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Well, my friends, I can only say we will make the battle fields in Virginia another Buena Vista, and drench with blood inore precious than that which flowed there. We will make a history for ourselves. We do not ask that the past shall shed our lustre upon us, bright as our past has been, for we can achieve our own destiny. .
We may point to many a field, over which has floated the flag of our country when we were of the United States-—upon which Southern soldiers and Southern officers reflected their brave spirits in their deeds of daring; and without intending to cast a shadow upon the courage of any portion of the United States, let me call it to your remembrance, that no man who went from these Confederate States has ever yet, as a general officer, surrendered to an enemy.
Pardon me if I do not go into matters of history, and permit me, again, to thank you for this kind manifestation of your regard, to express to you my hearty wishes for the individual prosperity of you all, with the hope that you will all pray to God to crown our cause and our country with success.
He then retired from the windows amid prolonged cheers.
Calls were then made for ex-Governor Wise, to which, after a short delay, he responded as follows:
SPEECH OF EX-GOVERNOR HENRY A. WISE.
MY FRIENDS: Yon all know that I am a civil soldier only, and that in that capacity I was nearly worn down in the siege of the Virginia Convention. Thank God, however, that with a little rest, some help, and some damage, from the doctors, I have been enabled to recruit my exhausted energies.
The time of deliberation has given place to the time of action, and I have taken up my bed as an individual, in common with others, to march to Richmond to meet the President of our now separate and independent republic. I am ready to obey his orders, not only with pride, pleasure, and devotion to the cause, and respect to the office he fills, but with respect to the man himself as one who has our fullest confidence.
You have to meet a foe with whom you could not live in peace. Your political powers and rights. which were enthroned in that Capitol when you
were united with them under the old constitutional bond of the Confederacy, have been annihilated. They have undertaken to annul laws within your own limits that would render your property unsafe within those limits. They have abolitionized your border, as the disgraced North-west will show. They have invaded your moral strongholds and the rights of your religion, and have undertaken to teach you what should be the moral duties of men.
They have invaded the sanctity of your homes and firesides, and endeavored to play master, father, and husband for you in your households ; in a word, they would set themselves up as a petty Providencee by which you are in all things to be guided and controlled. But you have always declared that you would not be subject to this invasion of your rights.
Though war was demanded, it was not for you to declare war. But now that the armies of the invader are hovering around the tomb of Washington, where is the Virginian heart that does not beat with a quicker pulsation at this last and boldest desecration of his beloved State? Their hordes are already approaching our metropolis, and extending their folds around our State as does the anaconda around his victin. The call is for action.
I rejoice in this war. Who is there that now dares to put on sanctity to depreciate war, or the
“horrid glories of war.” None. Why? Because it is a war of purification. You want war, fire, blood, to purify you; and the Lord of Hosts has demanded that you should walk through fire and blood. You are called to the fiery baptism, and I call upon you to come up to the altar. Though your pathway be through fire, or through a river of blood, turn not aside. Be in no hurry—no hurry and flurry.
Collect yourselves, summon yourselves, elevate yourselves to the high and sacred duty of patriotism. The man who dares to pray, the man who dares to wait until some magic arm is put into his hand; the man who will not go unless he have a Minié, or percussion musket, who will not be content with flint and steel, or even a gun without a lock, is worse than a coward—he is a renegade. If he can do no better, go to a blacksmith, take a gun along as a sample, and get him to make you one like it. Get a spear—a lance. Take a lesson from John Brown. Manufacture your blades from old iron, . even though it be the tires of your cart-wheels. Get a bit of carriage spring, and grind and burnish it in the shape of a bowie knife, and put it to any sort of a handle, so that it be strong—ash, hickory, oak. But, if possible, get a double-barrelled gun and a dozen rounds of buckshot, and go upon the battlefield with these.
If their guns reach further than yours, reduce the distance; meet them foot to foot, eye to eye, body to body, and when you strike a blow, strike home. Your true-blooded Yankee will never stand still in the face of cold steel. Let your aim, therefore, be to get into close quarters, and with a few decided, vigorous movements, always pushing forward, never back, my word for it, the soil of Virginia will be swept of the Vandals who are now polluting its atmosphere.
The band then struck up “Dixie,” which was followed by “ We may be Happy yet.”