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TRANSFER OF THE MONUMENTS TO THE GOVERNOR OF
THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA.
LIEUT.-COL. ARCHIBALD BLAKELEY.
M R. PRESIDENT:--There is but one Chattanooga, and we are in it
to-day. We are on Orchard Knob, one of the many historic heights
which surround the growing city now clustering around their feet. We are in the centre of a panorama in which nature exhibits her works in awe inspiring and majestic grandeur, bedecked with scenes of ineffable beauty, peaceful as peace and noiseless as the footsteps of time! We are on sacred ground where Grant and Thomas trod with giant tread the mountain paths of the art of war and of military science.
In the War of the Rebellion, from September 10 to November 27, 1863, over one hundred and fifty thousand armed men of the armies of the north and of the armies of the south engaged in a death struggle over these lofty mountains and rugged ridges, along these undulating valleys and plains, on the murky banks of the dark Chickamauga, and by the sparkling waters of the beautiful Tennessee. This contest was made for the possession of Chattanooga, the geographical center of the Southern Confederacy and the gateway to the central south. Battles were fought at Chickamauga, Wauhatchie, Brown's Ferry, Orchard Knob, Missionary Ridge and Ringgold, all resulting in victories for the Union arms. The fields of these battles, except Ringgold and part of Chickamauga are within the range of our eyes from where we now stand.
Governor Hastings, we are here to-day, because in that memorable contest the sons of Pennsylvania were here; they were here in all arms and all grades of the land service; twelve regiments of infantry, three regiments of cavalry and two companies of artillery. The government of the United States purchased and acquired jurisdiction over the greater part of these battlefields and has marked upon them the battle lines and positions of all troops of both armies and, as object lessons, they are now being visited and studied by historical and military students of our own and foreign countries. In the prosecution of this great work a Commission was organized and the grounds denominated "The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park," and invitations were extended to all the States, north and south, having troops in these battles, to erect upon their respective battle lines, monuments in commemoration of their services and for the perpetuation of the memory of them for all time. Governor Pattison, your predecessor in office, responded to this call by appointing a Commission of one hundred of the survivors of the Pennsylvania troops engaged here, with instructions to visit these fields, ascertain, locate and mark their respective battle lines. This work was accomplished by that Commission three years ago last September. On making its report the Legislature of our Commonwealth enacted a law authorizing the construction of a monument upon the battle line of each Pennsylvania organization and appropriating money therefor. The Legislature also authorized and directed the appointment, by the Governor, of an executive committee of seven out of the one hundred commissioners, to direct and superintend the work authorized to be done. These bills receiving your approval, you appointed John H. R. Storey of our One hundred and ninth Infantry; Sylvester W. McCluskey of our Forty-sixth Light Artillery; Thomas H. Rickert, of our Seventh Cavalry; Edwin McC. Boring of our Seventyninth Infantry; William A. Robinson and George W. Skinner of our Seventy-seventh Infantry, and myself of our Seventy-eighth Infantry, to be known, as designated by the bill, “The Executive Committee of the Chickamauga-Chattanooga Battlefields Commission." Within a week after our appointment, in July of 1895, your committee organized and from that time until the present day have diligently prosecuted the work entrusted to its hands. And although beset with many vexatious questions and delays it has been to us a labor of love, and the work being finished we are here to tender and turn over to you, as the Governor of the Commonwealth, the monuments constructed under our superintendence. It is regrettable, however, to have to say that no monuments have been erected for the Seventy-third and One hundred and ninth Infantry. The principal battle line of the One hundred and ninth Infantry was at Ringgold outside of the present limits of the National Military Park. The Seventy-third Infantry fought a battle which brought renown upon itself and upon our arms at a position well out towards the north point of Missionary Ridge, being also outside of the present limits of the National Military Park. The representatives of the organizations of the survivors of these regiments refused to have their monuments erected, except upon their battle lines, and, inasmuch, if erected there, they would not be entitled to the protection of the Park Commissioners, they declined to have them erected under existing conditions.
True, under the law we had the right to erect them, but from the beginning, knowing how near and dear this work was to the hearts of the survivors of our Pennsylvania organizations, we determined to act in concert with those organizations and have done so throughout, therefore, yielding to the desires of the representatives of the Seventy-third and the One hundred and rinth, their monuments have not been erected.
