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our line of suj plies, but at the critical moment the army under General Bragg was augmented by the arrival of General Longstreet with his strong corps from the Army of North Virginia, and other troops in large numbers from the Army of the Mississippi. With these combined forces, Bragg turned upon us, and the battle of Chickamauga was fought.
The fight was a hard one from the beginning, but everything ran in our favor until near noon on Sunday, when, by a mistake or misapprehension of orders, one of our iargest divisions was withdrawn from our battle line, leaving a gap through which the enemy came, cutting off the right of our line, driving it from the field, leaving the left alone in line. It was then that the invincible Thomas massed the troops of the left on the now historic "Horse Shoe Ridge, and with re-enforcements from the fourth corps and the broken line, fought a battle, which to-day is, and for all time will be, the admiration of the world, and won for himself not a title, dukedom or promotion, but a name--The Rock of Chickamauga--which shall live with that of George H. Thomas until history fails to tell the story of brave deeds and mighty battles.
retired from our front and left us in the position in which we fought. General Rosecrans deeming it prudent to do so, General Thomas reluctantly yielded to the retirement of his army at midnight to a new line on Missionary Ridge, which being maintained during the following day, the troops were all quietly retired during Monday night to a line for the defense of Chattanooga. There we lay for nearly two months, besieged it is true, and dodging the shells which the enemy persistently plunged into our camps from Missionary Ridge, Orchard Knob and Lookout Mountain.
And then, you, our good brave comrades, came down to us from the Army of the Potomac. How glad we were to know you were coming. If you could know the gladness brought to our hearts by the rattle of your muskets, the thunder of your guns, and above all by your shouts of victory in your awful midnight fight at Wauhatchie, it would, I know, repay you for all you then suffered and endured. While you fought the battle of Wauhatchie we were under arms, did not exactly know where the fight was, could not have reached you if we had known, but we knew what it all meant; you were not only fighting for your country, but the imperiled life of a starving army, and thousands of the brave, famishing men of that army were praying the God of Battles to nerve your arms for the great victory you won. The annals of warfare record but few engagements such as Wauhatchie.
A few days later it was our fortune to stand on the plains of Chattanooga and see you charging Lookout Mountain. All morning we heard your guns on the western slope of the mountain. At noon, your long blue battle-line swung around the point, with your right against the palisades and your left retired, turning all the enemy's positions and driving all before you-a more magnificent battle scene was never presented to the cye of man. It was then the shifting clouds hid you from our sight, but the roar of battle above the clouds grew louder and stronger, echoes and reverberations from mountain point to mountain point filled the air, the cheeks of brave men blanched and the knees of strong men trembled, as looking upon each other they exclaimed, "It is a battle of the gods!" You won the fight, and "the battle above the clouds'' has passed to its place in recorded history.
Hastening across the valley of Chattanooga you seized and held the South Point of Missionary Ridge at Rossville Gap in the afternoon of the following day. Sherman was fighting for the North Point, while we of the Army of the Cumberland held the plains of Chattanooga in front. We stood there under arms looking at Sherman's two days' fight at the north point, and your one day's fight on the mountain, and it now came our turn to be the "observed of all observers." At the critical moment, when Sherman had failed to turn the enemy's right flank,
ker was struggling with his left flank, a portion of the Army of the Cumberland, under General Thomas, charged his centre and drove him from the front and summit of Missionary Ridge at the point of the bayonet, and uniting with the forces on his flarks, completely routed him, and drove him pell-mell from all his positions. (hattanooga, her mountains, hills, ferts, defenses, northern and western approaches, were vurs!
Neither the recollections of men, or the histories of war, describe a grander panorama of battle than that of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Few, if any. battles during the war of the Rebellion were so fraught with immediate and resulting helps to our cause. We had the base we started for when we left the western slopes of the Cumberland mountains, three months before the base from which Grant fought and won the victories which made him Lieutenant General, and gave him command of the armies of the nation-the base from which Sherman afterward fought the Atlanta campaign with the resulting march to the sea.
A merciful Providence having spared our lives through these engagements and the intervening years, you and I have now been commissioned by the Governor of the Commonwealth to re-visit these battlefields, to mark the places where Pennsylvanians fought and Pennsylvanians died! The scene of these conflicts has passed to the possession and control of a National Commission, under an act of Congress, for the purpose of making it a National Military Park. Six thousand acres, covering the larger part of the battle-field of Chickamauga. have been purchased by the National Commission
The State of Georgia has ceded jurisdictior. to the United States over the Chickamauga field and the roads approaching it.
The State of Tennessee has ceded to the United States the roads over Lookout Mountain, through the battlefield, the roads thence to Roesville Gap, and thence along the crest of Missionary Ridge to General Sherman's position at the north point of the ridge.
Historical tablets along these roads will set forth all the details of the
Five observation towers of iron and steel, seventy feet high, have been erected, three on the field of Chickamauga and two on Missionary Ridge.
General Wilder's brigade of mounted infantry has erected a monument near Widow Glenn's house, on the Chickamauga field, one hundred and ten feet high. Eight monuments marking the positions of the regular regiments have been erected, and many other monuments are in process of erection.
The National Commission will erect historical tablets for army headquarters, corps, divisions and brigades for both sides.
These tablets will set forth the composition and commanders of each of these organizations as far as the commanders of regiments and batteries, with concise statements of the part taken by each organization.
The act of Congress leaves it to the states to erect monuments to regiments and batteries. It leaves it to corps, divisions and brigades to erect their own monuments.
