Military Resource Center
The Otsego Republican.
The Campaign of 1864.
Death of Col. Tom. Custer.AURORA, Neb., May 25th, 1895.
A few more words will now be said about the campaign of 1864 from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor. Never, in the history of the world, do I believe the same amount of desperate fighting was done in the short space of thirty days. President Lincoln, during this campaign, was asked why he had so much confidence in Gen. Grant. - His answer was: "He fights." In these two words are voiced what might be said of every man in, not only the grand old Army of the Potomac, but also of the rebel army of Northern Virginia.
Grant's great characteristic was that which characterized the whole of his famous army, and, to a great extent, this was because of him. Like begets like. A hesitating commander will ever have a hesitating army. As Grant was a fighting general, so under him each branch the service - infantry, cavalry and army - vied with all the others in deeds of daring. You have been told about the old 2d brigade in which the "Onesters" served. Hurled time after time against the rebel lines, their ranks decimated each time, again and again, they were ever ready.
Fifty other brigades were just as valiant as was the one that I have been telling most about. *Seventy-two thousand wounded, killed and missing were left between the Rapidan and Petersburg, showing that the army had not been traveling "o'er flowery beds of ease."
The cavalry did just as well as the infantry. If there was no fighting on hand Sheridan would open a battle on short notice, for he realized as well as did Grant that the rebel army was the objective point of this campaign, and if broken it must be done with the hardest of blows, often repeated. Gen. George A. Custer, one of his brigade commanders, was never happier than when surrounded by the enemy so that he must cut his way out. And the gallant Tom Custer, the General's brother and a member of his staff; his specialty was battle flags. He won two medals honor for bravery on the battlefield, taking a flag each time single-handed from the foe. Perhaps some of the present generation may think it was funny business to capture a battle flag. Let me tell of Tom's experience in taking a single one: An order was given to charge the rebel lines. -Tom marked the flag, and when the combat raged the fiercest he urged his way to where the standard bearer was proudly and defiantly waving his colors; with revolver in hand the coveted token is neared. Ah! but the color bearer divines his object and prepares for the fray. With the standard firmly grasped in his left hand, the socket for the staff being fastened on the stirrup, he drops his rein and draws his pistol. As the young lieutenant nears the flag the sergeant sends a bullet towards his head. It strikes Tom's cheek, sending a crimson current down his chin and neck. But now Tom fires, and his bullet pierces the rebel's heart, but before the body falls to the ground the standard is seized and wrenched from the grasp of the fallen foe. In vain the rebels rally to retake the flag, for it is the Michigan brigade that is following Custer that day, a brigade that knew what defeat was on the battlefield and a score of stalwart troopers were in an instant by Tom's side with glittering sabers, and "whoop and shout and wild hallos." Tom kept the flag. The charge is over, and as the squadrons rally, he seeks his brother's side with the captured colors. "Tom, for God's sake, go to the rear," said the General, as he saw the blood streaming from the wound. "General," was the reply, "I've got the flag." "Yes, I see you have, but some day you'll get killed with your d-d foolishness." - The General forgot that he had done the same thing when on McClellan's staff in 1862. They were both men of valor, on whose face was never seen the countersign of fear. But Tom was reserved to die by the hands of the blood-thirsty Sioux in the Yellowstone campaign of 1876, the tale of which is such a horrible one that comrades will pardon its recital, as it shall be given in simple words and few:
When the civil war ended our Gen. Upton was made Lieut. Col. of the 25th infantry. Gen. Geo. A. Custer was given the same rank in the 7th cavalry, and Col. Tom. Custer, for, besides the two medals of honor, he had won the right to wear by brevet the silver leaf of a Lieut. Colonel, was appointed a lieutenant in his brother's regiment.
The Union Pacific Railway was being pushed rapidly through the West from Omaha to San Francisco. The Indians were dissatisfied and turbulent, for their choicest hunting grounds were being invaded by the pale face who had come to stay. A war ensued and Gen. Phil. Sheridan soon brought the hostile Indians to terms. A treaty was made in 1868, in which, as a consideration for the right of way for the railroad, the Indians were to have the mountains on the north - Wyoming, Montana and Idaho - for their own exclusive use, free from all intrusion by the whites.
The year that the writer came to Nebraska - 1873 - gold was discovered in the Black Hills, and the next spring a rush of miners to that country brought trouble with the Indians. Instead of driving the miners out, in accordance with the treaty of 1868, Gen. Custer was sent with the 7th cavalry to intimidate the Sioux. They didn't intimidate worth a cent, but commenced buying improved firearms and ammunition at the Brule Grand River, Standing Rock, Cheyenne, Fort Peek and other Indian agencies.
