June 25, 1861
Flag Presentation in Baldwin
June 24, 1861
Messrs. Editors: All those present
(about 600 in number) said the tableaux here, by the Eleven States of Baldwin,
Clarke and Washington, were very fine on the 22nd, at the flag
presentation to the Baldwin Rifles by the ladies of this shore. Don’t fail to be at our next scenic
representation if our military are the beneficiaries.
enclose you a copy of Miss M. F. Hawkins’ address, every word of which was
distinctly heard by all the audience present.
I was promised a copy of Lieutenant Lyles’ reply, but my promisor failed to comply; suffice it to say, he did it
well. After thanking the ladies, he said
to the audience, in future, and now, the clash of swords is our speech, the
oath of fidelity our morning greeting, and the shout of victory our evening
resolution; and pledged his, and his corps, lives to the defence
of virtue, right and justice.
flag was a food representation of Justice, with her scales in the right hand evenly balanced and a sword in her right—the reverse a full
sun—both surrounded with eleven stars; Veritas et Justicias on the streamer.
the ladies were called to partake of lunch, barbecue and chowder in Aunt
Betty’s dining room, waited on by Middleton and his dozen rosetted committee; and the soldiers marched to the
lunch tables in the boat house, loaded down with meats of all kind and in great
enjoyed themselves—not a drop of the ardent—light wines plenty at ladies’
lunch—and all ended well. Then the
younger ladies and gents took their places in answer to a fine band, and
dancing was kept up till 10 ½ o’clock, and happier faces you never saw. The excessive heat of the day was all that
was against the fullest enjoyment of all—even some of the committee caved in
from excessive weariness. One major I
never saw quit the dance before, had to leave about 6 o’clock. Age will tell, though a man is a widower, and trying to be on his first legs, even if he is
on furlough from the Fort; but all know Uncle Bob will never surrender to the
enemy if he did to heat.
following is the PRESENTATION ADDRESS.
Officers and Soldiers of the Baldwin Rifles—In
the name of the Ladies of the Eastern Shore and these my sister States, I am called
upon to present to you this banner, in testimony of our appreciation of the
cause in which you are about to engage, and to exhort you, if necessary, to
protect it and your country from desecration and murderous invasion.
on one side of our flag we have painted in regal beauty that blessed goddess, Justice, and when in the midst of
conflict you unfurl it to the glorious breath of Heaven, methinks I hear in
every breeze echoed loud and long, “Liberty or Death,” and
will her song respond? I hear you
whisper, we will. We ask for equality
and our rights, and we will ask for nothing more than we have a right to and
nothing more than we are determined to obtain.
The Northern vandals’ boast of intention to subjugate us—to wipe us
out—to make our own sunny land a wilderness.
They dare to deny a resolute people the right to be free; let them as
soon endeavor to wipe out forever one star from the sky or curb with their ____
one wave of the sea. ‘Tis not our desire to battle with the foe, but we wish for
justice and our rights, and if these cannot be obtained by peaceful means we
will meet the hostile hordes face to face upon the battlefield and the flowing
currents of our rivers shall be crimsoned with gore and our plains whitened
with the bleaching bones of the oppressor, ere we permit the murderous tread of
Northern vandals to desecrate the land of Washington. It is not our desire to have scattered the
glorious fabric once so dear to every American heart; no, there is no stain on
our hands, no blot or blemish upon the escutcheon of the South; but let the
Northern assassins mourn as those without hope, for it is their dead, and the
avenging angel sweeps over the land of the South to light on other
habitations. Justice and our rights
would oft have gathered together as a hen covers her brood under her wings, but
they would not.
to the eleven stars of our new flag we transfer the duty, affection and
obedience we once lavished upon the congregation of light which spangled the
banner of the Old Confederacy. Its
course shall be our course; we will follow it faithfully, loyally and
steadfastly; we will bury all petty differences and questions of ____ policy in
the grave over which the Black Republicans furl a once honored flag, never more
to wave over the Union as it was.
But now, brave
soldiers of the State, for the sake of these ladies I place this banner in your
keeping. Cherish and protect it, wave it
on high, and ere it be permitted to fall into the hostile hands, rend its bars into
shreds and bury them in the last blood of Alabama.
We know your patriotism, your courage and your devotion to your country,
and cheerfully we place it in your hands, feeling assured that each and all of
you will spill the last drop of blood from your throbbing hearts in its defence and protection.
And though the arm of woman is weak to wield the sword upon the
battlefield, her heart is strong in faith and prayer, and upon her bended
knees, in her prayers to God, shall bear your cause to the eternal throne of
grace—and assures she will meet her loved ones there.
[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]