Public Papers and Letters of Oliver Max Gardner: Governor of North Carolina, 1929-1933

By Edwin Gill; David Leroy Corbitt | Go to book overview

We are met today to unveil a memorial to those North Carolina soldiers who fought in the War Between the States. Out of respect for, and in loving memory of, the devotion of those simple ideals of honor and duty by which we as a people live, North Carolina has caused this monument to be erected. It is fitting and proper that we should do this.

For bravery, for patient endurance of hardships, and for unswerving fidelity to the cause for which they fought, the record of the soldiers from North Carolina is unexcelled in the annals of warfare. A monument similar to this might properly be erected on a score of battlefields, for North Carolina, while characteristically slow to enter the Civil War, gave more in blood and treasure to the Southern cause, once she became committed to it, than any other state. On this spot, "The High-water Mark of the Confederacy," the farthest waves of that bloody tide which finally spent itself and broke on the scarred crest of Cemetery Ridge were North Carolina boys, members of the immortal 26th North Carolina Regiment. Pettigrew's Brigade, did not lose a single prisoner in this charge, but it lost in killed and wounded over 1,100 men, including many of its best officers.

Yet, time and nature heal the wounds made by war and I was impressed as I drove out here this morning by the peaceful beauty of this place. But for these memorials, who would now be reminded of the fact that sixty-six years ago one of the fiercest and bloodiest battles in the history of the world was fought here? I am told by people who visited the scene that the battlefield of Argonne presented a terrible spectacle of desolation at the cessation of hostilities in 1918, yet when I visited it last summer, nature had been so rapid and complete in its work of restoration that scarcely a reminder of that former dreary waste was discernible. After the lapse of a few short years that

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