But we have, as you have seen, along the northern base of Orchard Knob, monuments to our Twenty-seventh, Forty-sixth and Seventyfifth Infantry and to Battery E of our Forty-sixth Light Artillery, commonly known as Knap's Battery. And, true, these monuments are not upon the technical and actual battle lines where the organizations respectively fought, especially so with reference to Knap's Battery, which won fame and victory in the bloody midnight fight at Wauhatchie. But in a larger, more comprehensive and better sense these monuments are upon their battle lines and their battlefield, for the whole territory from Wauhatchie on the west, to Ringgold on the east, and from the Pigeon Mountains on the south to the north point of Missionary Ridge on the north, is a battle line and a battlefield, on which men fought, men bled, and men died.
And now, casting the eye to Lookout Mountain, we see upon the slope of the north point above the Craven House, the monuments to our Twenty-eighth and One hundred and Forty-seventh Infantry on their battle lines as they swept around that mountain point driving the enemy before them inch by inch from his well chosen line of defense. And away up in those dark, overhanging and frowning rocks constituting the "Lookout” of the monster mountain we have imbedded in them, bronze tablets as monuments to our Twenty-ninth and one One hundred and eleventh Infantry, marking the positions attained by them, higher than those of any other troops, in that wonderful assault upon Lookout Mountain, known the world over as "The Battle Above the Clouds."
Turning eastward across the Chattanooga valley and Missionary Ridge, to the field of Chickamauga at a point between Battlefields Station and the Bloody Pond, we have the monument to our Fifteenth Cavalry, on ground where it made a heroic but unsuccessful struggle under the eye and personal direction of General Rosecrans to rally the broken right wing of our army on Sunday morning of the Chickamauga fight. This regiment was known as the "Anderson Cavalry," named in honor of General Robert Anderson, the hero of Fort Sumter, and the first general commander of Union troops in Kentucky.
Passing the Bloody Pond, the site of the Widow Glenn House and the Wilder column, we have on the Crawfish Springs road the monument to our Ninth Cavalry on ground where that regiment, as on many other hard contested fields, rendered notable and efficient service. This regiment was known as the "Lochiel Cavalry," so named in honor of our renowned Pennsylvania senator and statesman, the Honorable Simon Cameron.
And now, eastwardly to the Chickamauga, at Reed's Bridge, we have the monument to our Seventh Cavalry at a point where it made determined resistance to the crossing of the Chickamauga by the troops of the enemy, giving our commanders several hours of much needed time to form for the impending battle. This regiment was familiarly known as the "Sabre Regiment," so named and known on account of its fighting with the sabre instead of the carbine. The position of this regiment as its monument shows, was farther east than that of any other organization in the Chickamauga battle.
Coming westward into the grounds occupied by the infantry lines, we have the monument to our Seventy-seventh Infantry, also farther east and farther into the enemy's lines than any other infantry organization. The monument is on the ground of the celebrated Saturday night fight, in which this regiment, cut off from its line and surrounded by superior numbers, fought a “lone” battle, inflicting heavy loss on the enemy but losing in killed, wounded and captured almost its entire strength. A
bronze panel in the face of the monument gives a vivid picture of this strange engagement.
Then passing up to the bloody line on the Kelly farm, we have the monument to our Seventy-ninth Infantry, on ground held by it in a hard fought battle from Sunday morning until Sunday evening. This regiment was mostly from Lancaster county, and its survivors and the citizens of that county supplemented the State appropriation and placed upon their monument a bronze group representing the death of their young color bearer as the colors fell from his hands and were caught by the color guard as the brave Lancaster boy went down in death.
Passing from the Kelly to the Brotherton farm, we have the monument to Battery B of the Twenty-sixth Light Artillery, commonly known as "Muehler's Battery," on one of its many battle lines, in the Brotherton field, between the Brotherton house and the Brotherton woods.
