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1863 September, The
Sept 1, 1863
THE IRON BRIGADE
It is stated by a Washington correspondent that the Iron Brigade are to come
home within the next twenty days to recruit their regiments to the maximum numbers.
Furloughs to be given at the discretion of the Governors to expedite it.
brigade is composed of the 2d, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, the 24th Michigan and the
19th Indiana. This brigade has won the applause and admiration of the whole
country by their bravery and indomitable courage before many a bloody field and
when they return they ought to be received by those whose interests they have
been defending in such a manner as will convince them that a generous people
know how to appreciate the sacrifices and hardships which they have suffered for
the good of the country.
(from the Oswego Palladium, Sept. 10th)
WHAT THE SOLDIERS THINK
A STEEL POINTED SHOT AT MAT.
CHARLEY ROBINSON, AND ABOLITIONISTS GENERALLY.
THE BRIGADE WANTS
MORE FIGHTERS AND LESS TALKERS
Camp of 2d Brigade of 1st
Army Corps, Rappahannock Station, Va. Sept. 3, 1863
Mr. Editor:-A copy of the Oswego Times
found its way to this camp a day or two since, in which the following extract
and comments attract attention:
A DOSE FOR COPPERHEADS
At a welcome given in the Chamber of
Commerce at Milwaukee a few days since to Gen. Cutler, the address was made by
Mat. H. Carpenter one of the most prominent Democrats of Wisconsin who in the
course of his remarks flayed Democratic copperheads thus:
Tell our brave boys that we have not deserted them. If the love of some has grown
cold ,they are a minority - growing beautifully less and the great American liberty
loving heart beats louder and warmer day by day for the Union and the brave army
that supports it.
Tell them that we pray for them morning and evening as the
ancient church prayed for the soldiers of the cross. Tell them when their work
is well done to return, they will bring the throng of people to welcome them,
intense and enthusiastic.
Tell them that at their peaceful coming, traitors in
the north will flee more rapidly than ever rebels in the south ran before them
in the day of battle.
In response Gen. Cutler among other
If there are any who ever thought of withdrawing their support from the
government and the army let them go to the army and see the men in the field and
in the hospitals and witness the curl of scorn on the lip of the soldiers when
such a man is named and my word for it they will come home cured.
As Gen. Cutler was but recently the commander of this brigade, the soldiers here
feel authorized to speak for themselves. They have had abundant experience in
"Home-made speeches" by "Home Patriots," for mere political
effect and they have come to regard them as heartless, insincere, and hold them
and their authors in contempt.
Recent developments have demonstrated the depth of heart in these home talkers
and professed patriots when then avow their devotion to the Union their support
of the government and sympathy with the soldiers One touch of practical test has
scattered all their talk to the winds and made their emblazoned professions transparent
The DRAFT has been the touchstone by which the soldiers have tried these
sporting fellows. We see these men, when drawn in the lottery of
conscription - when the government says to them, Come, you are the very man we need
to help recuperate the army, aid our solders in the field and suppress the
rebellion - then it is we see them turn, fall upon all the vehement advocacy of the
draft their &c. and skulk behind their $300 fee or a substitute whom they
hire for less money and run home to take shelter in their wives petticoats, leave
the dear Union the soldier in the field - the government - all to shift for
themselves for all any practical aid from them.
Now, we soldiers of the army, would respond to "Mr. Mat H. Carpenter,"
and through him, to that class of stay-at-homes of his kind.- You say you
"have never deserted us." That is apparent, because you were never
You talk fair but there is too much of
that sort of thing among the "Home patriots." It is all talk with you.
We of the army would like to see you give some evidence of your faith by words -
by coming here and helping to fight the enemy. The rebels scorn you, talk
and snap their fingers at its impotency while it renders our duties, exposures
and hardships none the less. But if you will take a musket "right shoulder
shift" and "fall in" our ranks that will "tell " for
the cause you profess. You intimate that your "love" has not
"grown cold" as the manner of some, is, I imagine, your love was never
very warm for the cause. I doubt if you ever sacrificed a warm meal for that you
profess to love to such a degree. I do not see how the love of others whom you
denounce can practically be any "colder" than yours and those like you
who stay at home, talk, eat dinners and repose on pleasant couches.