All the dissatisfied Indians in the West, perhaps 15,000 in number, gathered near the bad lands in southern Montana in 1875, and war was declared.
In the spring of 1876, three columns of U. S. troops started from different points to meet in the Yellowstone valley, and with one fell swoop wipe out Sitting Bull and his horde of hostile followers.
Generals Terry, Crook and Gibbons were in command of the three columns. - Custer, with seven hundred of the 7th cavalry, led the advance of Gen. Terry's command. When these columns started there appeared to be a plan for concerted action, but no calculation was made on the number miles to be traveled each day, and the result was that when Custer struck the Indians there were neither of the others within supporting distance, and even the balance of Terry's troops were far in the rear.
Gen. Custer was always noted for his quick, energetic movements. In three days he had marched ninety miles, and, discovering the Indians in large numbers, prepared at once for the fight. With the 7th cavalry he thought be could whip them all. Dividing his command in three divisions, he sent Major Reno on a detour in one direction, Major Benton in another, while he, with the other division, would charge into the Indian camp at another point selected. Fatal error. They had found Sitting Bull's main encampment, containing at least 10,000 well armed warriors, ready for the combat. Reno and Benton, before reaching the point from which they were to make their charge, were confronted by such a force that they were obliged to act on the defensive. But Custer, like a whirlwind, rushed into the Indian village. Then came the blood-curdling war whoop from every side followed by the sharp, spiteful crack of the Winchester and Remington rifles with which the Indians were well armed. Indians to the right of them, Indians to the left of them, Indians in front of them and Indians behind them. A circle is quickly formed and advantage taken of every tree, every rock and every point of cover. - From the beginning they realized their fate, and all that could be done was to sell each life as dearly as possible. The brave General, tall and graceful, like a lion at bay, fought with a courage unsurpassed, every shot making the number of his enemies one less, but a dozen more would take the place of every one that fell. He selected his brother's company as the one with which his death fight should be made. He and Tom were near each other, and with Springfield breech-loading carbines, firing six times a minute, for half an hour they kept at bay the savage hordes. It was different from the battles of 1864.
Col. Upton used to tell us, when preparing for the desperate charge, that two volleys and then a scattering fire would be all that we would meet, to which we must make no reply, but go over the rebel works with loaded guns. Had we, in our charges, met with such a reception as did the Sioux on the Little Big Horn River, June 25th, 1876, but very few of the "Onesters" to-day would be on earth.
One hundred and sixty-three dead Indians were found in front of where Tom and the General fell. Tom fell first and then his brother was pierced with a dozen bullets, the last survivor of the bloody field. Rain-in-the-Face, an Indian chief, whom Tom had arrested for some misdemeanor on the reservation a year before was among the Indian forces, and when Tom fell he sprang for the body, and, with scalping knife, opened the bosom of the dying hero, tore the heart, yet quivering, from its resting place, licked the dripping blood from the vital organ, and then crushed it under his heel to the earth. - Thus ended the life of gallant Tom Custer who was our comrade in the civil war. - The monument that marks his last resting place can be seen from the nearest station on the B. & M. Railway, which through Aurora, now finds its route to the Pacific coast.
I shall have to reserve a paragraph or two in the next article for the light artillery. Their bravery at the Bloody Angle where our Captain Fish was killed while carrying ammunition from the caissons to the guns, and also at Bethesda Church where, in fifteen minutes, one gun fired twenty-seven rounds, was unsurpassed by any deeds of daring either from infantry or cavalry during the war.DELEVAN BATES.
*A fair estimate. Some say 80,000, others, 55,000.
The Otsego Republican.
The Light Artillery.AURORA, Neb., June 15th, 1895.
Before leaving the campaign of 1864, a few words will be said about the artillery, and if any errors should be made of course, they will be excused, as the writer never served in that branch.
The Wilderness, as the name would imply, was a heavily wooded tract, and the cannoneers did not have a fair chance to show what they could do, except in isolated instances.
Gen. Grant at one time sent back to Washington enough guns to relieve the army of two hundred six-horse teams, as the room needed for the transportation of supplies was of more value than the fighting that could be found for the batteries to do.
