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Full text of "Resolutions and address of Judge Thomas G. Jones : in memory of Gen'l John B. Gordon, at Nashville, Tenn., June 15, 1904"

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Resolutions and Address of Judge mniipniiiiimw"""" -^- ^ 

Jones, in Memory of Gen'l John B. ^^^ ''^ 

at Nashville, Tenn., June 15, 1904. 

Commander in Chief, Comrades and Fellow Countripnen: 

One of the noblest souls that ever "left or tenanted 
human form" has ascended. 'No words spoken here 
can add to the significance of the life that has gone, or 
the nobility of its lessons; and yet, when we think of 
Gordon, all onr souls cr^' out for utterance. 

As we recall his life and work, we are carried back 
to the days of storm and battle, when the differences 
bequeathed to the generation of that diy by the fore- 
fathers, rent our land in civil war, and the South, all 
unprepared, went out with naked valor against a 
world in arms. There come t» us the first passionate 
rushing to arms and the delirium of those days, with 
their visions of glory, happiness and greatness. Then 
we live agaiu in the longyears of alternate victory and 
defeat, hope and despair, in which were melted the 
iguobler passions of the strife and a whole people 
blended in a sterner consecration to duty, suffering and 
sacrifice. A.gain we visit the graves of the slain and 
stand with the mourners, the wounded, the sick and 
dying, in a land harried by arms, where want stalks 
abroad, while the very sun seems darkened and the 
air is filled with wails. We see the Confederate soldier 
clinging to his colors, while wife and child at home 
clutched at his courage with cries for bread; that 
courage which sounded all the depths and shoals of 
misfortune and for a time throttled fate itself. We 
hear again the ringing yell of his onset, his battle 
anthem for native land rising heavenward above the 
roar of five hundred stormy fields. Then the conscious 
air is hushed with the solemn tidings from Appomattox. 
Then we view the home coming of the defeated soldier, 
the woe and waste that awaited him there, the hard 
task of beginning life anew amid the wreck of industries, 
institutions and order. Then we live again some days 

of peace worse than the days of war, when misconstruc- 
tion and passion for a time misled the victor and the 
bayonet-made law. Then we see, clear-cut and strong 
as figures cleft in rock, the Confederate soldier and the 
Confederate women rising superior to calamity and 
despair, and teaching the world "how sublime a thing 
it is to suffer and grow strong." Then the sunshine 
drives out the darkness, and the mists of passion and 
misconstruction fade, to give place to the rehabilitation 
of the States, and the new union, with its hopes and 
happiness, audits reconciliation. 

In this flood of memories, Gordon, resplendent in the 
))eauty of youth and hope and consecration, comes to us 
again, as he pleaded at Montgomery, in 1861, for ''a 
place in the picture near the flashing of the guns," and 
we watch the sheen of his sword from Seven Pines to 
Apponiatox, The story of one battle is the story of 
another, .«ave that with greater opportunity came the 
exhibition ot higher power, nobler daring and sublimer 

At Sharpsburg, while in command of the Sixth 
Alabama, he occupied a vital and exposed point on 
Lee's center. He pnmiised Lee to hold it, aud he held 
it. He roused his men to almost superhuman effort, 
and steadied ihem against tremendous odds, as he moved 
along the tiery crest of battle, the realization of all that 
warriors dream of, his blood flowing from four un- 
stanched and unheeded wounds, until stricken by a 
litth and well nigh fatal one, he was borne unconscious 
to the rear. A biigadier, at the head of six splendid 
Georgia regiments, he retook Mary's Heigths, ere other 
tinops who were to take part, lealized that the battle 
was (»n, and like a thunderbolt dashed Barlow's division 
to pieces ai Gettysburg. In the days of the Wilderness 
none won more glory than he. Jn the early morn, on 
the 12th of May, when Hancock seized the "Horse 
Shoe" and cut the Army of Northern Virginia in twain, 
and was moving swiftly inside our lines to complete our 