You proclaim that "the great American liberty-loving heart beats louder and
warmer day by day for the Union, and the brave army that supports it." but
we soldiers do not see it in that light so far as practically exemplified by you
and your class of talking "patriots" We hear what you say, but the
draft, the draft, Mr. Mat. II. Carpenter & co., tell a different story.
"The proof of the pudding is the eating of it." We observe that you
talking chaps all pay your $300 or hire a substitute for less and remain at home
leaving the decimated army to fight it out alone. Your "patriotism" may be
louder when you talk loud and warmer when you baste your stomach with good
things at home - but what care the rebels for your "patriotism", warm
and loud, unless you are down here in the ranks with a musket in your hands.
is the kind of "patriotism" and the only kind on your part that they
respect. "Tell them" you say, (that is the soldiers) "that we pray for them
morning and evening." That is all very easy and very cheap - and you have a
soft carpet, doubtless to kneel upon in your devotions. Prayers are commanded of
us, but they are worthless in this case with men with muskets in the ranks in
front of the enemy.
Will you take a musket, Mat., and come down here, where you can aid in answering
your own prayers?
The prayers of yourself and others of the stay-at-homes will
never be answered to you. However, the heaviest battalions and artillery and
prayers of fighting men in the field may be answered to them.
Suffer me to
inform you that the soldiers of the army have become nauseated with the empty
and cheap professed sentiments of which you have given us. "Tell
them," you say, "when their work is well done to return."
"Their work!" Why our work, more than yours and others like you?
that is the depth of your patriotic feeling. You intend to remain at home, eat,
sleep, make money, enjoy your uninterrupted comforts, talk patriotic and leave
others to bear the "heat and burden of the day" in the field and when
we have beaten back the rebellion without your aid, for sooth, you are willing to
grant us the boon of returning home; and you say you will then welcome us with
enthusiasm - inasmuch, I suppose, that you have escaped from the trials and
hardships incident to the work that is done.
You add that with our "peaceful coming, traitors in the north will
flee." Who do you call traitors? We hear you denouncing men as
"copperheads" and "traitors," but what more do you for the
cause than they, unless you esteem mere heartless talk and hypocrisy of account?
Yes, give no practical aid.
You talk well but skulk by paying your money drafted-
and they do likewise except the much talking. You vociferously praise the conscript
law and when you are drafted, come not!
Who, then, are more sincere and honest? Let me
tell you, sir, when the soldiers return home, the mere blatant "patriot"
pretences will have little of their confidence and respect, more than the
"traitors" you so flippantly denounce. The subsistence of the matter
seems plainly to us soldiers that you exclusively talking "patriots,"
are simply playing the demagogue for political effect and to put "money in thy
purse" as we have seen it practiced throughout the war.
General Cutler truly says the soldiers "scorn" the man who would
withdraw his "support" from the government. When we see and know a man
at the north or south.- but the soldiers have learned long since to discriminate
between the fact and the malignant charges of demagogues, speculators and
fanatics at home, who have fattened in the nation's tribulations out of the
substance of the people and the public treasury and who slander their neighbors
with the hope of holding on to their fat places.
Of the Second Wisconsin
THE OLD BULL RUN
BATTLE FIELD - RELICS OF THE PAST
OF THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
ON MONDAY NIGHT I RESTED WITH PART
OF THE ARMY THAT PITCHED THEIR TENTS FOR THE NIGHT ON THE SECTION OF THE OLD
BULL RUN BATTLE FIELD ADJACENT TO THE WARRENTON PIKE AND HERE ALONE I GATHERED
MATERIAL ENOUGH TO FORM THE SUBJECT OF A LONG LETTER HAD I TIME OR YOU THE SPACE
TO ADMIT OF IT.
A POET MIGHT HERE FIND IN THE SUGGESTIVE RELICS OF THE DEADLY STRIFE THE THEME
OF AN EPIC, OR A PAINTER MIGHT ILLUSTRATE ON CANVAS THE HORRORS OF WAR FROM THE
MEMENTOES HERE LEFT OF ITS RUTHLESS WORK.
Bullets are picked up and exhibited by the handful and soldiers who participated
in the fray are comparing at the same time their gathered mementoes and their
personal recollection of the bloody field. In the long luxuriant grass one
strikes his foot against skulls and bones mingled with the deadly missiles that
brought them to the earth. Hollow
skulls lie contiguous to hemispheres of exploded shells. The shallow graves rise
here and there above the grass, sometimes in rows, sometimes alone or scattered at
Through the thin layer of soil that hides the nameless hero who gave his life
for his country one sees the protruding ribs from whence the rain has washed their
covering, a foot or an arm reaching out beyond its earthen bed; and once I saw
one of these long sleepers covered snugly up to the chin but with the entire
face exposed and turned up to the passer by; one could imagine him, a soldier
lying on the field, wrapped up in his blanket but that blanket was of clay and
the face was fleshless and eyeless.
