NEW YORK MONUMENTS COMMISSION
BATTLEFIELDS OF GETTYSBURG AND CHATTANOOGA
F I N A L R E P O R T
B A T T L E F I E L D O F G E T T Y S B U R G
DEDICATION OF MONUMENT
10th REGIMENT CAVALRY "PORTER GUARDS."
October 9, 1888
Address of Lieut. Henry E. Hayes
On a cold Christmas night nearly twenty-seven years ago, two battalions of what was then known as the "Porter Guards," numbering about 800 strong, entered this quiet little town of Gettysburg. It was the first advance of the Tenth New York Cavalry towards the battle front. They came here filled with the buoyant spirits, the ardent ambition, and the eager hopes of youth. The parting kisses of dear ones left behind were still warm upon their cheeks, the echoes of tearful farewells still trembled in their hearts; but in the firm conviction of duty, and inspired with patriotic devotion to their country, they looked cheerfully forward to a happy and early reunion of homes as well as of States.
Other faithful comrades joined our ranks later, but in time for our second memorable visit here to participate in the great event which is now recorded as one of the most important epochs in our country's history. Of the achievements of the Tenth New York Cavalry in the bloody campaigns of three years of active field duty, from Gettysburg to the Appomattox, and of the part it took in the fierce conflict on these battle-scarred hills, others who are with us will speak.
We stand today, comrades, where, in 1863, that great tidal wave of rebellion that rolled up from the South and so nearly overwhelmed us, was met by an immovable dike of Union bayonets and sabers and hurled back with its floating wrecks and devastated ranks.
As we glance along these hills we can plainly trace the outline of that wave that left their slopes thickly strewn with the marks of destruction and death. The carved granite that has been placed along the line shows the high-water mark of hostile invasion and where the struggle raged fiercest.
We have come here today, comrades, to commemorate the day and the spot on which the old Tenth held its part of the battle line in that momentous conflict. We have come to dedicate the memorial stone that has been placed here to silently tell our story to posterity long after our lips have been closed, and all living witnesses shall have passed away.
I feel that it is a great privilege to be here, comrades, and I am thankful for it. The flood of memories that arises in my heart and the emotions that overwhelm my mind as I find myself here again with so many old comrades, seem to make words vain and meaningless. I have only to say that the occasion is one to be grateful for. And there are many reasons why the sentiment of gratitude should be the dominant one in the hearts of all here today. We should be grateful that our lives were spared through the perils of camp and battlefield, and the score and more years that have since elapsed, and that we are permitted to meet again at dear old Gettysburg; yes, to us, dear old Gettysburg.
To the most of the old war veterans who make pilgrimages here, Gettysburg brings up only the bloody memories of those terrible days of '63; but for those of us who sojourned here in the winter of 1861 and 1862, there are much pleasanter reminiscences of this famous town. Our thoughts leap over the great battle drama, and go back to the time when the good people of Gettysburg opened their hospitable doors to us and welcomed us with such a fraternal and paternal spirit, that the old homes and old loves were for the time almost forgotten. I trust that their many kindnesses at that time are appreciated, and that we fell duly grateful to them therefor.
We should be grateful also to our noble Empire State, without whose loyal generosity we could not today have dedicated this beautiful memorial emblem, shaped, carved, and so firmly engrafted upon this granite ridge, that the ages can never destroy it. We should be grateful also to the members of the New York State Commission, under whose intelligent supervision this monument has been constructed and placed here. Your committee feel that acknowledgments are due to them and to the contractors for the uniformly obliging and courteous treatment we have received at their hands, and whose advice and assistance have been valued and appreciated.
And now, comrades, our duties here will soon be over. A few short hours of pleasant greetings and social converse and we must again say the parting good-bye, and turn back to our widely-separated homes. But wherever we may go, or whatever may befall us, let us be true to each other, true to the good name of the old regiment, true to ourselves, true to our country. Let this monument typify the enduring loyalty and patriotism of the organization whose name is inscribed upon its granite sides. Let it also be a symbol of the strength and permanence of faithful comradeship and true fraternity. Let it also renew and perpetuate the pleasant memories of old times. Let us leave this spot today, comrades, feeling that it has been good for us to be here, and that we shall be better and happier for it during the few short days or years that may remain for us.
TRANSFER OF MONUMENT
By Maj. George W. Kennedy
Comrades and Friends:
We meet here to dedicate this monument, which marks the position occupied by our regiment during the battle, and transfer it to the care and keeping of the Gettysburg Memorial Association, that it may remain as a reminder to future generations that the gallant tenth New York Cavalry performed its part in this great struggle, and not only here but on scores of other fields. It will be the shrine to which all members and friends of the regiment will bend their steps when they visit historic Gettysburg. It will cast its shadow over the scene of our struggle long after the last member has passed to his silent camping ground. May the future generations take heed of the lesson it will teach of the patriotism of the men who defended the soil of this State from an invading foe, and as they look upon its bronze and granite may they receive fresh inspiration of loyalty.
Gentlemen of the Gettysburg Memorial Association, I hereby, on behalf of the members of the Tenth New York Cavalry Association, transfer to your care and protection this monument, which commemorates the patriotism of the men who gave their lives and services to the flag and country they loved so well.
ADDRESS OF CAPT. NORRIS MOREY
A work of love and gratitude has been performed. The surviving members of the Tenth Regiment of New York Volunteer Cavalry, aided by a generous contribution from the State, have erected this monument in commemoration of the services of that regiment during the War of the Rebellion.
It is not needful in the performance of the grateful and honorable duty assigned to me, that I should speak in detail of the long and efficient service of the regiment. That work has already been fittingly done in the historical address to which we have listened.
