September 1863

Arrival of Gen. Cutler-

We announced on Friday that Gen. Cutler would arrive here on Saturday. The General arrived on the noon train from Chicago and was met at the depot by a committee from the Chamber of Commerce who had proceeded there is carriages, and escorted to chamber of Commerce. On his arrival there he was welcomed by a band of music, and on entering the rooms, was greeted by enthusiastic cheers by a large throng which had assembled to do honor to the gallant soldier. He stopped in the centre the ball and was welcomed by Mat H. Carpenter with the following eloquent and thrilling address.!

I am here sir on behalf of the chamber of commerce to welcome you home. Not that we think we can confer honor upon you. Honor is won by deeds not conferred by words; and you have taken good care not to leave your laurels to be offered by friendly hands at home; you have snatched them, in the deadly strife, earned them dearly and well in the noblest cause for which a patriot ever unsheathed his sword. But we are here to allow that we appreciate you services and suffering in out and our county behalf here to welcome you have a representing of the army composed of our neighbors and friends freemen and the lovers of freedom not an army representing the mere brut force of a nation but containing members of all trades and profession recruited from all the walks and departments of life and society.

In all times mankind has paid its homage to military renown hailed and glorified military chieftains; yet in not a few, probably in by far the great number of cases military laurels have been won in wars prosecuted by ambition to fasten the chains of a conqueror upon an unwilling people; to set up castes to establish aristocratic distinctions; to grind and oppress the poor turn with delight to our cause and our noble defenders. Our armies go not forth to break down but to sustain the equal rights of all, in and through the forms of a government ordained by the whole piople to secure perfect union establish justice insure domestic tranqutility provide for the common defense promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity forever. And the chieftains we welcome home come from the fields stained with blood in such a just cause; come with out blot upon their character or stain upon their name.
We desire that you should know and that all the world should know that when our armies march in the path of duty and danger, we watch their course follow them with our best wishes and glory in their achievements and are waiting patiently and in good hope for the time when we can welcome them back again as our brothers and friends to the employments of peace and the enjoyments of home. From such a way in such a cause they return not polluted and stained with blood unjustly shed; they may come back to the bosom of our society-

"Guiltless as infancy and undisturbed
By personal anger as (is the priest)
When with unswerving hand and piteous eye
He stops the brief life of the innocent kid
Bound with white filets to the altar;-

The people of this State have watched your course with a just pride. You led away our Sixth Regiment. They went rollicking in the freedom that characterizes our volunteer gradually gently but with steady firmness as you sobered and disciplined that regiment, until like the veterans of Europe they are able to perform the meat difficult maneuvers in the most dangerous places; you then look command of the Iron Brigade and contributed to bring it to that pitch of military excellence which has made it an honor imperishable to be of the Iron Brigade. In the late severe battle of Gettysburg, this brigade was first to receive the fire of the enemy; and out of eighteen hundred of its men twelve hundred were killed and wounded. After such a terrible proof of its military power steadiness and bravery, we feel that our emotions would seek manifestation not in words, but in tears of thankfulness to the survivors and sorrow for its bravely departed.
From this brigade we have Fairchild who has one hand still pressing down upon the rebellious soil of Virginia and pointing his regiment to the foe Brall of Fond du Lac Cols. Robinson and Allen and hundreds of others. To hear the names of all who deserve mention the Adjutant General should call its roll. And how many alas? whose names are not new on the rolls who have been mustered with the hosts on high. One I cannot forbear to mention; Col. O'Connor, a noble and brave young men, who went down to the dust of death and amid the roar of battle dyeing his laurels with his own blood, a champion and martyr of freedom.