destruction, Gordon in temporary command of Early's 
division, was in reserve, with orders which left him 
large discretion and charged with momentous respon- 
sibilities. He decided quickly and acted instantan- 
eously, with 'the divine instinct of the heaven- 
born soldier. He struck like the lightning flash, 
halting Hancock's assault at the supreme moment, 
with one brigade, and then with the rest of the 
division headed the resistless re-entering wedge which 
shattered all on either side of it, and saved the day. 
His comrades and the country felt as did Lee, who 
said to him: ''You saved the army and won its 
admiration by the way in which you handled your 
division yesterday. I could not rest satisfied until 
you had permanent command of it. I telegraphed the 
President and am glad to give you his reply, that you 
have been commissioned a major general to date from 
the '12th of May." It was Gordon whose genius 
suggested and skill executed the daring plan which 
passed Jackson's old corps by a swift night march 
along the base of Massanutten mountain, despite the 
obstacles with which nature beset the movement, 
and hurled that' corps at dawn, with the sweep and 
power of an avalanche, upon Sheridan's, army, 
shattering two of its corps and driving all in disor- 
der to the rear, where its situation doomed it to 
destruction, if the concentration he ordered against it 
had been left to the hands which struck the first 

Next he is promoted to the command of Jackson's old 
corps and placed by Lee to defend his right, in 
the days of his extremity at Petersburg. There with 
rare skill he drove back a turning movement on the 
banks of Hatcher's Run, little less formidable than the 
effort which afterwards wrought our ruin, when Five 
Forks fell. When the end was nigh, Lee, who held in 
check what was in the front, but was threatened in rear 
by the disasters which everywhere else overtook the 

Confederate arms, selected Gordou to devise and head 
the last desperate offensive movement of the Army of 
Northern Virginia, to save the failing fortunes of the 
Confederacy, This attack failed, after great initial 
success, from untoward causes, which human foresight 
could not prevent. He held his lines on the fateful 
Sunday, when our right was crushed, and such was the 
fury of his counter-attack that the engineer brigade 
from City Point was hurried to the support of the 
troops who held the only point on his lines which he 
did not retake that day. He is ordered to protect the 
rear on the memorable retreat from Petersburg. When 
the time was nigh for the last attempt of the army to 
cut through encircling foes, Lee brings him from the 
rear to the front. With the small remnant of his own 
men, and parts of Hill and Anderson's corps and a body 
of cavalry under Fitz Lee, Gordon, as the sun rose on 
that fateful morning to look on a nation dying there, 
dashed furiously against superior forces of artillery and 
cavalry, driving them back in confusion on the solid 
masses of Ord's infantry, and tlien stood ready to die 
until Lee ordered a cessation of biittle. Without any 
military training or outside influence* to help him up- 
ward, Gordon, at the age of thirty three, had won a 
Lieutenant Generalcy and immortal fame in one of its 
grandest armies. 

What are the chief characteristics of a great Captain! 
He must have power to compel the affections and inspire 
the blind confidence of his followers. He must be able 
to impress upon them that he sympathizes with them, 
watches over their welfare, cares for their lives as for 
precious jewels, while always ready to give his own life 
and reputation for them. He must have the insight to 
discern the strength and designs and moral atmosphere 
of his opponents, and correctly to forecast their concep- 
tions of their own surroundings and dangers, and the 
design, strength and situations, moral or physical, 
which they ascribe to him. He must have an abiding 