In a vital sense, indeed, the historical account is the most important part of our memorial service. Nothing that we may say can add to or detract from the merit of the services and sacrifices of this regiment. We cannot gild fine fold or paint the lily. But when hidden treasures are found, it is for our profit to stop to gather them, and when a thing of rare beauty is disclosed to us, we pause to look upon it and, as far as we may, to appropriate to ourselves the delight and the instruction which it offers. The human mind cannot be occupied more profitably than in contemplating noble deeds, or patient endurance, or sacrifice of self, to help forward worthy ends.
There have been times when masses of men, moved by some tide of inspiration, have gone to the very summit of human capability in doing and daring and sacrificing. Such men and such times are stepping stones, upon which the men who follow may mount to higher levels; they are the beacon lights without which any advance in the pathway of progress would be well-nigh impossible. And at this time, when the pursuit of wealth appears to be thought the chief end of man, it is well that we turn our thoughts to that time when the life of the nation depended, not upon the riches, but upon the courage and patriotism of its citizens.
We mean by this memorial, first of all, to show forth our gratitude for, and our pride in, the patriotism which inspired the members of this regiment to volunteer for the defense of their country at a time when it stood in unexpected and imminent peril from the armies of the Rebellion.
This regiment was made up of men who enlisted soon after the first battle of Bull Run. The loyal men of the country then first realized that they stood at the beginning of a long, bloody, and perhaps doubtful struggle. It was to take part in such a struggle that the members of this regiment volunteered.
They came from the homes and farms, the villages and cities, of Central and Western New York. There have been times and countries in which men have been bred only to strife; in which might has been the only right, and in which war and plunder were the only pursuits that were either gainful or honorable. But these men lived in a land of law and liberty, of plenty and peace; they were trained only in the arts and pursuits of peace. They were young men in a country enjoying almost unexampled prosperity, and in which every opportunity was open to well-directed and persevering industry.
When they volunteered, they abandoned all these opportunities, and with them they abandoned all the comforts and delights of home and family; they gave up all the advantages which they had gained by their labors in the past and the hopes they had cherished for the future; and for the sake of their country, to preserve the unity and life of the nation of which they were citizens, offered everything they had and were, even life itself, to the doubtful chance of the camp and the march, and the yet more perilous hazard of battle. Alas! How many of them did not return; and how many others returned only with mutilated bodies or broken health and hope.
We would recall also to all persons who may look upon this monument, the courage and faithfulness which marked the career and service of the Tenth Cavalry. Its service in the field began near Washington in August 1862, and ended only with the surrender of Johnston's forces to Sherman, in April, 1865. Its first engagement was at Leesburg, August, 1862 and its last was at Appomattox, April 9, 1865. Between those dates its history when written will show a long and honorable record of hard, faithful, and effective service. During nearly all of this period the Tenth Cavalry was brigaded with Gregg's Division of cavalry, and served with the Army of the Potomac.
Prior to the organization of the cavalry, in the spring of 1863, the Confederate cavalry, under the command of that skillful and enterprising chief, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, had not been confronted by any organized mounted force, acting under its own chiefs, and as a separate command; but form the organization of the Cavalry Corps a new chapter begins. It is a chapter which records a rapid and extraordinary development of the uses and fighting force of a body of well-trained cavalry, and is filled with the record of hard fighting and brilliant achievement.
At Brandy Station, at Aldie, at Upperville, and at Middleburg, the Union cavalry forces met the cavalry of Stuart, in stubborn hand-to-hand, hard-fought conflicts, and were successful in each case in driving back or holding at bay that renowned cavalry leader, thereby rendering most efficient and valuable aid to the Army of the Potomac at a time when such aid was sorely needed.
On the second day of the battle of Gettysburg, the Tenth Cavalry coming up the Hanover Road, on Brinkerhoff Ridge, upon the spot where we now stand, had the first engagement on our right with the Confederate cavalry. And on the third day of the battle, Gregg's Division, of which the Tenth Cavalry was a part, on this field, not far from the place where we now stand, bore a distinguished part in one of the fiercest and most obstinately contested cavalry battles of the war.
On the morning of the third day Stuart set forth with four brigades to pass round the Union right, to strike upon the Baltimore Pike, the rear of the army of Meade. It was a daring and well- planned scheme and promised great results. But on this same morning, Gregg's Division having camped the previous night along the Baltimore Pike near the bridge over White Run, moved northerly along Cress Run, to stand sentinel upon our right flank, against just such movements as this of Stuart. When Gregg reached the Hanover Road he found Custer's Brigade stationed, for the time being, near the intersection of the Dutch Road with the Hanover Road. Fighting soon began, and was almost continuous from 10 o'clock in the morning till 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and Stuart's four brigades had not gone south of Hanover Road.
When at 2 in the afternoon, the mighty roar of that cannonade, which preceded Pickett's great charge, shook the earth, Stuart, anxious to strike a blow in the rear at the moment when Pickett's charge should strike the Union center, is ready to move two of his brigades south across the Hanover Road towards the Baltimore Pike, leaving Lee's and Hampton's Brigades to take care of the two brigades of Gregg. But at this critical moment one of Gregg's brigades (McIntosh's) advances against the Rebel cavalry on Rummell's Farm, and is confronted by two brigades under the command of Fitz Hugh Lee. Custer, who had but just set out in obedience to his orders towards the Union left, returns upon the urgent call of Gregg, and reinforces McIntosh's hard pressed troopers. Stuart now realizes that he must dispose of Gregg's three brigades of obstinate fighting cavalry, before he can make his longed-for irruption upon the Baltimore Pike; and he turns fiercely back and throws all his four brigades upon the cavalry of Gregg and Custer.
