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While through the screening trees and vines
Creep cautiously our skirmish lines
Expectant of the fray.
Hark! on the right a rifle rings;
A rolling volley back it brings,
Crash, crash, along the line there runs
The music of a thousand guns.
Spurring the panting, steaming steed
Dash orderlies at top of speed.
The rifle rattle swells more high.
Boom-Boom-breaks in artillery,
Tramp-tramp-battalions hurry by.
List! the command-deploying wide
On either flank the files divide,
Forward the word! 'mid angry yell,
And buzzing ball, and shrieking shell
Crashing the branches overhead,
The stifling smoke wreaths round, it spread
On o'er the dying and the dead,
With glaring eye and lips compressed,
And knotted brow, and swelling breast;
“ With the stern joy that warriors feel
In foemen worthy of their steel,"
The hour of feeling most sublime
When years crowd in a moment's time;
Through tangled thicket, swamp and vine
Rushes the long blue bending line.
Hotter and fiercer grows the din,
Deeper the panting troops press in.
Look! there the foe is clustered thick.
On the battalion! double quick,
Steady-close ranks-charge ba yonet!
On with a shout! On! Onward yet!
(A rush as if ocean tides had met) -
Rings the wild hurrah to the sky
Hushing the harsh artillery-
Oh what an hour is this to die!
Still is the strife! the foemen flee.
Floats out our flag! the path is free.
Onward, still onward, on to the sea.
Aye! never have the incidents our recollections hold
The sparkling stories of “The March" unto the world been told.
Its detailed tale has yet to be on history enrolled
Lies deep within the mountain's heart a buried grotto, bright
With varied hues that emanate from its own jeweled light,
Whose mysteries have never been profaned by human sight.
Enchantment's spell alone can tear
The veil that hides its splendors rare,
And lay its shrouded beauties bare.
Thus, treasured from the world away,
These thrilling retrospections lay;
Unspoken by the common tongue;
Their record all unwrit, unsung;
To only be awakened, when
As now, assembled "Sherinan's men,"
To fight their battles o'er again.
As breaks a meteoric shower-
So memories mingling, in this hour
Of greeting gay, with wizard power,
Evoke those scenes of glowing life-
The march, the bivouac, the strife;
Recall for us and us alone
The rare adventures we have known.
But no! methinks a whisper comes soft as the ocean moan,
To tell us that this day of pride is not for us alone.
Amid these shining memories entwines a shaded thread-
Our living friends are gathered here, but, have we not the dead?
As reunites the ancient band some soldiers do not come;
Their hero hearts have ceased to beat, their manly lips are dumb.
We see not on the roster now some noted names of old;
They've joined another army, on another list enrolled;
They have led the forward column, have farther gone than we;
They have closed their march immortal beyond the shoreless sea.
Do we miss among our chieftains McPherson's princely frame?
Do we gaze around with sadness in quest of Ransoin true-
The purest knightliest chevalier that ever graced the blue?
Do we look with eyes of longing towards that honored chair,
With almost, yet fallacious hopes, of seeing Rawlins there?
Is Mower now wanting at the feast, who never failed the fray?
And Wallace, Fairchild, other braves, where are ye all to-day?
Grand statues in the pillar'd past! come not ye at our call?
Your names are resting on our lips, they canonize this hall,
Ye instant answered to our want, when in the pride of life
Ye laughed Death's shade to scorn, amid the fiery hours of strife;
And now, when group your comrades old beneath these banners
At such an hour, from such a band, can ye be far away?
Among a race of fishermen who sailed the Egean sea,
There lived a touching custom, of rare antiquity.
When wives of hardy mariners, whose husbands were away,
Saw tokens in the sea and sky of elemental fray-
The cloud, the gale, the thunder growl and ocean white with
sprayLeaving their homely little huts, they'd to the beach repair
And pour their sweet domestic songs upon the rising air.
Then listen as the tempest lulled, and in the ocean moan
Would fancy that a strain was heard responsive to their own,
That kindly spirits o'er the wave had borne their words along,
And from the loved ones far away brought back an answ'ring song.
