There were men born and nurtured in the Southern States, and some of them in my own State, who took sides with our enemies, and aided in desolating and humiliating the land of their own birth, and of the graves of their ancestors. Some of them rose to high positions in the United States Army, and others to high civil positions. I envy them not their dearly bought prosperity. I had rather be the humblest private soldier who fought in the ranks of the Confederate Army, and now, maimed and disabled, hobbles on his crutches from house to house, to receive his daily bread from the hands of the grateful women for whose homes he fought, than the highest of those renegades and traitors. Let them enjoy the advantages of their present positions as best they may! for the deep and bitter execrations of an entire people now attend them, and an immortality of infamy awaits them. As for all the enemies who have overrun or aided in overrunning my country, there is a wide and impassable gulf between us, in which I see the blood of slaughtered friends, comrades, and countrymen, which all the waters in the firmament above and the seas beneath cannot wash away. Those enemies have undertaken to render our cause odious and infamous; and among other atrocities committed by them in the effort to do so, an humble subordinate, poor Wirz, has been selected as a victim to a fiendish spirit, and basely murdered under an executive edict, founded on the sentence of a vindictive and illegal tribunal. Let them continue this system! they are but erecting monuments to their own eternal dishonour, and furnishing finger posts to guide the historian in his researches. They may employ the infamous Holt, with his “Bureau of Military Justice” to sacrifice other victims on the altars of their hatred, and provost marshals, and agents of the ”Freedman’s Bureau” may riot in all the license of petty tyranny, but our enemies can no more control the verdict of impartial history, than they can escape that doom which awaits them at the final judgment.
Lt. General Jubal A. Early, A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence in the Confederate States of America, Lynchburg: Charles W. Button, 1867.