Letter to Confederate troops

Monday, May 07, 2007

The following letter was composed and read by Fannie Benners, on behalf of the women of Jefferson, to Confederate troops on the eve of their departure to the Civil War:

"Gentlemen: Allow me as the chosen, yet humble, medium of the ladies, who at the request of one of your fellow citizens (he having furnished the means), have made and tendered this testimonial of their high appreciation of the valor and patriotism that induced you thus to form yourselves into so chivalric and noble a band to defend and free this fair sunny south, the land of our sires and our homes, from the tyranny of a worse than Vandal foes.

"In offering you a standard which we trust may prove a rallying point of many a victorious battlefield, not to increase your bravery and valor, for they are ample to every demand, but to keep ever present in your souls the puissant thoughts of home and loved ones whose every prayer is for your success and whose tears are for your hardships and misfortunes.

"The motto of this banner, ‘The brave may fall, but never yield,’ is consonant with the patriotism which has convoked this military existence, and as you catch its voiceless whispers in your ears, and list its soft echoes in your souls, a new inspiration will seize you, rendering stout your hearts and strong your arms.

"Gentlemen, the pathway which duty and patriotism has pointed, and which you have so willingly and determinately entered, is one beset with dangers, difficulties and hardships, compared to which the labors of Hercules and the toils of Sysiphus are as child’s play.

"Then grow not weary, but work earnestly and to purpose. Should you be faint and weary from over-toil and the heat and thirst of battle, remember, that beyond you is the ever-gushing fountain from the cleft rock of freedom to slake your thirst and reward you. Then strike again, and soon. Fair and prophetic Hope, on ambient wing, mounting ever upward, toward the blue Empyrean, shall, in concert with liberty, sing that happifying paean, ‘Our land is free, return, ye spared and favored few, to happy homes where loved ones stand with open arms and loving hearts to receive and greet you.’

"Again, gentlemen, the Southern Confederacy must have a history, and Texas the Beautiful must have one more volume of her perilous and valorous achievements, to become, as she should be, the hope of the present and the guiding star of future generations. Remember, then, that you — it may be in blood upon the battlefield with sword points and unerring aim — must write the imperishable character from which the future historian is to compile that volume as a monument to your deeds.

"Then let this battalion give that most brilliant chapter to Confederate history, and bequeath to Texas, that other and better volume of her illustrious record, and so ordain by your achievements that, side by side of Davis, Beauregard and Johnson, shall be her Crump, McCulloch and Wigfall, while members of this battalion form a galaxy of encircling stars.

"Then, gentlemen, receive this banner, made by woman’s hands, consecrated by woman’s prayers and bedewed by woman’s tears.

"Let it be your talisman, its motto, with the justness of your cause, your fortress of rock, and from its folds and stars, know that the norms and features of loved ones at home ever look down on you.

"To you, we now consign it, full of confidence of your will and courage to protect it. But, if, at length, should largely superior numbers overwhelm and force you, crush out your lives, in that extremity and with a prayer for the deliverance of your country, gather it’s bars and stars around you as your warrior’s winding sheet, look proudly to heaven from the deathbed of fame while your spirits soar in its glorious enshrouding to the heaven of the brave and the good.

"But now we must bid you farewell. Then go, where duty calls. Thither we cannot follow you to nurse and cheer you, but to God, we commend you.

"As you go, invoke for you all those virtuous dispositions and blessings which will render you valorous and invincible.

"Then go, and when the fair angel of peace folds her white wings to rest and seeks the Triune Altar of Southern Liberty, Freedom and Independence as her eternal bidding place, then, but not till then, return and your country shall crown you heroes, and we will give you all we have: woman’s love.

"Once more, a sad yet loving farewell, a word that hath been and must be said yet again — FAREWELL."

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