The amount of forage and provisions used by that immense army made a big job for Gen. Ingalls, who was at the head of the Quartermaster's department. But everything ran like clock-work. Each wagon was distinctly marked, showing the brigade, division and corps to which it be longed and also what it was loaded with, and as soon as emptied of its contents it returned to the base of supplies for another load of the same kind.
Six-horse teams, which were used for the cannon, took lots of room, and every one that was taken back across the Rapidan River made it easier for all the others to travel.
A division of troops was generally composed of three but sometimes four brigades of infantry and one brigade of artillery, containing eight or ten batteries of from four to six guns each. There was also an artillery reserve of forty or fifty batteries to supply the place of those which were disabled so as to go out of action, and they could also be used to reinforce points on the battlefield that needed more guns.
THE LIGHT TWELVE-POUNDERS.
The guns were mostly Napoleon guns, light 12-pounders, made of bronze, which at long range, say 1,200 yards, used case shot, solid shot or shell, while at close range (three to five hundred yards) canister was freely used. Occasionally you will read about regiments being cut all to pieces with volleys of "grape." I am half inclined to think such writers never faced a cannon, as I do not recollect ever seeing grape shot used in the light artillery.
During the summer of 1865 I had command for several months of Beaufort harbor, North Carolina. Fort Macon, a permanent U. S. work, was in the district, and among the ammunition were plenty of stands of grape. They were iron balls perhaps six inches in circumference, several of which were fastened together between two circular discs of iron united with a bolt, and the old ordnance sergeant said they were used in 32-pounders. If his words were true, my opinion about grape shot being used in the field is correct, and the decimating of regiments by grape and canister is about one-half imagination - the canister is all right, for in many a battle it was canister, double shotted, that broke the rebel charge. In addition to the Napoleon guns there were three-inch rifled cannon, made of iron. - The cavalry generally used these, and I have seen several batteries of this kind with the infantry.
Although we thought so much of those smooth bore 12-pounders during the civil war, they are entirely discarded from use in the army of today, rifled and Gatlin guns taking their places.
THE BLOODY ANGLE.*
May, 12th, 1864, Hancock, with the 2d corps, made an assault at daylight on that point of the rebel lines near Spotsylvania, which was afterward called the Bloody Angle. He carried the first line, capturing three thousand prisoners and twenty cannon. Advancing toward the second line of rebel works he met the enemy who were rallying from all points to regain the ground that had been lost. Hancock soon found that it would take hard work to hold what he had won, for Gen. Lee himself was with the rebel forces, and they were fighting like devils incarnate. The 2d corps must have assistance; the 6th corps went in, with Upton's brigade in the lead, and here is where the 95th Pa. met with the heavy loss mentioned in a previous article. Gladly did the boys wearing the clover leaf welcome the red cross, and when Lee's strong line of battle was met it stopped, was hastily reformed, and both sides settled right down to business.
Upton was an artillerist before he assumed command of our regiment. 0, for a section of light 12-pounders; they are needed at such a time, and do more to give confidence to the one side and carry dismay to the opposing force than a full regiment of infantry. Battery C of the 5th U. S. artillery was the most available. It was a desperate conflict, and never before had a battery been asked to advance to such a dangerous position, but this was a critical moment, and no time for hesitation. "Limber the guns! drivers mount! forward march!" and at full speed they dash to the front line. The guns are unlimbered and hauled by hand as close to the enemy as possible. "Double canister, boys, and work lively!" Wasn't that the loveliest sound that ever greeted a soldier's ear when the two guns belched forth charge after charge of iron hail? And the rebels, nerved by the presence of their favorite commander and a desire to regain the position that had been lost in the early morning, with redoubled zeal replied to all we gave them. Everything was at a white heat (red hot would not express it) and the most dangerous point was between the cannon and the caissons, and cannoneer after cannoneer were picked off by rebel sharp shooters.
It was here that Captain Fish of the "Onesters," fell mortally wounded. He was on Upton's staff, and when the cannon were placed in position as I have mentioned and the cannoneers kept falling, he sent several from the infantry to help and then sprang to the work himself. "Give it to them, boys! I'll bring the canister," were his cheering words. Back and forth with charges of canister from caisson to gun repeatedly he went. But at last the bullet came that ended his brave but too daring career, and in the thickest of the combat he was laid low by rebel lead. - Gen. Upton was the only officer left mounted, and as he moved along the line with words of cheer and encouragement for his brave command it seemed as though a charm was surrounding him that kept the deadly bullets away. "Boys," he said, "if we can only hold this line, a record will be ours that never will be forgotten." He was correct, the line was held, and the 2d brigade are recognized in history as doing a noble work on this occasion.
