Opening Dedication Speech for the Unveiling of the A.P. Hill Monument, Richmond, VA.
Introduction of General James Walker by the Rev. Dr. J. William Jones, a Confederate soldier who served in General Hill’s 13th Virginia Infantry Regiment, on the occasion of the unveiling of the A. P. Hill Monument in Richmond:
Mr. President (Thomas Brander), Comrades of the Army of Northern Virginia, Soldiers of the Confederacy, ladies and Gentlemen—If the personal allusion may be pardoned, I will say that I count myself one of the happiest, if not the happiest, man in all this vast crowd assembled here today.
Always happy to greet the men who wore the gray—for if there is one man on earth whom I honor and love above another it is the true Confederate soldier—I delight to mingle in reunions of the survivors of every army of the Confederacy as they gather from Maryland to Texas.
But it is for me always a peculiar pleasure to attend a Confederate gathering in historic, battle-scarred, heroic old Richmond, and to mingle with men who followed Lee and Jackson and Longstreet, and Ewell, and A. P. Hill (great applause) and “Jeb” Stuart; the men who composed the Army of Northern Virginia, the noblest army of heroic patriots that ever marched under any flag, or fought for any cause “in all the tide of time.”
And yet a still greater happiness is mine to-day, for as I look out on this crowd I see the faces of forms of men, by whose side I have marched along the weary road, bivouacked in the pelting storm, or went into the leaden and iron hail of battle—the men of the noble old Thirteenth Virginia Regiment, and the grand old Third Corps assembled to honor themselves by doing honor to our peerless leader—the brave and accomplished soldier, the chivalric Virginia gentleman, the devoted patriot, the martyr hero of our dying cause, “gallant and glorious Little Powell Hill.”
I am only to introduce the fitly-chosen orator of the day, and I shall not, of course, be guilty of the gross impropriety of attempting a speech myself, but I am sure that you will pardon me if I say just this: Richmond is fast becoming the “Monumental City.”
Her peerless Washington surrounded by his compatriots of the revolution of ’76—her Lee—her Jackson—her Wiekham—her monument to “the true hero” of the war, the private soldier, now being erected—her monument to “the flower of cavaliers” dashing, glorious Jeb. Stuart, which is to be erected in the near future—and the projected grand monument to our noble Christian president, soldier, statesman, orator, patriot—Jefferson Davis—all these will teach our children’s children that these men were not “rebels” and not “traitors” but as true patriots as the world ever saw.
But I do not hesitate to declare that none of these monuments have been, or will be, more worthily erected than the one we are to unveil here to-day to A. P. Hill—a worthy comrade of that bright galaxy of leaders which made the name and fame of the Southern Confederacy immortal forever. And now it only remains for me not to introduce, for I shall not presume to do that to an audience of Virginians and of Confederate soldiers, but simply to announce the orator of the occasion.
The Lieutenant-Colonel and intimate friend of A. P. Hill, his successor in command of the old Thirteenth Virginia Regiment the man whose heroic courage and high soldierly qualities attracted the attention of Lee and Jackson, and caused them to select him to command the old “Stonewall” Brigade, which he ably led until shot down in the “bloody angle” at Spotsylvania Courthouse; the man who succeeded the gallant and lamented John Pegram, and led Ewell’s (Early’s) old division around Petersburg and to Appomattox Courthouse, the man who was always at the post of duty, was one of the bravest and best soldiers and most indomitable patriots that the war produced—that man has been fitly chosen to speak of A. P. Hill on this occasion, and it gives me peculiar pleasure to announce the name General James A. Walker, of Wytheville, Va., or if my loved and honored old friend and commander will pardon the liberty, I will announce him by a name more familiar still to his old followers and comrades, “Stonewall Jim Walker,” the worthy successor of A. P. Hill and of Stonewall Jackson, the man worthy to voice the feelings and sentiments of his old command concerning their loved leader, A. P. Hill.