In one case a foot protruded with the flesh still partially preserved; in
another an entire skeleton lay exposed upon the surface without any covering
whatever. The tatters of what had been his uniform showed that he had been a
cavalryman. The flesh was, of course, decomposed; but the tanned and shriveled
skin still incased the bony framework of the body and even the finger nails were
in their places. The ligaments that fasten the joints must have been preserved
for he was lifted by the belt which was still around the waist, and not a bone
fell out of its place.
When found, he lay in the attitude of calm repose, like one who had fallen asleep
from weariness. This was in the camp of the Ninth Massachusetts regiment. He was
buried, as were many more that night, who had waited a long fourteen mouths for
their funeral rites.
In fact the different Pioneer Corps were engaged for some time in paying this
last tribute to the gallant dead whose fragmentary remains were scattered
round our camps.
The Pennsylvania Reserves bivouacked for the night on the ground where they
themselves were engaged in deadly strife in the battle of fourteen months ago,
and the skulls and bones of some of their former companions in arms lay around
within the light of their camp fires.
It may even have happened that men pitched their tents over the grave of a lost
comrade and again unwittingly rested under the same shelter with one who had
often before shared their couch on the tented field.
A soldier of the 1st Regiment struck his foot against a cartridge box near his
tent, and picking it up read on it a name of an old associate who had been among
the missing and whose death was only known from his prolonged absence.
An officer of my acquaintance recognized the spot where his tent was located as
one near which he was severely wounded and where he lay through a long weary
night by the side of a dead captain.
The painful reminiscences which the place called up rendered it anything but an
agreeable camping ground to him.
Yesterday morning I devoted a half hour to a slight survey of the field by
As I looked around in the soft sunlight of early morn from a point of woods
where the trees were scarred by bullets or fragments of shell and the graves of
the dead lie underneath my eye wandered over a fair and peaceful scene.
A light silver mist concealed whatever the bare earth may have presented of
horror or deformity like a soft white shroud it enveloped the graves of the dead
and I saw only the pleasing graceful contour of the fair landscape, the rising
swell of a hill bathed in mist and sunlight bright sunny slopes bordered by a
delicate arborous fringe that almost seemed to melt away in the still
atmosphere, and on another side, over hill, ravine and slope, a tract of woodlands
as lovely in their sweeps and undulations, their infinite variety of fretted
outline as in the matchless glory of their mingled autumnal hues, here swelling
broadly out into the mellow sunshine and there clothing the steep sides of a
ravine that carries them back into realms of shadow and seclusion; and to
complete the serene and peaceful aspect, cawing crows flit to and fro in short and
lazy fights and rest quietly in the tops of a few leafless trees that tower
above their fellows and lift them up into the cheerful warmth and light.
Even in its desolation, this part of the field presents a scene of soft and
gentle beauty whose present charm in in vivid contrast with the horrors it once
Sept. 16th, again strike tents, march through
Brandy Station and Stevensburg to Poney Mountain and pitch tents, 12 miles.
1863, on this day the citizens of Wisconsin and Michigan residing in Washington present
the old Iron Brigade with a beautiful silk stand of colors. On this occasion we have a
Sept 18 1863
FLAG PRESENTATION TO
THE "IRON BRIGADE".
H'DQ'RS, 1st DIV., 1st Army Corps
Camp near Culpeper, Va.
the 17th, being the anniversary of the battle of Antietam, is a day long to be
remembered by the 1st Brigade of the division and by all who were present and
witnessed the presentation of one of the most beautiful flags ever presented to
a body of soldiers.
The Brigade had for some time past been encamped near Rappahannock Station and
the 17th of September having been the day appointed as the day upon which the
flag should be presented to them they had devoted all their energies to making
preparations for a grand demonstration in celebration the anniversary of one of
the hardest fought battles of the war and in honor of the flag to be presented
to them and the donors.
