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DEDICATION OF MONUMENT
15TH REGIMENT CAVALRY
Dyer Field, CHICKAMAUGA PARK, Ga., NOVEMBER 13TH, 1897.
THE DEDICATION of the monument of the Fifteenth Pennsylvania 1 Volunteer Cavalry on the battlefield of Chickamauga, on November
13, 1897, brought together eighty-one survivors of the regiment, and a considerable number of friends, including the wives and daughters of several of the members. Headquarters were established at the Read House in Chattanooga; a large American flag was displayed and above it the signal flag used on Kenesaw Mountain by Comrade Frankenberry, when he waved the famous message of Sherman to Corse, on October 3d and 4th, 1864, "Move your command to Allatoona. Hold the place. I will help you." At one thirty P. M., the survivors of the regiment, with their friends, assembled and marched in a body to the Central Station, and taking a special train on the Chattanooga, Rome and Southern Railroad were transported to the battlefield. Arriving at Battlefield Station, the march was resumed to the monument near the Dyer House, and but a short distance from the station. Governor Daniel H. Hastings, of Pennsylvania, and members of his staff and friends, arrived at the same time. Including the wives and daughters of the members who attended, and their friends-some of them residents of Chattanooga-there were nearly one hundred and fifty persons at the dedication. In opening the exercises, Lieutenant Colonel Charles M. Betts, President of the Survivors' Association of the regiment, spoke as follows:
ADDRESS OF LIEUT.-COL. CHARLES M, BETTS.
ROMRADES and Friends:-We have assembled on this occasion to re
call the memories of scenes transacted on this historic ground more V than one-third of a century ago. On the 20th day of September, 1863, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, our regiment (the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry) was in line, our right resting near the brow of this knoll, when the break occurred in the front line and the brave men of our army were driven back in confusion. We moved from here to the rear through the gap we see from here, and soon after were formed in open order on the side of one of the adjacent hills, and tried to stem the tide of retiring soldiers without success. Again, still further to the rear, renewed efforts were unavailing, and our command was moved over to the Chattanooga Valley, and remained there in line of battle until after dark, to protect the right flank and the wagon trains of our army, and on being relieved, marched to Chattanooga.
It is not my intention or desire to go into any of the details of this great battle of the war, and the part we took in it will be alluded to, no doubt, by those who will be called upon later. Suffice it for me to say that we were here to do any duty for which we might be called upon by our superior officers. Being attached to the headquarters of the commander of the Army of the Cumberland, General William S. Rosecrans, we had been extremely active on the campaign from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to this point, as the means of communication between the different corps commanders and the general commanding, often widely separated by high mountains and rough roads, and on this particular occasion many of our men were on active duty with the other generals commanding corps and divisions of this army.
Our government having converted this battlefield into a National Park, and our great State of Pennsylvania having erected monuments to designate the positions of her regiments and batteries in the conflict, we are assembled here to testify our appreciation of this legislation, and to thank the Great Ruler of the Universe that we are permitted to enjoy the blessings of peace and reunited country.
I will now call on Sergeant Joseph R. Lonabaugh to offer prayer.
Sergeant Lonabaugh's prayer was eloquent and entirely extempore. He began with an acknowledgement of God, as God, in all the works of His hand; thanked Him for mercies bestowed upon us as individuals and as a nation; for the plenteous harvests of the past year; for the peace that reigns over us as a nation, and for the comforts and blessings of a united people; for the continuance of these blessings and for Divine wisdom to rest upon the President of the United States, his Cabinet and Congress; the Governor of our own loved Commonwealth, his advisers and Legislature, and upon those in authority everywhere in this broad land; and upon us that we may lay hold on eternal life, as revealed to us through the mercies of His Son. And then he said: “Grant, oh Lord, that when our shelters are pitched in the last bivouac on the field of the battle of life, and our bodies are lain down in the long rest, may north and south, east and west alike hear the sound of taps melt away into the reveille of that glorious land of peace beyond all strife and turmoil. These acknowledgments we make, these thanks we offer, these mercies we crave in the name of Thy dear Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ." A hearty and grand "Amen" came from every one present at the close of this most impressive prayer.
