Organization of the North Carolina Grays
For the Raleigh Standardnewspaper, June 5, 1861
Pursuant to previous notice, that there would be a flag presentation, also a sermon preached to the N.C. Grays, at Morrisville, on Saturday the first day of June, a large concourse of people met early in the morning, for the purpose of whitnessing and participating in the ceremonies of the day. At quite an early hour, (although an indication or rain) throngs of individuals, both male and female, were seen pouring in, from every direction, eager to show their warmth, and to pay their respects to soldiers, and, if possible, to strengthen their attachments to the glorious cause of the South. By eleven o' clock, there was a band of resolute, determined men, that would have made rapid havoc upon a contending foe; and when Capt. York had his men drawn into a line for drill, and when in actual drill many a heart beat high - many a hope sprang a fresh that with such men as these, we cannot be conquered.
After the captain had drilled his men, to the entire satisfaction of an expectant crowd, he marched them up to a stand prepared for the occasion, and after having thrown them into regular line for the ceremonies of the day, or for the flag presenting, sudden voices of melody broke forth in strains so sweet and captivation, as to draw forth applause from all lovers of vocal music. It was indeed, "a foeast of reason and flow of soul," to see and hear those gallant young men, and still more, those modest, yet equally brave young ladies, with cheerful faces and graceful forms, pour forth in strains so rich and clear, that ever-memorable air, the old North State. At the close of this song, though the sound of the sweet voices was lingering still, Miss Fanny Lyon stepped foreward, and , in a clear, distinct voice, presented to the North Carolina Grays, a rich and beautiful flag in the follwoing strking and touching address:
Gentlemen: I have been commissioned by the young ladies of Cedar Fork, to present to the brave sons of this vicinity, this beautiful ensign. Indeed it charms me that I have the pleasure of presenting to this, I must say beautifuland brave men of N.C. This ensign - showing to the world the eagerness of the young ladies in assisting their brothers, and attached friends, in the defence of their country. We can help only by our prayers - we regreat very much that we cannot help them more.
For the good of your country, you have shown a laudable desire to leave your institution of learning, various occupations, and the many pleasant associations which you have formed here, and go to the distant part of the country, to aid in the defence of our rights, and while many a tear of friendship, of sympathy, shall flow for the brave and noble sons of this company, we promise you our kindest wishes, our sympathies and our prayers. Be of good cheer! Do not fall, or be crushed in the hands of dispair.
I have one dear brother - with all the timidity due my sex, I am ready to offier him up in defence of our country's rights and honor; not with grief, but thanking God that I have one brother to offer. May he, and this noble company, Prove to be faithful, intelligent and chivalrous sons of the South.
When the direful contest is over, and the patriotic husband, brothers and friends return, the ladies of Cedar Fork will meet you with a tear of joy, the smile of welcome, the bosom of delight, and the embraces of pure and unsulied affection.
In behalf of our society, I now present to the N.C. Grays, this beautiful flag. We bid you all, God speed.
At the close of the address. Liet. M.W. Page accepted the flag, in the fllowing beautiful language.
Miss Lyon, Ladies, Gentlemen and Soldiers in arms:
The touching and eloquent language in which have just presented through me, to the the N.C. Grays a flag bearing the name of North Carolina thereon, calls forth a response in so full and patriotic a strain, that I fear I cannot convey to you the hearty expression of the recipients. You have, indeed,breathed so earnest aprayer, and presented such forcible language for the ultimate success of that flag, as to no doubt inspire a greater and bolder intent into the breast of every soldier in this company, to ever keep that flag high about the reach of its enemies. Indeed, I feel as a son of Carolina, a sensation of laudable pride in behalf of the rights and liberties of her citizens, excited iwithin my breast by the fervid patriotism this day breathed by you as a fair daughter of Carolina' and when this company shall have gone from this place, to engage in the great conflict of liberty or oppression, life or death, a glance at that flag as it may float in the breeze will cheer and refresh the wearied step, nerve the drooping arm, and give an impetus to a glorious triumph that know no end, save only in death. Not that sheath our sword, and return it to its scabbard, crimsoned with the blood of our fellow-men - to unfurl our banner, and under its broad folds seek and wage a war for mere name or glory. No, no' we desire only, we intend only, and that to the last extent, to repulse, to scatter, to confound, and if needs be, to destroy the assassins of our peace and happininess.