They had erected a beautiful bower in the midst of a grove of trees; laid floors,
fitted up stands and tables and most tastefully festooned it all with
flowers and evergreens- they laid out a fine race course for riding and driving
on; in fact everything was in the most complete shape that circumstances would
permit for a grand celebration. A large number of guests had been invited
and had signified their intention to be present and participate in the
ceremonies among them Hon. J. P. Usher, Secretary of the Interior, Hon. D. P.
Holloway, Commissioner of Patents, Hon. A. W. Randall, First Assistant Postmaster
General and other distinguished guests. A special train had been provided to
take them from Washington to Rappahannock Station.
The prospects of a grand jubilee were suddenly cut off by an order issued on the
16th to march at 5 o'clock a.m.. The Brigade broke camp and marched toward the
enemy; they bought up near Culpepper in the evening where they are now encamped.
The flag to be presented to them had that day been brought from Washington by W.
Y. Selleck, Esq., Military Agent for Wisconsin, who, finding that the brigade had
left Rappahannock Station, proceeded to Culpeper. In the same train was sent out
the dinner which had been prepared for the occasion in Washington together with
the refreshing and invigorating liquids
which inspire in man "a feast of
reason and flow of soul."
The flag and the necessary articles for refreshing the inner man
having arrived it was concluded by the commanding officers of the brigade that
the ceremonies of presentation should take place that day - the 17th - as previously
Several wagons were detailed and sent to Culpepper to bring up the provisions
while about two hundred men went to work and built some rustic tables in a
beautiful grove, near the encampment.
At 4 o'clock P.M. the ceremony of
the presentation took place.
The regiments composing the
brigade - the 2d, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana and 24 Michigan and also
Battery "B" 4th U.S. Artillery- were drawn up in line forming three
sides of a square, within which stood Major General Newton, commander of
the 1st Army Corps, General Rice,
commanding 1st Division and General General Robinson, commanding 2d Division of
the same corps, together with a brilliant array of staff and other officers of
the army also the fine band of the brigade which
discoursed sweet music on the
The flag, in the absence of Hon. A. W. Randall,
who intended to be present and present it, was presented by W. Y. Selleck, Esq.
Military Agent for the State of Wisconsin, with the following short and
OF THE IRON BRIGADE!-
day was appointed by your commanding officers for the presentation of this
beautiful flag. Quite a number of the distinguished citizens of Wisconsin,
Indiana and Michigan intended to be present on this occasion and witness the
ceremonies of the presentation and reception of this flag. It was intended that
Hon. A. W. Randall of Wisconsin, First Assistant Postmaster General, should be
present on this occasion and present this flag to you. The movements of the army
have interfered with the intended programme and prevented his attendance,
together with that of others of your many friends who with great pleasure would
have been present at this time. It devolves upon me to present to you this
beautiful flag on whose folds is inscribed our country's motto,
Those States in the far
West, your homes,
look upon you and your achievements with pride and admiration. Though far
distant they have not forgotten you but watch with anxious solicitude your
movements. They honor you for your bravery and valor as also do the whole
More than two years since the majority of the regiments composing
this brigade marched through the city of Washington to join and form the grand
Army of the Potomac. I witnessed your arrival.
You then numbered in each
regiment a thousand or more.
You marched with light steps and buoyant hearts.
Since that time your ranks have been decimated, not so much by disease but by
hard fighting on many a hard contested battlefield to all of which I say it with
the greatest pride - you have conducted yourselves with the greatest bravery and
gallantry and have never at any time on any battle-field given cause for
your friends, the States from which you came or your country to be ashamed of
Your courage and valor have been shown on the battlefields of Gainesville, Bull
Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Fitzhugh's Crossing,
Chancellorsville, and last but not least the Glorious battle of Gettysburg where
your noble corps commander fell,
the brave and gallant Gen. Reynolds.
desperate fighting in the many battles in which you have been engaged your
numbers have been so reduced that you brigade numbers less than a thousand men.
I hope that what remains of you may be spared to return to your homes and
friends in those glorious States of the West.
This gigantic rebellion has been prosecuted with a vigor and energy worth of a
better cause; but methinks the sun of their treason is set; their vigor and energy
is faltering and giving way before the triumphant march of the army of freedom
and the Union.
Press on to the glorious end which, I believe, is near at hand. There is a black
speck that hovers on the horizon far away across the ocean's waters, threatening
to interfere with us in our efforts to restore peace and preserve our great and
glorious country. We say let them come!