And so they wrestled and fought all the summer afternoon, while Lee was hurling the column of Pickett against the Federal center but three miles away. And when nightfall came, the Union cavalry, but 5,000 strong, had more than held their own against Stuart's 6,000 troopers. Stuart's Cavalry had not succeeded on that afternoon, so fatal to the hopes of the Rebel armies and leaders, in breaking upon the Union rear. They had not been able to hold even the ground they occupied at the beginning of the conflict. It was indeed a famous fight.
During a considerable part of the campaigns of 1864 and 1865 the cavalry force of the Army of the Potomac was under the command of that leader of cavalry leaders, Gen. Phil Sheridan, seconded by such generals of division and brigade as Merritt, Custer, Wilson, Devin, and the Greggs, and in the final campaign, Crook and Mackenzie. It led nearly every advance, it made repeated raids through Virginia in the rear of the Rebel army, capturing supplies and destroying railroads, and its co-operation and aid came to be held a prime factor in every plan of action.
The Rebel cavalry might sometimes impede, but it may fairly be said, that during the campaigns of 1864 and 1865, they were no longer able, without the aid of the infantry, to stay the rapid movements.
At Winchester, a resolute charge by the Union cavalry upon the flank of Early's already hard-pressed army was the turning point in one of the most critical and important battles of the war. And, at Five Forks, which was the good beginning of the ending, which came so soon at Appomattox, and was indeed a "crowning mercy," the cavalry took the initiative and played the leading part.
It would be hard to find in the annals of civilized warfare a more brilliant and instructive example of the effective service which can be rendered by a large body of veteran cavalry, led by skillful and enterprising leaders, than was exhibited in that closing campaign, which resulted in the surrender of General Lee and his entire army. The capture of such an army, commanded by such a general, is one of the rare and extraordinary events in history.
And we cannot do full justice to the soldiers of the Union army in the east, unless we recall that during all those bloody years, they had to contend with that dauntless Army of Northern Virginia, which having spent its best blood in the vain attempt on these hills at Gettysburg, in July, 1863, to overthrow a Union army on the soil of a loyal State, was yet ready to grapple with the great army with which Grant crossed the Rappahannock in the spring of 1864. Through all the mighty death struggle of 1864, from the Rappahannock, across Virginia to the James, and around and beyond Petersburg, the soldiers of the army presented an unyielding front to the attacks which Grant continually hurled against them.
And then, in the early spring of 1865, Sheridan came with his welcome legion of victorious troopers, and led his army of sabers far beyond the Rebel entrenchments at Petersburg. With his cavalry, fighting on foot close to their works at Five Forks, he held the famous divisions of Pickett and Johnson from morning until late in that Saturday afternoon, when the Fifth Corps fell upon their right and rear, and with one blow broke and captured the lager part of those divisions of veterans.
And from Five Forks westward, the hitherto invincible army of Lee was beset and harassed and attacked at every step of its retreat by this same indomitable Union cavalry, delaying every hour of that retreat, which needed to be swift and continuous. And after them, and often keeping pace with them, came the swiftly moving columns of the infantry of the Army of the Potomac, which bruised and baffled with many defeats now saw, under the leadership of Grant and Sheridan, that its hour of final triumph was at hand.
And so it happened that, when on the morning of that never-to-be-forgotten April day at Appomattox the tired and hungry, but yet unconquered Rebel infantry, moved out to force their way through the ever-present cavalry, the enveloping cloud of the Union horsemen was drawn aside, the solid line of the Fifth and Twenty-fourth Army Corps was disclosed, and those veterans of Lee, who had hitherto scarcely known defeat, knew that the hour of destiny had come.
Surely no soldier or patriot would dare to pluck a single leaf from the laurels which were worn by the oft-defeated, patient, stubborn, heroic, and unconquerable infantry of the Army of the Potomac. Fighting as that army did, under many chiefs, against the finest soldiers and ablest generals of the Rebellion, and followed through all its history by many and unexpected reverses and misfortunes, it is entitled to a gratitude which can never be told or measured, and has won a glory which is all its own. But it must still be said, that the Cavalry Corps of that army, in the closing campaigns of the war, made a new revelation of what may be done by a large body of intelligent, well-disciplined, veteran horsemen, led by daring and skilled chiefs, moving swiftly as mounted troopers only can move, and fighting on foot with the carbine, or from the saddle with the saber, as occasion required. It was Gregg's Division of cavalry which barred the line of Ewell's retreat at Sailor's Creek, and the same division was interposed between the army of Lee at Appomattox and its line of retreat towards Lynchburg on the evening of April 8, 1865.
It is to be hoped that the complete history of the Union cavalry may yet be written by some competent hand.
Doubtless the history which the lamented Sheridan, whose recent and untimely death every patriotic American mourns, will go far towards making up the fit record of the achievements of those troops of which he was the undisputed and knightly chief.
But if the whole brave story were told, there would still remain a final word to be said in the dedication of a memorial to the services of soldiers of the army of the Union.
A glance at the history of the past shows that many wars have been waged for trivial causes or ignoble purposes, sometimes to gratify the caprice or the envy or the spite of some monarch or minister, sometimes to avenge some fancied slight or insult to a favorite, sometimes to satisfy the greed or the ambition of some ruler.
Many of the most desperate and wasteful wars of modern times have been carried on for even baser and wickeder ends than these: --to rob whole peoples and races of rights acquired only be ages of suffering and struggle, to repress, and, if possible, to destroy the aspiration for progress and freedom which comes with the dawn of knowledge and the opening of opportunity to every race and people, to beat back with bloody hand the slow and difficult march of the race towards a better day, of liberty, and of equal right and equal opportunity for all.
This monument is not erected as a memorial of services like these. We say, and we say it with pride and joy, that the soldiers of the Tenth New York Cavalry, enlisted in the highest and noblest cause for which war can be waged, for which men can sacrifice and die.