LOSS OF THE BATTERY.
But the main idea to be brought out was the desperate fighting of the artillery. The result will tell this in stronger language than any other words I could use. Every horse was killed, every man and officer excepting two were killed or wounded, the gun carriages were so cut to pieces with bullets as to be of no farther use, twenty-seven bullets passed through the lid of one limber chest, and one sponge bucket, made of one-eighth inch iron, was pierced by thirty-nine balls.
And did any of the Johnnies get hurt while all this was going on? Thirteen hundred of dead ones were buried in the ditches that they had dug when building the breastworks, where they fell, at and near the point where the deadliest fire was given from the battery and from the 2d brigade. Counting four wounded for every one killed, one can plainly see that a few of them did get hurt on that occasion.
And remember that what I have told about is but a small item in the great battle of which this was part. The Vermont brigade, the Jersey brigade, Col. Eustis' brigade, Wheaton's brigade and a dozen others were all in it, and the death later in the day run way up in the thousands in the Union as well as in the rebel army.
A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH CANISTER.
This article will be closed with a personal experience of the writer where he came very near being sent to his long home by a charge of rebel canister:
In July, 1864, my regiment had the honor of leading one of those desperate charges that I have several times tried to describe. The division, five thousand strong, were given a little job to do. Only a line of rebel works to carry and a battery to capture on an elevation in the rear. We carried the first line, capturing several hundred prisoners, but the same as the 2d corps at the Bloody Angle, we found a second line of battle in rear of the one we had passed. I received a bullet through my head and was carried back to our lines. We had on the way a field to cross of about one hundred and twenty paces in width which was covered by a rebel battery, and they were just mean enough to fire at every squad that crossed the plain, the wounded as well as those who were not. The boys that were carrying me constantly kept one eye on the point from which the gun was fired. All at once we dropped flat on the ground and a charge of canister swept over us about three feet above where we lay. They had seen the smoke at the cannon's mouth and we touched the ground before the bullets reached us. Some may think this is a big story, that men can drop so quick, but Sergeant Wilmer, who was one that helped carry me from the field, says it is true, and I have told it many times, sincerely believing that it is as he said. As additional proof, memory yet recalls the moment under discussion and verifies the statement. The recollections of this day are not "beautiful pictures that hang on memory's wall," but clear-cut impressions engraven on the wall itself with a pen of steel and a diamond point. Scenes are they of desperate fighting and bloody carnage. All is clear from the getting under arms long before dawn of day, until when, upon a stretcher in the field hospital after my wound was dressed, I fell into a broken slumber long before the shades of evening came.
When the bullet struck my head I did not say: "Boys, go on; let me lie, but save the flag." Nor did I feel that duty called for more than I had done. One sentence will tell my feelings exactly. To find a safe retreat and lie down to rest was all I asked for. I staggered toward the rear, was quickly placed upon a rubber blanket, a canteen of water poured upon the bleeding wound, and then toward our lines I was speedily carried.
Unfolding detail by detail the memories of that day until we reach the point when the canister came shrieking across the field, I can hear to-day as plain as then, not the zip of a minie bullet, not the whir of the shell nor the gentler passage of a solid shot, but a shriek that could only be made by a hundred iron balls cutting the air with the velocity of lightning, and destroying everything that comes in their path. An impression which only could have been made then and there and by a charge of canister sweeping over us, is on memory's tablet, never to be effaced.
The wound received that day was a very dangerous one, a ball, calibre .58, striking the cheek bone in front of the right ear, passing directly through the head above the roof of the mouth, and making its exit close behind the left ear. A similar shot, passing through the head at a different angle, killed Gen. Sedgewick at Spotsylvania. A variation of one-eighth of an inch in the bullet that struck me, would have left this tale to have been told by some other person thanDELEVAN BATES.
*How many comrades remember well this day? Rain, rain, rain, doubly intensifying all that was endured by the troops engaged. D. B.
The Otsego Republican.
Bethesda Church.AURORA, Neb., July 8th, 1895.
Just a plain, unpretentious wooden structure, standing alone by the roadside, about three miles north of Cold Harbor, was Bethesda Church in 1864. When I say it very much resembled White Oak Church, near which the "Onesters" encamped for several months during the winter of 1862-3, each comrade will know exactly how it looked.
The little village with school house, hotel, country store, blacksmith shop and half a dozen neat cottages that marked the presence of the place where the people gathered each Sabbath day for worship in the North, was not seen in old Virginia in those days.
