In honor of Confederate Heritage Month, here is the continued post from April 1.
It is for you, Southern matrons, to guard your cherished ones against this foul idolatry, and to teach them a nobler and a higher moral. It is for you to bring the youth of our land to these consecrated mounds and to engrave in their candid souls the true story of our wrongs, our motives and our deeds.
Tell them in tender and eloquent words that those who lie here entombed were neither traitors nor rebels, and that those absurd epithets are but the ravings of malignant folly when applied to men who claimed nothing but their right under the Constitution of their fathers — the right of self-government.
Tell them how we exhausted every honorable means to avoid the terrible arbitrament of war, asking only to be let alone, and tendering alliance, friendship, free navigation – everything reasonable and magnanimous – to obtain an amicable settlement.
Tell them how, when driven to draw the sword, we fought the mercenaries of all the world until, overpowered by tenfold numbers, we fell; but, like Leonidas and his Spartans of old, fell so heroically that our defeat was more glorious than victory…
Next to their duty to God, teach your offspring to love their native Southern land all the more tenderly for its calamities, and to cherish the memories of their fathers all the more preciously because they battled for the right and went down in the unequal strife…
Part of the address entitled, “His Words Live After Him,” by General R.E. Colston to the Virginia Ladies’ Memorial Association, Confederate Veteran (March, 1897).