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to an encore sang the Irish ballad entitled “Never take the horseshoe from the door."
TENTH TOAST.—“The Army of the Tennessee. There she is, behold her and judge for yourselves.”
Response by General BANE.
Dear old Governor Dick Yates, when he was appointed a Colonel for the 21st Illinois regiment, planted the everlasting germ seed of the Army of the Tennessee. The next day after the Colonel took charge, could have been seen in front of each company headquarters, a number of soldiers tied up and suffering punish. ment for failing to be present at general inspection. No little grumbling and subdued swearing was done by these gallant men; but the conclusion reached by every fellow that was thus bucked gagged, was “that the new Colonel meant business, and it would not do for a fellow to fool with him.”
No soldier was ever absent from general inspection after that morning
This spirit of discipline was the kind of soil out of which the Army of the Tennessee grew to be invincible and unconquerable. Its material came from the free homes of the freest people of the great free West. It first shotted its guns and sounded its bugle calls at Belmont, and cleared out that camp of treason, relieving the junction of our two great rivers from all future commercial restraint.
Then its sturdy commander said, these tributary rivers, the Tennessee and Cumberland, shall also be cleared of rebel forts and float their commerce unvexed. At once the army moved up the Tennessee and struck Fort Henry, and in less than fifty minutes after firing its first gun, the fort was captured and destroyed. The Army of the Tennessee did not entrench at Fort Henry but moved at once and struck Fort Donaldson, both by land and by water, and by shot and by shell, and finally by "unconditional and immediate surrender.” This great army here made the first great capture of the war for the Union. Its rapid, brilliant and successive victories had put its star of promise high in the ascendant, and a grateful country had put another star on the shoulders of its rising commander.
Well worthy was it now of its immortal name "the Army of the Tennessee.” This victory unlocked the upper gates of the
Cumberland, and wrenched from the confederacy the beautiful State of Tennessee with its liberty loving mountaineers.
At this news the loyal north was set on fire, and a quarter million of hearts and hands went out in charity and pity to the wounded, sick and dying soldiers at Donaldson, and a hundred thousand more stalwart men sprang to the front to enlist for the war, and thousands of disloyal cravens and cowards fled away to their midnight hiding places. The blood-bought victory of Shiloh was the next jewel in the crown of this gallant army.
The first day's fight at Shiloh was bloody indeed from early dawn of day to the shades of coming night. Though our gallant army was stubbornly beaten back for most of that ever memorable Sunday, its spirit, its courage and its faith, was like unto its great commander, who, when asked on the field by a surgeon of Illinois troops, “if there was danger of defeat to-day," firmly replied, “No sir, we shall whip them like hell yet before night.” The setting sun of that day, while it found the Army of the Tennessee tired and worn, it was full of courage and hope, and firmly entrenched in line of battle. That same Sunday's setting sun, while it found the rebel army tenting upon our camp grounds, still found it tired and worn, its chieftain dead on the field and themselves preparing to fight only to cover an immediate retreat.
The spirited Army of the Tennessee joined their comrades of the gallant Army of the Cumberland in the second day's fight, and soon put the rebel army in full retreat; and thus Shiloh's victory was made complete.
The victories of Iuka, Corinth and Hatchie soon followed, conferring like honors before won at Henry, Donaldson and Shiloh.
As this gallant army had unbarred the rebel gates on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to the free commerce of a free people; it must now and forever unbar the father of waters, the Mississippi, that it may forever bear away the rich commerce of all the free people in its great, broad, producing valleys.
The Army of the Tennessee, applying the most practical rules of common sense at Vicksburg, swung below and around to the rear of Vicksburg, fighting its way and winning the most brilliant succession of victories known to military history; at once draw. ing around the doomed rebel city a cordon of brave and victorious men, who had never fought but to win; who had never assaulted but to capture; and in due time Vicksburg fell with the capture of
thirty thousand prisoners and vast munitions of war.
This signal victory made glorious by Gettysburg and Helena, came to our army and glad country on the glorious 4th of July. Our grateful Vation unbared its head and gave thanks to heaven for this new birthday of liberty to the old birthday of freedom; and for this new reading and new meaning of the Declaration of Independence. At this grand victory the country clapped its hands and rejoiced, and sent to the gallant army blessings, bandages, oil and wine, and the Father of Waters ran free, unvexed and laughing to the blue waters of the Gulf. The Army of the Cumberland had fought the battle of Chickamauga and had lost. It hurriedly asked our army to come over and help, and to come quickly.
The Army of the Tennessee gratefully remembered that the brave men of the Cumberland came to them in the sore hour of trial at Shiloh, and gladly marched to the help of its imperiled comrades.