The armies of the Union fought not to destroy, but to save; not to make conquest of the lands and liberties of another nation, but to hold and maintain their own; not to repress the aspirations or hinder the advance of men in the march towards liberty and self-government, but to resist to the uttermost a desperate effort to overthrow and dissolve our Union of States, and to establish upon its ruins one or more confederacies of states devoted to a system of chattel slavery.
They enlisted, not for themselves, but for the nation of which they were citizens and rulers; not to make slaves of those already free, but to give liberty to a down-trodden and despised race of slaves; not at all for the sake of the honors or triumphs of war, but that a condition breeding continual wars might be averted.
Nothing indeed could be finer or nobler, or more characteristic of the temper in which the war for the Union was waged, then the manner in which it was ended.
When Grant received the surrender of the army of Lee, it was with a stipulation of his own making, that the soldiers might retain their horses, so that on their return to their homes they might use them to plow their fields.
Whenever any portion of the Confederate army surrendered, the faces of the capturing Union army were turned homeward without delay.
At the close of the War of the Revolution, a scheme was set on foot to continue an organization of the soldiers of the Continental army for the promotion of their own interests, and Washington's consent and leadership were sought. The European world has not yet ceased to wonder at and admire the purity and consecration of Washington in laying down his command, and in refusing to consent to the continuance of his military authority at the hazard of the liberties of his country.
But at the close of the War of the Rebellion, there were more than three-quarters of a million of disciplined Union soldiers, completely organized and equipped, and flushed with victory.
There were great commanders, Grant, Sheridan, Sherman, and Thomas, who had conducted campaigns successfully upon a large scale and whose names where on every tongue.
No human being, soldier or officer, in all that vast army, so far as is known, ever proposed or even suggested that this great military organization could or should wielded to promote any unlawful, end, or to gratify any personal ambition. No intelligent man needs to be told that the promoter of any such scheme would have been visited by each of those patriotic soldiers with the swiftest and sternest condemnation.
I know of no weightier testimony than this, to the good citizenship which is bred by the habit and practice of self-government.
Among civilized nations an unsuccessful rebellion has commonly been followed by the extirpation or exile of all who have organized or been conspicuous in the rebellion; by confiscation and attainders; and by indiscriminate plundering by the victorious army.
But when the military forces of the Rebellion were utterly destroyed, after four years of fierce and wasting war, the victory of the Union armies was followed by no act of revenge upon the organizers, the leaders, or the soldiers of the Rebellion, on the part of the Union soldiers or the government; no lives were taken and no punishments inflicted, as the penalty for treason and rebellion; there were no attainders and no confiscations.
Hardly a shot was fired by the Union soldiers from the hour the Rebel soldiers laid down their arms. The Union soldiers joyfully laid aside their arms, and hastened tot heir homes, thankful that they had finished their hard and perilous task, and were ready to resume the duties of civil life.
There are those who believe, or affect to believe, that our scheme of self-government can produce, and has produced, only a crude and imperfect civilization; that the common mind is low and narrow; and that the multitude are not endowed with those higher and nobler qualities needed in the great exigencies of government.
I would ask all such sceptics to look over the volumes containing the history of conquered rebellions, and find, if they can, anything that will compare in kind or degree with the self- control, the magnanimity, the kindly spirit, with which the common soldiers and the loyal common people of this nation, treated our conquered rebels.
Nor was the war, for which the soldiers enlisted, carried on to gratify the caprice or cupidity or ill-will of a selfish or ambitious ruler. The real declaration of war, which followed the fall of Sumter, came not from Congress or president, but from the united voice of the loyal people of the country. Our president was one to whom pride and greed and selfish ambition, as motives of public action, were unknown. The fine instinct of the people, wiser far than the judgment of any single man, selected as its chosen leader in that moment of supreme danger, a man comparatively unknown and almost untried.
To those who still doubt the capability of a democracy to guide its own great affairs, I commend the life and character of Abraham Lincoln.
Mr. Lincoln had only the smallest advantage of early training and education, and he came to the presidency without any of the graces of the schools or of courts; and yet his was the masterly hand that guided our diplomacy through the period of the Rebellion, when more than one foreign power would have welcomed any pretext to interfere against the Union cause.
He was a man of gentle and amiable disposition; yet when any principle he believed to be vital was at stake, he listened to no compromise and shrank from no conflict.
He was a hater of war, and disliked all its stern and unyielding ways; and yet when war was begun to destroy the Union, he called more than a million of men into the field, and organized one of the greatest armies of modern times; and would hearken to no overture for peace, except on the basis of an unbroken Union and the freedom of the slaves.
By his absolute sincerity, which gradually drew to him the confidence of all those who were sincerely devoted to the cause for which he contended, and by the sanity, largeness, and strength of his intellect, which appeared to have a force in reverse for every emergency, and which made him large-minded and tolerant of all measures or men that co-operated or could be made to co- operate in accomplishing the great ends to which he was devoted, he was fit to be the strength of our Federal Union of States, and the sincerity of the devotion of our people to our system of representative self-government. He was worthy indeed to be the prophet and leader of that period which was the heroic age of our history.
We must not and cannot forget, on an occasion like this, that it was in a war for such a cause, carried on in such a spirit, and under such a leader, that the soldiers of the Tenth Cavalry, and all the soldiers of the army of the Union enlisted and served.
It is fitting indeed that on this spot, where the Tenth Cavalry bore a distinguished part in that battle which inflicted upon the soldiers of the chief army of the Rebellion its severest hurt, we should raise and dedicate this enduring memorial of their devotion and service.
And while we dedicate this monument, let us dedicate ourselves anew to that high cause which was served so faithfully and well by the soldiers of the Union.
"Peace hath her victories, no less renowned than war."