Bethesda Church would never have been heard of outside of the county in which it was built had it not been for the civil war and the campaign of 1864. A charge, as it may well be called, of a battery of field pieces upon a rebel battery near this church on the 2d day of June, makes the name a familiar one to all those who love to bear of deeds of daring.
The 6th and 18th corps, the latter of which had recently joined the Army of the Potomac from Bermuda Hundreds, were in the vicinity of Cold Harbor; - the 5th corps was near Bethesda Church, the 9th corps was still farther north, while the 2d corps was south of Cold Harbor. - Now I shall have to make quite a digression here explanatory of the proximity of the different bodies of troops during active operations in the field.
THE TOUCH OF ELBOW.
One often bears the old veteran tell of the "touch of elbow" during the war. One of my children once, after attending a camp fire, asked: "Pa, did each soldier have to touch some one's elbow all the time in the war?" The touch of elbow was confined exclusively to the regimental organization, and was essential in parades, reviews and all marching in line, each soldier keeping a light touch toward the right or the left as had been designated as guide by the commanding officer, so as to preserve a true alignment of the ranks. In wheeling or making any change of direction without this touch of elbow and a uniform step both in length and time, there would be no harmony or exactness in the movement. When more than one regiment was on the same line, a distance of twenty-two paces separated each from the other, and the distance between brigades was much greater. All this, remember, was on occasions of drill and ceremony.
IN THE PRESENCE OF AN ENEMY.
But in the presence of an enemy the elbow part was omitted and the disposition of regiments, brigades and batteries all depended on the surrounding circumstances and the lay of the land. One regiment may be behind a fence, another lying down near a battery, to assist in the fight if a charge should be made with the intention of capturing the guns by the opposing forces. One brigade may be half a mile from another and perhaps facing in an opposite direction from the other brigades in the division. One corps may be ten miles distant from the rest of the army and then again the whole army be so arranged as to cover a hundred or even two hundred square miles, yet mind you, the commanding general always keeps his troops well in hand, so that they can be massed at such points as they may be needed. I said always. No; sometimes an officer gets rattled, and loses the battle by not being able to move troops quickly enough to the point where the enemy are making a decisive advance. Some say that is the reason Gen. Hooker lost the fight at Chancellorsville. He was not competent to handle such a large army in such a battle, in other words was not "master of the situation," allowing the rebel generals to strike him at any point they pleased without his being able to render assistance to the corps attacked or to make a counter blow at some other available position in the enemy's line.
Corps may be miles apart while a heavy battle is in progress. This will explain why all the corps were not always engaged in each battle that was fought by the army to which they belonged, and more particularly give the reason why, when the 6th and 18th corps were being so disastrously repulsed at Cold Harbor, the 2d, 5th and 9th corps were not in the fight.
THE REBEL BATTERY.
Back to Bethesda Church, where the 5th corps lay, we will now go. General Bartlett's brigade, the same Joe Bartlett that was our first brigade commander, was near the church. The rebels in front were making demonstrations as though a general engagement was contemplated. Gen. Warren, the corps commander, waited very patiently to see what the outcome would be, but was ready whenever the combat opened to meet them half way. - At last a rebel four-gun battery came down a road that ran through a piece of woods, unlimbered in front of Bartlett's line and commenced throwing canister. - The boys all know what Bartlett's men did mighty quick. They got out of range of that battery and commenced throwing up breastworks, expecting a charge of infantry as soon as the battery got through. Gen. Griffin, who was in command of the division, was near the church, and the audacity of that battery was just a little more than be could stand. Turning to an artillery officer who was near, he asked him if he could silence the battery. The officer looked over the ground a moment and then gave an affirmative reply. It was a rough, broken, wooded country. - The only place that the battery could be put in action, where its work would be effective, was an open field, only four hundred yards from the battery that he was asked to silence. That meant business, and well might the movement be called the
CHARGE OF A BATTERY.
In a battery two guns working together are called a section, and are under command of a lieutenant or sergeant. The Captain took the chiefs of sections, pointed to the positions where each gun was to be planted, also gave the exact route that the battery should go to reach the field, and as final instructions: "When you get in position sock it to em!" The way that battery went to the front was a caution. The Captain, with unsheathed sword, was in the lead, and never missed a command when it was needed, the drivers who were mounted, hugged close to the horses' necks, the cannoneers hung to the limber chests, on which they were seated, for their dear lives; the horses even appeared to realize the dangerous place they were approaching, and sprang to the work like human beings. When the point was reached where the guns were to be unlimbered, which means to be detached from the limber chests, the horses had, of course, to halt an instant and then at full gallop again move to the rear or nearest place for shelter.
