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The time was 'when that brow was clouded; the time when those eyes were filled continually with tears; the time was when that heart was bleeding and breaking. Thank God that has all passed; the cloud has gone. The eyes shine with brightness they never experienced before. The heart is filled with a bounding gladness words cannot express.
She said once in her agony and grief, “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. Glory be to that God who is ‘marching on,' the children have all come home again.” And she is raining to-night her benedictions and thanksgivings upon the heads of these loyal men of the Army of the Tennessee for helping to bring the wanderers back to their home. [Prolonged applause.] Look at her—there she stands, and will forever stand, empress alike o'er all the earth-holding in that hand, in which you can see no tremor, the torch of liberty, enlightening the nations of the earth; the torch of civilization, the torch of invention, the torch of literature, the torch of art, the torch of culture and the torch of religion; and the light which streams from the torch which she holds, it shall never go outnever go out while suns kindle, while stars burn, while the earth remains, for the God of Liberty Himself lit that sacred, undying flame. [Applause.]
General Sherman:—What is your desire now? Shall we have “ The Sword of Bunker Hill?” [Cries of “The Sword of Bunker Hill."]
General Sherman:-“ The Sword of Bunker Hill” will now be sung by Captain Hawkins.
Song, as above.
General Atkins was called for; he was introduced to the Society by General Sherman. General Atkins spoke as follows:
MR. CHAIRMAN AND MY COMRADES OF THE SOCIETY OF THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE:
I thank you for calling upon me this evening, because I am happy to be recognized as a member of this grand army organ: zation. I had the honor of serving in the Eleventh Illinois, that gave to the country and to God, Wm. H. L. Wallace, T. G. Ransom and many others, and I feel, although it is a small part of the glory of that regiment that is mine, that some of the glory of the
old Eleventh Illinois Infar.try belongs to me, and that regiment was a part of the Army of the Tennessee; that some of the glory of the grand Army of the Tennessee is mine also. [Applause.]
I like these soldiers' reunions, because I know that when the old soldiers come together they feel the genial influences of the old fires of liberty burning in their hearts as they look upon the old flag and the faces of our old commanders, some of them living, some of them gone, some here and some absent, they feel the influence of those old fires, and live over again the old times; it does them good, it does everybody else good also. These ladies and gentlemen who are gathered here this evening, some of them younger than we, will catch from the genial fires of patriotism, burning in our hearts, sparks that will set their hearts on fire also, and especially the younger ones, those who were not born when the great war came with its gray cloud of sorrow and suffering and death, and went by at last, leaving its immortal, shining crown of glory on this nation, will hear in these soldiers' reunions stories that will forever live in their hearts; and if the time should ever come, (God grant that it never may) that this nation should need their services, it will have strong hearts and stalwart arms to defend its honor and its glory. [Applause.]
I read, my comrades, as you read when you were young, the stories of Washington and Putnam and Green and Gates, and the heroes of the Revolutionary war. So
children will read of the marches and countermarches of the great Generals of the Army of the Tennessee, in which you had a glorious part, and these stories will fire their hearts as the stories which you read fired yours.
Oh, what a grand story it is; let me not attempt to tell it. In song and story and in marble statue, it will live during all the ages, for liberty will not forget her children until liberty herself shall die. And amid the bright galaxy of stars, shining in the history of this great war, none will shine brighter or be remembered longer than the name of our Commander-in-Chief, the martyred President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, Lapplause, and by his side will shine forever in history, the name of the first commander of the Army of the Tennessee, General Grant, [great applause,] the Marlborough of American history, [prolonged applause,] and by his side also will shine the name of our present commander, General Sherman, Capplause and
hurrah,] the Napoleon of the war, [prolonged applause,] and by his side will shine the name of General Logan, [applause and cries of hurrah for General Logan,] the Marshal Ney of the war, but I cannot name them all, and then, like the unnumbered stars of the milky way, in its shining pathway across the heavens, will shine the names of the private soldiers, [ applause,] not one of which will be lost; in the records of the War Department, and on the rolls of the army, and in the archives at Washington, they will all be safe forever, side by side with Lincoln and Grant and Sherman. Mr. President, I thank you. [Applause.]
