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PAGE 122 Southern Historical Society Papers.
The Confederate soldiers who engaged in the struggle for constitutional liberty and the right of self-government were neither rebels nor traitors; they were true and brave men, who devoted their fortunes and their lives to the mothers who bore them, and their precious blood watered the hills, valleys and plains of their native States, and their bodies sleep in unknown graves, where they shall rest until the last great trumpet shall summon all alike, the conquered and the conqueror.
The survivors have no government with its hundreds of millions for pensions; in the loneliness and suffering of advancing years and increasing infirmities, they can look alone to the States which they served so faithfully in battle, in victory and in defeat.
The noble soldiers who composed the illustrious armies of Northern Virginia and Tennessee made a gallant fight against overwhelming odds for what they believed to be sacred rights and constitutional liberty. The contest was decided by the sword against them.
These matchless soldiers accepted the issue in good faith; they returned to their homes; they resumed the avocations of peace, and engaged in building up the broken fortunes of family and country. These brave soldiers have discharged the obligations of good and peaceful citizens as well as they had performed the duties of thorough soldiers on the battle-field. It has been well said that no country ever produced braver or more intelligent and chivalric soldiers or more industrious, law-abiding and honorable citizens, than were the soldiers who surrendered with the Confederate flag. The earth has never been watered by nobler or richer blood than that shed by those who fell beneath its folds.
I have the honor, General, to remain Your obedient servant,
JOSEPH JONES, M. D.,
Surgeon-General United Confederate Veterans.