confidence in himself, and the ability to think clearly 
and decide qniekly, in time of disaster, confiictin;;- in- 
formation, or sndden or unexpected situations. He 
must have serenity of character not to be cast down by 
adversity, and the moral courage to grasp opportunity 
and risk lite, reputation and command, on the hazard 
of the die, when the good of his cause justifies risk, or 
untoward events impel instant decision and action. He 
must have that judgment which tempers but does not 
shrivel boldness, the strength of conviction which does 
not halt or vacillate, or suspend its purpose, in the face 
of obstacles and doubt, when he has' done his best, and 
the wisdom which sees all obstacles in planning and 
none in execution, save those which are insuperable. 
He B»ust be liberal of praise, and chary of blame, willing 
to yield his glory to others and to assume faults not his 
own. He must be unselfish in the large sense, yielding 
hearty loyalty to superiors, and showing generosity and 
kindness to inferiors. When to these we add profound 
belief in the necessity and justice of his cause,the pur- 
pose to die rather than be beaten, and belief and prac- 
tice of the highest code of religion and morality of his 
time, we have the subtle qualities which make the com- 
mander and his army one, molding it the willing instru- 
ment of his will, unquestioning, despising odds, and 
death, following blindly to immolation, to sustain his 
efforts. These are the sovereign gifts which make the 
great commander, and crown men uAonarchs of the bat- 

Measured by these tests, Gordon came up to the full 
stature of military greatness. Nothing presents more 
strikingly his possession of the fine fiber of many of 
these traits, than his conduct on the fifth of May in the 
Wilderness, when after a fierce counter-charge piercing 
the enemy's long advancing line of battle, which had 
driven our men in confusion, and gave way only along 
the small front of Gordon's assault, he found that his 
orivietous men as formed were standing on the same 


general line of Ihe enemy, which extended unbroken on 
either side, niakino- retreat, or advance, or inaction, 
equally fatal. He saw and remedied the situation in- 
stantly. Changing the battle front of his brigade, by 
fiicing right and left from the center, so that his six 
regiments, three facing one way, and three the other, 
were back to back, he was striking ;ind driving the en- 
emy's exposed flanks like a hauiuieron the head of 
a nail, in ten minutes after the situation developed. No 
soldier ever displayed higher genius or more heroic 
qualities than did Gordon at dawn on the 12th of May, 
when in the mists and fogs of the tangled woods, amid 
the clamor of disaster and the roar of a victorious as- 
sault which h'^d poured across our works, and was mov- 
ing down our lines, he struck instantly with one brigade 
at a hostile corps, to gain time for the formation of the 
rest of his command, and then having lifted his men to 
an exaltation bordering on fanaticism by his remon- 
strances to Lee, who was "ordered to the rear," hurled 
his division, himself at the head, in a resistless counter- 
assault which reversed the glory of the day, and saved 
the .\rmy of Northern Virginia. Xever was illustrated 
nicer calculation, or better adaptation of plan to time, 
place, circumstances and means, or comprehension of 
the moral effects of attack, than in the movement he 
advocated and led across the Shenandoah upon Sheri- 
idan's left on October 19th, 1861. No commander 
ever displayed greater confidence in himself and in his 
mien than did Gordon at Monocacy, when the cavalry 
having attracted attention to his dispositions while he 
was in the full tide of a flank movement, he found supe- 
rior numbers threatening his destruction if he remained 
as he was, and yet strongly posted above the stream 
above compelling him to attack them with inferior num- 
bers, across open fields studded with fences and shocks 
of hay, and make iustant changes in his plans, in the 
sight and under the fire of the enemy. He instantly 
perceived and did what was best to do. His rare fac- 

ulty for handling and inspiring masses on the field and 
his lordly personal courage carried his followers over 
all obstacles and drove Wallace back in defeat, though 
the Monocacy ran red with their blood, and a third of his 
division fell, killed or wounded. Grealer unselfishuess 
and higher moral courage to stake self, reputati(»n, and 
command, on the hazard «)f the die for the good of his 
cause has never been, thau when this young general, 
whose laurels grew only brighter by coutrast with dis- 
asters through which his corps had lately passed, pro- 
posed to Lee, after both had agreed "that to stand still 
would be death, and it would ouly be death if we fought 
and failed," to find some weak point in Grant's armor 
and command the assault upon it in one last desperate 
effort, when the chances were as one to five on the side 
of defeat, and that he would only wither his fame and 
link his name, if he survived, with tjie memories of a 
gieat disaster. His march around Sheridan's army and 
assault upon his left at Cedar Creek, and the flank at- 
tack he suggested and commanded on the 6th ot May, in 
the Wilderness, were worthy counterparts of Jackson's 
great movement on Pope, and the last stroke of his 
genius in overwhelming Hooker. 

