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turn with so much pleasure. I move that the offer of the Loyal Legion be accepted, provided it is not unfair for us to accept; it seems to me that it is a mere nominal sum that is asked, and if it be not too small, if we may accept it properly, then I move that we accept that offer with exceeding great thanks, and that we remain in Cincinnati as long as possible.
General Grier:-On behalf of the delegation from St. Louis, I would like to take this occasion to second the motion of Colonel Jacobson. I believe that Cincinnati should be the headquarters. It has been for years, and it has given entire satisfaction to the members. The officers we cannot replace. I know of no one who can fill the offices as well as the gentlemen who now fill them, and on account of that, we of St. Louis are in favor of the headquarters remaining at Cincinnati, and that every year some new place be selected for our annual meeting.
Colonel Dawes:-I wish to correct General Hickenlooper when he says there are only six or eight members in Cincinnati; I think there are as many as twenty, and I think there are as many as fifty in Ohio.
Dr. Plummer:-It is my recollection that a resolution was introduced at the meeting in Toledo in regard to this; not as to the regular headquarters at Cincinnati, but to hold our annual reunions at some one point, and that resolution I think ought to be acted upon at this meeting.
The President:—The Society has now heard very fully on this subject and the only positive motion before us is Colonel Jacobson's; I don't know the action that Dr. Plummer speaks about; there was some conversation, and there may have been some resolution, but I don't remember it.
General Noble:-I would like to ask if this motion carries with it the permanent location for holding our meetings, or simply headquarters?
The President:-Simply headquarters. The Society will be free to hold its annual celebrations anywhere. The headquarters are for depositing records, and the little articles and documents that accumulate, and all that. We want headquarters, and I understand that the Loyal Legion, which is a permanent body, while we are an ephemeral body, which passes away with our lives, have offered us the use of their rooms at $100 rent, or even for
nothing if we don't want to pay it. It is a generous, soldierly, manly offer, and if you are prepared to vote on the proposition that the headquarters remain as now in Cincinnati, and the President be authorized to accept the offer of the Loyal Legion, will say aye.
The President:-It appears to be unanimous, and it is the first time I ever knew Chicago to favor Cincinnati or Cincinnati to favor Chicago. I think the Army of the Tennessee is approaching the millennium.
General Hickenlooper:- I desire to say the reason why I give in, I saw that St. Louis was afraid Chicago would get in and Chicago didn't want it, and therefore we would have to keep it.
The President:—Now, gentlemen, we have still an hour, and we have got through our regular business according to our regulations. In
pursuance of a resolution of some six or eight years ago, which has grown into a custom, when you imposed upon me the duty to name two or three persons to read papers in the intervals of our business meetings, I named Colonel Loudon, I think now a judge, at Georgetown; at all events, I named him, and here he is, like the Army of the Tennessee, responsive.
General Hickenlooper:-With your permission, the local committee desire me to make an announcement; that when we leave this hall, we will march from here to the Chamber of Commerce, which is on the direct route to the hotel. They have there prepared for the Society—the merchants of the city-in their beautiful chamber, a reception, which will occupy but a few moments of your time. We have accepted it, and therefore it is hoped that the gentlemen who are otherwise disposed to go to the hotel, or separate from the Society, will remain until the Society go there in a body.
Colonel Loudon here read a paper as follows:
MR. PRESIDENT AND COMRADES OF THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE:
I am before you on this occasion obeying the lesson so well learned by that army of which we are all proud to have been members, that lesson so often inculcated upon subordinates, and so splendidly illustrated in his intercourse during the days of active military operations, by that illustrious Captain, who go often led
us beyond the perilous edge of battle, through the rugged and dangerous paths of war, to glory and victory, and who is now the honored President of this Society.
~ Serus in coelum redeat.”
Under date of June 20, 1888, our President did me the honor to request that I would prepare a paper for the records of this Society, leaving the choice of a subject to myself, for the meeting at Toledo last year.
Owing to a change of the time fixed for that meeting, there ensued a clash between its date and the dates of other engagements, in the line of official duty, in consequence of which it became impossible for me to attend, and I so notified the proper authority, and of course did not attempt the preparation of a paper such as was desired. In fact it seemed to me that I had received the compliment of the selection, which I certainly greatly appreciated, and had escaped the labor of attempting to prepare a paper, fit in some degree, however humble, to be placed in the archives of this Society.