The National Commission will permanently mark and record locations agreed upon with State Commissioners, until such time as the states may choose to erect monuments. The park, when completed will be the most con
ed will be the most comprehensive and extended military object-lesson in existence. It is at the same time a perfect wonderland of the wildest works of nature, attracting visitors from all parts of the world. The central drive now being constructed from the southern límits of the Chickamauga field to the field of Sherman's battle at the north point of Missionary Ridge, will be twenty miles in length, and all of it passes through or overlooks heavy fighting ground. The details of six battles will be set forth upon the historical tablets to be erected by the National Commission within the park and its approaches, namely, Wauhatchie, Brown's Ferry, Orchard Knob, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and the three days' fighting at Chickamauga.
It is now our duty as well as our high privilege to co-operate with the National Commission in designating the positions held by the Pennsylvania organizations on those fields. We should come to this work with more than a sense of duty or privilege. We should come to it as to a "work of love." Love for our grand old Commonwealth, and the heroic deeds of her sons, living or dead! Love for those who set out from their base in Middle Tennessee, crossed mountains and rivers to strike the rear of a mighty army, then entrenched at Chattanooga! Love for those who fought three days and nights at Chickamauga against heavy odds to hold the fruits of their campaign! Love for those who stood by Thomas in his answer to the Government. when asked how long he could hold Chattanooga--"We will hold the town until we starve!" Lore for our own John W. Geary, who fought and won at Wauhatchie, and led the charge at Lookout! Love for the lion-hearted Pennsylvanians who so largely constituted his fighting forces at Wauhatchie and, with him, scaled the giddy heights of Lookout, planting the star-spangled banner on the enemy's fortifications above the clouds! And we must not omit to say that in the final onslaught on the confederate Army, concentrated on Missionary Ridge, Pennsylvanians were on his front and flanks. Considering the charging force, the breadth of ground covered. the natural and artificial obstructions in the way, and the army to overcome, it was
ent. In that charge, Grant and Thomas were nowhere. True, fifteen brigades of live, wide-awake American citizens in uniform, under regulation orders, charged across the plains and Citico Creek to the base of the ridge, where they were to halt and await orders. The most exacting martinet in military affairs could not have excepted to their perfect and orderly movement to the base of the ridge. In that preliminary charge, Missionary Ridge 'arose before them, high,
th rifle pits, glistening with bayonets and the long guns of sharp shooters, obstructed by a battis, its summit covered with artillery from flank to flank of the opposing army, and the whole thing a blazing volcano, showering shot and shell on the advancing line.
Under these conditions, it did not take the fifteen brigades of thinking, observant men and officers long to decide what to do, and as they leaped the little creek, acting as one man, and by a common impulse, they dashed across the halting line, without orders and against orders, charged up the Ridge like very devils, killing, capturing and driving, they reached the summit, turned the unfired batteries on the fleeing foe, firing parting salutes to Bragg and his defeated army as they rushed in an undistinguishable mass from his chosen field of battle.
This charge was made in the golden sunset of November 25, 1863, and ended the chapter of battles about Chattanooga.
The ever-efficient cavalry of the Keystone State, here as everywhere, were in at the nick of time, and smote the retreating army hip and thigh in hand to hand conflicts, until the mountains of Georgia prevented further pursuit.
Pennsylvania had but few trocps in these fields as compared with many other states, yet, considering her share of the work done there, she can well say to the National Commission and the commissions from other states: "I, too, was here, with my batteries, my horsemen and my footmen."
Unexpectedly called upon to serve as your President; unskilled in parliamentary proceedings, I ask you to look upon my errors with soldierly frankness, here dedicating to and with you, all I have of mind, body and ability for the successful accomplishment of this work of love.
Thanking you, my comrades, with my whole heart for the honor you have conferred upon me, we will now proceed to the business of the Commission.
On motion of Comrade. J. H. R. Storey, One hundred and ninth Infantry, the president was directed to appoint a committee of five on Legislation.
Comrade Joseph G. Vale, Seventh Cavalry, moved that the Commission appointed by the Governor proceed to the battlefield of Chickamauga and about Chattanooga, at the call of the President: the motion was seconded by Comrade John Schuyler, Seventh Cavalry; put, and carried.
Comrade Joseph A. Moore, One hundred and forty-seventh Infantry, moved that when we adjourn, it be to meet at the call of the president, and that a copy of the minutes
be sent to all the delegates, which motion was agreed to. Comrade J. H. R. Storey, One hundred and ninth Infantry, moved an adjournment, which motion being seconded and put, was lost.
Comrade Joseph G. Vale, Seventh Cavalry, moved to reconsider the motion for the appointment of a committee on legislation, which motion, being seconded, debated and put, was lost. On motion, adjourned. The president afterwards announced the appointment of the following committees:
To Confer with United States Commissioners.
Hotel Accommodations. Comrade John P. Nicholson, Twenty-eighth Infantry. Comrade Fred. F. Wiehl, Seventy-eighth Infantry. Comrade ('harles F. Muller, Twenty-ninth Infantry.
Programme and Badges.
Committee on Legislation.
H. B. WALTMAN,
Gov. ROBERT E. PATTISON,
Gov. WILLIAM A. Stone, who appointed Original Commission. who approved Act for Publication of
Proceedings. Gov. DANIEL H. HASTINGS, who approved Acts providing for Erection ADJUTANT GENERAL THOMAS J. STEWART, of Monuments and Transportation
under whose direction transportation of Survivors.