« EelmineJätka »
who organized the work so as to remove the incumbrance that the wonderful profusion of generous law had occasioned. His supplies came to us at Chattanooga through the Commissary and Medical Departments. We hardly knew how vessels appeared as soon as we had opened connection with the sea at Savannah, bearing every comfort that we needed in our half-starved condi
As here, so everywhere. All honor to George H. Stuart; of Philadelphia, that generous christian soul, President of the Christian Commission. He brought his large sympathy to us in the Potomac army, and went back to the people to raise millions of money for our needs. All honor to these and to their talk of patriotic sacrifice. Why, we knew what was occurring when the action was over. Not so the waiting wife and little ones at home. Here you will meet the truly heroic spirits. In the large, unselfish, unceasing supply of everything that heart could wish, in the whole movement of our people, suggested by their Sanitary and Christian Commissions, you have the embodiment of the lofty sentiment that carried us through all difficulties and dangers to our final triumph.
Now let us ever remember that we struggled, not the soldiers alone, but the men, the women and the children, for the highest type of patriotism, for the principle of human rights, human liberty—the principle that our fathers epitomized in the “worship of God according to the dictates of their conscience”-and not be narrow or selfish, but let all nations and colors and descriptions of the human race come in, be thrown into the hopper of our civilization, to be molded by this civilization, to be raised by it to a higher and higher intelligence, to Christianity and to God.
At 3 o'clock to-day I received due and timely notice that I was to respond to the toast, “The Army of the Ohio.” I am sad if no better or more prominent representative of that army is present, and sadder that the distinguished soldier who was designed by your committee to respond to this toast is absent.
I joined the Army of the Ohio at Louisville in the Autumn of 1862, fresh from knapsack and canteen and forty rounds, as a Lieutenant; and a year later, when we crossed the Cumberland Mountains, under Burnside, into East Tennessee, was a still less useful officer, a Major.
But I will not attempt an apology. Peace has leveled us all; there is no rank in army rations to-night, and the greatest General of the army and the humblest private soldier clasp hands around these festive tables. Whether we wore stars or No. 10 brogans, whether we rode a charging thoroughbred at the head of a battalion, or sawed the air with a single line over a six-mule team, we are all soldiers, friends and comrades. After the battle of Perryville the bulk of the Army of the Ohio was merged into the new Army of the Cumberland, under Rosecrans, the Army of the Ohio being a department, with headquarters in the hospitable city of Cincinnati. In the Autumn of 1863 a portion of that army followed John Morgan and his gang through Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, and after escorting him to the penitentiary, and changing his stars for stripes, it returned to Kentucky, and under that gallant soldier and generous gentleman, Burnside, we scaled the Cumberland Mountains and planted our bare feet and the old flag upon the loyal soil of East Tennessee.
After Loudon, Campbell's Station, Blaine's Cross Roads, Dandridge, Strawberry Plains, siege of Knoxville, with much snow, no tents, no overcoats, no hardtack, no pork, two changes of commanders and plenty of appetite, in the Spring of 1864 we joined the grand army of Sherman at Tunnel Hill, and with the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of the Cumberland, side by side and shoulder to shoulder, we climbed the rugged slopes of Rocky Face Mountain. From that hour we followed the feathery fringe of skirmish smoke by day, and the pillar of fire by night, until high above the domes of Atlanta we planted again in glory and triumph the flag of my country and of yours.
After Atlanta fell we followed Hood into Alabama; and when Sherman and his other boys went down to the sea, we fell back into Tennessee, fighting the terrific battles of Franklin, under Schofield, and winning an overwhelming victory at Nashville, under Thomas. Then we were transferred to the sea, via Alexandria and Fort Fisher, and after scattering two rebel armies in North Carolina-one at Kingston and one at Fort Anderson-we joined the army of Sherman again at Goldsboro, and threw our hats as high as the highest at the grand surrender at Durham's Station
It is unfortunate for the Army of the Ohio that during the Atlanta campaign and the period of its most brilliant achievements it was known as the 23rd Army Corps. Bearing the name of a State that has given the nation a Grant, a Sherman, and a Sheridan—a State whose galaxy of military heroes is the jeweled cluster of the Union—the glory of its battles would be firmer fixed in the history had it borne its name with its fame down to the end of the war.
