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TOLEDO, September 5, 1888.5 The exercises were public, and there were assembled, besides members of the Society, many of the citizens of Toledo, filling the hall. General J. W. Fuller, Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements, called the meeting to order by addressing the following remarks:
My Comrades -Since the day fifteen years ago when your Society convened in our city, so many who served in the ranks of the Army of the Tennessee have been mustered out, that the few who are left thought it proper to ask our comrades of other armies to join us in extending to you a soldier's greeting. This request was responded to so cordially, so heartily, that we have entirely forgotten who belonged to the Cumberland, who to the Potomac, or who to the Ohio, and we only know that to-night they all belong to the Army of the Tennessee.
When you came here in 1873 you brought with you your first commander, Grant, and your last commander, Logan. With you also came Sheridan and Hurlbut and Ord and Hazen and Woods and Ewing, and Custer, and Spooner, and Slack, and Hedrick and others—too many for me to name. You found then living General Steedman and Colonels Moore and Bond, and Hill and Von Blessing; also Captains Mery, Schultz and Schmidt. With other patriotic citizens then bidding you welcome stood Morrison R. Waite, who so impressed General Grant that we may connect the occasion with his subsequent eminent service as Chief Justice of the United States. All these have since forded that river which we ourselves very soon must cross. Yet not with tears nor lamentations, for we trust that in our march thitherward our step may continue, if not so elastic, nevertheless as steady and as measured as of old.
Comrades, your ranks are growing thin; but like the books which the Sibyl of old offered to the King, though constantly lessening, the value is ever the same; and we hail you to-night as still the embodiment of that esprit de corps which marked the victors at Corinth, at Vicksburg, at Atlanta.
He then invited Chaplain H. M. Bacon to offer prayer.
PRAYER, BY CHAPLAIN H. M. BACON.
Oh, God, our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee that while death has been so busy with the ranks of these brave men, Thou hast spared so many of them to come back to this place where they are always welcome. We think Thee that Thou hast permitted us to gather here with them, and with those who served with them, in the perils, and struggles, and glories of the great conflict for freedom, justice, and liberty, and to listen again to their voices, and to attest to them and to all whom they represent, our gratitude and our affection for all their services. And now, oh God, our Heavenly Father, we pray that Thou wilt grant to bless them while they sojourn here with us. And may they be refreshed with the affection and gratitude of the American nation. And we pray Thee, as they mingle their sympathies and their counsels together, may they be endowed with Thy blessing. And we pray, our Heavenly Father, that Thy blessing may be not only extended to them, but to that great leader who is yet spared to us, and to our Nation. We pray that his body may abide in strength; and that Thou wilt grant, oh Lord our God, that the great lessons which have been given by those who have gone before and those who are still with us may sink deep into the heart of hearts of this people. And with those from whom Thou hast taken the hope, the joy, and the delight of their hearts, we ask Thee. oh Lord our God, that Thou wilt deal very tenderly and graciously with them, and put it into the hearts of this great people to be true and just to these obligations. Again, our Heavenly Father we invoke Thy blessing upon those who have come to join together here for a little while in our city, and we pray, oh God, our Heavenly Father, that Thy choicest blessings may follow them when they shall separate. And may all that shall be done here to-night be so full of the spirit of sacrifice and of loyalty, and the spirit of our Divine Redeemer-loyalty to truth, and to all that is good and noble—that we shall look back to our meeting here, not only as long as we shall live, but when we shall have joined that great multitude who have gone before, with praise and thanksgiving to Thee, that in Thy providence we have been permitted to welcome these our comrades, and to rejoice with them in the assurance that no toil or service in behalf of our country and in behalf of liberty, has been in vain. We ask it for Jesus' sake. Amen!
Music, by Oratorio Society:-“ Star Spangled Banner."
ADDRESS OF WELCOME, BY HON. J. K. HAMILTON,
MAYOR OF TOLEDO.
MR. CHAIRMAN, SOLDIERS OF THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE:
The very pleasant duty has been assigned to me of extend. ing to you in behalf of the people of Toledo a greeting and wel. come to our midst. A formal welcome is scarcely necessary, for I am sure you know that the people of this community are always glad to welcome to their midst and to the best they have the veterans of the war. I wish to assure you that you have pitched your tents to-day on loyal ground. The people of Toledo, no matter what might be said of other communities—and we claim no special pre-eminence-during the war, from the beginning to the end, without exception, men, women and children, old and young, testified in every way by which loyalty could give expression to their devotion to the great cause for which you fought. Whatever sacrifice of men, of material; whatever expression of devotion; whatever call was made by the government, by them was not only a response, but a cheerful and hearty response. The women of this section, day and night, in season and out of season, showed their devotion to the cause. With them, while love was a great passion, duty and loyalty to their country were greater. They were willing their loved ones should go from their sides, and they called them not back until the great victories were won and their Union triumphant.
