October 20, 1886

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania




This meeting – the Second Annual Meeting of the Commandery-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States - is the first annual meeting since the death of General Hancock. The Commanderies of the several States, agreeably to a circular issued from the Headquarters, took appropriate action, published their proceedings, and placed a record thereof in their archives. The Commandery-in-Chief, it is assumed, will wish to take a similar course, and will cause to be prepared for publication a memorial of General Hancock which will be worthy of our Order and its beloved and lamented Commander-in-Chief.


In the presence of many who served in most intimate terms with General Hancock during long years of severe and trying duty, I shall not attempt an adequate sketch of his life, services and character, I had not in the army the privilege of an acquaintance with him that was either extensive or intimate. He was my commander only during the last few weeks of the active work of the war.  My relations with him from 1877 to 1881 were, however, in some interesting matters necessarily close, and confidential. I cannot be mistaken as to the substantial and sterling elements of his character. If, when we make up or estimate of a public man both conspicuous as a soldier and in affairs, we are to think first and chiefly of his manhood, his integrity, his purity, his singleness of purpose and his unselfish devotion to duty, we can truthfully say of Hancock that he was through and through pure gold.


I will not on this occasion enter at large on the facts of his life. During many years he was the head of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. His presence, his prestige, his name, have given to this soldiers’ organization we not know how much of its prosperity, its interest, and its influence. His commanding figure and features- so impressive, so inspiring, so dignified – were the outward symbol of character and of achievements which left nothing for the most exacting imagination to desire when seeking the ideal American soldier, patriot, and gentlemen. One reference to his record as a soldier is enough for my present purpose. The single battle which, lost or won, humanely speaking, seemed destined to decide the great conflict, was Hancock’s opportunity. He was equal to the occasion. Henceforth Hancock and Gettysburg – Gettysburg and Hancock – are forever linked together in adamant. The name of our Commander-in-Chief will live in our annals as long as American history is known among men, Brave soldier-noble gentlemen-beloved Companion-hail and farewell!