Briefly, I took it as being “relieved from further service on that detail.” But, as happened to many another, I had arrived at a mistaken conclusion, for under date of January 26, 1889, I received a letter containing among other things the following:
“I again request you to prepare some paper illustrating the inner life of the citizen soldier, summoned suddenly to war, as you and thousands of others were, the gradual transition of feeling, thought and action as you passed through the transformation and final conclusion, for the records of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee. This timely notice will give you ample time to arrange your courts. Please do not disappoint me."
To this letter was attached the sign manual, “ W. T. Sherman."
Remembering the lesson already referred to, that “prompt obedience to orders is expected and will always be required," I acknowledged "service of notice" and promised to report for duty at this meeting. And thus is explained how and why I came to be here, asking your attention, and begging your indulgence for a very few minutes.
The postponement of the execution, or rather the renewal of the request has been advantageous in at least one respect. It has relieved me from the embarrassment of selecting a subject, and has suggested the “line of direction” for what I may have to say.
It enables me to escape the ill-fortune which has sometimes overtaken some of my comrades, who have essayed to describe some campaign or movement, remarkable for brilliant execution, or strategic skill, some battle or march in which they participated-the ill-fortune of having their sanity called in question or their veracity disputed. I need not cite instances. They will recur to most, if not all of you, either from observation or experience.
In fact, it is not quite safe for one who desires to maintain his equanimity, and to preserve his peace of mind, to attempt anything too modern. It is safe enough to call up the Greek from Colchis or Mycale, or to arouse the Jew from Armageddon. Perhaps it might do to come down as late as the campaigns of Alexander or the retreat of the ten thousand. To come down to a date more modern is to run the risk of having your statements doubted and disputed and cast into that unlocated limbo whence men draw materials wherewith to construct fables which they misname history.
By all means, let him who would be a historian, adhere to some subject which preserves the fine flavor of "Antiquity." If any of my
comrades would adventure into this field, let me earnestly advise him to begin with the battle of the kings in the vale of Siddim, and the foray of Abram unto “ Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus." This course will head off those military critics and editors, who, like poets, are born and not made; and put to disadvantage military critics who have studied the “pomp and circumstance of war" as exemplified in Fourth of July parades and general musters. It will, also, preclude the production of counter statements, by affidavit or otherwise, by that large and ever increasing class of eye witnesses, who always saw a “considerable part of what occurred,” and whose recollection grows brighter and fuller and more vivid as the rolling years carry us all farther and farther away from the scenes and events which they remember as well as if “it had happened yesterday.”
These remarks, it may be readily admitted are not strictly observants of the “line of direction.” I trust you will overlook or excuse this irregularity. The Army of the Tennessee, you will remember, did not always move directly upon the point of attack.
movements, but it always “got there." I hope to do likewise.
It made many
It is known of all men, that, from the formation of the constitution, even from the very beginning of our present form of government, the existence of slavery in the country was a source of agitation and irritation between its differing sections. Its existence in the confederated colonies, after they had achieved their independence of the mother country, well nigh defeated the adoption of the Constitution and the formation of the Union.
The character of that institution is no longer a subject necessary to be discussed. It is dead; dead as the mummies in the gloomy recesses of the Pyramids; dead as the years beyond the flood-.for which, thanks be to Almighty God and to the loyal soldiers of the Republic. Its good, if any it had, has been buried with its bones and hidden away from the sight of men, and its evil continues still to live. The institution, however, was recognized by the Constitution as one to be upheld and protected by National authority; and this recognition and protection doubtless prolonged its existence. In these constitutional provisions, the large majority of the citizens of the Republic cheerfully acquiesced for many years. They respected the compromises and adjustments, and were content to abide by the agreements of the fathers. This acquiescence was, however, not universal. From the very first, a few heroic spirits, with hearts inspired by the love of liberty and lips aflame with fire from the altars of eternal justice, protested against what seemed to them a covenant with death and “an agreement with hell.” The labor of these men directed the attention of thoughtful people to the subject of this bitter denunciation. There was careful study; there was patient investigation; there prayerful deliberation; and the result of all these was an almost unanimous concensus of opinion, that slavery was contrary to the spirit and genius of our institutions, unfriendly to the full development of Republican government; and that all constitutional means ought to be used to mitigate, to ameliorate, and finally to eradicate the evil. The public sentiment of all Christendom tended to that conclusion, and moved steadily onward in the same direction.
These things lessened the sense of safety in which the owners of that species of property had indulged themselves. They began to demand legislation calculated to afford further security, and to clamor for additional territory in which to develop and bring to full fruition their “peculiar institution."