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The following communication was received by General Ducat, chairman of the committee on invitations, and read :
WASHINGTON, D. C., Sept. 29, 1891. HON. ARTHUR C. DUCAT,
Chairman, etc., Chicago, Ill. Dear Sir :- I have advised you by telegram of the receipt of the invita tion of the trustees of the Grant monument association to attend the unveiling of the monument they have erected in Lincoln park, on October 7th, and of my inability to be present.
I do not underestimate the significance and national interest of this occasion; and, if circumstances would permit, I would esteem it a privilege to take part with your citizens in a public expression of grateful appreciation of the services of General Grant. He was a tower of strength and confidence in the crisis of our civil war. He redeemed the failures of other men; revived the courage of the faint and disheartened; gave his confidence to a matchless army, and received in return its unshaken faith. Revealing to his soldiers their invincible power, he, more than any other leader of the war, realized that when our army paused to recruit and reorganize opportunity was given to the enemy to do the same work. If his battalions were shattered and weary he did not forget that the enemy's were in as bad or worse a plight and followed and struck again.
I am glad to know that General Gresham, who was so honorably associated with General Grant in the campaigns of the Army of the Tennessee, has been selected as the orator of the occasion; and do not doubt that his personal knowledge of the great commander will enable him to speak in fitting phrase of one whose relation to me was only that of a remote but beloved commander-in-chief.
The state of the public business here is such that I can not hope to make the trip to Chicago at the time named. With great respect,
Very truly yours,
The following description of the statue is by the artist, Louis Rebisso :
The General grasping the field-glass in his right hand, rests the same in an easy and somewhat unconscious
his right thigh, as after taking a careful survey of the field. It sug- . gests as a whole a concentration of mind, confidence, and selfreliance; apparently he is satisfied that his orders are successfully executed by his troops. The bronze statue will measure eighteen feet three inches in height from the bottom of the plinth to the crown of the slouch hat. It is the largest casting of the kind ever attempted in this country.
CHICAGO, October 7th. 1891, The Society assembled at the Auditorium, at 8 o'clock P. M., and was called to order by the First Vice-President, Captain James A. Sexton.
The Elgin band played a patriotic air, and Bishop Samuel Fallows of our Society offered prayer as follows.
O, thou giver of every good and perfect gift, we thank thee for this gracious opportunity of meeting together and engaging in the exercises of this occasion. We acknowledge thy goodness in giving us the privilege, this day, of so signally honoring the life and services of our first commander. We thank thee for the priceless heritage of us all, of those who fought with him, and of those who fought against him, in the manifested at. tributes of his soldierly character, his courage, his coolness, his determination, his skill, his modesty, and his fearless magnanimity. We thank thee for his patience in affiction, and his heroism in suffering. We praise thee that the clouds while gathered about his closing days, filled with the radiance of the sympathy, the confidence, the affections of a united people, were changed by thy grace into chariots of glory to accompany him home. We thank thee for the memory of his renowned brother in arms, our second commander, so long the President of this Society, whose vacant chair fills us with sadness to-night. In the ripeness of honored years, and in the plentitude of his undimmed fame, thou did'st gather him like a shock of corn, fully ripe in his season, into thy heavenly garner. We give thee heart-thanks for the good example of all those, thy servants and other commanders and their devoted comrades, who, having finished their course in faith, do now rest from their labors.
We thank thee for a country we were so willing to die for, and praise thee for a country now so worthy to live for. Multiply the benedictions of thy loving favor upon it. Unite us all in every section more and more closely together in the sacred and crowning bonds of patriotic devotion. Preserve us from the dangers of domineering riches, and the evils of unrelieved poverty. Purify our politics, and from all injustice and selfish scheming in city, state and nation, good Lord, deliver us, and in the hope that maketh not ashamed, we thank thee for the heavenly and the better country beyond, whither the loved ones of our homes and hearts have gone on before us. Blessed be thy name! Morning there shall never end in night! Our meeting there shall know no pang of parting; our service there shall be unattended with weariness and antagonism; joy there shall be unalloyed with sorrow or pain; and love there, supreme and eternal, shall, forever bind together the purified in one common fellowship and felicity. In thine own good time, and in thine own good way, bring us at last thither and to thyself : and thou shalt have all the praise, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
The Imperial Quartette sang “ The Old Brigade," and Captain Sexton, the presiding officer, introduced Governor Fifer of Illinois, who welcomed the Society in the following words : GENTLEMEN OF THE SOCIETY OF THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE:
The spirit of patriotism knows its heroes. That nationalism which reveres “The Flag ” has not forgotten the valor which in a supreme national crisis kept that flag in the air. Therefore, when called as the executive of Illinois to welcome here tonight the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, I know my words, though far more hearty than any I am in fact able to employ, would not belie the sentiment of the people of a great state and a great country. In fact, I do not make this speech of wel. come, but rather the hospitable genius of an appreciative people speak to you through my lips and say to you as survivors and representatives of the great union army, “welcome-thrice welcome to whatever of entertainment and good cheer abides in the Illinois metropolis."
