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Generals McArthur, Hickenlooper, Thayer, Tilson, Sanborn, Captain Beem and others. Several amendments to the original resolution were offered but not carried
This resolution elicited a spirited discussion, during which General Hickenlooper stated that he was very sorry this question had been called up at the present time, just on the eve of an important State election, in the success of which some of our members from this State are much interested, and so warmly advocated by a member who had but recently identified himself with the Society, and in fact one whose services in the army was not probably of sufficient duration to enable him to fully appreciate the feelings which prompted the formation of the Society of which we are all now so justly proud.
I know it is claimed by the advocate of this measure that it has no political significance, but, gentlemen,
"You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will,
But the scent of the rose will hang 'round it still.” It will not be inappropriate at this time to remind you of the circumstances under which the Society was formed, of the policy which has carried it through so successfully, and of the previously expressed opinions of members long and actively identified with its interests.
For myself, I fully realize, now that we are all on a peace footing, how unpopular it is to advocate that side of any question which in the most remote degree, or by implication, can in any manner be construed into a reflection upon the private soldier; but while I disclaim any intention of depreciating the services of the enlisted man, and decidedly object to any such interpretation being placed upon my remarks—for I stand second to none in giving credit to the private soldier for the part he sustained in the late great struggle—I can see no good reason why officers should now disclaim all credit of participation, and surrender all social distinctions and friendships forined during that period, and humbly apologize for ever having accepted a commission.
I do not, however, consider it necessary to discuss this question of comparative merit, for with it the subject under consideration has really no connection.
The only questions to be answered are these: By whom and for what purpose was the Society formed? Have the objects of
the forination been successfully carried out? And, if so, what necessity is there for a change?
I will, in reply, refer you to the written history of its formation, page No. 3, 1st Annual Report, italicizing that portion to which I desire to call your special attention.
SENATE CHAMBER, CAPITOL N. C., )
RALEIGH, April 14, 1865. An impromptu meeting of a number of officers of the Army of the Tennessee, assembled in this room, was called to order by Major-General F. P. Blair, Jr. * * * * * * * *
By request of the chairman, General Blair explained the object of the meeting to be a temporary organization, through which the initiative steps can be taken to create an organization consisting of the officers of the Army of the Tennessee.
Capitol N. C., SENATE CHAMBER, 1
RALEIGH, April 25, 1865. Pursuant to a call of the committee, as appointed at the meeting of April 14th, 1865, the officers of the Army of the Tennessee again met. * *
“Major-General Blair, on behalf of the committee on organization, then presented the following report:
“The committee appointed to submit a plan for the organization of the Association of the Old Army of the Tennessee, have the honor to submit for the consideration of the officers of the army the following:
“The association shall be known as the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, and shall include every officer who served with honor in that Army."
Which was accepted and adopted as part of the Constitution.
July roth, 1866, the then President of our Society, General Rawlins, issued his call for the meeting at Cincinnati, stating one of the objects to be for the purpose of perfecting its organization.''
At this meeting this very question was raised by Colonel Parker, who introduced a resolution to instruct the Committee on By-Laws and amendments to the Constitution to also report on the justness, propriety and practicability of including in the Society the enlisted men of the Army of the Tennessee.
After a short discussion of the merits of the resolution, Colonel Parker asked permission to withdraw it, but General Leggett objected, stating-1 quote from page 8:
"Now that the question of admitting enlisted men to membership in the Society had been brought before it, he desired that it should be correctly set forth, and as he believed every member of the Society understood it. He explained the warm sympathy and kindly feeling of the officers of the Army of the Tennessee toward the enlisted men; he begged leave to oppose the
motion of Colonel Parker, but not with any wish or intention of giving the cold shoulder to the brave and worthy enlisted men. Discipline of service did not allow, during the late war, that class or character of association, between the officers and enlisted men, that the articles of our Constitution contemplated for the members of this Society-the officers of the army in the field.
"While we individually consider the enlisted man as much entitled to commendation for his services during the war as ourselves, and while we know his equality in civil life, the admitting him to membership in our Society was foreign to the object which contemplated a reunion of fellowships and friendships forined during the war. Our Society was formed before the close of the war, not in the pomp and circumstance, but in the theater of military movement and the sound of hostile guns, and was therefore peculiar; and while all would render to the soldier who served under us all merit and honor, and if need be will assist any association in his interest, he also hoped the original principles and intentions of the Society would be adhered to."
"Colonel Parker thanked the gentlemen for their impartial discussion of his motion, and withdrew it by consent of the President.”