Still, we shall not forget Franklin nor Nashville—and long after we have held our last reunion as soldiers, when some of us shall be under harrows, as some of our dead comrades are to-night, some of us under tomb-stones, and a few under monuments, there shall linger grand and inspiring memories of the Army of the Ohio. Gentlemen of the Army of the Tennessee, on behalf of the absent of our army, allow me to tender our grateful thanks for the honor of your recognition.
There was loud demand and clamor that General Sheridan should get upon the table to make his speech, and being compelled to accede to it, he said:
I should have known before I came to this meeting that the men who marched with Sherman to the sea would consider an old bachelor as legitimate property to make a raid upon..
The respect and love, however, which I have always had for this army since the days of Shiloh, obliterated from my mind the dangers of the calamity which you have brought upon me in asking me to respond to the toast, “ The Ladies.”
The duty should have been assigned to General Logan, Sherman or Belknap, gifted men and accomplished speakers. I have only been skirmishing with the “ Ladies," or occasionally doing duty on the picket line, whereas the individuals just mentioned have captured the enemy's camps!
But, comrades, to let joking stand to one side—let us, when our hearts are full over the gallant deeds of the dead and our living companions, stop for one moment to remember some of the heroic acts of the “ Ladies," in the battles which we had for human freedom.
I, myself, saw the daughter of a gallant officer now present at this festive board, during the continuance of a sanguinary battle in the town of Lancaster, Kentucky, rush from her mother's house and plant a cherished national banner on a battery of artillery which was being fired with telling effect on the enemy.
I saw two young ladies in the city of Winchester, Virginia, while we were driving the enemy through the streets, amidst dead and dying soldiers, lead the advance of the troops with starry banners which had been concealed near their hearts to protect them from rebel destruction and insult.
I have seen “ Ladies” in East Tennessee, on our march to the relief of Knoxville, running through the fields until they saw we were blue-coats, and then go into hysterics from joy.
No doubt, comrades, every one of you can refer to some heroism of the “ Ladies ” in the great rebellion.
The graceful and accomplished "Ladies" here to-night to participate with you, comrades, in the memories of the glorious past, have hearts heroic and patriotism pure.
My only regret is that you did not select an orator to do them justice.
Music:-“ The Girl I left behind me."
This completed the regular toasts and responses, and General Sherman announced that volunteer toasts would be in order, as he presumed there was no hurry for adjourning.
* The City of Toledo” was given, and General Fuller called upon for response. He simply made his thanks for the compliment paid him. In behalf of the committee of which he was chairman he wished to say that it was their hope the members of the Society were pleased with the arrangements made, and had enjoyed themselves. The citizens of Toledo had kindly and generously aided them, and he desired it should be remembered.
A round of cheers were given for the citizens of Toledo.
General Logan responded to calls, saying he had never been more highly entertained than on the present occasion. These reunions were an advantage to all who meet at them, and to the country. They promote an affectionate bond of union between those who have struggled for the defense of the country, and furnish a valuable lesson for the young. The elements that make a good soldier will always make a good man.
General Grant, in responding to an enthusiastic call, said it was his fortune to have started out as the first commander of the Army of the Tennessee, and had always cherished an affectionate regard for it. He was glad there had been the spirit that organized this Society, and that he was here with it.
General Sherman was compelled to answer to most earnest demands, and, in doing so, closed the banquet. It gave him much pleasure to be present, and he should long remember the occasion most delightfully. Everything in connection with the reunion had transpired in a manner pleasant, harmonious, and cheerfully. We are to part to meet as a Society, and as I sincerely hope every one of us here, at Springfield, next year. It is my duty to pronounce the seventh annual reunion adjourned, and I make the request that we separate, singing “Auld Lang Syne,” which was done, everybody heartily joining, the band accompanying, and, at half-past 2 o'clock the hall was again vacant.
It would give your Secretary much gratification if he could, for the benefit of those members not present at this banquet, give an adequate description of it; but he may as well say at once that it is impossible. If you wish to know what a Society of the Army of the Tennessee Banquet is, you must go and see one. It can only be appreciated by being experienced.
None better have we ever had. All arrangements were complete to the last degree, and throughout marked attention was shown the speakers; so that it may well be said that all-speakers, singers, listeners, and those who were responsible—were wholly en rapport.
L. M. DAYTON, Recording Secretary.