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and security, is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided Republic.
If other eyes grow dull, and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remains to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us, a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude—the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
III. Department Commanders will use every effort to make this order effective. By order of—
JOHN A. LOGAN,
N. P. CHIPMAN,
Prayer-By Rev. BYRON SUNDERLAND, D. D. Almighty and Everlasting God—the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ-the God of our fathers and our God-who hast the care of all the ends of the earth. Oh, thou Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor of the World, whose providence is over every living thing, and who dost cause the seasons to keep their annual rounds, and from the death and drowsiness of winter dost evoke the life and beauty of the spring, how great and manifold are the tokens of Thy presence, and of Thy resurrection power, as all nature wakes again glorious in the garniture of flowers, and filled with melodies of the time when the singing of birds is come.
We pray thee, oh Lord, mercifully to remember us for good, as we have come forth this day, among Thy people, to acknowledge Thee; and, as Thy servants of old time did for themselves and for Thy chosen nation, call upon Thy name and to spread out our supplications before Thee. For we are come this day to the cities of the dead—we are come to the sepulchres of our heroes, slain and fallen in battle with all the host of them that counted not their lives dear unto them for the sacred cause of God, and of country, and of humanity, and by which price they have made of this land one greater than Thermopylæ, an
have filled it in all its borders with freedom's shrines. Because we have come to mourn this day for those who sleep, and to pay to their memory the utmost tenderness of our regards. Because we have come to weep with those who survive, that the mission of our country could be accomplished only at so great a sacrifice. Because we have come, Oh Lord, likewise to mingle with our tears and sorrows a grateful sense of our deliverance and our triumph over appalling dangers, while we cover with garlands and fresh flowers the graves of our noble sons.
Because we have come to take from the lap of earth these new children that have sprung in such abundance of loveliness and in such fragrance of incense, and cast them back upon the mother that brought them forth, in testimony that there is nothing too delicate, nothing too beautiful to be lavished upon the remembrance of those who have sealed with blood their devotion to the holy work of God and man.
Yet, oh Lord, we well do know that these blooms of earth will fade; these blossoms will wither and perish where they fall. Well do we know that they will return to mingle with the sacred mould of those who once stood up as a living rampart against the violence of treason-against the fury of rebellion; still do we pray that other hands, year after year, may strew them afresh, as we do this day. We pray that every spring-time may rise with its prophet voice to tell us that there is glory and immortality in the truth. That however assailed, however borne down for a time, the eternal years of God are her's. And we pray, too, that her's may be the hearts of men that never quail, though in the midst of living perfidies that make the soul turn sick. We pray, too, that her's too may be the hands of men that have borne the fire of every martyr for the priceless cause of liberty and justice. We pray, too, that her's may be the vows of men who, though betrayed and outraged in the house of their own friends, will not yet forget their duty-will not yet forsake the charge that has been imposed upon them--whether through the sophistries of a perverted judgment, or through the temptations of a corrupt ambition, or through the baser briberies of mammon, which, while they deceive, both defile and degrade our manhood to the lowest depths of infamy.
oh Lord our God, we appeal to Thee by the united voice of our prayer for the integrity and rectitude of our nation in all coming time, and for the benefits and blessings of amity, equality, and fraternity, for us and for all men throughout the world, we cry to Thee from among the graves those whom Thou didst choose to win the victory in the last great struggle for the welfare of mankind. And we pray, Thee, now especially, to look down upon us in Thy mercy, and bless us. Bless the general and officers, and soldiers and sailors of the Army and Navy of the United States--those that may be to-day assembled here or elsewhere, in all the land, for the same affecting purpose, Bless all the people of our country, and confirm to us the fruits of the late war in the emancipation of millions that had been growing in bondage, and in the exalted aims that have sustained this people in such great advancement, Give us a spiritual religion. May Christianity prevail among us in its original purity. May it not be to us an empty ritual, but a daily covenant between God and men, and between man and his fellow-men. And we pray that the machinations and efforts of demagogues—that the pestilence and poison of mere
partizan politics—may be thoroughly purged from among us as the bane, forever, of all republics, and the certain precursors of their disaster and downfall.
And, oh Lord, so long as the sovereignty of this great people shall be committed to the work of constitutional freedom-to the work of liberty regulated by law—to the work of and equality for all men without distinction-so long do we pray that Thou wilt uphold the honor of this Government, and give its name and its prowess respect among the peoples of the earth. For well we know that whensoever this nation shall depart from these great lights, and wander darkening in the gloom and sorcery of despotism and oppression, then wilt Thou make bare Thine arm and strike down the whole political fabric under which we live.
And now, oh Lord, we implore these blessings upon us—we deprecate these judgments from us—not in our own name, nor upon our own merits, but alone in the name and upon the merits of Him whose name is above every name, and will endure forever. And unto the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, will we ascribe unceasing and undivided praises. Amen.
Hymn-Entitled “Honor to the Soldier.” Eight voices.*
The Hon. JAMES A. GARFIELD was then introduced, and spoke as follows:
I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung. With words, we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept; plighted faith may be broken ; and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death ; and in that act they resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.
For the noblest man that lives there still remains a conflict. He must still withstand the assaults of time and fortune; must still be assailed by temptations before which lofty natures have fallen. But with these the conflict was ended, the victory was won, when death stamped on them the great seal of heroic character, and closed a record which years can never blot.
I know of nothing more appropriate on this occasion, than to inquire what brought these men here. What high motive led them to condense life into an hour, and to crown that hour by joyfully welcoming death ? Let us consider.
