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confidence and esteem of his superiors, while his bold and fearless leadership upon the field claimed the admiration and respect of his inferiors. In his brave heart there was a real warmth of attachment and a sterling fidelity for those he chose for his personal friends. We all remember him as his tall form towered where he led in the fight, and his piercing voice rang out above the din and roar of the conflict. We remember him to-night, not only as a dead comrade, but as a warm friend, and render a tribute to his memory as a true soldier and a hero'patriot.
Then, too, the hour is saddened by the silence that shall forever sit in the solitary place in our Society of the genial, eloquent and gallant Blair.
The mind that conceived the thought of this organization has returned to the great source of all thought from whence it emanated, and the hand that drafted our Constitution will wield the pen no more forever. I can not use this occasion to speak of him as my feelings prompt. His descendants will be proud of the fame of their hero ancestor. His old, battered sword, so manfully wielded by him in the cause of the Republic, may well be cherished by them as a precious heir-loom; every dent upon it was made by manly blows in the defense of liberty and the right. But the heroism of Frank Blair shone grandest, to my mind, when he led in the intellectual conflict in which were inarshaled the forlorn hope of undaunted men, who boldly struck the slave power in a slave State; when, at the heighth of its pride and arrogant intolerance, the clarion voice that shouted defiance in its face rang out the call to arms, and rallied and organized the patriotic people of a slave State to take arms and go forth to battle for the supremacy of the law of the Republic. In all these years, when he led the political organization against the slave power and the slave policy and the slave spirit, and when he marshaled the regiments to fight that same power, everywhere and under all circumstances, through all the struggle till slavery was dead and peace had come, I was intimate with his thoughts and feelings; and when he died I thought him worthy of that grand eulogy pronounced over the body of Brutus:
“The elements were so mixed in him,
That nature might stand up
And General Chester Harding, whose cultured mind and indefatigable labors, aided by his noble, patriotic desires, in the organization and forming the army at St. Louis made him the trusted friend of Lyon, is also numbered with our dead. So too are Colonel J. T. Herbert, Major J. Bryant Walker, Colonel Roger Morton, Colonel J. C. McCoy, Lieutenant S. W. Hedges, Lieutenant J. R. Fyfer, Surgeon Maguns Brucker and Surgeon S. P. Bonner. This is our mortality list in the battle of life for the year just closed, as reported on the call of the roll this morning.
While we enjoy the social reunion, always so pleasant among men who have shared common dangers and rejoiced in common victory; while the reminiscences of the camp, the march and the battle are rehearsed in story and in song; while we pause to pay to the memory of those who have gone to bivouac on the other shore the respect due to a soldier from his comrades; while we rejoice in the results of the war and the fact of peace and in its victories, the triumph of arts and sciences, the progress of our beloved country, and the hopes of its future grandeur and powers; while we express our gratitude to a kind Providence; while you look the inevitable in the face and talk of old age and the coming end of life—while we do all this let us never 'forget to send from our reunion soldierly and kind greetings to the men who wore the U. S. on the cartridge-box, and carried 40 rounds in the box and 20 in their pocket. Though they wore no epaulets on the outside their blue coats bore hero hearts within. They felt that their armor was the impenetrable mail of the right. The government for which they fought was their government, and with steady tread they swept on, never doubting that the vantage ground was theirs when chosen by Grant or Sherman. They had faith in God, faith in each other, and faith in their commanders. God bless them wherever they may be, and may they live long to enjoy the government their valor upheld. They have presented to the world the grand spectacle of a people able to defend their government on the field of battle, and capable of ruling it in peace by their ballots. [Prolonged applause.]
This Republic can pay its monetary debt incurred in the war -every dollar of every bond, and every cent of interest, and it will do it too in good money at that. [Applause.) But there are debts it can never pay. There are empty sleeves and empty pantlegs that we meet everywhere, all eloquent of lost and buried manly hopes that have no price in coin. There are widows whose sighs and tears and struggles in adversity are beyond computation in money. There are orphans whose lost opportunities and poverty have made their young lives to sit heavy upon them. The sum of the national debt would not compensate one of them for the loss of that father who fell in one of the great battles of the war in the ranks of the Army of the Tennessee.
