« EelmineJätka »
ready to bare their breasts to the foe and struggle for the life of the nation—and when we marched to the field of Bull Run the second time, our men were determined to wipe out the stain of the first defeat.
Victory did not come to us, but it would have been ours had the organizations, which were within sound of the cannon, been marched on to the field and put into the fight, as our commander desired. Had that been done, the laurel wreath would have encircled the brow of him who commanded the army-our gallant General Pope, whom I am glad to see here to-night, and in whose presence I am rejoiced to have the opportunity to say, that his old soldiers have always been glad to do him justice-and the time is not far distant when the whole country will do the same. [Great applause.]
But my friends, I cannot speak of the history of the Army of the Potomac. Further time will not admit. When you of the West gave to the country, nine years ago to-day, the great victory at Vicksburg, the men in the East sent back the shout of victory at Gettysburg. That day's work broke the back of the rebellion. After that it was a mere question of time when and how the war should end. We loved you and rejoiced in your good fortune. You returned the love and thanked God when victory perched upon our banners.
Let me say a word as a citizen of Wisconsin and Madison. When last year we were informed that you had resolved to come here this day, the people of this city, with one accord, resolved that your stay here should be a happy one if in their power to make it so. Our Army Society-no Society of any kind is so near the warmest corner of the hearts of this people as is yours. Our dearest friends were in your ranks. The returns from your army were watched for and read with anxious solicitude by the men and women around every hearth-stone. You are most welcome to our houses and hearts. Our people are proud to have you among them, and all that we have is at your command. You can not come too often to cool our love for you and those you represent. May God keep you and prosper you is the earnest prayer of the people of Wisconsin and Madison. [Applause.]
Music:—" James River Quickstep."
Eighth TOAST:—“ The Army of the Cumberland."
The people, he said, would never forget the Atlanta campaign and the grand march to the sea. He referred to the battle of Nashville, and the general desire that Thomas should fight it before he did. But he knew what he was about; that he could better wait than the enemy; that supplies were giving out, and that the victory, which he at last won, would be eventually secured. General Thomas was a great and good man. [Applause.] He had the sensitiveness of a woman; he was as brave as a lion, and, almost intuitively, knew the right. While these meetings commemorated the virtues of such men, he hoped they would continue. It would be well to teach the children the way battles were won, and how to make men who would win them. He related an interview with a “cracker” down South, who was puzzled to know how so many big men came from the West, and learned the virtue of corn and bacon.
General Ord continued at some length, referring to the battles of Columbia and Franklin, and many others in which the Army of the Cumberland participated òr fought by itself. His remarks were both amusing and instructive, giving great pleasure to all, and when he ceased he was accorded most hearty applause.
Music:-" Hail Columbia.”
He said when the Old Guard marched out upon the battle-field of Waterloo to die, they thought not only that the reputation and honor of France but that of the Old Guard also was at stake, but when the Army of the Ohio went forth it had won no reputation.
Napoleon said to his men: “ Forty centuries look down from these pyramids upon you;” but Schofield could only point to the centuries which were to come, and say to his men that their glorious deeds would be read for all time to come. [Applause.]
The Army of the Ohio was not represented here to-night. He knew it, however, when it marched down toward Atlanta-he saw General Sherman, in his old slouch hat, at the fork of the roads, and asked him if they were to have a battle there?" No," said Sherman, “I know Johnson too well, he won't fight here, but if he keeps fooling around, Schofield, with the Army of the Tennessee, will be in behind him.” He knew the same from the boys who bore the muskets. [Applause.] They knew what was going on, and when they heard the firing would hurry on and say: “O yes, Johnny Reb. You stay there a little while and Schofield will be in behind you!" God bless the Army of the Ohio, wherever they may be. [Amen.] I wish they could be here now in this beautiful and glorious capitol. [Amen.] I don't know as others feel as I do. I am an old-fashioned fellow and feel the Fourth of July way down in my bones. [Loud applause.] I never knew before why such great big fellows came down from Wisconsin, and I remember well when the 8th and with Wisconsin came down and delivered us from Jeff. Thompson. [Applause.]
