hubert. Many
crowded forward to see the President, General Lee, and the
wife and daughter of our great commander, and at twilight
the vast crowd were wending their way back
to the city.
the Southern Historical Society Papers
Volume I. JANUARY TO JUNE,
1876 page 218-