He had the sublime faith of Jackson, the sound judg- 
ment of Johnston, the steadfastness of Longsireet or 
Cleburne, the genius of Forest, the boldness and dash 
of Stuart, the inteusity of Early or Davis, and was as 
unselfish and pure in thought as Lee. 

No soldier who ever coniraanded English-speaking 
troops, cr led citizen soldiery of any race, knew better 
how to sway and inspire the hearts of men upon the 
battle field. None excelled him in feeling the pulse of 
the battle or detecting the play of moral forces in the 
current of battle. He was a born woodsman, and took 
in as with the glance of an eagle's eye the advantages of 
position. His voice combined the charm of a flute with 
the clearness and volume of a trumpet. " It was worth 
the risk of battle to see him on horseback amid his 

troops. Major Stiles, in his great book, 'Tour Years 
Under MarseRobert," gives this vivid picture of Gor- 
don in a charge: "Gordon was the most glorious and in- 
spiring thing I ever looked upon. He was riding a 
beantilul coal-black stallion, captured at Winchester, 
that belonged to one of the Federal generals in Milroy's 
army — a majestic animal, whose neck was clothed with 
thunder. I never saw a horse's neck so arched, his eye 
so fierce, his nostril so dilated. He followed in a trot, 
close on the heels of the battle-line, his head right in 
among the slanting barrels and bayonets, the reins loose 
upon his neck, his rider standing in his stirrups, bare- 
headed, hat in hand, arms extended and, in a voice like 
a trumpet, exhorting his men." He always had crisp 
words to rouse the ardor of his men as his line moved 
into action, and if it was jjrudeut to do so, he often 
told them what was intended, and what he expected of 
them. Some of his battle speeches were master. pieces 
of emotion and oratory, j^o leader of ancient or modern 
times has excelled him in this respect. He was no j a 
raging volcano in battle or in time of excitement. No 
one ever had reason to complain of his moods on the 
field. There was just enough glow in acts and speech 
to inspire confidence that all was going well, while a 
battle look beamed on his face which spoke the joy of 
fight and unalterable purpose to conquer or die. It 
was almost impossible for one to be in his presence, or 
in the sound of his voice in battle, and then feel afraid. 
He knew what detail and parts others could work out 
better than himself, and was always ready to avail of 
such aid and to praise it. He maintained discipline 
more by love than by force, and yet on proper occa- 
sions he was not wanting in sternness. He thoroughly 
despised a coward and skulker. He seldom noticed 
breaches of discipline, unless very grave, by the men 
who were always at the front. Xo skulker from the 
ranks was ever slain by Gordon for fleeing in battle; and 
yet, most soldiers had rather face a flaming battery than 