The Army of the Tennessee, full of mercy as well as rugged war, was glad to treat its comrade army as the good Samaritan in the Scripture treated the poor man who fell among thieves at Jericho. It poured in oil, bound up its wounds, and for its spirit of heaviness, fear and starvation, gave it good cheer, filled its haversacks with hard tack and sow belly, inspired it with hope, and marched with it elbow to elbow into the storm of deadly battle, unfurling its banner above the clouds of Lookout Mountain and Mission Ridge, drove back the rebel hosts, and won of the greatest and most telling victories of the war—the victory of Mission Ridge.
While these joint armies, under our commander, were now preparing to strike Atlanta, the cry came over from Washington, from dear old Abraham Lincoln, for our beloved commander to come over there and help them break the eternal “quiet on the Potomac.”
This was no surprise to the Army of the Tennessee. We well knew that our old commander could, if fairly supported, do just what honest old “Abe" wanted him to do.
The Army of the Tennessee was only anxious that General Grant should have an open field and a fair fight. Nor were we at all anxious about our future leadership, for we had abundance of the very best material for the very best commanders.
We had this great man, who is to-night our president, “ America's Cromwell,” our own Sherman.
No man is, or ever was, nearer, and no man is, or ever was, dearer to the Army and Society of the Army of the Tennessee. Then again, if Sherman should be called up higher and away from us, we knew full well we had with us the chivalric and knightly McPherson, America's Sir Philip Sidney, and when this gallant man fell fighting on that ever memorable and bloody day in front of Atlanta, Illi. nois' gallant son, John Logan, the American “ Marshal Ney,” took the place of the dead McPherson, rode down the anxious lines of the Army of the Tennessee, crying for victory and for vengeance; the gallant army, under his leadership, charged; the field was won, victory gained and vengeance belonged to the Army of the Tennessee; thus proving in this trying and perilous half hour that Logan, the Black Prince of Illinois, the War Eagle of the Army of the Tennessee, was equal to any command, and ready for any emergency. Captured Atlanta was here added to the many jewels in the chaplet of the Army of the Tennessee. Our first commander, with added stars of authority, given him by a confiding country, was now at the head of the armies of the Republic. Our other old commander said to the joint armies under his leadership, “with Grant on the Potomac, holding Lee, the head of the rebellion, I can cut through its body into its vitals, sever the abdominal aorta, and break its spinal cord; thus at one mighty stroke, spill its life's blood and strike it down with deathly paralysis, join General Grant at Richmond and thus end the war for the Union.” The joint armies at Atlanta were mustered and equipped for the march to the sea. Some part of the army was sent to protect and guard the rear. Our great commander being ready for his great march, first went on to Kenesaw to signal good cheer and good bye to the army of the rear; and lo! and behold, he saw them in a bloody fight at Altoona. The General signaled the officer in command (who was a gallant officer of the Army of the Tennessee), asking him, " What of the hour, sir?" He received the ever memorable reply:
"DEAR GENERAL SHERMAN:- I am short a cheek bone and one ear, but we can whip all hell yet.
Comd’g." When this laconic answer from the army of the rear went back
to the commander on Kenesaw, he smiled, felt assured, and at once ordered his ever memorable march to the sea.
Like a mighty devouring sy moor, conducted and guided by its inspiring commander, this gallant army swept on and on until every foe and every stronghold in its pathway was destroyed or captured. Finally meeting the old commander, General Grant, who had fought, conquered and captured all foes in his bloody pathway from Washington through the hard fought fields of the wilderness to the rebel capital, and finally planting the Nation's flag on the heights of Richmond. So when every foe on every field was captured or surrendered, the great and victorious armies met in the Nation's Capital, bid their old commanders and comrades good-bye, dissolved their sacred ranks, shook parting hands with each other, returned to their homes, to their shops and to their fields, the most devoted and patriotic citizens in all the great Republic. The Army of the Tennessee fought not alone to conquer and capture its enemies, but it fought to teach and per. petuate new and everlasting ideas of government. They fought that mothers of all races might hereafter own their children. They fought that race, color and condition might no longer be the Nation's supreme law for settling the civil and political rights of citizenship. They fought to reverse the decisions of American courts of fifty years standing; that the man who sat in the shade and held the barbarous lash was entitled to the earnings of the man who wrought in the sunshine and in the storm. They fought to reverse the old doctrine that God, the Bible, Jesus and Paul, were on the side of slavery and the human auction block, and to forever put them on the side of liberty and equal rights. They fought that it might no longer be a felony for any mother to teach her child to read the Lord's prayer or the Sermon on the Mount. The Army of the Tennessee fought that man might no longer be kidnapped by his fellow man. They fought that the school-house, the school-teacher and the spelling-book might in our civilization take the place of the slave mart, the overseer and the plantation. This gallant army fought in defense of Franklin's and Jefferson's political maxims, that "one man's all was as much to him as another man's all," and that the man who carries a musket and pays his taxes shall also have the free ballot and a fair count.
When the loyal and rebel armies met, it was not only a bloody