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or in country or wherever he may be, and so far as I am concerned, I do not want this idea to be endorsed by this Society.
Now, fellow-countrymen, do not let us try to deprive one another of our rights that we have gained by hard struggles, but let each man, under the high heavens, whom God has shaped with his plastic hand and given breath and life, believe that each other man is as good as himself, provided he hehaves himself; [applause] and if we believe that and foster that idea, our Republic is builded on a rock and not on sand. It will then in fact be the great temple of freedom and liberty, studded by the brightest jewels known; not the shining diamond of Golconda but the jewelry of intellect, patriotism and devotion that will shine brighter than all the sparkling gems that deck the fingers or the brows of men and women. Let us then have this jewel of lib. erty in this great country so that we may all, in taking one another by the hand say, “I am your equal, and you are my equal, and beneath that old flag, and with the Providence of God, we will march on to that glory that is destined to the American people.” [Great applause.]
Calls were made for General Belknap who responded as follows: COMRADES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Great pleasure comes to any soldier of the war, when he meets his comrades in glad reunion; but when a soldier from Iowa stands with his comrades from a sister state on the bank of this great river, on which they all sailed to the South, the memories of the war come back to them, and the memories of their days of early trial. Identified with each by locality, by common interest and by the work of field and fight, the men from Illinois and Iowa, serving in the same brigades, divisions and corps, learned to love each other. They, with their brethren of the Northwest, advanced the flags of their regiments far in the South. They marched from the Mississippi to the sea. The bonds which bound humanity they broke. The last gun, which they fired in the war, was their salute to freedom, and their hope of the far future is the fruition of to-day. And now, at the close of the war, those same flags, which they bore to the front, shot and soiled and torn and tattered, but surrounded by the halo of the same old glory, are furled in final triumph.
As I said before, the memories of the war bind the men of
these two states together; and that kind feeling lasts, as this reunion shows; and therefore, ladies and gentlemen of Rock Island, old men and matrons, young men and maidens, assuming to speak for the soldiers of Iowa, we thank you for this warm welcome to your hearts and homes. [Applause.]
General Tuttle, of Iowa, was called and responded as follows: COMRADES:
I am not speaker enough to make a speech off-hand. I generally want a few minutes to think about what I am going to say. On some other occasion before the meeting finally adjourns, I may have some remarks to make. I thank you heartily for your courtesy in calling upon me.
General Carr was called upon and responded as follows:
I suppose my friends know that I do not make speeches. I have been most of the time since the war, upon the plains, and have had very little opportunity to meet in these reunions, but for the last two years, there have been occasions when I could meet my comrades, and it has been a source of great satisfaction to me and something that I will remember with pleasure when I go back to the plains in a couple of weeks from now, to experience the kindly greetings that I have received from all of my old comrades. The greater part of the men, with whom I served during the war, came from the states of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, and it has been a great satisfaction for me to meet them and associate with them, and recall the memories of the war. I am going back to the frontier, and if you hear that I am killed by the Indians out there, don't you believe it until I send you word myself. [Laugh. ter and applause.]
Colonel Pierce, of Dakota, was called upon and responded as follows: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
We farmers, out in Dakota [laughter] don't know much about these questions that are perplexing the people of great cities, and which my friends, General Logan and General Chetlain, have discussed so ably here to-night, but it has occurred to me that we are very fortunate out there in having about ten thousand of the old soldiers of the army, who have permeated the population with a patriotism that is undying, and I want to say
to General Logan, that if any of those gentlemen that he mentioned, don't get their certificate of good character and get too ugly, if he will just send word out to Dakota, I think he will get some assistance from there that he will remember and be grateful for. [Applause.]
It occurred to me, when Governor Oglesby said that the members of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee were things of beauty, that the members of this Society were not as handsome as they were twenty-five years ago, but they know a good deal
I think perhaps if you had told them twenty-five years ago, that there would come a time when they would know more than they did then, they would have thought that was impossible; but gray and grizzled as they are, and care worn as they are, I could go through the aisles of this house to-night and lay my hands upon the shoulders of a score of men whose names were a house. hold word twenty years ago, who fought the fight, who kept the faith, who finished their work and upon whose brows a grateful people put a crown of immortelles. [Applause.]