incur his expostulation and scorn. His relations with 
the officers and men under him were unique; and in 
many respects incomprehensible to commanders who 
believe only in the unthinking bayonet. I[e was a tre- 
quentvisitorto the sick and wounded in the hospitals 
often went through the ca.nps and along the ranks 
on the march, and many a time selected some foot sore 
private and directed him to ride his horse, while he 
''walked to rest a little." The men felt that the gen- 
eral was not merely a superior officer, but a friend, and 
in a degree a kinsman. If his private correspondence 
and interviews during those days were known, we would 
be surprised to find how many and what kind, of per- 
sonal concerns, quite apart from those of military life, 
his soldiers carried to him for advice and help. Orce a 
Georgia youth, gawky and shame-faced, came to the 
General'^ tent, while the General was dictating some 
correspondence, and asked to see him privately. I went 
out, and on my return found the General composing a 
letter. The private had trouble and a lover's quarrel to 
smooth with an absent sweetheart in Georgia. The Gen- 
eral heard him and framed a reply, and Gordon won a 
victory for the boy. Yet with all this closeness to the 
rank and file, none ever dreamed of taking undue lib- 
erty with him, or withholding the respect due his rank 
and character. He was a man of deep religious instincts 
and took a keen interest in the spiritual welfare of his 
men. Many a time at some church service or great 
revival among the soldiers he extended the right hand 
of fellowship to some humble private. He was not jeal- 
ous of his reputation or fault-finding and during the 
four years of his service had only one controversy with 
a superior officer, and then rather about his men than 
himself. He was careful of the feelings of others and 
quick to perceive and heal the wounds of over-sensitive- 
ness. For a man of his achievements, he was singu- 
larly simple and modest. Save with inttmate friends, 
he seldom discussed any event in his own military his- 


tory. He was besought time and^time again by his old 
soldiers to prepare some memoir of his services in the 
Confederate Army, and he yielded at last more from a 
belief that such a work might add to the comfort of his 
loved ones at home, than from any thought that it 
would tiansmit to posterity the record of one whom the 
world would not Millingly forget. He never exposed 
the lives of his men when he could avoid it, and never 
avoided exposure of himself. Amid the heat of fight 
he never forgot the commander's duty to watch the 
whole line, and never allowed the excitement of the 
shifting scenes of combat, to concentrate his attention 
upon a minor event in his battle. He was buoyant and 
seldom cast down and no matter how desperate his 
fortunes, no man ever went out of his presence feeling 
that all was lost. Even Lee once said to him: "Gen- 
eral, it is a great comfort to be with you." With the 
instinct of the hunter for game, he was always pro- 
viding food and equipment for his men, when within 
human reach, and he exemplified on march and in 
bivouac and camp the prompting of a lofty soul 
which dis<lained to avoid anj of their trials and 
hardships. It was this personality and these char- 
acteristics which enabled this young soldier, when 
the shadow of the coming eclipse darkened all our 
hopes, to rekindle in Jackson's corps, thinned by 
the slaughter of years of incessant battle, and dispirited 
by recent disaster, the old enthusiasm, which carried 
them, undismayed and confident in that plunge into 
black death in the night attack at Fort Steadman, 
held them unyielding and defiant on the long retreat, 
and at Sailor's Creek, and then hurled them with the 
abandon and fire of their early days into the last charge 
at Appomattox. Verily, he was a worthy successor of 
Stonewall Jackson. 

Defeat halted neither his achievements nor the sweejv 
of his fame. Ere he knew it, the warrior had put off 
the sword, put on the toga of the statesman, and grap- 


pled with the times. In the evening after the formal 
surrender at Appomattox, he gave some counsel to his 
men which, viewed at this day, is remarkable for its 
prophecy and lofty j^triotism. The men were destitute, 
despairing, and many of them desperate. They were 
soon to return to their homes, not knowing what would 
await them there. They crowded about him for conso- 
lation and farewell. At first they came in little knots, 
and then, as these left, others would come. He com- 
forted them as best he could. No man realized more 
keenly than he the wreck of the old order, and what it 
meant to these men. His emotions well nigh over- 
whelmed him. He remarked that "he could not stand 
it," and went inside his tent. But the men who loved 
him and hung on his words would not be denied, and 
soon several thousand gathered. Finding no place from 
which to address them, he mounted his horse and rode 
among them, speaking from his saddle. Had that ad- 
dress been recorded, it would have lived alongside of 
Pericles' oration in honor of the Athenian dead 
in the Pelloponnesean war. No man can repeat the 
words or describe their power as they fell from his lips, 
but the first two sentences and the substance of what he 
said are burned in memory: "I believe in God Almighty. 
I have not tortured my mind about what is preordained, 
and what is left entirely to men. The God who created 
the heavens and the earth, and made man, had a pur- 
pose. He can smite the waters, and we will pass over 
dry shod, or he may stay his hand and allow the bil- 
lows to roll about us. Whatever is, is allowed for some 
divine purpose." They could not understand it now, 
but must trust that some wise purpose would yet work 
good out of ill, from all our miseries and disaster. He 
bade his followers hope, pointing out that the men who 
had been arrayed against us in arms appreciated the 
valor and nobility of purpose of the Confederate soldier 
and that the American manhood in the hearts of the 
victors would prevent extreme measures or repression. 


