Page images
PDF
EPUB

be learned. He is yet living in tents, encumbered by baggage and supply trains, and relying on the quartermaster for rations. He goes upon still longer marches. The tents are left standing. The baggage train is parked. The quartermaster department is no longer looked to as the source whence rations are to be procured. Knapsacks and overcoats are to be left behind.

No wagons follow, except the ammunition train. He relies for shelter on his “ dog tent" and blanket; for rations, on the country through which he passes; for protection, on the forty rounds in his cartridge-box.

By this time he begins to feel that the Lord is with him wherever he goes, and that he can go whithersoever it may please him to choose his course.

If he encounters the enemy, he runs over his rifle-pits, tramples down his chevaux de frise, burrows under his breastworks, climbs over his ramparts.

If the enemy turn his flank, or attack him in the rear, he gets over his own breastworks and fights from the other side. His only marching order is: “If the enemy is met on any road, attack him instantly and vigorously."

These are some of the transitions through which the citizen, “called suddenly to arms,” passed, while he was being transformed into the soldier. And what has been said of the soldier is, also, true of the officer. They went through the same severe school of training on the field of actual and active war.

In this training were brought out the traits which led to promotion and pointed to leadership-the qualities which carried non-commissioned officers and Lieutenants to the rank of field officers, and put stars on the shoulders of field officers and Captains, and which advanced Grant to the head of the Army of the Tennessee, and made him commander of all the armies of the United States. The roll of the comrades of that army furnishes many illustrious exemplifications of these traits and qualities. To mention names might, perhaps, be considered invidious. They will readily recur to you in the retrospect of memory. Some of them have been called to their reward. Everlasting honor to their memory! Eternal peace to their souls!

Under such training and by such discipline grew up an army, which the legions of rebellion were unable to withstand. There came a day when the main army of the Confederacy furled its

flags, piled its arms, and went home as citizens, “to obey the laws of the United States in force in the several localities of their residence "-carrying with them the pledge of the Nation, that, so long as they did this, they should not be molested nor disturbed for what had theretofore been done. That pledge was given by that model citizen, that matchless soldier, the first commander of the Army of the Tennessee. And soon after, the only important remaining Confederate army surrendered and went home upon the same conditions; and this surrender was made to another commander of the Army of the Tennessee.

Following closely upon this, the volunteer armies of the Union were mustered out of service and went home to resume their places in society, and to take up again the avocations of civil life.

And from that day to this, there has been no class of citizens, upon whom the civil authorities have relied with so much confidence, for the preservation of order and the enforcement of law. ful authority, as upon the discharged soldiers of both the Union and Confederate armies. And this reliance has not been misplaced. The conduct of the soldiers while being reabsorbed into civil life and civil pursuits has shed imperishable lustre upon the Republic, and the principles upon which it is built. It has been beyond all the precedents of history, and has put to shame the predictions of the enemies of free government. For this, they deserve well of the country, no less than for what they did in the field. They have shown that the good soldier is a better citizen, because of the respect for authority and the obedience to orders, which he acquired by service in the field.

The lapse of time since the close of the war, and the progress of events as the years go by, have, by some sort of evolution, developed some well defined and distinct types of citizen among those who were soldiers in the civil war.

Some of them have plain lineaments and unmistakable characteristics. The temptation is strong to sketch in brief outline a few of these types. But it is so easy to be misunderstood, so easy to mistake the general type for the individual specimen, that I forbear.

Excuse me, if, instead of so doing, I outline briefly the model soldier-citizen. And I am glad that there are to be found all over our land innumerable instances, who might fitly be cited as originals of the sketch I am about to draw.

He believes in a statesmanship, born of that fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom and nurtured upon the spirit of patriotism and the love of humanity, quick to discern good from evil, taking within its ken all the classes, conditions, stations, and circumstances of men, embracing within its scope our whole country and all its parts and members, and all its interests and all its citizens. He believes in a statesmanship, which, when confronted by questions affecting public weal, social order, or private right is able to rise courageously to the “ height of the great argument,” and dares to look beyond the result of the election then next ensuing

He looks beyond the beautiful river which borders our state, and sees stretching from the Susquehanna to the Del Norte, a goodly land, which the irreversible decree of battle and the irrepealable legislation of war have made a part of this Nation forever; and while he gazes, he remembers that it is arched by the same bended sky that smiles over us. He knows that it is the home of a hardy, active, intelligent, manly and courageous people, through whose veins courses the same blood as flows through our own; and that the gracious Lord sends His sunshine and His rain and dew alike upon them and upon us.