I know now why they are so big, for I am myself so large, that when they want me to speak down in Missouri, instead of getting me on a stump they dig a hole in the ground. [Laughter.] Here, in this salubrious atmosphere, they are fed on such a profusion of bounties; here the Governor surveyed the tables and said: I wish the old Army of the Ohio was here to-night. [Great laughter.] They would understand this. [Laughter.] I wish to say, he continued, that the Army of the Ohio delighted to honor the Armies of the Tennessee, Cumberland and Potomac. He remembered the Potomac troops when they fought at Lookout Mountain. The Western troops went with a whoop and hurrah, while the Potomac troops were more cautious. His boys said: “See how careful they go," and I replied, “If you had been whipped and driven back as often as they have been you wouldn't go at all.” [Applause.) But at Lookout Mountain, away above the clouds, where the clear sky shone-as line after line marched up who could describe the sights of that day—the soldiers of the Potomac, the Army of the Ohio were there. He wanted to say in conclusion, that in all places where it served, the Army of the Ohio assisted in writing the fiery gospel which statesmen have since approved, and which we, as citizens, now enjoy.
COMRADES OF THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE:—Another year sees us once again united, with the same cordial greeting for each
other, and the same earnest enthusiasm for the old Army of the Tennessee.
The time has passed when any one need fear that the interest felt in these meetings will diminish, or that there may come the day when the remembrances of the past will be too faint to call together the widely scattered members of this association.
I have come to meet you from our Western frontiers, where every surrounding and circumstance of our lives fosters instead of impairs the influences and recollections of the past. We are still soldiers, still go through our regular military routine; still hear, and sometimes attend, reveille, and are always prompt to respond to recall. We have no personal or social ties, no connection with local, civil interests or pursuits to obscure the recollections of past military experiences. We still talk over campaigns with the same zest as at first, and fight our battles every day of the week. The present, and indeed, the future to us have only interest as they relate to the past. No military achievements are likely to cloud or brighten our future careers. Our race is run, and in patient isolation from the din, the turmoil and the rapidly shifting interests and occupations of civil life, we are again on picket along our Western settlements. We think of you, and talk of you and our associations with you as the most fruitful topic of interest, and we welcome, with ever increasing gratitude and thankfulness, the evidences presented here to-night that you have not only not forgotten us, but that you hold us still in affectionate remembrance. [Applause.]
Greatly as I esteem the privilege of being among you to-night, it is doubly grateful to me that I enjoy the satisfaction of meeting you in the capital of this noble State. Among the foremost of those States which contributed distinguished and gallant soldiers to the war, who have won imperishable renown for themselves and for the State which they so brilliantly represented, Wisconsin stands distinguished for large-hearted sympathy and consideration for every man who served his country. Successful or unsuccessful, fortunate or unfortunate, distinguished or obscure, every faithful and zealous soldier was sure of warm and affectionate welcome in this State. No man is better qualified than I am to speak of this matter, and I have long coveted a public opportunity to bear testimony to the fact. I came first to this State sore with what I believed undeserved misfortune, and with what I knew to be unmerited reproach, followed by slander and calumny unjust and hard to bear. I knew no one in the State, and expected nothing, and was consuming my heart in bitter regret that the privilege of serving my country, in her time of need, had been thus rudely torn from me. The earnest sympathy, the cordial greeting, the affectionate welcome which I received from this people, oppressed me and filled me with emotions too profound for words. [Applause.] Everywhere I met with unexpected and, therefore, doubly welcome acknowledgement that I had been true to my country and my calling, and that whether successful or not, I was none the less valued because what I strove to do I did not succeed in doing. I cannot express to you the value of this sympathy to me, nor can I set forth in words my profound gratitude for it. Long have I pondered it, and deeply do I feel it, and may God forsake me and mine when I cease to remember the people of this State, or fail to proclaim my obligations to them. [Applause.] The Army of the Tennessee can find no place more worthy in which to renew the remembrances and associations of the past, nor could they find a people to whom they could more surely appeal for appreciation and sympathy. [Applause.]
No fitter place than this could be for our meeting, and none where hosts and guests would be more surely in accord. To me it is a subject of peculiar satisfaction, as it has given me this public opportunity to pay a long due and grateful tribute to this most loyal and large-hearted people. [Applause.]
I am very sure, comrades, that you will pardon me for not replying more directly to the toast assigned me, as I am confident you will sympathize with me to perform what you, as well as I, consider to have been a sacred duty. [Great applause.]
Music:- Quickstep, “ American Eagle."
ELEVENTH Toast:-“General W. T. Sherman, our absent President."
The response was to have been made by Colonel Howe, but he was called to the railroad just prior to its being given and there was no response.
Music:"Home, Sweet Home.”