And if, in the mystic shadowy world, to those who have gone
from sight 'Tis given to roam the universe through with instant measureless
flight, Will not our wealth of honor and love, from their beautiful
homes on high, Bring the shades of comrades departed, as ours to their presence
would fly? They are with us,—when moves the nation with sad and rev'rent
tread To scatter the garlands of Spring-time over its martyred dead, They join in the long procession; they breathe on the falling
flowers, While felt, though all unseen, they blend there sorrow and pride
with ours. And their gentle presence now we know in these rejoicing hours, Aye! their forms are floating around us and hallowing the air; They list to our kind remembrances, and echo every prayer; They are sitting among their comrades, old comrades of the blue; They are whispering sweetly, softly, the names of you and you; They are 'touching those proud inscriptions—their tablets of
They rest in those sacred banners, so tattered, and dim, and brown,
And from those couches of glory their spirits look smiling down.
Oh soldiers who sit before me, oh braves who have gone before,
Was ever a richer mine revealed of patriotic ore?
Can there a higher heritage, or a prouder title be,
Than to have one's name on the roster of the old Tennessee?
There rises its monumental shaft uplifted to the sky;
Columned on names which symbolize perpetual victory.
Henry, New Madrid, Donelson, Iuka, and Bentonville,
Corinth, red Shiloh, Vicksburg, and glorious Champion Hill,
Resaca, Decatur, Atlanta and Missionary Ridge,
McAllister and Allatoona, Jonesboro and River's Bridge,
Circled in enduring freshness with a rescued nation's love,
And resting in bending beauty its radiant head above
In crowning arch
The glorious march.
Oh that glorious march to the sea!
Oh that wonderful march to the sea!
What will its living memory be?
How will it rest upon history's page?
How the attent of the earth engage?
'Twill be read of, dreamed of, oft and long;
Tenderly told in nursery song;
Wreathing its strand into romance tale;
Flushing the cheek of the scholar pale;
Commanding the statesman's thoughtful ken,
And touching with fire the poet's pen,
Stirring the soul of the soldier bold,
“ Till the stars are old,
And the sun grows cold, And the leaves of the judgment day unfold.""
Studding red War's historic sky
Eternal glories blaze,
The noted names of victory,
Charming the earth's attracted eye,
Holding it hushed amaze.
There shines immortal Marathon-
Which Grecian glory saved;
There Tours, whose ruddy plain upon
The cross triumphant waved;
Pharsalia--where a world was won,
Chalons—where first the haughty Hun
Before Rome's eagles quailed;
Grand Austerlitz, whose proverbed sun
A harbinger of conquest seemed,
As on the tri-color it gleamed,
And fanned Napoleon's flaming will
To onward victories, until
At Waterloo it paled;
Trafalgar, England's choicest pride,
And sorrow, too—there Nelson died-
Lepanto, whose exultant hour
Crumbled the yellow crescent's power;
Red Hastings, where our Saxon sires
Died for their “altars and their fires;”
Pultowa, whence fled a wanderer forth
The royal “madman of the North; ".
That golden glow of patriot skill
That emanates from Bunker Hill,
From whence our thoughts instinctive turn
To Marston Moor and Bannockburn,
And that rare watch word of the free
The martyrs' gem, Thermopylæ.
As here and there on either hand
Majestic, lone, undimn'd they stand;
Each seems a silent sentry light,
A beacon blaze of genius bright,
Of high resolve, of hero might,
Of proven skill in fearful fight
For ages to admire;
From whence the proudest promptings start,
To point the patriotic part;
Or fuse ambition's ready heart
With emulative fire.
But o'er and through these fadeless beams,
Another glint of glory gleams,
Whose rare exceeding lustre seems
All unapproached, alone.
It gives no solitary shine,
But stretches on-a lengthened line,
A clustered group of conquests grand,
A serried, constellated band,
A broad, continuing zone.
THE MARCH-it needs no other name,
'Tis there, the milky way of fame.
General Tilson's recitation being the last of the arranged exercises, the President stated that if the audience then desired to hear any of the other distinguished gentlemen present, time would be cheerfully allowed before closing, and he had no doubt if it were so indicated, the responses would be forthcoming. Hon. Henry Wilson, Vice-President of the United States, was called for and responded.
SPEECH OF VICE-PRESIDENT WILSON.
MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN:-As I have looked into the faces of the brave men and the historic men around me, upon these flags-listened to voices in prose and poetry, music and song; the manly voices of men, and the sweet voices of women-I have been reminded of the memories of other days, and I have felt gratified for the privilege of being here to-night.
I congratulate you, gentlemen, upon this occasion. I shall go to my Eastern home carrying with me the bright memories and the inspirations of this hour. You have met here to take each other by the hand, to recall the deeds of the past, and to-morrow pay the tribute to that great immortal man who presided over this nation in the stormy period through which we have passed. [Applause.
And as we separate, and you go to your homes, you and all