And the cannoneers, mind you, they were not green hands in a battle, they settled right down to their work. Young, athletic, well drilled and with never a thought of fear, not a false motion was made, but every move in loading and firing counted for all that was in it, either in theory or practice. Fifteen minutes did the work up nicely, the rebel battery being completely destroyed. Horses killed, men nearly all disabled or dead, guns dismounted and one or two caissons blown up. The enemy did not dare to gather up the ruins until after dark. The Union battery coolly limbered up and returned to the church, having lost fourteen men and perhaps a dozen horses.
Some may ask: "Well, what did that all amount to?" Nothing at all only the destruction of one rebel battery, as the infantry did not advance on either side. The incident was related to show the desperate fighting of those days by this arm of the service. No infantry or cavalry ever did a more daring deed than was this charge of a battery of Napoleon guns at Bethesda church.
The day that the above little episode happened at the church, Dick Bennett of Co. I, 121st N. Y. Vols., was killed and Joseph Edson was wounded at Cold Harbor. Company I had a "right smart sprinkling," to use a southern phrase, of good substantial citizens who enlisted from patriotic motives, whom I thought a good deal of, and, although I was an officer and they were enlisted men, in some respects they were my superiors. Joseph Edson was one of them, Geo. Teel another, Chauncey Colton, whose body to-day lies in the Wilderness, killed May the 6th, 1864, was another. Well do I remember the last time I saw him. He had received a letter from home, containing a photograph of his two little girls, and imagination was drawing beautiful visions of the time when he should meet them once more; visions never to be realized. This was the hardest part of the war. In place of home and kindred, an unmarked grave was his.
Cold Harbor. Do the comrades know why it received such a name? It was only a single house and not a very good one at that. A southern wayside inn where the weary traveler was supposed to receive substantial refreshments. But did he? No! In place of a warm, inviting meal, making the occasion one long to be remembered, he invariably received a "cold snack," for which a large remuneration was expected, and at last one who had been a sailor who had enjoyed its hospitalities, on being asked what kind of entertainments could be expected there, replied in seaman's phrase: "It's a cold harbor," after which time the name was recognized as an appropriate one. This is the story as told to me, but I will not vouch for its truthfulness.
A LITTLE ROMANCE.
Now, there is just a little bit of romance connected with these tales I am telling of southern battlefields. In Aurora there lives a lady on whose grandfather's farm was fought the principal engagement at Cold Harbor. Her husband was a captain in an Ohio regiment in Sherman's army, and a more harmonious union of the blue and the gray I have never witnessed. Two bright little girls have come to their home to stay, and happiness apparently dwells within the household. She is sociable, and does not hesitate to tell all that she is familiar with in the local history of the country from which she came. She has attended services in Bethesda Church, is well acquainted at the White House Landing, Seven Pines, Fair Oaks, Hanover and New Kent Court House, Malvern Hill, Trevilian Station and dozens of other places that each comrade will remember well as the names are mentioned.
MISTAKES WILL HAPPEN.
One day in conversation I asked what she remembered of the war? "Why, General Bates, the war closed thirty years ago, while I shall be only twenty-nine next birthday!" I was a little more guarded in my questioning afterward. In fact before this I had never realized that of the immense number of volunteers of 1862, not a single one who was of legal age - 18 years old - when he enlisted, now lives whose head has not been silvered by the frosts of the winters of a half a century.
Of those who read these articles I presume not one in ten, even in the Schenevus Valley where about thirty years of my life was passed, will personally remember the writer.
The roster of the old veterans (I will not call them boys this time) is each year bearing thousands less than before. Tales of actual service in the field, the camp, the march, the picket line, the advance, the skirmish line, the fierce conflict, the victory, the retreat, the hospital, will soon be told by other pens than of those who participated. Even the flowers that are strewn on Memorial Day - the festival of the dead - will soon be strewn by other hands than those of comrades who stood by their side when bosoms were bared to shot and shell and glittering steel.
The results of what we did will never be forgotten in the history of the world, but as individuals the passing of a single century and the crumbling of the marble monuments that now mark their last resting place will wipe out the memories of those who fought in the civil war and leave a clean tablet on which to record the deeds of future heroes, is the opinion ofDELEVAN BATES.
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