The duties of good citizenship are of perpetual obligation. The contest for good government is being continually lost or won. To the doing of our part in that great contest, let us devote ourselves, --that liberty may continue our portion under the reign of law and the benediction of peace; that honest industry may have its fair opportunity and may not fail of its reward; that the forces of private morality and public virtue may prevail against the weakening and corrupting influences, which grow rank and luxuriant in the midst of our material prosperity, so that it may not come to pass, in our day at least, that the Nation of Washington and Lincoln shall be a land "where wealth accumulates and men decay;" and that our great experiment of "government of the people, by the people, and for the people," may endure, and enduring may prove itself meet and fit to do the great work which has been appointed for it to do.
D e d i c a t o r y P o e m
"In Later Days"
By Capt. James Franklin Fitts
Again we hear the bugles blow
The old familiar strain----
Right well the veteran troopers know
As they hear it once again.
What's this? the hills about us rise
Unchanged, to blue and bending skies,
The mountain wall before our eyes---
The same --- the same!
Swing backward Time's reluctant gates,
Reverse the hurrying stream;
Keen memory on our vision waits,
To say 'tis not a dream.
The smoke of strife, the fires of hell,
Rage round us now from hill to dell,
We hear again the charging yell ---
The same --- the same!
What thunders roll from hill to hill,
What flashes rend the smoke!
What fierce delights our spirits fill,
Oh, Union hearts of oak!
With slackened rein, with sword arm free,
We charge together, knee to knee,
Stout riders in that cause are we ---
The same --- the same!
The bugles blow, the pennons fly,
The shouts, the clash of steel,
The tumults of the fight are nigh,
Our straining senses reel,
The tides of battle ebb and flow,
We feel the quick, delirious glow
None but the soldier's breast may know ---
The same --- the same!
Rest for the fallen! On that height
Where fiercest tempests beat,
They sleep the long and peaceful night
Of ages. Not the heat
Of summers, nor the storms that rave,
Can vex their rest who died to save;
They wait the roll-call of the brave ---
The same --- the same!
And till these hills shall rend and rock,
Till sinks you mountain wall,
Saved in the roaring battle's shock,
Shall Union rise o'er all.
Clasp hands, old comrades! Here to-day
We tell the story of that fray ---
Freedom and Union! Blue and Gray
At last the same!
ADDRESS BY MAJ. LUTHER L. BARNEY
Staff duty is a comprehensive term and embraces a little of almost everything done in an army. It begins with the regimental staff and by regular graduations advances to positions second in importance and responsibility only to that if the commanding officer. Upon the intelligent appreciation and faithful discharge of his duties by the staff officer often hangs the success of the general's best-laid plans.
The relations of general and staff are most confidential, and from that of commander and subordinates come to be regarded by all more like that of a father and his family of grown-up sons. Indeed the expression comes often into use, --"my military family," when a commander alludes to his staff, the adjutant general, of course, occupying the position of eldest and confidential assistant, and from him grading down through quartermaster general, commissary general, inspector general, etc., to the small boys who run of errands, to-wit, --the aides. My first experience upon the staff was as battalion quartermaster, a grade abolished by general orders in 1862; next, a short time as regimental quartermaster that lasted only a few days, just long enough for a dishonest assistant surgeon to shoulder on to me a shortage of $20 or $25 for his stealings which I paid and pocketed the loss with the honor.
But to be selected by the general commanding a division, from among the 200 or more subaltern officers of his command, as the one to fill a vacancy in his military family, was an honor much coveted by the aforesaid subalterns, and when one day in the winter of 1862-63, General Gregg sent a request for my presence, and on arrival at his quarters, expecting a possible reprimand, to be told I had been so selected by him, was indeed almost more than in my then humility, I could stand up under. Just how I got out of his tent and back to my own quarters, whether on my feet or my head or whether I had wings, --I never knew and don't to this day.
But he who supposes the position of a staff officer is all "pudding" is sorely mistaken. The nature of his position is such that he must frequently bear heavy responsibilities and assume serious personal risks not common to other positions. He must be eyes and ears for the general whom he serves, and upon his soldierly qualities ofttimes hangs the fate of the command. Then who that has been there can forget the feelings of the staff officer as he starts off on some lonely night ride in a country he has never set foot in before, to find and deliver to some other commander, whose whereabouts are as uncertain as the proverbial "needle in a haystack," some communication upon which hangs tomorrow's success and the lives of hundreds or thousands of his fellows, and ere his goal is reached or he has any definite idea when it will be, finds himself, as I have, outside the lines taken for the enemy's advance and being fired upon by his own friends.
As I have said, the staff officer must be eyes and ears for his general. I remember my feelings once when General Gregg turned me over to General Stoneman for special duty, which was to follow and watch the result of a certain movement wherein a squadron of the First Maine Cavalry, supported by the Tenth New York, as a reserve, was to move rapidly away at a right angle from our general course, charge the enemy if they found them and make a demonstration of force entirely at variance with our real purpose; and how, when after dark and a weary and lonely ride, accompanied only by my faithful orderly, expecting any moment I might be "bushwhacked," I found the general and reported results, he exclaimed with visible signs of feeling, "Thank God! A faithful officer and his command are saved to us; I expected they would all be on their way to Libby Prison by this time." But the feint had served its purpose, the enemy was thoroughly fooled, and the command went on its way unmolested. You, my friends, some of whom were in the support and felt the sting of Rebel bullets, for the Tenth had men killed and wounded that afternoon, (indeed it was the first time it had been my misfortune to see a Tenth New York man killed in action) did not know then and probably until to-night never knew why you were put into that fight with a whole brigade of Rebel cavalry. The success of the "Stoneman raid," as it has been called in history, depended upon your making the enemy believe they were to be attacked at Charlottesville, whereas the staff knew our destination was Richmond, if possible, or near it as might be.