The Iron Brigade needs no hirelings of the New York press to chant its praise; it has written its name upon the history of its country; the track of our army whether in victory or defeat is marked by its blood; and wherever it has been necessary for brave men to lay down their bodies as a rampart to stay the tide of treason there lie her brave boys by the hundreds -over them wave green grass and the gaudy followers of a southern clime; and there to the latest years shall the lovers of liberty make their pilgrimage and pour their tears of thankfulness and of joy-thankfulness, honoring the brave dust beneath joy that with such monuments upon earth liberty will not again be assaulted.
But the association of your name with the Iron Brigade is only one chapter in the history of your achievements. When this brigade would be trusted with or without a leader, when its fixed habit and its undaunted impulses led it to the thickest of the fight and a commander was only needed to sometimes check its ardor and compelled to retire, you were assigned to the command of another brigade, which greatly needed discipline to mould and example to encourage it. How successfully and in now short a time you performed your task is shown by the fact that at Gettysburg your brigade went into fire second only and perhaps simultaneously with the Iron Brigade - and out of sixteen hundred lost eleven hundred in killed and wounded.
But it is not my purpose to refer in detail to your arduous duties honerably performed. I only desigh to assure you that we know them and dwell upon them with pride.
We desire sir, to assure you and through you the brave army of our state and of the Union that in Wisconsin one of the extremities of the land, the pulse of the Union beats with as steady a throb as at the heart of the nation.

When your brief furlough shall expire when replenished in health by the fracing breezes of the North you shall return to your command I beg you sir, disabuse our brave boys if they have been abused by the false notes that have been uttered i some places in discord with the harmony of general sentiment here- Assure them that the great body of our population are neither cowards traitors nor scoundrels. that we are utterly incapable of the turpitude of encouraging them to the field of battle the scenes of danger and death and then ignominiously turning our backs upon them; and solemnly pronouncing them the tools of tyrants; and their admirable discipline the docdity of slaves. We had peace and such prosperity as no other land ever enjoyed until this rebellion broke out. When it is put down we shall have peace again. and put down it will be must be and shall be. The growth of liberty the progress of civilization, are not to be stayed to gratify the unholy ambition of a piratical crew in the South PEACE SHALL BE, and an undivided republic, the flag of the Union shall be upheld upon every square inch of our proper domain. If necessary,-if all other means prove unavailing if the South compel us to the awful extremity we will establish peace in the South as Russia established "order at Warsaw".

tell our grave 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 good work is well done to return - they will find 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 then ever rebels in the south ran before them in the day of battle.

In the name of this audience and our whole people, its loyal and brave-hearted men. Its beautiful and kink hearted women, I give you thanks and bid you welcome.

At the conclusion of the address, Mr. Carpenter stepped forward and taking the general by the hand conducted him to the stand amid great applause.
The address was delivered in a vivid, earnest manner, and the speaker was frequently interrupted by cheers.
Gen. Cutler replied substantially as follows:

Mr. President and Gentlemen:
When I left the army for a few days rest it was with the expectation of coming quietly to my home. This was my expectation until I arrived at the Depot in your city, where I was met in such a manner that I could neither fight nor run and I was obliged to surrender. It is the first time that I have been captured during this war. I desire gentlemen to return my sincere thanks for the kind and cordial reception you have given me. Next to the consciousness of having done one's duty the approval of his superiors and of those he represents at home is the richest reward a soldier can receive.
I am not vain enough to attribute this demonstration as intended or as being due to any personal merit of my own. You give it to me as the representative of the thousands of brave and patriotic men whom you have sent forth to fight the battles of freedom, and for it I am profoundly thankful.
It is customary to give too much credit to officers and too little to the men. it is true that officers have arduous and responsible duties to perform. They must drill and discipline the men see that their health is looked after, that they are fed and clothed and that their morals are preserved. When this is all done and we come on the battle field it is the men who carry the muskets and ammunition who do the fighting and win the victories. To them you cannot do too much honor.
My friend in his remarks kindly alluded to the 6th Wisconsin which I led from here two years since. That regiment is as good as they make. the 2d Wisconsin commanded by my friend col. Fairchild is of the same sort. So is the 7th Wisconsin. In fact Wisconsin has reason to be proud of all here soldiers. do them honor sustain them send them men to fill up their ranks. 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 lips of the soldiers when such a man is named. and my word for it they will come home cured Again I say encourage sustain and support your soldiers and all will be well.
At the conclusion of the General's speech, the audience cheered him enthusiastically. Wm. B. Hibbard, the Chairman of the Committee, invited the friends of the General to come forward and take him by the hand. He stated further that the Secretary of War would not accept the General's resignation, remarking "that the army could not spare so good a soldier but he would give him an extended furlough."

After the band had discoursed some patriotic airs, the assemblage dispersed and the General was escorted to his homes.