July 22, 1881
Clyde, Ohio

Fellow Citizens: Seventeen years ago to-day Friday, July 22, 1864, James Birdseye McPherson was killed in battle near Atlanta, Georgia. Between noon and one o'clock of that day he was shot with a rifle ball which, passing near his heart, shattered his spine and caused his death in about one hour after he was wounded. He was in command of the Army of the Tennessee, which consisted of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Army Corps and formed the left wing of the army of General Sherman, which was then almost daily in battle for the possession of strongholds and communications upon which the life of the Confederacy depended.

In grateful recognition of his services and character, his surviving comrades of the Army of the Tennessee, and his friends and neighbors residing at and near his birthplace, Clyde, Sandusky county, Ohio, have erected a portrait statue of heroic size in bronze. It is the work of Louis T. Rebisso, an Italian artist who now resides in Cincinnati. It will fitly mark the last resting place of the earthly remains of General McPherson. It stands before us, within a few rods of the spot where he was born, and is in the midst of the scenes in which his infancy and boyhood were passed.

The facts of his career and character will be fully spread before you by the distinguished speakers to whom that duty has been assigned. His rank, his important command, his brilliant services, the cause for which he died, his talents, his culture, his grace and beauty and soldierly accomplishments, his noble and lovable nature, so affectionate, so gentle and at the same time so brave and manly, and his heroic death in one of the great battles of a decisive campaign while he was yet in the bloom and promise of early manhood, taken altogether, have given to McPherson a place in the hearts of mankind more tender and interesting than that which belongs to any other of the thousands of honored heroes, whose death in battle his country men have been called to mourn. His name will be forever found on the shining roll of the world's best loved heroes. Neither Bayard, nor Sidney, nor Nelson, nor Wolfe, nor any other knight or hero of the old world in any age had better titles to love and grateful remembrance than belong to him whose grave here at his birthplace, we are now about to mark.