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Harper's Round Table, May 21, 1895   By:

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[Illustration: HARPER'S ROUND TABLE]

Copyright, 1895, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All Rights Reserved.







[Illustration: Decorative H]

orrible though the civil war was, heartrending though it was that brother should fight against brother, there remains as an offset the glory that has accrued to the nation by the countless deeds of heroism performed by both sides in the struggle. The captains and the armies who after long years of dreary campaigning and bloody, stubborn lighting brought the war to a close have left us more than a reunited realm.

North and South, all Americans now have a common fund of glorious memories. We are the richer for each grim campaign, for each hard fought battle. We are the richer for valor displayed alike by those who fought so valiantly for the right, and by those who no less valiantly fought for what they deemed the right. We have in us nobler capacities for what is great and good because of the infinite woe and suffering, and because of the splendid ultimate triumph. We hold that it was vital to the welfare not only of our people on this continent but of the whole human race that the Union should be preserved and slavery abolished; that one flag should fly from the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande, that we should all be free in fact as well as in name, and that the United States should stand as one nation, the greatest nation on the earth; but we recognize gladly that South as well as North, when the fight was once on, the leaders of the armies, and the soldiers whom they led, displayed the same qualities of daring and steadfast courage, of disinterested loyalty and enthusiasm, and of high devotion to an ideal.

The greatest general of the South was Lee, and his greatest lieutenant was Jackson. Both were Virginians, and both were strongly opposed to disunion. Lee went so far as to deny the right of secession; while Jackson insisted that the South ought to try to get its rights inside the Union, and not outside; but when Virginia joined the Southern Confederacy, and the war had actually begun, both men cast their lot with the South.

It is often said that the civil war was in one sense a repetition of the old struggle between the Puritan and the Cavalier; but Puritan and Cavalier types were common to the two armies. In dash and light hearted daring Custer and Kearny stood as conspicuous as Stuart and Morgan; and, on the other hand, no Northern general approached the Roundhead type, the type of the stern religious warriors who fought under Cromwell, so closely as Stonewall Jackson.

He was a man of intense religious conviction, who carried into every thought and deed of his daily life the precepts and the convictions of the faith he cherished. He was a tender and loving husband and father, kind hearted and gentle to all with whom he was brought in contact. Yet in the times that tried men's souls he showed himself to be not only a commander of genius, but a fighter of iron will and temper, who joyed in the battle, and always showed at his best when the danger was greatest. The vein of fanaticism that ran through his character helped to render him a terrible opponent. He knew no such word as falter, and when he had once put his hand to a piece of work he did it thoroughly and with all his heart. It was quite in keeping with his character that this gentle, high minded, and religious man should early in the contest have proposed to hoist the black flag, neither take nor give quarter, and make the war one of extermination. No such policy was practical in the nineteenth century and in the American Republic; but it would have seemed quite natural and proper to Jackson's ancestors, the grim Scotch Irish who defended Londonderry against the forces of the Stuart King, or to their forefathers, the Covenanters of Scotland, and the Puritans who in England rejoiced at the beheading of King Charles the First... Continue reading book >>

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