The monument had been draped with the American flag, and Colonel Betts here called upon Miss Mary S. Anderson, Miss Laura E. Hanson and Miss Caro L. Betts, who came forward, and gracefully pulling the strings, it was unveiled and greeted with much applause.
Colonel Betts then said: I now have the honor of introducing to you the Honorable Daniel H. Hastings, Governor of our grand Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Governor Hastings spoke with much feeling, and in an eloquent and appropriate address commanded the close attention and intense interest of all present. He expressed himself as much gratified that the opportunity was afforded him to speak to the survivors of the great battle of Chickamauga, and the other battles in and about Chattanooga, at the dedication of their several monuments; and stated that he thought it proper that these monuments, commemorative of the brave and loyal deeds of her sons, should be erected at the expense of the State. In the course of his speech he said: "I have seen a picture of you and yours in many a Pennsylvania home. That picture is in every home of the grand old Commonwealth. It is of the young wife, with babe in her arms, or the dear mother at the door of her home. I see you for the first time clad in your soldier coat of blue, and see you looking back for a last sad glance at your loved ones, and often, indeed, did it prove to be the last glance, and the dear ones who waited and watched, waited and watched for your return, in vain. Their only consolation was that a precious life had been freely given up on the sacred altar of the country." The Governor's address was greeted with much applause and many cheers. The Governor has since written: “I am very proud of the monument erected by your regiment, and I was greatly touched with the deep earnestness that pervaded the dedicatory exercises."
Colonel Betts: It now gives me great pleasure to present to you Lieutenant John F. Conaway, the secretary of our association, as the orator of this occasion.
ADDRESS OF LIEUTENANT JOHN F. CONAWAY.
Whatever may have been our thoughts on the morning of Sep
tember 20, 1863, when we were drawn up in line of battle at this place, one of the most remote was that thirty-four years afterwards we would assemble, as we do to-day, to dedicate this monument or tablet which now stands before us, and I must say that I consider it a glorious and survivors of a loyal volunteer regiment of cavalry that passed through nearly three years of continuous, active service in the field, in the greatest war of modern times. As a part of the Army of the Cumberland, it took us nearly three months to reach this field from the place of our last previous and, to us, most serious encounter with the enemy on the hattlefield of Stone River, a distance, by rail, of not much over one hundred miles. There were great obstacles to be overcome at that time,
and appreciate the hardships, trials and dangers we were called upon to encounter and endure in that grand campaign. To-day, after a pleasant journey of about thirty hours, some of us with our wives and grown-up children, and many of us having traveled over a thousand miles from our homes in Pennsylvania and other states, we have come to this historic locality to assist in the dedication of the monuments, so generously provided by our grand Commonwealth, of the Pennsylvania commands engaged at Chickamauga and the other great battles in and about Chattanooga, but more particularly are we here to dedicate this monument of our own regiment. It is a matter of history and will be remembered by all who participated, that under the gallant and able leadership of our Colonel, afterwards Brevet Brigadier General, Wm. J. Palmer, we took an important part in the events preceding and those immediately leading up to this most sanguinary conflict; and on the battlefield itself we were actively engaged in detachments on nearly, if not quite, every part of it, but on the morning of the second day of the battle we moved with General Rosecrans from the Widow Glenn's House, about a mile distant, and were concentrated right about where we now stand. So it has been
pose, my comrades, to attempt a description of the battle of Chickamauga, nor could I do so with satisfaction to you or to myself, but I wish to say a few words in relation to the part we performed here. When we recall the events of the 19th and 20th of September, 1863, many of them transpiring on this spot and in sight of where we now stand, we cannot fail to realize that it borders on the miraculous that any of us are alive to-day to take part in these exercises. Every man has his own story to tell, and many of the events that occurred here have been vividly recalled and described by several of our comrades at the annual reunions of our Survivors' Association, twenty-four of which have been held up to this time. I need not mention names--indeed, were I to do so, it would be necessary for me to mention the name of every man of the command who was present in this battle, for I believe there was not one of our regiment who participated, but who was called upon to perform some specially important and dangerous duty at some time or other, from the beginning of the battle up to the time when we were compelled to leave the field, either alone or in company with one or two others, or with a larger detachment. Nearly all, if not all, of the orders of General Rosecrans, both verbal and written, directing the movements of corps, divisions.