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

"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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