And passing on towards the Bloody Pond to the Brotherton woods, we have in the now quiet and peaceful shades of that forest the monument to our Seventy-eighth Infantry on a battle line taken and held by it under fire from three o'clock on Saturday until nine and a half o'clock on Sunday morning of the Chickamauga battle, when it was ordered to other positions on the field. Tablets and markers have also been set showing other positions held on these fields by the troops from our State.
Thus, you see that the men of Pennsylvania covered this entire arena of battle. In justice to our Commonwealth, I should add, what is well known history, the assault on Lookout Mountain was led by one of Pennsylvania's greatest warriors, John W. Geary. Also that the Seventyeighth Pennsylvania was the first regiment to cross the Lookout Mountain into the Chickamauga valley and received and delivered the first shots fired in the three month's fight on the 10th of September, 1863, at Dug Gap in the Pigeon Mountains, and that the parting shots in the great confiict were delivered by the One hundred and ninth Pennsylvania with other Pennsylvania troops under our brave Geary as they poured their volleys into the fileeing army of Braxton Bragg at Ringgold in the closing days of November.
Before concluding, our committee and our Commission tender our thanks to the regimental organizations for their efficient and intelligent help and co-operation. We must also thank Captain F. F. Wiehl and the Honorable H. Clay Evans, natives of Pennsylvania, now residents of Chattanooga. Whenever we came here they dropped all other duties to facilitate our labors and make our visits pleasant and enjoyable. And the thanks of the committee, the Commission, the survivors of these battles, and of all the people of our Commonwealth are due to our intelligent, great-hearted and accomplished Adjutant General, Thomas J. Stewart, for his masterly execution of the laws for the transportation of the Governor, his staff, the Legislative committee and these old soldiers to this dedication. And to you, Governor Hastings, we are deeply indebted for your courtesies, your counsel and your help. On two occasions you turned aside from the important duties of your high office, came with us and travelled over these fields, giving us the benefit of your counsel and cheering us on to the successful completion of our work. When the coming years have wrinkled your brow and whitened your head, and you draw your mantle around you, awaiting the last call from the great Trinity of your faith and your religion, there is a trinity of words which, sounded in your ears, will quicken your slow pulse and strengthen your weak heart beats-Johnstown--Chickamauga-Chattanooga.
Our thanks are due and we tender them most cheerfully to Edward Everett Betts, the painstaking and skillful engineer of this National Military Park.
From the time that General Henry V. Boynton, the Chairman of the National Commission, fought and bled on these fields, he has made them a study, and in addition to his other world-wide attainments, he knows more of the battle lines, the positions and manoeuvres of the troops engaged here than any other living man. When our Commission came here three years ago last September, he met us with that modesty which characterizes all that he does, and laid all his knowledge of these fields at our feet, and from that day to this, whether here or in Washington, or in the retirement of his summer home on the sea coast, all questions, all queries have been promptly answered, and we feel and know that without his help our work would have been a failure. Our thanks and the thanks of all our people are due and are hereby tendered to him.
And to the secretary of the Commission, Major Frank G. Smith, we tender our thanks, for we and his country have found him in peace and in war faithful in all things.
We must also congratulate the commission on the recent acquisition to its force of the distinguished soldier, scholar and citizen, Colonel Henry M. Duffield.
To General A. P. Stewart and Mr. J. P. Smartt, representing the Confederate side of this Park Commission, we are indebted for courtesies and kindness which prove that with them the bloody chasm has not been bridged, closed or healed but annihilated.
We had expected to come to this dedication with words of praise and thankful hearts to one whose ears to-day are deaf in death. Away out on his native Sciota hills, the rustling autumn leaves cover the green grave of General James S. Fullerton. From the organization of the Commission of this National Military Park, until his tragic death this summer amongst the fatal cliffs and waters of the Youghiogheny, he was its chairman. General Fullerton was cast in a great mould, with a great mind in a large head, and a great heart in a large body. In all the relations of life, military, civil, social, as citizen, son, father, husband and brother, his work in life was conspicuous and merited, as it received, the praise of all. He was the incarnation of enthusiasm. He was always with us when we came upon these fields, and in describing them and helping us mark our lines his enthusiasm was irresistible. He never seemed to know or to consider an obstacle; success was ever before his eyes, and forgetting all else he reached out for success and victory. In battle his enthusiasm and determination especially marked him as he hurried the