which I received the testimonials of confidence and regard which you have recently addressed to me. To some of those first received separate acknowledgments were returned. But it is now apparent that a like generous enthusiasm pervades the whole army, and that the only exception to such magnanimous tender will be of those who, having originally entered for the war, cannot display anew their zeal in the public service. It is therefore deemed appropriate, and it is hoped will be equally acceptable, to make a general acknowledgment, instead of successive special responses. Would that it were possible to tender my thanks to you in person, and in the name of our common country, as well as in my own, while pressing the hand of each war-worn veteran, to recognize his title to our love, gratitude, and admiration.
Soldiers! by your will (for you and the people are but one) I have been placed in a position which debars me from sharing your dangers, your sufferings, and your privations in the field. with pride and affection my heart has accompanied you in every march; with solicitude it has sought to minister to your every want; with exultation it has marked your every heroic achievement. Yet never in the toilsome march, nor in the weary watch, nor in the desperate assault have you rendered a service so decisive in results as in this toilsome march, nor in the weary watch, nor in the desperate assault have you rendered a service so decisive in results as in this last display of the highest qualities of devotion and self-sacrifice which can adorn the character of the warrior patriot.
Already the pulse of the whole people beats in unison with yours. Already they compare your spontaneous and unanimous offer of your lives for the defense of your country with the halting and reluctant service of the mercenaries who are purchased by the enemy at the price of higher bounties than have hitherto been known in war. Animated by this contrast, they exhibit cheerful confidence and more resolute bearing. Even the murmurs of the weak and timid, who shrink from the trials which make stronger and firmer your noble natures, are shamed into silence by the spectacle which you present. Your brave battle-cry will ring loud and clear through the land of the enemy, as well as our own; will silence the vainglorious boasting of their corrupt partisans and their pensioned press, and will do justice to the calumny by which the seek to persuade a deluded people that they are ready to purchase dishonorable safety by degrading submission.
Soldiers! the coming spring campaign will open under auspices well calculated to sustain you hopes. Your resolution needed nothing to fortify it. With ranks replenished under the influence of your example, and by the aid of your representatives, who give earnest of their purpose to add, by legislation, largely to your strength, you may welcome the invaded with a confidence justified by the memory of past victories. On the other hand, debt, taxation, repetition of heavy drafts, dissensions occasioned by the strife for power, by the pursuit of the spoils of office, by the thirst for the plunder of the public treasury, and, above all, the consciousness of a bad cause, must tell with fearful force upon the overtrained energies of the enemy. His campaign in 1864 must, from the exhaustion of his resources, both in men and money, be far less formidable than those of the last two years, when unimpaired means were used with boundless prodigality, and with results with are suggested by the mention of the glorious names of Shiloh and Perryville, and Murfreesborough and Chickamauga, and the Chickahominy and Manassas, and Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.