Staff duty, too, has its compensations, as for instance, no picket duty, no company horses to look after, and many other easements that make a silver lining to the cloud. The staff officer knows a great deal more about what is going on than he of the line or the field when on regimental duty. Then, too, on grand reviews, who has not seen the gaily caparisoned Sunday- go-to-meeting dressed staff officer dashing about over the field as full of importance, perhaps, in his own conceit, as the commanding or reviewing officer. Wait a moment! Methinks I recall an incident of that kind when on a memorable day in the spring of 1863, President Lincoln stood on the field of Falmouth scanning the finest cavalry parade ever made in America, and in obedience to a word from the general at his side, a certain staff officer dashed with lightning speed to deliver an order to Kilpatrick, and had scarcely gone the length of a company front when his horse turned a somersault, landing said staff officer up to his neck in a bottomless mud-hole. Ah, yes, staff duty has its compensation.
To conclude, without a faithful and well-trained staff no general, however great, can succeed. No fact in military art was more clearly demonstrated than this in the War of the Rebellion. Having laid aside the weapons of offense, never again to resume them we hope, it becomes our duty as citizens of these re-United States, to lend the said of our influence to all reasonable measures undertaken to educate young men in a knowledge of such military duties as we had to learn by experience in the face of real danger, to the end that if the emergency ever again arises, as arise it surely will, the American soldier may have an at least partial preparation for the duty of national defence, and the commanders may not be wholly dependent, as they were in 1861, upon the staff officers who knew absolutely nothing of the duties. Let us as citizens impress it, so far as in us lies upon our legislators, that in view of future possibilities and necessities, the American army should be like the sleeping lion, --full of conscious strength, because every arm and muscle has been trained to do its full duty whenever the necessity arises.
REMARKS BY MAJ. GEN. DAVID M. GREGG
Mr. Chairman, and My Old Comrades of the Tenth New York:
I will embrace the opportunity, offered by your kind and flattering recognition of my presence, of expressing my great happiness at having this day been permitted to grasp in friendship the hands of so many old comrades. I say great happiness, and I know of none that could be greater for an old soldier than to meet his fellows as we have met to-day.
What a grand regiment you represent, and what a noble record it made in the War of the Rebellion! I think I may assume to speak of the character and standing of the Tenth New York, for it served under my command for more than two years. What recollections come to me as I look in your faces! I can see again your camp at Belle Plain, near my headquarters, occupied by you in the winter of '62 an '63, your old comrades, the brave and courteous Colonel Irvine, and the younger, but gallant Avery.
I can see the Tenth in its place in the column on our long and weary marches, whether in the heat and dust of summer, or the ice and cold of winter, on the picket line, or in its place in column or line in the many battles or skirmishes in which the Second Cavalry Division participated.
The Tenth was the equal of the other regiments of the division which I had the honor to command, and no higher compliment than this could be paid it. All were alike good. It was a regiment that was always available for any service that was undertaken. You are justly proud that you were Union Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion, and that you served in the Tenth New York Cavalry. I am proud of your service in the Second Division.
My comrades, we often hear it said, "Let the dead past be buried." Well, as applied ti the War of the Rebellion, we are fully agreed that this should be so as regards any animosities that sprang out of it. But no true soldier can divest himself of his memories and recollections. He cannot forget his own experiences; the excitement of battle; the ringing cheers when victory declared for us; or the defiant mutterings when defeat overtook us; the friendships which men formed; the old songs and camp stories; the noble dead, some of whom fell at his side and were lowered into their honored grave by his hands. Oh, no! so long as reason remains enthroned, and memory holds its sway, their precious memory will live.
At this time of great excitement because of an approaching national election, how refreshing it is to sees such an assemblage as this, composed as it is of men who are not here in consequence of what they propose to do for their country in protecting it against imaginary or pretended ills, but of men, who a quarter of a century ago, when their country was in danger of destruction at the hands of armed enemies, swore that they would save it at the cost of their lives. How well they kept their oaths, let the present happy and prosperous condition of the country answer.
Let me conclude, as I began, by reiterating how happy I have been made by this meeting. It is not probable that I shall ever again be permitted to meet you collectively, but I do trust that from time to time it may be my good fortune to meet you individually. Be assured that in such meetings I shall always have great pleasure, for the ties that bind me to the old soldiers of the Second Cavalry Division are only next to those that bind me to my immediate kindred.
REMARKS OF CHAPLAIN JOSEPH H. BRADLEY.
I am pleased to have this opportunity the first since the close of the war, to meet you in an annual reunion. I take this occasion to express what I have always and deeply felt, that it was a privilege to have belong to the Tenth New York Cavalry. No chaplain could possibly bear in his heart more pleasant remembrances of his service than I do. My relations with you all were peculiarly agreeable , and are not marred by the remembrance of a single painful experience in my personal relations with any member of the regiment. The memory of our departed comrades is tenderly cherished when I recall the names of Avery, Blynn, and Sceva, with whom I was more particularly associated as commanders.
We had a grand regiment and commanders of whom we are all proud. And here, in the presence of our beloved division leader, Maj. Gen. D. M. Gregg, I am glad to have the privilege of testifying our esteem. I am expressing our united sentiment in saying we appreciate his kindness in coming to meet with us once again. We were favored in having had him to lead us, and I now assure him of the perfect and special confidence we ever reposed in his faithful care. We always felt to the fullest extent that all was well when he led; that whenever he went with us on the march or carried us in the fight, he would bring us through and out again with a true soldier's judgment and a rare discretion; and that no interest would be sacrificed when he was on the field.
Not many of us achieved individual renown. Our names are not in song and story, but we have a part and a lasting, live interest, nevertheless, in the glory of those whom the world knows as the heroes of the war of the Union. Without us, --without the loyalty and patriotic faithfulness of the masses of the armies, their chiefs could have done little. We helped in all which was done. So their glory is ours also.