They will learn that a nation of freemen can and will preserve their country and
its glorious institutions whether assailed by foreign foes or domestic traitors.
That glorious emblem of our country emblazoned on the folds of this flag - the
eagle - shall be borne aloft on your banners by the hosts of freedom when the Lilies
of France shall have withered and the Lion of England shall lay rotting the
Soldiers of the Iron Brigade!-
will not ask you if you will rally around and protect and preserve this flag; it
would be a foolish question for me to ask. I know that you will; and, if needs be,
sacrifice your lives for its preservation and maintenance. Remember, soldiers,
the motto inscribed upon its folds,
"E Pluribus Unum," one
formed of many.
Though the old Allegheny
may tower to heaven,
and the father of water divide
The links of our destiny cannot be riven
While the truth of these words shall abide.
Then oh! let them flow on each helmet and brand,
Though our blood like our rivers shall run;
Divide as we may in our own native land,
To the rest of the world we are one.
In behalf of the citizens of Wisconsin,
Indiana and Michigan resident in Washington, I present to you this flag. Take,
protect and preserve it; may your future be, like the past, brilliant and glorious
and may you be spared by God in his providence to once again witness a united
and happy country, enjoying peace, happiness and prosperity.
The flag was received and the address
of Mr. Selleck responded to by Col. W. W. Robinson of the 7th Wisconsin
Volunteers - commanding the brigade - in the following remarks:
behalf of the officers and men of the brigade, I return you and the gentlemen
associated with you in this donation, sincere thanks for you beautiful gift. If
our conduct as soldiers during the two years and over that we have been in the
field merits the commendation of our countrymen, your present is appropriate.
Since the organization of the brigade over two years ago, the four original
regiments Second, Sixth, and Seventh Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana have
served together. They have shared the labors, privations, and hardships of the
camp together with two or three exceptions only, they have endured the fatigues
of the march, breasted the storms and waded the mud of the severe campaigns of
the Potomac and together they have met the foe.
During the past thirteen months,
these regiments have stood shoulder to shoulder more than twenty days under the
enemy's fire; in one stream has mingled the blood of their comrades slain -
out a willing sacrifice in the cause of our suffering country.
Soon after the battle of Antietam, the 24th Michigan was assigned to the
At that time it was a young regiment, though large of its age--neat and soldierly
in its appearance. We thought from the circumstances of its broad front and
bright uniform that it was inclined to put on airs, and were somewhat anxious to
have the time soon when we could take it into a fight and see the rebels take
the conceit out of it.
At the first battle Fredericksburg in December last, the Twenty-fourth was with
us the first time in a fight. After that battle they were taken into full fellowship and
since that time we have felt proud of the connection.
At Gettysburg (with a disposition common to the younger boys of a family to
imitate the feats of the elder brothers) it undertook to whip a division of
rebels who were turning our left flank; although it received severe punishment,
it came promptly to time after every blow and came handsomely out of the fight;
although it lost heavily in flesh and blood it was lost nothing in spirit.
The feeling existing in the several regiments is that of mutual confidence
in each other; perhaps no body of troops ever possessed this feeling to a greater
Whenever a duty is assigned the brigade where hard fighting is expected, there is
but one other circumstance required to give the men entire confidence in their
strength and ability, to accomplish the object desired and that is for them to
see that Battery "B" is on hand to back them.
This battery is manned principally by volunteers from the brigade commanded by
Lieut. Stewart of the regular artillery than who a braver officer is not in the
If laurels have been won by any of the regiments of the brigade since its organization
they have been won by the assistance of the others; and we feel a deep interest
and are peculiarly sensitive in regard to praise or censure bestowed.
Under these circumstances your gift is a meet and appropriate reward for any
merit we may possess; and coming, as it does, thro' the donations of some of the
most distinguished and patriotic citizens of the states from which the several
regiments respectively hail, this banner, inscribed with the name which our over
admiring friends have have conferred upon the brigade, and with the names of the
several regiments together with the names of the battles in which we have
participated, we look upon it as the highest compliment that could be paid
I need not undertake to tell you with what love and pride it will be cherished
by the brigade nor with what firm resolve and stern defiance it will be
flaunted in the face of the foe; but I will say that our conduct will be such as
never to cause a blush to mantle the cheek of the donors.-
This day will be
remembered with pride by every member of the brigade as long as life shall last
and in future years the day and the gift will be pointed to by our children as a
testimonial to the services rendered by their fathers to the country in the hour
of its sore trial; not only to us, the fragment of the old brigade which you now
see before you, but we feel it to be also a testimonial to the gallant deeds and
faithful services of you brave comrades who have won honorable graves in the
field; and their children also will have an equal interest in the memory of this
day and this gift.
