Jefferson Davis' Speech at Raleigh, N.C.
[January 3, 1863]
He acknowledged the hearty reception he had met with, and he expressed the gratification he felt in meeting with the people of Raleigh, bound as they were to him by ties of the dearest character, When his wife and children came here as a place of refuge, they met with such kindness and affection as he never could forget. Raleigh had become a household word to him, uttered daily in his family and lisped in the infant accents of his children.
And he was gratified to meet the people of Raleigh as North Carolinians. True to her Revolutionary history, North Carolina had given to the cause in which we are engaged a support not surpassed by that of any other State in the Confederacy. Her sons even surpassed the glory of their ancestors, and had met the enemy in the shock of battle like heroes.
He alluded to the fact that the election of our Governor had been heralded at the North as a triumph by our foes; but the advent of his administration brought him promptly to the support of the Conscript Law, and North Carolina now stands first among the States in furnishing Conscripts. Slow at first to take part in this struggle, once she had resolved upon the step, North Carolina rushed to the rescue of her sisters, and from that day to this no one dared to distrust her.
The President next alluded to his visit to the West. He went there to find dissatisfaction and confusion. But he found, on the contrary, as at other places, our gallant boys ready to meet five times their numbers, and to whip them, as they have done at Murfreesboro'.
The New Year, he said, comes in auspiciously for us. It finds us victorious at every point; and it finds our enemies beginning to feel what we have borne patiently, and, like true dunghills, we hear them squall at the first touch of the gaff.
Alluding to himself, he had been chosen to a position he did not desire, as he preferred another one, but he could lay his hand upon his heart and say that he had rewarded no man because he was his friend or withheld appointment from any man because of personal dislike.
The cause, he said, is above all personal or political considerations, and the man who, at a time like this, cannot sink such considerations, is unworthy of power. In conclusion, he said our prospects are bright. Fill up your regiments, and let us all lock shields and stand together, and in the end you will enjoy an amount of prosperity you never could attain connected with the Yankee nation of extortioners.--He again thanked the audience and withdrew amidst deafening cheers.
From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 9, pp. 7-9. Transcribed from the Raleigh State Journal, January 7, 1863.