Cries of "Belknap" "Belknap."
MR. PRESIDENT, COMRADES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
I dislike to disturb the solemnities of this occasion, [laughter] but I believe I will tell a story, [laughter]—a story that I have told so many times that they say I begin to believe myself that it is true, but, nevertheless, I tell it because it is true, and I feel towards those members of my own command who speak of me in that way, as a soldier of my regiment said when writing to his sweetheart in Iowa, from the battlefield of Shiloh on the day following the battle. “I gazed from a lofty eminence, my darling sweetheart, and looked down upon the rebels with vigor and contempt.” [Laughter and applause.) When one of the Irish regiments was forming in the city of Keokuk, I happened to be its Major, and, recruiting for the regiment, myself enlisted a young Irish boy, whom some of the members of the Society in this hall will recognize as my orderly during the Atlanta campaign,-- Darby -the biggest forager and the greatest thief I ever saw. [Laughter.] Marching down the streets of Keokuk with the regiment, with drums beating and banners flying, I, its Major, it was suddenly called to my attention that a woman had rushed from the sidewalk, seized this young Irish soldier by the collar and was dragging him to the pavement. I rushed to relieve him from this predicament and suddenly found that it was my Darby and that the old lady was his mother. She said to me “Major, he can't go, he shan't
he is not old enough to go; he is not eighteen years old, he must stay here and you can't take him." I, having the law at my tongue's end, said, “madam, he must go, he is eighteen years
of age,- he has sworn that he is eighteen—the law says that the oath taken by the recruit shall be conclusive as to his age, and he must go."
She insisted that he should not. I told her of the honors that would await the soldier: if he died, that he would be embalmed in the hearts of his countrymen, (laughter] and perhaps, if wounded, after twenty, or thirty, or forty, or fifty, months, or years, he would receive his pension. [Laughter.] She still insisted, and I still insisted. The regiment in the meantime marching down to the river. When finally, I persuaded her with my blandishments to permit Darby to go, she concluded that he could go and that I would take good care of him, and her parting words to him were, as she blessed me and blessed him, “Darby, be a good boy and stay by the Major and you'll never be hurted.” [Laughter and applause.] Ladies and gentlemen,-especially ladies— stay by the Major and you will never be forgotten.” [Laugliter and applause.]
General Sherman:--Ladies and gentlemen, if there be no further call I will have “Old Shady.” sung. And then we will have our tattoo and adjourn until to-morrow morning at ten o'clock for the business meeting. There being no further requests for speeches, I call upon Captain Hawkins for "Old Shady."
The audience joined heartily in the chorus, and when the song was concluded the Society adjourned.
August 14, 1884. The Society assembled in the parlor of the hotel, in accordance with the adjournment of yesterday, and was called to order at 10 o'clock by the President, who announced that the first in order of business would be presentation of reports by committees. Captain Putnam, for the committee on selection of officers, presented its report.
The President said he had a letter from General Hickenlooper, and, before action should be taken on the report, the letter ought to be read, as General Hickenlooper had been renominated. He read the letter, which is as follows:
CINCINNATI, August 9, 1884. GENERAL W. T. SHERMAN,
President Society of the Army of the Tennessee, Lake Minnetonka,
Minn.: MY DEAR GENERAL:—For the first time since the organization of our Society, imperative business engagements will not admit of my attending a reunion. It is, therefore, with extreme regret I am compelled to forego the pleasure of attending this one. Through the considerate kindness and courtesy of my old comrades, I have held the office of Corresponding Secretary for eighteen consecutive years, but ever-increasing and constantly accumulating business cares renders it impossible for me to give to the duties of the position the time and attention its importance demands, and I have, therefore, to ask that my resignation be accepted.
In thus declining to longer act in an official capacity, I do not wish it understood that my interest in the Society, or its proceedings, has in any way diminished, but, upon the contrary, I find that with each succeeding year it has grown stronger and stronger, and it is alone my regard for the welfare of the Society which impels me to positively decline a reelection, and to ask that the duties of the position be assigned to some member who has the time and inclination to give them proper attention.
Corresponding Secretary. He then asked the Society to take action. On motion of Major Miller,
Resolved, That the report of the committee be read and adopted.