If it be true - As we trust it is
- that the spirits of the
departed have cognizance of the affairs of this life then the balance of our brigade,
the commander we miss, whose life blood moistens the sods of Virginia, Maryland
and Pennsylvania are now marshaled near us in the bright uniform of the Heavenly
Corps to which they have been transferred, witnessing with approving smiles the
ceremonies of this occasion.
This mark of your approbation, Sir,
will add new life to the brigade; the sight of this banner will recall proud
memories to cheer the drooping spirits in the hour of fatigue and revive every
man's arm to deal heavier blows in the hour of battle.
And now, Sir while we continue the fight with traitors in arms whose power is
rapidly crumbling away under the blows of the army and navy, you, with our
fellow patriots at home have a duty to perform, if not so dangerous to life and
limb, perhaps, no less arduous - the struggle with and final victory over the subtle
invidious and dastardly treacherous foe in our rear.
For our sakes, and for the
sake of the memory of the deeds of which you have this day by this token
signified you approbation - for the sake of the memory of the patriots slain -
the sake of our beloved country, the cause of human freedom and the progress of civilization,
we admonish you to put down this foe at the North.
We can now easily crush the rebellion in the field if you will crush the scoundrels
Let not the sophistry and whining about respect for the Constitution of
these treacherous office seeking self-appointed leaders mislead the unthinking
portion of our people into acts of disloyalty to the government and opposition
to the highest interests of the nation.
Let it not be recorded by the future historian that in the latter part of the Nineteenth
Century the United States of America, one of the most powerful of the nations
with the best Government ever organized, a model for the world, a country most
rich, beautiful and salubrious, the hope and asylum of the oppressed of all
nations, in the height of prosperity while every branch of industry was thriving
beyond precedent and every channel of commerce was flowing with untold wealth
the government was shocked by a revolt in a certain portion of its territory
where the system of Negro slavery, a relict of the barbarous ages existed
authorized and sustained by the local laws instigated by a few unprincipled, ambitious
politicians, men who had been pampered by the government until they had become so
arrogant as to claim as a right all the principal places of trust in the gift of
the people, and who had become so pregnated with aristocratic notions through the
influences of their domestic system as to become disgusted with democratic
institutions and had, by insidious arguments, for a long time been poisoning the
minds of the people until excited to madness they rose in armed revolt.
In the first place, they find fault with the Emancipation Proclamation and say it
is unconstitutional and should be revoked; that the measure was intended to, and
would, incite servile insurrection; that it would create a feeling of hatred
against the North that could never be allayed.
I suppose that the opposition will not dispute the premises of the old arguments
used against the Abolitionists, that the slave is as much the property of his
master as his horse or cow.
Now I think it would puzzle these astute politicians to show us the law - either
constitutional or national - that prohibits the appropriation or destruction of
the property of our enemy, if by so appropriating, or destroying, we cripple him.
I am confident no one measure has done, and is doing, as much to cripple the power
of the rebels as the appropriation of their slaves.
Over eight months have passed since the emancipation order was issued and we
have looked in vain for the servile insurrections prophesied of.
As to that sweet love feast that these prophets held as was to be so rudely and unconstitutionally
interrupted, we were never much alarmed about; we knew their hatred could be no
greater against the North, we know that nineteen twentieths of the slaveholders
were rank traitors and we are satisfied that there are more loyal Union people
in the seceded States today than on the day the first rebel gun was fired at
Fort Sumter and we further know should any loyal citizen lose slaves through the
operation of this order he would have the same claim against our government that
he or any other loyal citizen may have, North or South, for the loss of a horse or
other property used or destroyed by the orders of the government.
implicit confidence in the integrity and ability of the President and our
generals in the field. As I said before if our patriots at home can hush the
blatant traitors in their midst (for there is where the greatest danger now
lies) we will finish the traitors in the field. And when our work is done, when
from the crystal lakes on the north to the Gulf on the south, from the Atlantic
on the east to the Pacific on the west, over every mile of our domain - when every
piratical leader - these Southern thieves - shall have fled from our soil, we will
return to our homes and upon our banners shall be inscribed the Wheat States,
the Cotton States, the Gold States, the Lumber States, the Granite an Marble
states and also the Nutmeg States, (our Southern sisters to the contrary
E Pluribus Unum and the Union forever.