He remiDcled his hearers that a people no more than an 
army coultl achieve, or be worthy of anything without 
discipline or self restraint, and he besought them to take 
part in civil government as soon as permitted, to be 
obedient to law and authority, and not to resort to law- 
less force to resent indignity and oppression, which for 
a time might be heaped upon them. He bade them re- 
member that national disaster couk\ not destroy charac- 
ter or individuals, or debar them from leading happy, 
useful and noble lives, if only they remained true to 
themselves. He pictured the fertility of our soil and 
the variety of our resources, the need of the world for 
our great staple, and knew that the same energy and 
devotion which had made the Confederate soldier illus- 
trious iu war would restore the waste places. There 
might be trouble with the old slave; but the old master's 
intelligence, sense of justice, and patience with a help- 
less and ignorant race, would in the end solve the 
problem. He spoke of his slain brother and the ties 
whic':' bound us to our dead, and begged their surviving 
comrades to be worthy of them, and not to leave the 
country, but to remain at home to care for the women 
and children, to succor the families of the dead, the 
destitute and the maimed. Force, he said, could not 
kill principle and truth, but altered conditions may re- 
quire different applications of them. He referred to 
early ties which bound the people of the North and 
South together, who, notwithstanding the war, still 
must feel the benign influences of the same language, 
Bible, and God, in national life under a constitution and 
Hag which were largely the creation of the South. He 
believed the passions and , mists of the war would soon 
lift, that the people would soon understand each other, 
and that the day would come, to which the young, at 
least, could confidently look forward, when we would 
yet iind in the New Union, the happiness, security and 
independence for which the forefathers fought. As his 
words rang oat in the solemn hush of the woods, they 


came with the force and authority of one inspired. 
Every man who heard him was strangely lifted up and 
comforted. The counsels and wisdom of that address 
were a part of the moral forces which saved the home- 
ward march from the stain of violence or wroug, an I 
helped to make the paroled the citizen whose conduct and 
achievements in peace won the admiration and Nvonder 
of the world. 

Mingled in his thoughts of his old soldiers, and with 
the same affection, were the generation whom the war 
had deprived of education. Gordon had scarcely ar- 
ranged his affairs at home, before he began to urge the 
necessity, and helped to provide the means, of putting 
in our schools non-partisan and non-sectional histories. 
He insisted that the youth of the country should be 
taught the truth concerning our great struggle and the 
issues it involved., just as the truth was. He was of and 
for, and with the people, in every just aspiration, and 
counseled with them in all their trials. The people who 
had remained at home grew to love him as passionately 
as his old soldiers. He became a resistless force in pub- 
lic thought and life. Georgia twice made him Governor 
and twice bore him to the Senate of the United States. 
Prolific as she has been of sages, orators, soldiers and 
statesmen, no man ever lived in her borders who had in 
a greater degree the confidence and affection of her peo- 
ple, or finer mastery over their hearts, or wielded it for 
nobler ends. After the death of Lee, no man had as 
wide influence as he in the South, and it was always and 
bravely exercised. He was prominent in her councils 
in the events which culminated w^hen Hays declared 
that 'Hhe flag should float over States, not provinces,"and 
it was due to his counsels and influence, more than those 
of any one man, that great calamities were averted, in 
the then excited condition of the public mind. It was 
only ''the Chevalier Bayard of the Army of Northern 
Virginia," as General Hill termed him, who could send 
the message, and be heeded, when passion was about to 


break all bounds in Xew Orleans, "bear aud forbear, 
even unto death." 

