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Mobile Register

Mobile Register

June 25, 1861

Page 2


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.

            I 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.

            The 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.

            Soon 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 excess.

            All 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.




The 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.

            See, 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.

            So 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]


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