From which, gentlemen, it will be clearly seen that such an amendment as the one now suggested, would be entirely foreign to the objects hoped to be obtained by the organization and perpetuity of our Society; that the change would be so radical as to completely alter the character of the association, and create a new society; and for what purpose? Has the Society, as at present organized, proven a failure? Not at all. Have any of the founders, or any considerable number of our prominent members, demanded it? Not at all. Have we in any manner thrown obstacles in the way of the formation of a society composed of enlisted men? Not at all. And last, but not least, have any enlisted men petitioned for admittance? Not at all. What, then, can be the object in thus attempting to revolutionize the organization of a society which has cost so much time and hard labor to bring to its present state of perfection?
At this point Captain Beem raised a point of order that the gentleman was not speaking to the “reference,” which point being sustained by the chair, General Hickenlooper resumed his seat, remarking that what had been stated would go to show the advisability of the reference, in order that the subject, which he considered vital to the interests of the Society, might receive more deliberate consideration than could be hoped for there.
On motion of General Tilson:
a committee of five, to report at this meeting on the expediency of making the change in the Constitution as proposed.
The President named the committee to be General Tilson, Colonel Loomis, Colonel Joel, General Pope and Colonel Thrall.
On motion of Colonel Thrall:
Major-General FRANCIS PRESTON BLAIR, JR., the founder of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, died in St. Louis, Missouri, July 8th, 1875, from the effect of paralysis. He was born at Lexington, Kentucky, June 19th, 1821. Completed his collegiate course at Princeton in 1841, and commenced the study of law in St. Louis, in the Spring of 1842. In 1845 he accompanied Bent and St. Vrain to their fort in New Mexico—now Colorado, remained in that wild and hostile country until the expedition under General Kearney reached that region, when he joined the enterprise, and served to the end in a military capacity. He here, no doubt, first acquired the taste for military life which afterward made him so distinguished a soldier. He returned to St. Louis in the year 1847, and soon after married Miss A. Alexander of Woodford County, Kentucky, and entered upon the practice of law in Missouri. He soon became involved in politics, and during the whole of that stormy period, from 1848 to 1861, was constantly in the front. His gallantry, the cheerful, undaunted face with which he met all enemies, the absolute openness and frankness with which he avowed his political views were tempered and let off by the genial nature, the generosity and magnanimity of the man.
In 1848, when Van Buren bolted the nomination of Lewis Cass for President, in revenge on the Democratic party of the South for having beaten him with Polk and the two-thirds rule in 1844, young Frank Blair followed the lead of his chieftain, the friend and patron of his father, and the Free Democratic party became a novelty in St. Louis. It was powerful in the city, but weak in the State. The Republican party grew up on another issue, and in 1856 nearly elected Fremont, the son-in-law of Colonel Benton, Senator from Missouri, to be President. It was nearly four years before Frank Blair's Free Democrats concluded to join hands with
the Republican party of the North. About 1860 there were some 20,000 Republicans in Missouri; they were hated almost as much by the Bell-Everett men as by the Buchanan Democrats. The Douglas men were more lenient, as a rule, toward the Republicans. Frank Blair had the advantage of being not only a Southerner by birth, marriage and affinity, but he was a slave-holder, and his coolness and courage, equal to each other, were almost equaled by his popularity. He wore a placid face and a certain genial audacity when he addressed political meetings, that interested and disarmed his wildest opponents. The United States never had his superior as a municipal organizer in the face of impassioned and overwhelming opposition. Fernando Wood, William B. Mann, John Wentworth, Dan. Sickles and Samuel Tilden had no such capacities. The embittered state of politics in Missouri forced Frank Blair out of his unnatural uncertainty in the Spring of 1860, and he organized at the Mercantile Library a convention to send delegates from Missouri to the Republican National Convention at Chicago. His double second cousin, Gratz Brown, was the presiding officer, and the name of Edward Bates, a respectable old Whig, was presented as a proper person for the Presidency. This nomination ended in Bates receiving a cabinet position under Lincoln. Frank Blair called a mass meeting, and addressed it at the south end of Lucas Market, just after Lincoln was nominated. Blair was then scant of forty years of age, in the prime of life, and ardor, and power. His meeting was attacked, and he forthwith organized the St. Louis Wide Awakes, one of the most tremendous political clubs ever known in this country, which picketed political meetings, and with clubs and camphene from their lamps burned and pummeled offenders, but only when insulted. The effect of this organization, which was only the multitudinous heart of Frank Blair, was to make the campaign of 1860 unusually orderly in this large border city. Frank Blair was elected to Congress in the Summer of 1860. He took his Wide Awakes out to Ironton to make a speech with Samuel T. Glover, but left them behind when he undertook to speak at Hannibal, and was whistled down so that he made no further effort to canvass the State. Claiborne F. Jackson and Thomas C. Reynolds, the Douglas candidates, became Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, and the Lincoln men polled 11,453 votes in the city, and 17,017 in the State. Claiborne Jackson announced that