Secession Era Editorials Project

Furman University Department of History


No Title.

New York, New York, New York Tribune [Republican]

(26 October 1859)

The address of Governor Wise on his return to Richmond from his expedition to Harper's Ferry was intended, we suppose, to be complimentary to the military companies which he took with him. If so, either the Governor has rather odd ideas about compliments, or the general reputation of Virginia militia for courage and discipline cannot be very high. The Governor declares that during the journey he kept his eye on the men -- expecting, as it may be surmised from the context, to see some of them turn pale, or faint through fear, or perhaps to slink away at the first opportunity -- but though they were me by rumor after rumor, and telegram after telegram, that there was still fighting going on at Harper's Ferry, still they went through with buoyant hearts. No man blanched, and no man ran away, but all kept up good courage till they reached Harper's Ferry, and found that the fighting was over. Their discipline was as extraordinary as their courage. Notwithstanding the great excitement which prevailed at Harper's Ferry, they actually preserved order, composure, drill, and discipline, and did not -- as the Governor seems to imply might have been expected -- break up their ranks, mingle with the mob, and aid in lynching the wounded and the prisoners. Rather than be complimented in this back-handed style, we imagine that the military would have preferred not to have been mentioned at all.

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