Xo man knew better than he that the fnture peace of 
the country and the happiness of the millions who had 
made such unparallelled sacrifices to separate from the 
Government to which events returned them, must rest 
on surer foundation than the memory of defeat. He 
knew the followers of Lee and Johnston would observe 
their i)aroles, but his manhood taught him that a 
defeated people could not parole principles and future 
generations. He felt that the coming da^s would only 
repeat the past, it the generation which fought from 
Manassas to Appomattox sought to implant in the 
minds and hearts of their children any judgment of the 
past, which involved the millions on the one side or the 
other in dishonor. He believed that the men of those 
days, who did not create and could not control the 
apparently unalterable conditions which then wounded 
the happiness and unity of the Kepublic, aud finding 
no other practical solution, marched out, as God gave 
their minds and hearts to see aud know the right, to 
battle and death in defense of their convictions, though 
they differed and warred, were *'yet united in the 
higher and immortal bond of equal fidelity to j)riuciple." 
He profoundly believed, aud therefore earnestly taught, 
that the valor, heroism and sa'crifices of the struggle 
were a glorious and blessed heritage of the whole 
American people, and that neither fealty to the dead 
nor fidelity to principle, nor any law of honor or interest, 
called the people of any section to any other view. He 
felt that the man who went into that struggle with 
pure heart aud came out with clean hands, left a proud 
heritage. He sought to sow these seeds everywhere. It 
was not an easy task; but he went on unmindful of 
those little souls who cannot understand loyalty to a 
cause unless it hates and asperses those who oppose it.- 
He "held humanity high above all hate." He appre- 
ciated Grant's delicacy of soul at Appomattox, admir- 


ed him as a soldier, reciprocated the sentiment written 
by his dying hand at Mount McGregor, and was a 
sincere mourner at his bier. He venerated Davis and 
visited him at Fortress Monroe, and when, years after- 
ward, he was borne by the love of his people from the 
retirement of his home by the sea to 'his old capital, 
while the world looked on and learned that the people 
for whom he suffered had neither forgotten nor deserted 
him in the hour of adversity, Gordon was there to do 
him honor. There was not wanting many who sought 
to make the people's acclaim for the man who was 
ironed for our sakes, a cause for rekindling the passions 
of the past, Gordon, welcoming Davis, delivered a 
memorable address, from the spot where the Confeder- 
acy was born, which went home to the hearts of the 
American people. It was idle and wrong, he said, to 
expect men on either side who followed cherished 
convictions to battle, and consecrated the best days of 
their lives to a cause, to forget their past, their dead, 
their valor or their achievements. If that time should 
come to pass, virtue would wither and die in the land. 
It was natural, right and wise that the people of the 
sections should glory in their deeds of valor and the 
memory of their dead, and if proper inspiration were 
drawn from their great lesson, the country would rise 
higher, purer and grander for the strife. He went all 
over this land of ours as the apostle of peace. Thousands 
heard him in the cities and hamlets of the North, East 
and West, and for the first time understood the Confed- 
erate soldier as he was and is, and many at the South 
were taught by him that patriotism and courage are 
not sectional. His work was far reaching and sublime, 
and ranks him among the purest and best of American 
statesmen. I^eed any one, least of all his old comrades, 
be told that this man was the knightliest of the knight- 
ly in his reverence for woman, a model husband, father, 
brother, friend and neighbor, and grieved none who 
knew, him save when he died. 


