"Mr. Speaker! I have risen in my place to offer a
few words on the bill.
I have come from a sick bed. Perhaps it was not
prudent for me to come. But sir, I could not rest quietly in my room
without contributing a few remarks of my own.
I was sorry to hear the speech of the young
gentlemen from Marshall County. I am sorry that any son of a soldier would
go on record as opposed to the erections of a monument in honor of the
brave dead. And, Sir, I am convinced that had he seen what I saw at Seven
Pines, and in the Seven Day's fighting around Richmond, the battlefield
covered with mangled forms of those who fought for this country and their
country's honor, he would not have made the speech.
When the news came that the South had been
invaded, those men went forth to fight for what they believed, and they
made not requests for monuments. But they died, and their virtues should
Sir, I went with them. I, too, wore the gray, the
same color my master wore. We stayed for four long years, and if that war
had gone on till now I would have been there yet. I want to honor those
brave men who died for their convictions.
When my Mother died I was a boy. Who, Sir, then
acted the part of Mother to the orphaned slave boy, but my old Missus!
Were she living now, or could speak to me from those high realms where are
gathered the sainted dead, she would tell me to vote for this bill. And,
Sir, I shall vote for it. I want it known to all the world that my vote is
given in favor of the bill to erect a monument in HONOR OF THE CONFEDERATE
When the applause died down, the measure passed
overwhelmingly, and every Black member voted "AYE."
(Source: War For What? by Francis Springer)