8TH ANNUAL REUNION OF THE ARMY OF WEST VIRGINIA
September 2, 1884
"The best commander in the field of the Army of West Virginia, in the year 1864, the fiercest battle year of the war, was General Crook. During almost three years of the four years of the war General Crook belonged to this Army. He served with it as the head of a regiment, of a brigade, of a division, of an army corps, and as its commander-in-chief. He was always a favorite of the officers and men of his command. The gallant 36th Ohio, and indeed the whole of the 'Old Kanawha Division,' 'knew him like a book and loved him like a brother.'" In his intercourse both with officers and privates he was a model commander. He never sought or seem to care for popularity. But it came to him naturally and because it was due to him. The volunteers in the ranks, the plain men who carried the musket, believed in him, trusted him, and knew him to be their friend. He appreciated their character and the motives that led them to enlist in the army. To General Crook the private soldier was not only a part of a machine, but a fellow man, intrinsically the equal in intellect and worth of the officer who commanded him. Without lowering or loosening the reins of discipline, he treated his subordinates according to this high and enlightened estimate of them. His officers and men soon found that to the advantages of his West Point education, and of his ten years' service in the regular army, he added energy, courage, promptness, enterprise, and instinctive and marvelous knowledge of the condition and designs of the enemy, and a military common sense which mark the natural born soldier.
I need not repeat his military history. You are familiar with a large and honorable part of it-I mean that part of it which belongs also to the history of the Army of West Virginia. But his military record did not begin and does not end with the history of our army, or with that of the war for the Union. Before the rebellion he was engaged in Indian wars beyond the Rocky Mountains, and since the end of the great civil conflict, by his daring, his fortitude, his sagacity and his success in the Indian wars of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona and other western States and Territories, he has won a high place among the leaders eminent in our warfare against the Indians. Our pride in our beloved commander does not permit us to stop here. General Crook has gone beyond most, perhaps beyond all others in his wisdom, his humanity, and in the attainment of beneficent results in his dealings with the tribes he has conquered in war. No statesman or philanthropist in his closet has framed theories for uplifting the red man which in spirit and aim are more worthy a just, generous and powerful Nation than the practical measures which General Crook has devised, and in spite of discouragement and formidable obstacles has carried out into actual administration. Entitled to the wreath that encircles the brow of the hero in war he has also achieved the pure fame which belongs to him who taking the part of a weak, injured and almost friendless people has had the supreme satisfaction of giving to them a fair start and equal chance in the race of life.
"All honor, therefore, to our comrade, General Crook, the favorite hero of the Army of West Virginia."