In that land lie buried the bones of soldiers, who fought in every battle of the Revolution after the day of Bunker Hill. It is hallowed by the mighty repose of our first President, and many of his successors in that high office.

Within its borders are thousands and tens of thousands of happy homes, lighted up by the smiles of contentment and love, and enriched with all the joys and blessings of human affection.

There, under the waving grass and beneath the smiling flowers, rest the ashes of his fathers, among a people who are to be our fellow citizens, as long as their mountains lift their stately heads towards the serene heavens, or their mighty rivers bear their rolling torrents to the sea.

All these things he remembers; nor does he forget what else ought to be remembered. He waits for time, the great healer, to do his work. He waits for history to record her verdict and fix the responsibility, where it must remain for the ages yet to come. Consigning malice, and hatred, and animosity, and revenge to the trenches wherein the dead past has buried its dead, he presses on to the higher and nobler things which are before; and he stands

steadfast and unmovable for that loyalty which yields ready obedience, and like charity, endureth and hopeth all things. He stands, too, for that loyalty which demands justice and protection for all, and is ready to give up all things, even life itself, if need be, at the call of the Republic.

The President:– Without any action of the Society, that will go as a part of our record for next year. To-morrow I will have a similar paper read about artillery by Captain Rumsey, well-known to nearly all present. It so happens that at this moment he is on the Pacific Coast, and could not come in person, but I will have it read by a suitable person, a friend of his, to-morrow, in the course of our session.

Now we have nothing that I know of to transact before we go to the exchange, and if any person has any proposition to make in the way of a motion, or in the way of a speech.

General Fuller:- When this Society met last year in Toledo, the soldiers of the Memorial Association of that city opened the doors of their hall for our business meeting and our annual oration. They made us welcome without money and without price; and they took so much interest, some of them, in the proceedings of that meeting, that after its adjournment they wrote to the Corresponding Secretary of this Society, asking for a set of reports of the transactions of this Society. General Hickenlooper replied that he would be very happy to comply with the request, but he could not do so without authority from the Society, and I now move that the Secretary be directed to send a set of the reports of our transactions to the Soldier's Memorial Association of Toledo.

The motion was carried

General Fuller:—The only son of Colonel Lynch, of Cleveland, a member of this Society, has requested me to present his name for membership of this Society, under the articles of our Constitution. His name is Frank Worthington Lynch. I move that he be made a member of the Society.

The President:-Can he be made a member without a year's notice?

General Fuller:—He can, by the action of this Society, without

any notice.

The President: I see there are upon our roster about a dozen members.

General Fuller:- This does not make him an honorary member. It makes him a lite member.

The President:-Gentlemen, you have heard the motion; General Fuller will be responsible that he is a suitable person for membership?

General Fuller:-I will.

The President:—The question is, shall he be admitted as a full member of this' Society?

The motion was carried.

The President:--The Secretary will notify him that he is a member. I would say, that as far as I am concerned, I like to see these young men come in, because we will soon have to turn over the Society itself to them.

The Society here called for General Howard to make a speech, who excused himself, having to speak later on; and then called General Alger.

General Alger:~Mr. President and comrades, I want to say just one word about this monument fund, by way of business. I was appointed Treasurer, or rather Chairman of the Grand Army fund for the Logan monument, and as you are all aware, at the close of the last session of Congress, a bill was passed, appropriating $40,000 for the site and pedestal of an equestrian statue, -I think they were for Generals Sheridan, Logan and Hancock. At my suggestion, at the meeting of the National Encampment, a committee of five was appointed by the Commander-in-Chief to petition Congress to change that law, so that the $40,000 might be appropriated for the site and pedestal and for the statue itself, so much as could be spared; because the sites are being donated, as I understand, in Washington, and we are of course relieved of that expense. That committee will be appointed and made up of members of the Grand Army who are members of Congress. Now, outside of what has been collected by the Army of the Tennessee, including that $40,000, there is about $52,000 available for the Logan Monument fund, and as I understand, it will require about $60,000. Do you know about that, General Sherman?

The President:-I do not; about the cost of an equestrian statue. The statue, I think, of General Thomas was built for a less sum than that.

« EelmineJätka »