And these monuments which we have seen to-day scattered over this notable field of battle, -- whose are they? We have put up one of them to-day. But we would have had little to celebrate if we had been alone. Because we were one regiment among many we were able to stand up in the fight. Then to others also belongs a share in the honors of this, our monument, and for a like reason we claim a share in all these monuments. They are all ours; and ours is theirs.
We have a noble inheritance as part of the Army of the Potomac. Let us be proud of it. Our country whole and united, peaceful and prosperous, is the fruit of the toils and sufferings of her soldiers. Comrades, let us maintain these honors; let us with our whole heart and hand live and work in the present and future as in the past, both that we may be proud of the country we have saved, and that our country may have reason to be proud of us.
By Col. Noble D. Preston
This regiment was organized with two battalions, at Elmira, N.Y., from September to December, 1861. It was called the "Porter Guards," in honor of Col. Peter B. Porter, Of Niagara Falls.
The opposition to the use of cavalry in prosecuting the war, which was manifested about this time, caused the disbanding of the Morgan Cavalry, at the Elmira rendezvous, and the few men who had enrolled their names for that regiment enlisted in the Porter Guards. It was designated as the Tenth New York Cavalry on the 12th of December, 1861. The following constituted the field and staff: Colonel, John C. Lemmon; Lieutenant Colonel, William Irvine; Major First Battalion, M. Henry Avery; Major Second Battalion, John H. Kemper; acting Adjutant, William C. Potter; Adjutant First Battalion, James F. Fitts; Adjutant Second Battalion, William L. Lemmon; acting Regimental Quartermaster, Henry Field; acting Quartermaster First Battalion, Benjamin F. Sceva; acting Quartermaster Second Battalion, Luther L. Barney; Surgeon, Roger W. Pease; Chaplain, Rev. Robert Day.
An excellent band, of ten pieces, was attached to the regiment.
The regiment, numbering 30 officers and 735 enlisted men, left the Elmira depot for Gettysburg, Pa., Christmas eve 1861. It arrived there the next night and encamped in the halls, schoolhouses, etc., until barracks were erected, when it moved into them. The men were instructed in the use of the sabre and dismounted movements of a regiment, on ground near which they met the enemy, eighteen months later.
The regiment left Gettysburg for Perryville, Md., on the 7th of March, 1862, where it arrived the next day. On the 26th of the same month headquarters were transferred to Havre de Garce, on the opposite side of the Susquehanna River. The regiment was assigned to the guarding of the P .. W. & B. R. R., and thence to Baltimore.
On the 4th of April, Company A guarding the bridge over Back River, near Baltimore, made an important capture of a schooner laden with recruits and material for the Southern Confederacy. Regimental headquarters were transferred to Patterson Park, Baltimore, on the 25th of June, where the regiment was quartered, except Companies A, C, and G, which remained to guard the important bridges on the line of the P. W. & B. R. R.
Horses and equipments were issued to the regiment while here, and on the 15th of August it marched to Washington and encamped near Bladensburg, where it received its full complement of horses and arms. From this point a detail was sent to New York State to recruit a third battalion. Companies I, K, and L. of the new battalion, joined the old organization in the field at Brooke's Station, Va., December 5, 1862, and Company M joined at Camp Bayard, near Belle Plain, Va., about a month later.
The regiment had served in Brig. Gen. George D. Bayard's brigade up to the time of the death of that gallant officer at the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862.
On the organization of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac, in the spring of 1863, the Tenth was brigaded with the First Maine and Second New York (Harris Light) cavalry regiments, commanded by Col. Judson Kilpatrick, of the latter regiment, the division the Third being commanded by Brig. Gen. D. McM. Gregg This brigade achieved a reputation for dash and gallantry which it maintained while the organization continued.
During the winter of 1862-63 and early spring of 1863, the regiment participated in picketing and scouting in the "Northern Neck" Peninsula, King George County, Va., until the opening of the spring campaign of 1863.. It accompanied the Cavalry Corps under Stoneman on the raid to the rear of the Confederate army during the Chancellorsville battle, and did valiant service in that arduous but futile expedition.
In the first great cavalry engagement of the war, Brandy Station, Va.., June 9, 1863, the Tenth bore a conspicuous part and suffered severe losses, losing among its commissioned officers Lieutenant Colonel Irvine, taken prisoner. Its gallantry was recognized and mentioned in orders. The loss in the regiment in this conflict in killed, wounded, and prisoners, was 100.
After this brilliant passage at arms, the Cavalry Corps was reorganized. The Tenth became a part of the Third Brigade of the Second Cavalry Division, with Brig. Gen. D. McM. Gregg retained as division commander. Col. J. Irvin Gregg, of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, was made brigade commander.
Then following the Gettysburg campaign, with the cavalry engagements at Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville, Va., while moving northward, which gave additional lustre to our cavalry arms. In each of these the Tenth bore a prominent part, suffering a severe loss at Middleburg.
Gettysburg was reached and position taken by the regiment on the right flank at 2 p. m., July 2, 1863. It was the first cavalry regiment to meet the enemy on the right flank, and it was almost constantly engaged in part or whole, until the Confederates fell back. Gregg's Brigade, of which the Tenth formed a part, was held in reserve, during the battle of the 3rd of July, but lost several men, wounded, nevertheless. Its loss during the two days in killed, wounded, and prisoners, was 17.
On the 4th of July the regiment passed through the streets made familiar by its stay in the village in the winter of 1861-62, and out on the Chambersburg Road in pursuit of the Confederates. On the 14th of July, Gregg's Division crossed the Potomac River at Harper's Ferry, the first troops from the Army of the Potomac to again tread Virginia soil. On the 16th of the same month it was attacked by a superior force at Shepardstown, Va., and the battle continued late into the night, when Gregg adroitly withdrew from his delicate position. The Tenth bore the first shock of the battle and covered the retreat, besides doing excellent service during the battle.
