Confederate Veteran, Vol. IX, No. 6 Nashville, Tenn., June, 1902.
DON'T WANT MEMORIAL AND DECORATION DAYS MERGED
After writing a protest against merging the South's Memorial days with the National Decoration Day---May 30---a Confederate woman writes the VETERAN:
Go back fond memory. The soft south wind was blowing through the windows of a beautiful Southern home. Outside on the veranda sat an aged man, a newspaper on his knee, its startling headlines telling of the awful battle at Franklin, Tenn. Inside the window, within sound of his dear voice, a daughter was plying her needle, putting the lovely lace that had adorned her girlish form a few short years before upon a tiny dress, for what had Confederate mothers, with closed ports, to find for the little children's wear? The father spoke, her keen ear caught the sound. It was a prayer: "0 spirit of my angel wife, if God permit thee, watch over our son, our only son. Pray God shield his voting head that the battle strife pass over him and leave him to me in my desolate old age!" Softly she rose, and gliding through the open doorway, she drew his head to her young heart, and through her tears and kisses said: "Father, God will take care of him, I know he will." She turned her face away, and said: "0 mother, mother, I have tried to keep my promise to you; to take your place to my little brother, and to comfort father." The father raised his hands, placed them on her head, and said: "My child has grown into such a brave-hearted, true woman like her mother! It is three long years since you have seen your husband's face, what sustains you?" "God," she said, so reverently. "God and my husband's love and his sense of duty !"
The sweet May breezes stirred the Southern pines, and a face, young and so sorrowful, looked through the blue mists toward the beautiful cemetery of a Southern city. The desolate unrest of Rachel's grief was hers, but in answer to a friend she said: "Yes, I will go with you if you think I could do any good in helping von nurse the poor sick soldiers." They drove to the hospital, in which the elder lady did duty, and in the second tent lay a young soldier with the pale and rigid look of death upon his brow. With a look of motherly interest she asked: "Are you better to-day?" He smiled and said: "I hope so; but the doctor is coming, he will tell you." His eye wandered to the younger woman, whose sable habiliments seemed to touch his departing soul. With tender pity he said: "Won't you give me those roses?" She unpinned two white moss roses from her brooch, which held a picture of her husband, and put them in his hand. "Can I do nothing else for you?" she asked. "Yes," he said, "write a letter for me. Two weeks ago I was married. We had been long engaged. She came to meet me in Atlanta.. We were married there. In two hours our regiment was ordered off. She went home to her mother; write her that I am here sick in the hospital." She took the address on a little ivory tablet. The Doctor came in, and they left. Reaching home, she called a faithful servant, and placing a bottle of delicious wine and a few little delicacies in a basket, subject to the Doctor's inspection, sent them to the hospital. The Doctor wrote a note saying: "Our patient died an hour after you saw him, with the white roses in his hand. He was buried holding the roses to his brave, young heart."
0, Southern sisters, can you forget such hours, such scenes? Sons of these mothers, your cradle songs were, "Bonnie blue flag" and "Maryland, My Maryland." Sons of the South, honor your heroic sires, and your self-abnegating mothers. Let not the greed of gain or toil for daily bread, born of war's despoilment, make you dishonor or forget!
This site last updated 01/16/2011 Col. Thomas Hardeman, Jr. UDC Chapter 2170 Macon, Ga.
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