September 14, 1877
I shall prize this token of your regard as one of the most precious moments of my day. No period of my life is as dear as the four years we spent together in the war for the Union. The one regret, the one sadness on an occasion like this is that for many of those who did the most to give to our regiment that good name we prize, that so many of those cannot be with us today, by we will hold their names and memories forever sacred. I thank you, I thank you.
We have now but a brief hour left, in which I shall endeavor to make you acquainted with a number of distinguished gentlemen whom I am sure you wish to see and know generally. They are men distinguished as soldiers, with no desire to make speeches, so that none of them will detain you at length. And now, my fellow-citizens, I wish to introduce to you the hero of Cedar Creek, General Philip H. Sheridan.
My Fellow citizens: Among the men of Ohio who are most distinguished, perhaps there is none more so for personal gallantry than the general I am about to introduce, by his courage and his personal heroism saved the day in those great decisive battles. He was the first colonel, and with pride the 23rd men always said it, he was the best man of the 23rd Ohio. I want you to greet him as you feel about him. I introduce to you Gen. Rosecrans.
Fellow citizens: The organization known as the old Kanawha Division is the favorite organization of the 23rd Ohio. We perhaps are prouder of that division than of any other in our corps. The first commander of troops was General Rosecrans. The second commander, commanding perhaps as long as any other, is present upon the stand, a gallant soldier upon many occasions; upon every occasion where he was present on duty. There is one great and decisive battle that I have thought has not had the place in general which I have thought it deserved; the battle of Franklin, in which 13 general officers of the Confederate army were killed or wounded. This was perhaps the battle that destroyed Hood’s army. The great fight at (Nashville) I do not disparage, but the great fight at Franklin we can never forget; and among the men who contributed to save the day at the battle of Franklin, perhaps none deserved more credit than General J.D. Cox whom I introduce to you. Rise and give three cheers for our old commander.
Fellow citizens: As the 23rd is very proud of its connection with the Old Kanawha Division, it is especially proud of the red star brigade. You know the manner of badges, each brigade had its badge. There was the white star commanded by Duvall, the blue star brigade and the white star brigade. And now I will introduce to you the general who “bridged” as Gen. Cox has done the battle of South Mountain: the second Colonel of the 23rd: and gentlemen, let’s greet him as you did after that battle. Gen. Scrammon.
Fellow citizens: I am not sure but you will begin to conclude that the gentlemen upon this stand and the soldiers here think they did about all that was done in this war, and that what we didn’t do was done by the rest of the Red Star Brigade; r at most by the rest of the Kanawha division. Now to show you that we are not narrow on that subject I propose to show you and to introduce to you some distinguished soldiers not belonging either to the Kanawha division, the Red Star Brigade, or the 23rd Ohio—and one is known I think in the City of Fremont, and I doubt whether the division he belonged to, or the regiment he belonged to can show an officer who has been hit as many times as he has been. He has been hit in his right arm and his left arm, and right leg and left leg, and I do not know what is left of him uninjured. I introduce to you Gen. S. S. Carroll.
There are some more soldiers that did not belong to the Kanawha division, quite as distinguished as those were that did belong. He who commanded the 20th Ohio, is one. I regret to say that a very remarkable wound from which he should have died, but didn’t, will interfere with his speaking. I introduce to you General Manning F. Force.
My friends: It might be supposed that all good fighting was done by infantry, judging by the talk thus far. I now introduce to you General James Barnett, chief artillery of the Army of the Cumberland.
Fellow citizens, Comrades of the 23rd: Do you remember the 26th corps? Among the gallantest men was Gen. Keifer, whom I now introduce to you.
I wish to introduce to you another general of Ohio, also not belonging to the 23rd, Gen. J. C. Lee, of Tiffin.
Fellow citizens, I wish to introduce to the last commander of the Kanawha Division and a braver man never fought. My friends, greet Gen. F.H. Duvall; you remember him.
Ladies and gentlemen: Gen. J. H. Duvall, of Marietta, one of the commanders of the Red Star Brigade of Kanawha Division.
Gen. Coates, of the White Star Brigade.
You remember the 5th Virginia—the little 5th, one calls it Gen. Enochs.
I wish to introduce to you the third Colonel who commanded you. Col. Stanley Mathews.
I am told that the gallant, eloquent colonel of the 49th Ohio is here. He is on the ground. Col. Wm. H. Gibson needs no introduction. Col. Gibson.
After singing we shall have the benediction and then there will be a procession to my residence, and the 23rd, Ohio Mrs. Hayes wishes to give a cup of tea to.