Thirty-third Annual Reunion
Secretary Captain DeGraff and Assistant Secretary N. S. McOmber were in their camp chairs in the Col. Sammons Post, G. A. R. Hall at 8 a.m. to register comrades and receive annual dues, present badges, etc.
At 10 a.m. President Wilber Alpaugh called attention and spoke a few words of welcome to the comrades, and the business session of 1914 was inaugurated by invocation by Chaplain Rev. A. S. Clark, of Round Lake.
Welcomed by the Mayor
George W. Schemerhorn, mayor of city, extended a hearty welcome to the veterans. He said he had read the story of the service of the 115th regiment and found it to consist of men who were as brave and spirited and ever ready to die for their country, as any that marched under the Stars and Stripes in 1862. He extolled the patriotism and bravery of those women whose loved ones were in battle and who were ready at all times to do the uttermost to aid the just cause.
The mayor said that the regiment has a great record that its living members have reason to be proud of. It was always true to it colors. He said that they have all fought the battles on this earth and that the best is to fight now the trials of life, to reach the glory of the hereafter. He read a poem lauding the praises of the 115th regiment and spoke regarding pensions. Applause greeted his remarks when he said that the government should leave the tariff alone and give the old army men good, strong pensions, so that they would not have to depend on anyone. He concluded by saying: "You defended the government and ought to have reward."
Comrade Conover’s Response
Comrade Seely Conover of Company B, gave a fitting response, emphasizing the fact that while this heroic regiment was cheerfully meeting the hardships and perils of war, they always had the comforting assurance that the vacant chairs at homes of loved ones were daily remembered in prayers and well wishes for the absent ones.
"We accept the cordial welcome given us. Although we like to be appreciated, we had rather leave it to others to recite our doings. It has been said that republics are ungrateful. We cannot say that of our government. We should give due praise for what was done for us on the field of battle and what is done for us now. There is not a veteran in Amsterdam that is helped by the poor roll. We are not all growlers. Of that I am sure.
"It has been well said that we have done our duty, not only in 1862, but I hope in civil life. I am confident that those who follow us will be worthy sons of worthy sires. You fathers who are here today, tell your sons that the spirit of patriotism and love of country comes from honesty in public affairs.
"We do not forget our mothers and wives. Girls, if you are the equal of your mothers of 1862 you will have to hustle."
Donald McMartin, the historian of Johnstown, who is a son of a quartermaster of the regiment, was the next speaker and in his characteristic manner he recalled the old days in a way which sent a thrill though the veterans and all others present.
Secretary read proceedings of last reunion, held at Saratoga, August 26th, 1913.
Letters and Regrets From Absent Comrades Were Read As Follows:
N. J. DeGraff, Secretary and Treasurer
Yours very truly,
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
January 5th, 1914
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Chattanooga, Tenn., R. F. D. No 1.
Dear Sir and Comrade:
Please extend the "comrade shake" to all the "boys". My thoughts will be with them on the 26th. I hope all will be made more glad by the meeting, and more proud of their being a band of American soldiers and citizens.
Yours in F., C. and L.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nekoosa, August 22nd, 1914
Dear Sir and Comrade:
Comrade I am sorry to tell you we buried Albert Abrams, Co. K. 115th. He died in Milwaukee with operation for kidney trouble.
Yours in F. C. and L.
R. F. D. No 2, Saratoga Springs, NY
Your humble comrade,
August 18th, 1914
My Dear Comrade:
Sincerely your friend and comrade,
P. S. I will send Secretary DeGraff my check for dues, and a wee bit extra for a high-ball for a few of my friends, who still have the desire to occasionally bend their elbows.
I enclose postoffice money order in the sum of 50 cents for dues and press reports. I sent 50 cents last year for dues and press report and did not receive any. If you have any reports of the Saratoga meeting, please send.
Fraternally your comrade,
Hoosick Falls, NY
Dear Sir and Comrade:
That you and all survivors of the 115th association may have a pleasant time on the 26th is the wish of
Yours in F., C. and L.
Pine Point Maine, July 30th, 1914.
Yours very truly,
Roll call next in order was responded to by the comrades as name was called, rising in their place, shouting here as in the days of 1862, and so showing themselves to, in some cases, comrades, who had not had the glad hand since the muster out in 1865.
COMPANY A: Samuel Tusk, R. H. Tipple, Oliver Lighthall, John A. Hubbard, John VanDuesen, Silas W. Horning.