From our midst went companies and regiments to join the great column of men that was spreading over the South to fight the battles of the Union. Many of those commands were a part of the legions of the Army of the Tennessee. Need I say, therefore, that not only for the great cause in which you were battling, but for the profound personal interest they felt in your everyday movements, was your course watched day and night by the people of this region. They watched you from Belmont to Donelson, and saw a whole army submit to the command of Ulysses S. Grant, demanding unconditional surrender. Ah, we will never forget that day and that battle, “so fought, so followed, and so fairly won." We remember also the bloody conflict of Shiloh; the cam. paign of Corinth; Iuka; and the tremendous struggle around Vicksburg; we remember your march to Chattanooga, and the glorious victory of Mission Ridge; the joining of your legions to the armies of the Ohio and the Cumberland; how those legions followed the eagle-eyed Sherman, driving the flower of the rebel armies of the West from mountain fastness to mountain fastness, until Atlanta surrendered. And then that magnificent flight across the state of Georgia; that immortal march to the sea, where you rushed down upon Savannah, and you, sir, tendered that city a Christmas present to the Nation. We remember the marching of those legions, circling through the Carolinas. We remember the last bloody battle you fought, at Bentonville. We remember how the eampaign ended at last, when Joe. Johnston laid his sword at your feet.
During all this time your every movement was followed by the love and affection of our people. From your camps, your marches, your bivouacs and your battle-fields stretched invisible wires to our homes, over which Aowed constantly streams of prayer, of loyal affection and devotion to our country.
Ah, sirs, we remember how, when you were sweeping through Georgia, shut out from the world, as night would come at the end of those days' marches, to the watching world great mystery surrounded our movements; but we were perfectly at home, secure in our position, for we knew that old Uncle Billy Sherman was looking out for us. And as night fell those signal rockets went up in the sky, the Fourteenth Corps said to the Twentieth, “All is well;" the Twentieth said to the Fifteenth, “All is well;" the Fif. teenth said to the Seventeenth, “All is well,” and those signals all said to the glorious leader of that march, “All is well; we are marching forward to assured conquest and certain victory!”
We remember, friends, that the history of the Army of the Tennessee was a record not only of campaigns fairly fought and won, with brilliant victories on the battle-field, but we remember, also, the further fact that the end of every campaign of that Army was more than a battle won or a city taken-it was also the army of opposition destroyed.
And we remember further, that not only did that army give to the people of the North the glorious tidings in the early part of the war which so electrified all loyal hearts, made that certain which heretofore they may have thought doubtful; but we remem
ber, also, that the army by its triumphs and its victories gave to its Union the leaders that finally led all its armies to entire, complete, national victories.
And since the war, my friends, may I be permitted to say that the people of this community have been loyal and affectionate in their regard towards not only the soldiers of the Army of the Tennessee, but towards every soldier of the Union armies who wore the blue. Republics may be ungrateful, but I wish to say to you that the people of Toledo are not ungrateful to the Union soldier. They have always been borne by the people of this community in grateful recollection and most affectionate regard.
It is an especial pride and pleasure, sirs, that you to-day have honored this community with your presence, and that in this city and in this hall should be gathered together such an assemblage of heroes as we see here.
And to-night, as has been well said, we can not but turn back in our recollection to another occasion fifteen years ago, when you also honored this community with your presence. The list of those who since then have gone has been read. Grant has gone ; Sheridan has gone; Logan has gone; others have gone. Your ranks are thinned and thinning. You may face death on a hundred battle-fields and come out victorious, but that grim enemy is sure at last to triumph and conquer you all. It is to us an especial pride and pleasure that those of you who are left have come here to-night. We pray, my friends and comrades, that those who survive may live yet many a long year. It is the especial hope and prayer of all this community for that great leader of the Army of the Tennessee, the sole survivor of the great triumvirate of illustrious generals, William Tecumseh Sherman, that the God of Battles' may long have him in His keeping; that he may be preserved to enjoy the honors, the comforts and all the pleasures that life can give him, and, above all, the affectionate regard and reverence of all his countrymen. May God keep him alert, vigorous and hearty, the same old General Sherman that we feel he is to-night; the same man that, twenty-five years ago, we followed all over the South.
My friends, in conclusion I can only say, that if there is any. thing in God's world in this town that you don't see, and want, ask for it, and you shall have it. And I say again, men of the Tennessee, welcome to our streets, our hearts and our homes.