In Their Own Words
March 10, 1861
Augusta Newspaper Article on Civil War Military Parade
The Daily Constitutionalist of Augusta an article on a military parade and ceremony that had taken place in their city.
Clinch Rifles - Flag Presentation. The Clinch Rifles paraded yesterday afternoon, in full dress, with fatigue caps, under command of Captain Platt, and made their usual handsome military display. This popular company presents a very soldierly appearance; and, as a general rule, execute the several manoeuvres of the manual of arms with a skill and proficiency that entitles them to much credit and admiration. Between three and four o’clock, P. M., the company proceeded to the green in Broad Street, in front of Messrs. Platt’s furniture establishment, and there received a beautiful flag of the Southern Confederacy, which had been prepared for, and was presented to the Clinch Rifles by two of the original members of the company. W. D. Tutt, Esq., presented the flag, in behalf of the donors in the following neat and appropriate speech: Fellow Soldiers: By solicitation, it becomes my pleasing duty, in the name and behalf of two worthy and honored original members of the Clinch rifles - Lieut. Adam and ex-Sergeant Platt - to present to you a new flag - the flag of the Southern Confederacy. I shall not attempt to examine or explain its design, for the world now, or soon will, know it by heart. We all, gentlemen, regret the necessity which compels us to furl the “old Stars and Stripes.” Every star and every stripe has had a place in every American patriot’s heart; as each successive star was added to the bright gallaxy [sic] of Freedom’s constellation, the patriot’s heart swelled with emotion, when contemplating the destined future of his country; but, alas! alas! while the efforts of time proved utterly unavailing to tarnish the brilliance which was shed forth to all the world, tyranny succeeded in entirely obliterating it; and now, seven of them - stars of the very first magnitude - have left their accustomed orbit, and are now revolving around Freedom as a common centre. We are pained to see that standard sheet, which commanded the respect of all nations - which floated triumphantly over every sea - and which waved a proud defiance even from the halls of the Montezumas; we are pained, I sway, to see it removed from its proud position. Yet, we feel that an inevitable necessity has forced it upon us, and we readily accept the alternative, of tearing it from its proud pedestal, rather than allow it to float freely and fearlessly over an enslaved and subjugated people. This is no spasmodic feeling. It is a feeling which has been engendered by the meekness with which we have borne the wrongs and insults heaped upon us, for the last ten years; and now, when the worst has come - when “Birnam wood has come to Dursinane,” the South, after mature deliberation, and calm reflection, has decided to cling to her institutions, as the mariner clings to the floating wreck when the storm fiend howls in the blast, and the spirit of despair settles upon the face of the waters. These gentlemen, then, “our brethren in arms,” whom I represent, have, in this necessity, provided another ark of the covenant of Freedom to go before the Clinch Rifles, in this their journey through the wilderness of revolution to the promised land of liberty beyond. They have presented it, because they believe you will be among the first, when your country calls, to rally to the rescue - they have presented it because they believe that it will be carried through the thickest of the fight, and you, soldiers, will never permit it to trail in the dust. Then, take it as a trust, delegated to each one individually, and to the Clinch Rifles collectively; and if grim visaged war shall stalk among us, and the bugle’s shrill tones shall call us to arms, let us follow where this glorious flag shall lead, and let the wave of its silken folds beckon us on “to victory or to death.” Capt. Platt the took the flag, and handed it to Ensign Ells, with a few brief remarks. Ensign James N. Ells received the beautiful flag, which is of fine silk, regulation size, and replied as follows: Sir: In receiving this beautiful flag from you, the representative of patriotic donors, the heart of every Clinch Rifle is overflowing with peculiar emotions. Its resemblance to one we have loved for years, one cherished with an affection known only to Americans, calls up most pleasant memories, indulged until the hand of oppression blotted out its stars and rent its folds asunder. As we gaze on the standard before us, we renew our vows of fealty to our new Confederacy, and from our heart of hearts thank the God of all nations that there is still one Republic of freemen in the world; one favored land where citizens may walk erect, in all the dignity of their calling; and where men of the South, resisting oppression, and bidding defiance to tyranny, have exchanged the miseries of despotism for the glorious fruition of the rights of sons of our own sunny clime. Sir, in our keeping, we promise it shall never know dishonor. Our hands shall wave it in triumph - our lives defend it. The gallant States designated by its starry gems shall never blush for its fate, or may it prove our winding sheet. We unfurl it now to the breeze, invoking the blessing of Heaven to attend us in peace or conflict, as citizens or soldiers, come weal or woe, in life or death! Aye, “Forever float our standard sheet, Whate’er old Time may bring before us; ‘Tis Southern soil beneath our feet- A Southern flag is waving o’er us!” The speaker was applauded several times during the delivery of these remarks. The Rifles, after the close of these remarks, marched down Broad street to the front of the Augusta Hotel, where a photograph of the company was taken by Messrs. Tucker & Perkins, Daguerreans and Ambrotypists, on Broad street. This accomplished, the company then proceeded to the Place D’Armes, where they went through several evolutions in a very skillful and creditable manner, in the presence of a large number of ladies and gentlemen, who had assembled there. Among other tactics, the company again went through their old skirmish drill, which they had laid aside some years ago, much to the regret of their many admirers. As the times betoken war, the company has thought proper to resume HARDIES [sic] skirmish drill, in order to be ready for any emergency. After the company returned to their armory, there was a pleasant little incident enacted, in which a number of appropriate toasts and sentiments formed a part of the proceedings. It was a late hour when the company was dismissed.