November 19, 1879

Washington, D.C.



MY FRIENDS OF THE ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND:-- I thank your committee for the courtesy which enables me to be present with you to-night to take part with you on this agreeable family meeting. I do not propose to enter upon any discussion of the principal topics of this day. The history of the Army of the Cumberland all intelligent Americans know by heart. What nobler monument has been erected to any hero than the monument that has been alluded to by my friends here to-night? It was my fortune to hear that great speech delivered in Cleveland, Ohio by General Garfield. I thought at the time that it was the greatest speech that had ever been made on such an occasion-a memorial address in honor of a patriot and a soldier. And again, to-day, what a mighty speech we listened to on the same great subject! Therefore I am precluded from entering on that subject, and, as my friend Garfield remarks, that there was a little malice in General McDowell’s forcing him upon the stand, I am not so sure but that there was a little of that feeling in his heart when he turned the audience to me. But yet, I feel somewhat like taking off the gauntlet. He reflects upon and abuses Congressmen and politicians, and I am called upon to defend them. But they need no defence. And passing from that, my friends, I want to correct him in another small matter. He says you are invited, my friends of the Army of the Cumberland, and your friends, too, to visit the White House to-morrow night. I want to correct it by saying—


[Gen. Garfield: “I hope I was not mistaken about that?”]


[President Hayes] No by no manner of means, only you put it off too long. We want to see you at 7 o’ clock. There is a gentleman here whom I do not know, but whom I want to shake hands with. While we are honoring Gen. Thomas, do not forget to honor the artist who has given us this statue. And so I wish some one to say to Mr. Ward that Mrs. Hayes and myself will be glad to see him to-morrow evening.