COMPANY B: Wilbur Alpaugh, George Hoyt, Seely Conover, I. Eugene Smith, J. H. Snyder, George S. Smith, James J. Weast, William Welch, W. S. Alger, W. S. Hess, Geo. B. Weaver.
COMPANY C: James E. Reid, Edwin Rhodes, Orin Hill, Edgar L. Deming, D. W. Barney, Charles Spiegle, Amos O. Brown.
COMPANY D: N. J. DeGraff, James H. Britton, Philip B. Colgrove, Oscar Lockwood, Donald Grant, Thomas Lepper, Helley S. Tullock, Jacob Albright, George Weaver, George Kline.
COMPANY E: John Hall, Peter J. Keck, Surry Herring, James H. Getman, Jessie Argersinger, Eli Brooks, Andrew Keck, Webster Shaver, W. H. Shults, Alfred Allen.
COMPANY F: James Mingay, George W. Smith, Elias Washburn, J. Delos Parker.
COMPANY G: Newton S. McOmber, Silas E. Blowers, James H. Woodcock, John Hill, George H. Skyn, David H. Graves.
COMPANY H: Sylvester Butler, C. W. Kennicutt, James H. Clark, S. L. Clemens, Marvin Steenburg.
COMPANY I: Charles F. Waite, F. W. Keinger, George Maxon, Hamilton Abeel, John H. Ashman, Frank E. Rich, Theodore Whitford, Charles W. Scharff, Thomas B. Stairs.
COMPANY K: Aaron B. Barrett, D. A. Fosmire, Wm. H. Dingman, J. A. Swan, William Pederick, Charles N. Marselius, A. P. Hart, B. Gough, Eli Smith, Frank Lamb, Willingham Bump.
FIELD AND STAFF: Rev. A. S. Clark, Chaplain; Stephen Fonda Sutler; H. W. Heaton, Sergeant-Major.
Deaths of comrades since last reunion:
Company B: Conrad Farkle, Leonard Crouse
Lines by Seely Conover
Year by year as we gather in our reunion we miss many familiar faces. We are thus admonished of the frailty of all things human, and point to the better things eternal. Those who have answered the roll call no longer claim our sympathy. They only need a fragrant remembrance. But to their loving friends and comrades we hereby extend our heartfelt sympathy and share with them the sorrow of our loss.
Words by Chaplain A. S. Clark
Rest, comrades, rest! While angels keep
Recitation "Vacant Chairs" by Comrade Reid.
Question of next reunion was responded to by Seely Conover in behalf of Amsterdam comrades and he invited the association to meet at Amsterdam in 1915.
On motion, the invitation was accepted and it was voted to meet at Amsterdam, NY August 26th, 1915.
The following officers were elected: President, Seely Conover, Amsterdam; First Vice-President, Charles Scharff, Amsterdam; Second Vice-President, John Hubbard, Fonda; Secretary and Treasurer, N.J. DeGraff, Amsterdam; Assistant Secretary and Treasurer, N. S. McOmber, Glens Falls; Chaplain, Rev. A. S. Clark, Round Lake; Finance Committee, S.W. Horning, C. W. Scharff, I. E. Smith.
It having been learned that our chaplain’s ninety-one year old mother-in-law, who is the widow of our Lieutenant J. N. Filkins, was still living, on motion, a hearty vote of congratulations was extended to her.
It having been learned that Alexander H. Mills was living and was the only surviving member of the Cayadutta Brass Band of Fonda, NY which accompanied the regiment to the front in 1862, on motion he was made an honorary member of the association.
Very interesting addresses of a reminiscence character were given by Comrades J. Delos Parker, David H. Graves, W. S. Alger, James Mingay and J. E. Reid.
At 12:30 adjourned for dinner, which is worthy of special mention on account of its abundance and excellence, served by the ladies of the Sammons Post Women’s Relief Corps, and was highly enjoyed and appreciated by the old boys.
The usual campfire and social at 2 p.m. was well attended, and as comrades recounted their war experiences, the old fires of patriotic enthusiasm again arose to white heat and with acclaim and song the reunion of 1914 passed into the beyond and the comrades at 5 p.m. said their good-byes and again sought their peaceful homes, won by the valor on the battlefields of the greatest civil war.
A hearty vote of thanks was extended to the members of Sammons Post for the use of their room, to the ladies of Relief Corps for entertainment and to Gloversville for welcome and hospitality.