The joys of last Christmas-tide had scarce ended, 

when the news came from the Florida shores that our 

CoMiniander-in-Chief had gone beyond the stars. Flags 

at lialf-rnast on Sonthein Capitols and Governors of 

States paid homage to his memory. Confederate 

Veterans and Sons of Veterans and people by thousands 

gathered aroniid his bier. Aye, the I^orth was there 

too. From camps of his old foes came resolutions and 

messages of condolence. A regiment of Regulars sent 

bv the President of the United States, with national 

colors, draped, and arms presented, saluted the dead 

soldier. And there were other soldiers who did him 

homage there, who had not followed ''the star-crossed 

banner which has long since taken its flight to greet the 

warrior's 8<ml." Grizzled and maimed members of the 

Grand Army of the Kepnblic stood uncovered and 

tearful as we V)ore his body away. All that is mortal of 

him sleeps near Atlanta, in the soil he loved so well, on 

a consecrated spot near where Walker and McPhersou 

and thousands of brave men fell. There, among them, 

he will rise again when the 'Master sounds the reveille, 

and the soldier ''looks into the face which will make 

glorious his own." I know not, as the vast throng 

wended its way back to the city, which of all the things 

that made us love him was uppermost in the hearts 

which then paid him each its own tribute; but there 

came to me the words from the soul of Davis, on his 

memorable visit, after the love of liis people had kissed 

away the scar of the fetters: "It is worth while to have 

suffered much to have knownyouand clasped yourhand," 

and Lee's thought of Gordon in the darkest hours of 

his life: "It is a great comtort to be with you." And 

thus, our Arthur "has passed t > be king of the dead." 

And now, in obedience to the command of his loved 
successor, I offer these resolutions: 

Since ourlast assembling John B. Gordon, Commander- 
in-Chief of the United Confederate Veterans, in the 
fullness of his fame and usefulness, has passed from 


among men. He valued the office which onr love con- 
ferred upon him as the greatest honor of his life. His 
death is the greatest loss that could have come to us. It 
is impossible in formal resolutions to express what he 
was to us, and what we were to him. His life and deeds 
from the day he entered the Confederate service to the 
hour of his death are known at every fireside in the 
South, and the frequent objects of admiration and vene- 
ration abroad. ''His countrymen, in telling them, can 
give no information even to the stranger." Entering the 
service as Captain, he had won at the age of thirty- 
three, the rank of Lieutenant General, and imperishable 
fame, in one of the world's greatest wars, in one of its 
grandest armies. Defeat halted neither his achievements 
nor the sweep of his fame. The warrior put off the 
sword to become the orator, statesman and leader of his 
people in peace. Georgia twice made him Governor and 
twice bore him to the Senate of the United. States. After 
the death of Lee, no man wielded as wide an influence in 
the South, and commanded in as great a degree the con- 
fidence of her people, or had a finer mastery over their 
hearts, or used it for nobler ends. He was an exemplar 
of her manhood, and of all that is best in the Confed- 
erate soldier in war and peace, and her counsellor in 
great crises in the recent history of our country. He 
loved his home, revered woman and trusted in God, and 
was stainless, unselfish and loving in all the relations of 
life. ISTeither creed nor race bound his benevolence, and 
at the time of his death he was the most universally be- 
loved man at home, and the most respected abroad. 

Therefore, Eesolved, The United Confederate Veterans 
mourn for John B. Gordon, and commend the example 
of his life as to the admiration of posterity. 

Resolved, That we tender our deepest sympathy and' 
love to the noble woman and wife, whose courage, devo- 
tion and gentle ministrations sustained and cheered him 
in all his trials, shared his danger on the battle-field, 


and who, from the days of his youth to the hour of his 
death, was the iuspiratiou of his stainless life. 

Resolved, That it would be a reproach to us, not to 
him, if a suitable monument be not erected to point 
the example of his splendid memory and virtues, and, 
therefore, cordially approve the ''Gordon Monument As- 
socia^^^ion" which has been inaugurated in Atlanta, and 
ask veterans and sous of veterans, and the people at 
large, to aid in this work. 

Resolved, That these resolutions be spread upon the 
minutes and a copy be sent to Mrs. Gordon. 


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