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fully picture the return of those battle-scarred heroes, with shattered ranks and shattered constitutions, to the peaceful pursuits of life under the Government they had saved? History contains no parallel to it. The eyes of man never looked on the like before. Far be it from me to say that other armies have not undergone as great privations Far be it from me to say that other soldiers have not faced equal dangers with equal bravery. Far be it from me to say that the material results gained in other wars have not been as important—more important they could not be. But this I do say, and I say it fearing no contradiction, that the diary of time shows no record of an army of such dimensions, prompted by no motive of personal gain or advancement, securing such results, and so promptly putting aside their military garb and military usages, and quietly returning when their great work was done to their ordinary avocations of life.
As I talk, memory carries me back over the years that have passed until your acts in that terrible civil war seem as vivid as the events of to-day. The cloud of despair which vanished on the fall of Donelson and Henry; the closely contested field of Shiloh; the vicissitudes of the eventful Vicksburg campaign and its glorious results; the battle on the mountain among the clouds; the memorable struggle at Missionary Ridge; Resacca! Kenesaw! Atlanta! with all that those names convey; and that magnificent, never-to-be-forgotten, termination of it all, Sherman's march to the sea. [Applause.]
Shall I tell you of the events these memories recall, you, comrades of the Army of the Tennessee? As well tell you of our beloved McPherson, our intrepid Logan, our dauntless Blair! As well sound to you the praises of your first commander, now, alas, gone from us here forever. As well tell you of the debt of gratitude the country owes to our second commander-second not in our hearts--second only in succession. [Applause.]
As we pass through the crowded thoroughfares in our daily walks, our eyes rest from time to time on an unpretentious insignia worn by some of the passers-by. No ostentatious decoration-a simple emblem, copper-colored, or, perhaps, tricolored, but a decoration that a king might be proud to wear. [Applause.] Telling of patriotism, endurance, bravery; of a cause fought for and gained; of a country in danger and saved. It is an "open sesame” to the heart of every true soldier, as it should be to that
of every lover of his country. It is the badge worn by “Our Soldiers.” [Applause ]
More than twenty years have passed since we were in the war. Over twenty years, during which each of us has had his allotted portion of trouble and prosperity. But no trouble has been great enough to blot out the recollection of the trials and perils of our campaigns; no success or honor sufficient to make us willing to give up the feeling of satisfaction we have in the thought that we helped save the Union.
That terrible war is the greatest event of all our lives. Our conduct in it is our greatest contribution-whatever our careers may have been since-to the maintenance of our Government. We read, talk, and write of it, and as we gather our children around the family fireside, the battles are fought over again in ofttold tales.
But the actors in that great drama are rapidly passing away, leaving the results they have achieved to another generation, who in time will surrender them with the changes they have wrought to generations yet unborn, until time, moving on in its ceaseless stride, shall usher in that far-off future to whom the events of today shall seem a myth as indistinct and difficult of realization as are the actions of ancient Romans to the readers of the present day.
In that far-off future, when the record of the thousands of years that have passed-years each of them rich in events of interest and importance-shall have reached such proportions that to grasp even a general idea of what has passed the student must depend on a history so brief that it must be a history of events, not of individuals; when the history of a country will be confined to a chapter, the history of a war to a page--then in all those volumes will be found no page of more thrilling interest and enduring fame than that containing the record made by “Our Soldiers.” [Applause.]
The President:-Ladies and gentlemen, it is fair to thank you for your close attention. I again beg to ask you for silence that we may hear.
SECOND TOAST. “The Army that Fought without Guns."
Response by General M. M. BANE.
MR. PRESIDENT, COMRADES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
General Ross was to reply to this toast, but he has a habit of coming after me occasionally, when he wants a little bit of work taken off his hands. Some years ago, he was nominated for Congress in the southern part of this State, and he sent for me then, and I went and helped him, and he was defeated. [Laughter.] He may be defeated on this occasion. I hope not, but I shall be very happy indeed, if I can say anything upon this subject that will interest you to-night. “The Army that fought without guns." Who were they, and what was it? The women who attended the army to administer mercy to the soldier in his hour of trial; the mothers at home, the wives at home, the sisters at home, the preachers at home, the Sunday-schools at home, the children in the school-room, the newspapers, the platform orators, , that mighty host that every soldier in the army, when he fixed his bayonet, knew he had standing behind him. To give you a little illustration of that power that inspired the soldier, I will relate an incident that took place in my own hospital, a conversation between a man, a white-headed boy you might call him, with his leg shot off, and the chaplain. We were about to move the base of operations of our little army, and the chaplain went to him. He was very low, and the chaplain told him he expected he would have to die. “What,” said he, “chaplain, you don't think I am going to die?” “I am afraid so. What shall I write to your mother?” “I am not going to die. See here, chaplain, here is the last five dollars I have got on earth, I will bet you
that I don't die. Look here, chaplain, read these letters and see if you think I ought to die. That one there is from my sweetheart. Do you suppose that I could die simply with the loss of a leg, with such a promise as that? She promised to marry me whether I had a leg or not, and I am going home to marry her after a while.” That was one of the silent artillery shots that this army that fought without guns exhibited to us in the army. [Applause.]