To the distinguished officers of the army present whose names have become
associated with fame and are house hold words through the land, I return sincere
thanks for the approbation expressed and honor conferred by their visit.
Again, I thank you, sir and the gentlemen donors for this highly prized
May you all live to enjoy the blessing of a reunited and happy country.
Under the favor of God, we hope ere long to return to our homes in the Northwest
- the land of crystal lakes, pure running brooks and beautiful rolling
prairies where the wild rose and honeysuckle bloom in rich profusion, the land
where the wild vine and linden intertwine in peaceful and loving embrace.
When that time shall come when the patriot can point with pride to a
reunited and prosperous nation saved by her sons from dissolution and anarchical
ruin and can dwell with renewed confidence in the justice and wisdom of God to
counteract the machinations of the admirers of the institutions of the dark
ages, to stay the growth of liberty and the progress of civilization , we shall
be happy to meet you at our homes on the beautiful prairies and in the shady
groves of the northwest.
Be assured that all our companions in arms and all the patriot friends of the
Iron Brigade will ever be welcome guests on the hearthstones of its members.
The flag was handed over to the Color
Sergeant and was escorted by the 2d Wisconsin Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel
Mansfield, and proceeded by the Brigade Band to the Brigade Headquarters.
The officers of the brigade, together
with their invited guests, proceeded to that part of the grove where the tables
had been prepared and which were spread with everything for a sumptuous feast
one that would have done honor to any of our first class hotels.- Champagne and
other wines flowed and all went merry as a "marriage-bell" the table
was three hundred feet in length and lined on either side with a glittering
array of officers of all grades dressed the the best.
wines had been discussed,
toasts and speeches were the order.
Captain Halstead of Gen. Rice's staff
proposed the following!
drank amid loud cheers and responded to by Col. Morrow of the 24th Michigan
Volunteers in a very happy speech.
Col. Edward S. Bragg, of the 6th Wisconsin Volunteers, chairman of the committee
of arrangements, then introduced Mr. W. Y. Selleck who read the following letter
received from the Hon. J. M. Edmonds, commissioner of the General Land Office;
General and officers, Sept. 14, Sir:- I
gratefully acknowledge the receipt of your invitation to attend the flag
presentation to be made to the Iron Brigade composed of regiments from
Michigan and Indiana.
I thank you for the invitation which I
would gladly accept did other duties permit. To me the interest of the occasion
is enhanced because one of the regiments whose services you thus recognize is
from my own State and among its numbers are many personal friends. Let me assure
you that these are worthy associates of the heroes from Wisconsin and Indiana.
The Iron Brigade! Oh fit synonym for the inflexible courage
which had hurled back the traitorous hordes from Antietam , Gettysburg and other
equally well contested field.
But the Iron Brigade requires no praise from me. No recital of mine can add luster
to its glittering steel or to the existing roll of its noble achievements.
It had carved for itself and the flag
it upholds a broad pathway though the ranks of treason wherever and whenever they
have been encountered. It has illustrated some of the brightest pages in our
country's history - flowing as that history is with deeds of heroic daring and
patriotic devotion. It is a worthy representative of the great and free
Northwest and of the Nation it has helped to save.
The Iron Brigade! Most appropriate
designation -strength, durability, tenacity - good for guns, balls or bayonets, it
can destroy or resist either, it is more than a match for copper whether in
heads or balls. It is our means of defense and offense. It fights our battles;
transports our munitions; clothes our ships; protects our enemy, it is our
reliance, our safety. It will give us victory, liberty and country. It is indispensable.
Therefore let us love and cherish the Iron Brigade.
Indiana, Michigan and
Wisconsin - three
free States carved out of the territory ceded by Virginia with the express
condition that slavery should be forever prohibited therein.
In the hour of
trial, their sons have
remained true to the precepts of the fathers of the Republic and are now ready
with their lives if need be to restore to the people of the mother of States, the
priceless boon which treason, inexcusable and senseless treason and traitors, have
But for the wisdom of the early
statesmen of this once honored and patriotic commonwealth, as exhibited in their
provision for the freedom of the great Northwest, never more apparent than at
this moment, whose arms would now be raised for the redemption of the people from
the grinding despotism prepared and enforced by her degenerate sons.