When, in the daily walks of life, we meet “the boys," as we were wont to call them, and they hail you by your military title, and with a strong hearty shake of the hand remind you that they were with you at Vicksburg, or Lookout Mountain, or Mission Ridge, or on the Atlanta campaign, and recall to your recollection scenes and incidents of the march, or the camp, or the fight, and remembering your common dangers and triumphs his heart warms toward you while he recounts what he has done since the war, and tells you of his family, and his victories and defeats in the department of civil life in which he has enlisted. When he tells you he wants no more war, he rejoices in the peace which pervades our borders; does he not, by every word and every act, impress upon you the thought that a government based upon the patriotism of such a people is founded upon a rock, and may defy forever the storms of foreign aggression as well as civil feud.
When your old soldier-boy friend most exults in peace, and talks of its white-winged angel, and its blissful elysiums where his loved ones dwell, try the experiment of mentioning to him that the people of this country have grown weary of the condition of things in Cuba, and have well-nigh concluded that they will have a fair exchange of productions with that island, and a restoration of trade with it on terms just to us, and that it is probable the Gov. ernment will ere long move in the matter, and Grant and Sherman may inquire for them in case of any trouble growing out of it; when, all forgetful of beautiful peace, they will tell you with kind. ling eye, “when I am wanted I'll be present for duty.”
Nothing but the fact that they felt they were a part of the government for which they fought, made them the best soldiers the world ever saw. We have seen them, when firing was heard in the advance, quicken their steps without an order to do so, and hurry on towards the front in perfect confidence that they could whip any army that would stand before them. I remember to have heard Logan tell McPherson, at Dallas, that every man of the 15th
corps was capable of commanding a brigade, and the same might have been said of all the other corps. After the close of the war, I read in a Southern paper an account of a battle between Wade Hampton and Sherman down in South Carolina, and I asked the General about it. He said, “I know nothing of it. I never had a fight with him." .
Some of the boys straggled on ahead, bumming around in enjoyment of the landscape, and they found Hampton and his force, and without an officer, each commanding himself, deployed as skirmishers, developed the enemy's lines, rallied on the center, charged, broke and drove him, and I never had a word of it from an officer. The world holds record of no other instance of soldiers in the enemy's country straggling to the front. I say it in no disparagement of their officers, but it was easy to win victories with such men. All honor to them; may the people of this country never forget to render to them the honor that is justly due to the boys who bore the musket and the fag. (Cheers.] And now, comrades, I must say good-bye, “Life hath as many farewells as it hath sunny hours,
And over some are scattered thorns, and over others flowers,
Although the parting thrills with pain,
To meet again, to meet again.” Colonel Fletcher was listened to with marked attention, being many times applauded as he proceeded, and receiving hearty cheers as he closed.
Music by the Band.
The President here stated that the programme provided remarks from such of the officers present as those of the audience might desire to hear and see, and it would be left for them to indicate their pleasure, and there were immediate enthusiastic calls for General Grant.
SPEECH OF GENERAL GRANT.
COMRADES:—It always affords me much gratification to meet my old comrades-in-arms of ten to fourteen years ago, and to live over again the trials and hardships of those days, hardships imposed for the preservation and perpetuation of our free institutions. We believed then, and believe now, that we had a government worth fighting for, and if need be, dying for. How many of our comrades of those days paid the latter price for our preserved Union. Let their heroism and sacrifices be ever green in our memory. Let not the results of their sacrifices be destroyed. The Union and the free institutions for which they fell, should be held more dear for their sacrifices. We will not deny to any of those who fought against us any privileges under the Government which we claim for ourselves. On the contrary, we welcome all such who come forward in good faith to help build up the waste places, and to perpetuate our institutions against all enemies, as brothers in full interest with us in a common heritage. But we are not prepared to apologize for the part we took in the great struggle. It is to be hoped that like trials will never befall our country. In this sentiment no class of people can more heartily join than the soldier who submitted to the dangers, trials and hardships of the camp and the battle-field, on which ever side he may have fought. No class of people are more interested in guarding against a recurrence of those days. Let us then begin by guarding against every enemy threatening the perpetuity of free republican institutions. I do not bring into this assemblage politics, certainly not partizan politics; but it is a fair subject for our deliberation to consider what may be necessary to secure the prize for which they battled. In a republic like ours, where the citizen is the sovereign, and the official the servant, where no power is exercised except by the will of the people, it is important that the sovereign-the people—should possess intelligence. The free school is the promotor of that intelligence which is to preserve us as a free nation. If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other. Now, in this Centennial year of our national existence, I believe it a good time to begin the work of strengthening the foundation of the