I will give you another illustration that the great commander present knew something about, of the power of that mighty army that leveled its artillery without making any noise. He was approached once by a celebrated surgeon, at the head of a great hospital at Kingston, who said, “General, something must be done. There is a woman here in this camp, in this hospital, that is ruling things, and I can't do anything, and I want some relief.
She has got a great lot of boxes here of wine and canned fruit and good things, and I can't do a thing with her.” “Well,” said General Sherman, “who is she?” The surgeon said: “It is Mrs. Bickerdyke?” “Oh,” said General Sherman, “she outranks me, I can't do a thing in the world.” [Laughter and applause.] There was a silent shot from a heavy piece of artillery by this mighty army in the rear that did not use guns.
I saw another little instance of it once. We were crossing the ferry at Oostanaula, General Dodge will remember the time, I know. We were there in line, with a skirmish line pushed out towards the river and there was a fellow took a notion that he would capture a rebel flag that was floating across the river. We had driven the rebel line back a little. He was a brave fellow and he stripped off his knapsack and his outer clothes, and crawled to the river under a heavy fire, swam the river and captured that rebel flag. What do you suppose was done? He was granted a furlough and commissioned as a lieutenant. He told me just before he started home, "She has not promised to marry me yet,
bottom dollar the next letter I get she will promise." [Laughter.] So she did. He went home and finally became a captain. That was the kind of influence that we had behind us in this grand army that did not use guns. Where did it grow up? In the household, in the domicile, the old Saxon home, the fireside, the monogamous family : there is where it grew up, and the man, however poor he may be, if he has a wife, and baby, a little cabin and a cow and a few chickens, you can trust him to defend the flag. [Applause.] The man that lives at a boarding-house, never gets married, and don't believe in a family, when difficulty comes will grab his gripsack and run off to Canada or somewhere else. [Laughter.]
This grand secret influence of this mighty army that never used guns was all powerful in the hearts of old General Sherman and General Grant when they were commanding the mighty matchless armies of America. The home, the mother, the child, that which makes a nation safe, that which lays the foundation of a nation upon the bedrock so that it can not be overturned, was the cradle of this mighty army that did not use guns. They did not use guns, but they sent boxes of bandages, boxes of canned fruit, boxes of knit socks, and darned socks, by the carload, and every boy that was wounded knew that he had been fighting for
a home where loving mothers, loving sisters and loving sweethearts were being protected. Do you suppose such men are conquerable? The result is embodied in the great principles we won. What is it? A national sovereignty as broad as the domain of our country. Never again in this land will a state put its hands into the mail-bags of Uncle Sam and take the documents out and burn them in the street. The sovereign power of the nation is fixed above all states. We put it there, we founded it there by the help of this mighty silent army in the rear. They it was that helped pass the 13th amendment, the 14th amendment, the 15th amendment. They it was that made us respected in this world as a nation, never before respected. These things they silently have helped us fix in the fundamental law of the land so that it makes no difference, comrades, who administers this government hereafter, those sacred things which we have planted there will stay there as long as the north star stays in its place.
I thank you for this privilege of saying a word in defense of the home army. I have seen it, I have felt it, I have been blessed with it. God bless the great army that stood behind us when we were using the bayonet for the safety of our nation. [Applause.]
Third TOAST.—“To the Memory of our Dead.”
The President:-I beg you to fill your glasses, rise and stand . while I read the little poem which expresses the thought.
In the home of the clouds, where nature dies
And feel once more the phalanx unbroken,
Shoulder to shoulder, with no word spoken,
And the pledge that was sealed by the Angel of Death
Shall be sworn again with the living breath.
Response by General ATKINS.
Our country and our flag are one. In the hearts of the old soldiers our flag is our country. Earth and sky do not make a