IRON HEARTED REGIMENT REUNITES ON WEDNESDAY
The annual anniversary reunion of "The Iron Hearted Regiment", the 115th New York volunteers, to be held tomorrow in the Grand Army of the Republic rooms, will bring together many of the fighters of ‘61\65. M. Hanson Best has written a poem on the reunion, addressing it, through the Leader-Republican, "To the Iron Hearted Regiment." It is as follows:
Light hearted, laughing long gone youngsters,
How fearlessly we marched to conflict, -
But, boys, there’ll soon be grand reunion:
M. Hanson Best, August 25th, 1914
The Iron Hearted Regiment
In view of the fact that the One Hundred and Fifteenth regiment will have its reunion at Canajoharie Tuesday, the following written many years ago, will be timely:
The One Hundred and Fifteenth regiment was engaged in the bloody battle of Olustee and fought with bravery and desperation. It charged the enemy, and was repeatedly charged by the rebels in return, but obstinately maintained its position against terrible odds until night, thus 600 men engaged, and more than 300 were either killed or wounded. The line of battle was preserved admirably during the entire fight, and every man fought to the best possible advantage. There was no confusion, and it is safe to say that a regiment never maneuvered more perfectly under fire than the One Hundred and Fifteenth did on that occasion.
It was in February, sixty-four,
The rebels, they were very strong,
Olustee was the battlefield,
The enemy were fortified,
The order came, "Move forward men!"
All day we’d marched through sun and heat,
The battle opened fierce and wild,
In solid ranks, and line so true,
But, look! The rebels see our ranks,
From every stump, and tree and fence,
Quick as a flash the ranks closed up-
Then Captain VenDerveer, brave man!
Another cruel bullet then
Lieutenant Davis, too, was shot-
The "boys in blue" fought by those braves
"We wish to bear both from the field,"
Lieut. Davis caught their thoughts,
Then Colonel Sammons, too, was hit,
Lieutenants, two, fell over dead
The privates, too, were heroes all,
The line was thin, and mangled bad,
Our haughty foe beheld our line,
As still as death our comrades all,
Then thundered loud the Union guns,
Five times the bloody work was tried,
Brave Sergeant Keck stood right in front,
Eight men were shot close by his side,
Our ammunition now gave out,
"Our boys now dead, have bullets yet,
Those bullets used, no more were found,
With Union cheers the gallant boys
The General then rode up the line,
"Never as long as day shall last,"
Three hundred of our bravest men
At last all hope of victory fled,
The foe was punished badly, too,
The 115th regiment was called into service by President Lincoln’s proclamation for 600,000 men in August, 1862, and was enlisted from the men volunteering for three years or duration of the war. They enlisted from Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery and Saratoga counties. The regiment left Fonda Rendezvous camp, August 29th, 1862, eleven hundred strong, going directly to the seat of war at Harper’s Ferry, its first duty being to guard the Winchester railroad.
Through the treason of the commander, General Miles, who was mortally wounded, the command, about 12,000, were surrendered to the rebel, Stonewall Jackson, September 15th, 1862, and sent to a parole camp at Chicago. All were exchanged January 1, 1863, and sent into active service again at Hilton Head, S. C. Its first serious battle was at Olustee, Florida, February 20th, 1864, where half of the regiment was killed or wounded and received from General Terry, the distinguished title of the "Iron Hearted" regiment.
March 1864, the regiment was transferred to the army of the James river, Virginia, under the command of General B. F. Butler, 10th army corps. From this time on to the end there was little rest. Steaming with the great transports, under General Grant, up the James river, landings were made at City Point and Bermuda, hundreds taking part in the operations at Fort Darling, Cold Harbor, etc., and later in a mine explosion and operations in front of Petersburg.
July 17th, 1864, the regiment was assigned to the 18th corps, composed of all troops in the departments of North Carolina and Virginia, commanded by Major-General William F. (Baldy) Smith, which continued to December 3rd when it was assigned to the 24th army corps and so remained until close of the war.
In January, 1865, the regiment took part in the two expeditions against Fort Fisher, N.C., the second of which was successful amid great rejoicing as it was a signal victory and fought with momentous results. Operations against Wilmington followed and exchange of many of our boys from rebel prisons. Rebels were driven from North Carolina, the regiment going into their last camp at Raleigh, N.C. and were mustered out of the United States army, July 2nd, 1865, at once embarking on transports for New York and Home.
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