Virginia makes no boast of the part borne by her in that, the greatest crisis of her history. She only claims that she did her duty to the best of her ability. She has, therefore, no apologies to make either for what she did or may have failed to do. It is true that she was somewhat reluctant to join the confederacy, not because she had any doubt of the right of secession or of the justice of the Confederate cause, but only because of her devotion to the Union of our fathers which she had done so much to form and to maintain from its foundation. But when she did cast her lot with her Southern sisters, she bore her part with a courage and devotion never surpassed; and the record shows this in no uncertain way. In the address issued and signed by every member of the Confederate Congress in February, 1864, not written by a Virginian, she is thus referred to:
“In Virginia the model of all that illustrates human heroism and self denying patriotism, although the tempest of desolation has swept over her fair domain, no sign of repentance for her separation from the North can be found. Her old homesteads dismantled; her ancestral relics destroyed; her people impoverished; her territory made the battle ground for the rude shocks of contending hosts, and then divided with hireling parasites, mockingly claiming jurisdiction and authority, the Old Dominion still stands with proud crest and defiant mien ready to trample beneath her heel every usurper and tyrant, and to illustrate a fresh her Sic Semper Tyannis, the proudest motto that ever blazed on a nation’s shield or a warrior’s arms.”
On such testimony as this Virginia can safely rest her title to share equally with her southern sisters in the “wealth of glory” produced by the war, and this equality is all she asks or would have. She disdains to pluck one laurel from a sister’s brow.