But, thank God, Virginians are not all
traitors. The denizens of her mountains have wrenched their farms and houses
from the hand of the spoiler and planted forever and in congenial soil that
standard which in little more than half a century had made an empire of the territory
Northwest of the Ohio. And one of the regiments of the Iron Brigade is led by a
brave and loyal son of eastern Virginia who has breathed the fire air of our
western plains and whose hand will not be stayed whilst the old dominion is furrow by
a single bondsman, or her soil pressed by the foot of a despot.
Virginia wants but that freedom which
she imposed upon the people of the Northwest to make her again the pride of the
Republic. Shall she have it? The answer is in your hands.
Grave it upon her
valleys and mountain sides with pens of steel and in characters that shall be
ineffaceable by the hand of time or treason.
Plant there the standard which she
placed in your hands at the nation's birth. Point to her the developments
under its protection. Invite her participation and remove all obstacles to its
enjoyment. Give us back the constitution as it is and Virginia and all other
erring States as God and our fathers intended they should be - free, united,
prosperous and happy for all time.
This is your mission. Your work to this
time is evidence of your fitness and ability for its accomplishment. We feel we
know that it will be done and quickly
For encouragement I might point you the victorious marches of the Union columns
their advance from place to place and from state to state, but you know these
you see with practiced eye the waning proportions of the rebellion and the
rising destinies of the national cause. Every where the standard of Liberty is
triumphant. The sun of peace and unity already gilds the horizon and but for the
black spec over the great waters we would soon emerge into perfect day., That
black speck is the shadow of the crumbling despotism of the Old World and if, in
their decrepitude, they desire to break a lance with the giant of America, let our
answer be ready.
you ob't serv't
J. M. Edmunds
To W. Y. Selleck, Esq., Washington, D.
The reading of the letter was received with much enthusiasm and at its
Mr. Seleck proposed the following toast:-
"The non-commissioned officers and privates of the Armies of the United
States"-which was responded to by Major General Newtown, Brigadier Generals
Robinson and Rice; giving great praise to those soldiers for their patriotism,
endurance, courage, gallantry and valor; stating that there were thousands among
them fit, capable and worthy to wear a general's shoulder straps which they had
earned by their intelligence, patriotism and bravery. The following toast was
given by General Robinson:-"To the memory of that brave and gallant
soldier, Major General John F. Reynolds,"- which was drank uncovered and in
Toasts were given to the health of the President, the invited guests, Generals McClellan,
McDowell, Hooker, Meade, Newton, Rice, Robinson, Wadsworth, Meredith, Gibbon,
King and others.
Speeches were made by Cols. Williams, Morrow, Bragg and others. Col. Bragg made
a very handsome and appropriate speech in which he gave a glowing history of the
old "Iron Brigade" and its achievements and a just and merited tribute
to its gallant dead. The soldiers, non-commissioned and privates, were not
forgotten but received their full share of those substantials &c., which go
to support and revive the inner man and which they greatly enjoyed.
Notwithstanding their disappointment, caused by by being obliged to move after
they had made such fine preparations for the ceremonies attending the
presentation of the flag, they were greatly elated by the pleasant manner in
which the occasion passed off.
The following letters were received from Generals McClellan, McDowell and Paine,
regretting their inability to be present and witness the ceremonies of the occasion.
New York, Sept 14, 1863
W. Y. Selleck, Esq,. Military Agent for Wisconsin:
DEAR SIR:- Your very kind invitation of the 9th was received this morning.
I regret that it is impossible for me to visit the Army of the Potomac even for
the purpose of participating in a ceremony so interesting as the presentation of
colors to the gallant Northwestern Brigade.
It happens to be precisely one year to day since I first saw them in action at
South Mountain and with the recollection of their superb bearing brought thus
freshly to my mind, I feel renewed in my heart the pain of separation from
them and their comrades.
But say to them that my heart and prayers are ever with them and that although
their new colors can witness no more brilliant acts of patriotism and devotion
than those which the old torn flags have shared in; I know that on every future
field they and the whole Army of the Potomac will maintain, on their part, the
honor of their country and their colors. With my sincere thanks for your kindness,
I am very truly
And respectfully yours
GEO. B. McClellan
Major Gen., U.S.A.
Sept. 24th, break camp and march to the
Rapidan, taking up position at