I am always glad to come here, yet for one reason I am serious. It seems to divert my attention from everything else in the world, the old memories come back to me so thick. I would like to have the persons in this audience recollect that day in 1861 which witnessed the firing upon Fort Sumter. The incidents of that day would be the most interesting ones that could possibly be collected. I remember a little incident which ought to become historical if it is not, that occurred in Doctor Robert Collier's church in Chicago. You know just before the outbreak the people were a little timid about discussing this matter. They did not like to talk about it. They said, “let us keep it out of the pulpit any way. And Doctor Collier, who had been working, and thinking and reflecting and aching to say something more positively than he had on the subject, got up in his pulpit on that blessed April day, and took a text and began the ordinary services of the occasion. Suddenly some one appeared at the door, and whispered to some one of the congregation, who in turn whispered something to somebody else; there was immediately a commotion in the rear of the house, and it spread gradually through the audience that Fort Sumter had surrendered, and finally it reached the pulpit and struck old Robert Collier to the heart, and then he threw down the hymn book which he had upon the desk, and he
said, “Then, my brethren, I take a new text. “Let him who hath no weapon sell his garment and buy one."" [Applause.] And from that time on, that congregation was unanimous in support of the war.
When we were at Cleveland, a couple of years ago, a little boy came to me in the hotel, and he said, “Are you a member of this army that is here to-day?” I said, “ Yes.” He said, “Is General Sherman here?” I said, “Yes.” Then the little fellow hesitated and seemed to doubt a moment, and finally he said, “Is he the great general that fought in the wars, that the school-books tell about?” [Applause ] I said, "My boy, he is the man, but the school-books don't tell half the story.”
And the little fellow saw General Sherman, and he never will forget it. And now let me say to this audience, and particularly to the younger people here, that if they have come here to-night, and have been wearied in any measure by the long ceremonies, if they did not come fully up to their expectations as an entertainment, I venture to predict that never, until the last day of their lives, will they forget that here to-day, in Rock Island, they saw upon the stage together those two representatives of the two wings of the great army of the rebellion, the volunteer and the regular service, William T. Sherman and John A. Logan. [Great applause.]
Calls were made for Governor Fletcher.
The President:-General Fletcher is here—once Governor of Missouri, now General.
Colonel Fletcher:-Mr. Chairman, comrades and citizens of Rock Island, I desire to add my voice in saying that the cordial welcome which we have received in this beautiful little city, the kind and hearty greeting which we have met on every hand, has made an impression upon me, this being my first visit to this vicinity, that will abide with me a pleasant recollection as long as I live. Comrades, it just takes me an hour and a half to make a speech, and you haven't got time to hear me. [Laughter.] I do not want to talk about these subjects we have had discussed here this evening. I move to leave them to Congress, and let Congress settle them. The Society of the Army of the Tennessee will go on as it has gone on for twenty years. All that old soldiers ought to do when they get together, is to talk over the old times that
they used to have, renew the friendships that were formed on the march and in the camp, on the battlefield and elsewhere, keep alive this friendship, look into one another's faces, shake hands and talk over the old times, and keep warm in their hearts the friendships which have grown up in these twenty years that they have been meeting together. Go like the boys do that are in camp over yonder on the island, and talk over old times, and tell stories about what you did in the war. As a general proposition, an old soldier is about the biggest liar, perhaps, that there is in the world. [Laughter.] An amusing story was related to me some time ago, of three old soldiers, who were sitting on a fence, talking about what they did in the war. I never knew a man that had not performed some very remarkable feat at some time or other at some place he knew I was not present. These three old soldiers began to recount what they had done, and each related the valiant deeds that he had performed, and one of them finally said, “Well, boys, I went to the first battle of Bull Run, and I tell you I had a hard time there. I was in the cavalry, and my horse got killed. I had my pistol with me, with but a single shot in it, and the first thing I knew, a man presented his gun at me, and was going to shoot me. I shot him down with my pistol, and then it was empty, and I had no other weapon to defend myself with. I went on rapidly, and I heard somebody coming behind me. It was a rebel cavalryman. I drew my saber and turned suddenly, and cut his head off. I went on a little piece further, and I was getting away as hard as I could, and directly another rebel stuck his gun through the fence, and with his finger on the trigger said, “Surrender you abolition scoundrel.' The fence was between me and him, and I could not get at him.” “Well, what did he do?" they said. The fellow had to be consistent, and he replied, “Well, the infernal scoundrel killed me right there." [Laughter.]
So comrades, the old soldiers get together and have a good time. We are still getting a little older than we used to be, but that is no reason why we can't have a jolly good time. Mr. President, you remember twenty years ago, when we used to come together, when we used to have the men who sung us good songs, and told us good stories, and we all sang together, and all