We desire, even to a greater degree, that peasce and security which we have hitherto enjoyed - Hence, the sound of war, rolling as distant thunder and again echoing and reverberating throughout our country's length and breadth has aroused and excited a manly and patriotic defence for our homes our firesides, and our liberties. Now, the peascful pursuits of life are laid aside - the land, in part, for gets her tillage, are the scholar has laid aside his letters, the mechanic ceases his inventions, and in lieu thereof, the burning sword, the flashing bayonet, the pomp and slendor of military grandeur, loom up to the astonished eye - for so sudden, indeed, is the transition from peace to war, that the bewidered multitude seem for a moment schocked, if not paralyzed. But as gallant sons of Carolina, as we rush to and engage in the mighty struggle, our motto shall ever be "to aim well, to aim high, to aim at the mark;"and when victory shall have perched upon our banner, when our patriotism shall be lost only in the full expansive triumphant vindication of our rights; then with magnanimous hearts; we will teach our enemies acts of generocity, that teach them to know that we have drank freely from the streams of liberty, and that our object is to crush tyrants and oppressors, to meet then upon the threashmold, to send to their chief, Abe Lincoln, howling to his masters, the Black Republicans and to crush him, and to crush them - thereby giving peace, security, and happiness to our beloved land. We will teach them to konw, that , that flag looms aloft by steady arms and fiery hearts, will not, nor shall not if it is the will of God, tremble in the darkest hour, only as nature's breath may change its folds. It may be tattered and torn; but still as the emblems of our nation, as star of the first magnatude, blazing in all its glory, amidst the pomp and carnage of deadly conflict. It must be and shall flash on as an incentive to truth, greatness in glory. Female valor has placed it in our hands, female valor has watered it with the tear of affection; yes, the fair matrons and daughters of Wake County, who are now participating in this, thrilling scene, have not one star may be dimmed, one stripe obscured, but that it may gater renewed freshness and beauty amidst each battles shock, amidst the loud cannon's roar, and the crimson tide as it may gush free and fast as the last seal of patroitic defense.
We accept the flag. It must not - it can not - it shall not trail in the dust. And when the storm of war shall be hushed in the stillness of a peaceful calm - strife, and nature seem again to smile propitious, then indeed, shall generation after generation, as they rise up and pass onward to the shores of the untrodden world, admire and applaud, the valor of the fair madiens and mothers of the present day, and under the shadow of their country's flag, rejoice in the protection it affords.
Afte the ceremonies were over, several gentlemen were called to address the assembledge. Capt. York, C.J. Rogers, and Dr. T.W. Young of Wake and H. Marriott, of Chatham, each responded to the call in appropriate and well conceived remarks.
As soon as the speaking was over; the soldiers under the command of the Captain, marched to a table heavily loaded with the nice things of life, prepared by the ladies of Cary neighborhood. The soldiers did ample justice to the occasion, as their walk and looks showed afterwards. All praise to the ladies of Carey, for this sumpitous repast, their brave defenders will remember them.
The hour for the sermon having arrived, the company of soldiers were seated in front of the preacher, the Rev. A. D. Blackwood read from the 14 v 3rd chap. of Luke:
"And the soldiers likewise demanded ______ saying, And what shall we do? And he said to them, Do violence to no man, neiter accuse falsely; and be content with your wages." The sermon, as the text will show, was directed principally to the soldiers, and in that warm affectionate manner, as to no doubt convice the soldiers that the speaker felt for their spirtual and temporal welfare."
After the close of the sermon, the preacher presented to the soldiers a copy of the Holy Bible, accompanied with an ardent destire that they might read it, and profit by its sacred teachings, (These Bibles were procured through the kind and christian love of the Church at Cedar Fork, for the especial benefit of the soldiers.) After the preacher concluded, Lieut. W. Allen, responded in behalf of the company, the gift as the noblest figt of all, and assuring the kind donors that the gift would be cherished, highly appreciated, and turned to good profit.
Thus ended the ceremonies of the day. And now farewell to Capt. York and his company. They are gone - gone to unite their fate with that of their Regiment (Fisher's Regiment,) in behalf of their country's rights. May they be spared to return when they will meet with showers of blessings, and be honored as the valiant men in our midst.
It is the request of Capt. York's company, that the Raleigh papers publish these preceedings.
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