Monday, December 30, 2013

Seventeen Years Ago, The Battle of Murfreesboro, 1879

To-morrow the 31st of December, will be the anniversary of the battle of Murfreesboro or Stones river as it is called by those who were on the Federal side, which was fought by the armies of Bragg and Rosencranz on the last day of the year 1862, seventeen years.  It does not seem so long to some of the survivors and yet more enduring history has been made in that period than in whole centuries of the early and middle ages.  the wounds of our war are healed and the time has come when the participants can with pleasure "shoulder a crutch and show how battles were won," and lost.  The war is over with them; its cup was drained to the dregs, and "out of the bitter cometh forth sweet."  We have entered upon a long and splendid era of peace, prosperity and national glory.  Grand civil displays, scientific discoveries, architectural triumphs and agricultural trophies occupy all the space and attention once devoted to the paraphernalia and the pomp and circumstance of war.  The martial spirit of our people finds vent in holiday excursions, sham battles, base ball and other physical exercises.  The rising generation reads of the war as a thing of history which occurred after the revolutionary war, but not much later than the Mexican war.  There is little to remind young people of this period except here and there crumbling breastworks, a national cemetery, and the few who carry an empty sleeve or walk on crutches.  Time has wrought great changes; we almost wonder that there ever was a war.  How impossible it would be in the next fifty years to stir up the civil strife of 1860-61.  Having fought well on both sides, we learned to respect each other and to admit that there are two sides to all questions.  A perfect understanding was secured between the great masses of the people, the rights of all are secure, and we feel that the blood of that great struggle was not shed in vain.  It solved speedily questions which otherwise would have retarded our growth, kept the people divided, prejudiced foreign nations and been a source of trouble and apprehension for, perhaps, a century to come.  The war was a continual vindication and patriotism.  these qualities were not confined to any section or state, and the credit is shared by the whole people, and history will divide the honors alike with those who wore the Grey those who fought for the Stars and Stripes.  It has been truly said that time makes all things even at last.  There is as much loyalty to constitutional liberty and the idea of a country with but one flag in the south as the north.  We bear cheerfully our share of the burdens of government and expect to enjoy its benefits in proportion.  No party can deprive us this; very few men of the north would if they could.
Originally posted in the Public Ledger Dec. 30 1879.

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