Eight years ago this was the most unwarlike nation of the earth. For nearly fifty years, no spoț, in any of these States, had been the scene of battle. Thirty millions of people had an army of less than ten thousand men. The faith of our people in the stability and permanence of their institutions, was like their faith in the eternal course of nature. Peace, liberty, and personal security, were blessings as common and universal as sunshine, and showers, and fruitful
* These were amateur singers of the city who kindly volunteered their services. Some of them are comrades,
seasons; and all sprang from a single source—the principle declared in the Pilgrim covenant of 1620—that all owed due submission and obedience to the lawfully expressed will of the majority. This is not one of the doctrines of our political system-it is the system itself. It is our political firmament, in which all other truths are set, as stars in heaven. It is the encasing air; the breath of the nation's life. Against this principle the whole weight of the rebellion was thrown. Its overthrow would have brought such ruin as might follow in the physical universe, if the power of gravitation were destroyed, and
“Nature's concord broke,
The nation was summoned to arms, by every high motive which can inspire
Two centuries of freedom had made its people unfit for despotism. They must save their Government, or miserably perish.
As a flash of lightning, in a midnight tempest, reveals the abysmal horrors of the sea, so did the flash of the first gun disclose the awful abyss into which rebellion was ready to plunge us. In a moment, the fire was lighted in twenty million hearts. In a moment, we were the most warlıke nation on the earth. In a moment, we were not merely a people with an army-we were a people in
The nation was in column-not all at the front, but all in the array. I love to believe that no heroic sacrifice is ever lost. That the characters of men are moulded and inspired by what their fathers have done—that treasured up in American souls, are all the unconscious influences of the great deeds of the Anglo-Saxon race, from Agincourt to Bunker Hill. It was such an influence which led a young Greek, two thousand years ago, when he heard the news of Marathon, to exclaim, “ The trophies of Miltiades will not let me sleep." Could these men be silent in 1861—these, whose ancestors had felt the inspiration of battle on every field where civilization had fought in the last thousand years ? Read their answer in this green turf. Each for himself gathered up all the cherished purposes of life-its aims and ambitions, its dearest affections and flung all, with life itself, into the scale of battle.
We began the war for the Union alone, but we had not gone far into its darkness before a new elernent was added to the conflict, which filled the army and the nation with cheerful but intense religious enthusiasm. In lessons that could not be misunderstocd, the Nation was taught that God had linked to our own, the destiny of an enslaved race—that their liberty and our Union were indeed “
one and inseparable.” It was this that made the soul of John Brown the marching companion of our soldiers, and made them sing as they went down to battle
“In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
While God is marching on." With such inspirations, failure was impossible. The struggle consecrated, in some degree, every man who bore a worthy part. I can never forget an inci
dent, illustrative of this thought, which it was my fortune to witness near sun-set of the second day at Chickamauga, when the beleaguered but unbroken left wing of our army had again and again repelled the assaults of more than double their numbers, and when each soldier felt that to his individual hands were committed the life of the army and the honor of his country. It was just after a division had fired its last cartridge, and had repelled a charge at the point of the bayonet, that the great-hearted commander took the hand of an humble soldier and thanked him for his steadfast courage. The soldier stood silent for a moment, and then said, with deep emotion, "George H. Thomas has taken this hand in his. I'll knock down any mean man that offers to take it hereafter.” This rough sentence was full of meaning. He felt that something had happened to his hand which consecrated it. Could a hand bear our banner in battle and not be forever consecrated to honor and virtue? But doubly consecrated were these who received into their own hearts the fatal shafts, aimed at the life of their country. Fortunate men! your country lives because you died! Your fame is placed where the breath of calumny can never reach it; where the mistakes of a weary life can never dim its brightness! Coming generations will rise up
blessed! And now consider this silent assembly of the dead. What does it represent ? Nay, rather, what does it not represent? It is an epitome of the war. Here are sheaves reaped, in the harvest of death, from every battlefield of Virginia. If each grave had a voice to tell us what its silent tenant last saw and heard on earth, we might stand, with uncovered heads, and hear the whole story of the war.
We should hear that one perished when the first great drops of the crimson shower began to fall, when the darkness of that first disaster at Manassas fell like an eclipse on the nation; that another died of disease while wearily waiting for winter to end; that this one fell on the field, in sight of the spires of Richmond, little dreaming that the flag must be carried through three more years of blood before it should be planted in that citadel of treason; and that one fell when the tide of war had swept us back till the roar of rebel guns shook the dome of yonder Capitol, and re-echoed in the chambers of the Executive Mansion. We should hear mingled voices from the Rappahannock, the Rapidan, the Chickahominy, and the James; solemn voices from the Wilderness, and triumphant shouts from the Shenandoah, from Petersburg, and the Five Forks, mingled with the wild acclaim of victory and the sweet chorus of returning peace. The voices of these dead will forever fill the land like holy benedictions.
What other spot so fitting for their last resting-place as this, under the shadow of the Capitol saved by their valor ? Here, where the grim edge of battle joined; here, where all the hope and fear and agony of their country centred; here let them rest, asleep on the nation's heart, entombed in the nation's love!
The view from this spot, bears some resemblance to that which greets the eye at Rome. In sight of the Capitoline Hill, up and across the Tiber, and overlooking the city, is a hill, not rugged nor lofty, but known as the Vatican Mount. At the beginning of the Christian Era, an Imperial circus stood on its summit. There, gladiator slaves died for the sport of Rome; and wild beasts