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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.” Such was not the warfare waged by the Army of the Tennessee. 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 unborn. McPherson's death will show how patriotic men can die to save a country's cause. Logan will illustrate the versatility of American greatness, upon the field a superb commander, in civil life he was a 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, distant posterity will recall his glories in the words you sang from Atlanta to the sea. The memories of other dead will further serve to cement our patriotism and glorify your history. We welcome you to-night as heroes of a hundred battles fought and won, you won them all, for record fails of anything you lost. Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, Mission Ridge, Atlanta and your never to be forgotten march to the sea, were milestones by a nation's roadside which were marked out by the God of battles and placed by you, in the face of shot and shell. You built a highway which has guided millions to this sanctuary of the earth, a government which is the goal of human ambition,-a nation charitable in character, -just in laws and where man bows supreme allegiance to only one. Your country stands first in wealth, in power, in laws and government. She is envied of the world, and is at peace with all mankind. How blessed must be the man who can look upon such a land and say,—this is my handiwork. Well may we who were too young to participate in your labors feel that we were born too late. Your deeds, victories, lives and triumphs are forever impressed upon this great nation's history. Your memory can never die, but we who live in this peaceful age shall pass away and leave no mark behind. Fortunate men, to have fought and won, and to have lived to behold the splendid results of your sacrifice, a reunited people whose every heart-beat “keeps time to the music of the union,” a union which knows no section, and whose every homestead floats one grand flag, the starry emblem of a restored and perpetual union based on an enduring foundation of patriotic and fraternal love. Old soldiers, would that I might call you old comrades—may earth's choicest blessings he showered on you and yours to the remotest generation, and when in the fullness of years and of honors you "go hence and are no more seen,” let it be the fullest assurance that the memory of your valor and your sufferings is shrined in the hearts of a grateful people; that their recollection of your struggles and your triumphs shall never fade, and that from them generations yet to come shall learn new lessons of patriotism and devotion.
GOVERNOR FIFER AND MAYOR WASHBURNE :
Thirty years ago it was the custom for governors of states and mayors of cities, when a regiment started for the seat of war, to deliver to the officers and men, patriotic addresses, bidding them God speed, as they took the cars for the front. Four years subsequently other governors and mayors bade us welcome in fitting terms of praise when we returned with victory perched upon our banners, for we had “fought the good fight, we had kept the faith,” had saved the nation and preserved the old flag untarnished without a star missing, and then laid down our arms to resume peaceful occupations. Thirty years ago, in the happy days of youthful enthusiasm, you and I, governor, mere lads, responded to the call for volunteers, and with muskets in our hands, as private soldiers, joined the Army of the Tennessee, and of all the gallant officers who composed that grand army, we can see here before us, bowed with age, a large representation of those who survive. More than three decades have passed since that time, and now we find you, who had served through the war as a private soldier, governor of the great prairie state of Illinois, the third in rank in this glorious Union, here to bid us welcome.
And Mayor Washburne, we greet you, sir, as the worthy son of a worthy sire; for well we remember the important part taken by your distinguished father, in standing as the friend and champion of our first and great commander, U. S. Grant, and that it was largely through his instrumentality that that great leader was retained and maintained in his command until called to higher fields and greater responsibilities. It is a happy co-incidence that you, the son of a member of Congress who first saw in that obscure, modest clerk the elements of military genius and greatness, should as mayor bid welcome to this great city to so many of his lieutenants, who have come here to-day to renew old associations, and unveil to the world a lasting tribute to him, the greatest chieftain of the age. As you look into the faces of the veterans here assembled, you will see in the silvered locks, the furrowed cheeks and wrinkled brows, how busy has been time in imprinting the marks of age. Many, too, of these companions bear honorable scars that tell of devotion to their country, and of the stern realities of war. From the wreck and ruin of that awful struggle they are here to-day among a grateful people, to revive the memories of war, in order to strengthen the bonds of peace.
Is it not, therefore, eminently fitting that we should recall at this time the many heroic achievements of those great generals who so successfully commanded the victorious Army of the Tennessee? Grant, whose fame as warrior and statesman we commemorate in the statue unveiled to-day; the incomparable Sherman, who has so lately gone from us, friend and foe paying tribute to his memory; the knightly McPherson, who died “a soldier's death, with harness on his back;" Logan, Illinois' great volunteer soldier; and Howard, who, although maimed, is still in active service. God forbid that these reunions should revive the animosities of the war, or awaken new hatreds between the sections; for peace, gentle, healing, lasting peace,.was the object for which they fought and for which their comrades died. But these reunions were better abandoned, all these sacred memories forgotten and the historic events of the war consigned to the grave of oblivion, unless they educate the present generation, and send along the line of life lessons of duty and inspiration of patriotism and loyalty.
And now, gentlemen, in behalf of the members of our association, I return our sincere thanks for your cordial greeting and generous welcome to this great metropolitan World's Fair city by the inland sea.
The presiding officer then introduced to the Society, General Andrew Hickenlooper, the orator of the evening, who spoke as follows:
ANNUAL ADDRESS BY GEN. A. HICKENLOOPER.
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, COMRADES OF THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE:
When at your last stated meeting, you conferred upon me the distinguished honor and unmerited compliment of delivering your next annual address, little did any of us suppose that such an address would necessarily be an eulogy upon the life and military services of your distinguished President, then present with us in the full enjoyment of perfect health and mental vigor.
Little did we realize that when next we met, it would be within the shadow of a parting sorrow, to pay this last sad tribute of respect, due from soldiers to a soldier's memory.