The Army of the Tennessee, in addition to being the theater of heroes was the school of military genius. Around its bivouac fires were organized the beginnings of victory. By those fires sat the trinity of national salvation-Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan. Amid the clangor and battle smoke of that army the silent man of destiny formulated the high resolve of a nation in the demand for “immediate and unconditional surrender."
Gentlemen, it cannot be too often said that the greatness of the war you waged lay in the greatness of its cause. The grand jury of history presents a frightful indictment against the conquerors of the past, who to appease national vanity or to gratify personal ambition and the false glory of conquest, have sacked cities, desolated provinces, and despoiled prostrate industry, as though the trade of making widows and orphans were in itself a glory and not a crime.
It is difficult to divest war of its false allurements. History presents no spectacle at once so appalling and so fascinating as the battle-field. There the pent-up forces of discordant interests, conflicting ambitions, and antagonistic civilizations break forth in a scene of wild fury, the contemplation of which inflames the blood of the combatants and their descendants even to the remotest generations. High laurels are won and lost and the whole course of history is changed in a single hour by the advancing bayonet line of victory. Of the innumerable wars whose record stains the historic page, few have been justifiable and in nearly all the many innocent have suffered for the glory of the grasping few. Out of the carnage of the past dimly tower the imposing forms of captains and conquerors.
“Whose game was empires, and
Whose stakes were thrones ;
Whose dice were human bones."
You trod no innocent, bleeding bosoms under the iron hoof of war, save only in such manner as is inseparable from all war, which is in its nature cruel. While carrying in one hand a sword, you at the same time carried in the other the olive leaf of peace, and over your victorious banners hovered the hopes and inspirations of a great people. If you dipped your sword in human blood it was only that you might write with them on the tablets of an awakened public conscience the gospel of a new fraternity broad enough to include and glorify every one of the sons of men.
In the glory of your great cause I welcome you here tonight. You were valiant in war; you have been valiant also in peace. Your arms conquered; but a better and greater fact is that your principles have also conquered; and, as soldiers of the truest and highest civilization, I bid you welcome to the state which gave to your cause Lincoln, Grant, and Logan, and which mingled its best and reddest blood with yours on every field from Donelson to Savannah,
Captain Sexton then introduced Hon. Hempstead Washburne, Mayor of Chicago, who extended to the Society a welcome as follows:
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE:
So far as words convey our good wishes and our welcome, permit me in the name of this great city to tender you her hospitalities. Until history is forgotten, until gratitude has turned to scorn, until patriotism has wholly fled, until memory deserts the human race-a country's saviors, the veteran soldier guest, must rank first and precede all other friends. Our country does not forget her soldier sons. Imperishable bronze and granite recall your heroes at every turn. We speak of them by day, and their unselfish patriotism gives us peaceful slumbers and safety through the night. Once each year a day is set apart when prattling childhood, vigorous manhood and palsied age bow low their heads, in silent prayer and gratitude, upon the flower strewn graves of the soldier dead. Your camp-fires of 1861 were kept ablaze by force of arms and war, your camp-fires of 1891 are kindled in every state without a picket and without a guard. They first lit your way through the darkness of war to victory. They have now become the altar fires of a peaceful nation for grateful sacrifice. Surrounded here to-night by beauty, wealth and luxury of a nation and among companions of thirty years ago, the past rushes before you and the present is lost to view. A soldier's memories are a nation's safe-guards; they teach patriotism to wondering childhood, and breed martial spirit for coming strife. The inspiration of your dead commanders is not lost. Their virility and patriotism permeate this nation. Their heritage to us is the air we breathe, freedom's air uncontaminated by unjust laws or oppressive rule. At every hearthstone, in every state, the great emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, is loved and known. Grant, your first great commander, will live in remotest history and help to glorify the Army of the Tennessee. Sheridan at Winchester will fire the martial spirit of generations yet un born. McPherson's death will show how patriotic men can die to save country's cause. Logan will illustrate the versatility of American greatness, upon the field a superb commander, in civil life he was leader among a nation's statesmen. Sherman, your beloved commander, has lately fallen. He is mourned by a nation, for he was a nation's loss, and so long as volk-songs stir a people's patriotism,