The next serious meeting with the enemy was at Sulphur Springs, October 12, 1863, when Gregg attempted to dispute the passage of the Rappahannock at that place by the Confederate army. It was a bold move and a vigorous effort, but the Confederates greatly outnumbered him. The Tenth, which had been sent across to the south side of the river early in the day, developed the advance of Lee's army, and lost heavily in the engagement and retreat which followed. Two days later, the 14th, the same troops were encountered at Auburn, Va., where a brisk, early morning engagement took place, the Tenth again meeting with considerable loss. And again, on the evening of the same day at Briscoe Station, it skirmished with them. When the Confederate army fell back the Tenth was in close pursuit back to the Rappahannock River.
In an encounter at Grove Church, Va., a detachment from the regiment had a skirmish and lost a number of men taken prisoners. In the Mine Run campaign, November and December, 1863, the regiment saw active and severe service. Winter was passed by the Tenth in comfortable quarters at Turkey Run, near Warrenton, Va.. While here three-quarters of the men re-enlisted and returned to New York State on furlough.
Some skirmishing and scouting before the spring campaign resulted in slight losses. In the reorganization of the army in the spring of 1864, the Second Cavalry Division retained its brigade and division commanders.. Under the new corps commander, Gen. P. H. Sheridan, vigorous work was in store for the cavalry. The Tenth bore well its part in all the hard-fought battles which followed, opening with several days in the Wilderness, or Todd's Tavern; the raid to Richmond extending from the 9th to the 25th of May, a march replete with desperate fighting and exhaustive marches.. Anderson's Ford, Ground Squirrel Bridge, Fortifications of Richmond, etc., were included.
On returning to the army, Gregg's Division was sent to Hawes' Shop, on the 28th of May, where it met the entire Confederate Cavalry Corps, in one of the most stubbornly-contested cavalry engagements of the war. Here the Tenth, fighting dismounted, did valiant service, sustaining a greater loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners than any other regiment in the division. The victory was with Gregg after an all day's contest. Cold Harbor followed, with but slight loss in the regiment, on the 1st of June.. Picket and skirmishing continued until the 6th of June, when the Cavalry Corps started out on the "Trevilian Raid." The march to and from Trevilian Station was one continuous skirmish.
The battle of Trevilian Station, June 11th and 12th, gave the regiment an opportunity to again display its fighting qualities, and it acquitted itself most creditably. Its loss was severe for the short space of time actually engaged. On the return to White House, Va., brisk skirmishing ensued on the 20th of June, in which several men were wounded in the Tenth.
While guarding the wagon trains of the army from White House to James River, Gregg's Division was viciously assailed at St. Mary's Church, June 24th, and the division was thrown into considerable confusion, the Confederates hoping by their largely superior force to destroy it before assistance could be brought up. They were foiled in the attempt, however, though the fighting was desperate and the losses heavy. Although the Tenth had become greatly reduced in numbers prior to the battle, its loss was 22 officers and enlisted men. After crossing the James River the Tenth encamped near Fort Powhatan, remaining in that vicinity, doing picket and scouting duty until the latter part of July, when it was engaged in a severe skirmish at Lee's Mills, Va., where it lost several men.
Then followed minor contests, Deep Bottom, Va., August 14th; Reams' Station, Va., August 23rd; Poplar Springs Church, October 1st and 2nd, where the loss was considerable and the fighting determined; Boydton Plank Road, October 27th and 28th; Prince George Court House, October 30th; Blackwater Creek, November 18th; a hard-fought battle at Stony Creek, December 1st and 2nd; Three Creeks, December 9th, and Jarrett's Station, December 10, 1864. Dinwiddie Court House, February 5th, was followed by Hatcher's Run the next day, where Lieutenant Colonel Tremain, of the Tenth, was mortally wounded.
The second Dinwiddie Court House fight was a severe one, the regiment losing 17 men out of about 100; Five Forks, April 1st, and then Sailor's Creek, where so much glory and enthusiasm prevailed that the men seemed to forget the great physical strain they were under and the hard fighting they were doing; Farmville, April 7th, and the closing of the great struggle at Appomattox Court House, April 9th. The return march to Petersburg followed, where the regiment remained in camp a short time before proceeding to Washington overland. The brigade was commanded by Brevet Brig. Gen. M. H. Avery, colonel of the Tenth New York Cavalry. The regiment participated in the Grand Review at Washington on the 23rd of May.
By an order of the War Department, dated June 17, 1865, the Tenth and Twenty-fourth New York Cavalry Regiments were consolidated, and the new organization designated the First New York Provisional Cavalry, with M. H. Avery as colonel. This regiment was mustered out of the service at Syracuse, N. Y., August 3 and 4, 1865. The losses in the Tenth New York Cavalry during its entire term of service were as follows:
Officers Enlisted Men Total Killed in action..................................................
Wounded......................................................... 23 228 251 Captured.......................................................... 13 214 227 _____ _____ ____ 41 496 537
Its record of engagements participated in, cover every battle in which the Army of the Potomac fought, from the time the regiment crossed the Potomac River into Virginia to the close of the war, besides many purely cavalry engagements and skirmishes.
The number of officers commissioned and mustered in from first to last numbered 154, and the number of men enrolled was 2,101. Of this number, however, quite a large number were enlistments and conscripts near the close of the war. During the active campaigns of 1863 and 1864, its number, for duty, was frequently reduced to from 75 to 250 men. Its record for excellent service is second to no organization sent out by the great Empire State, to aid in suppressing the Rebellion.
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