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citizen among our sixty-four millions of population may freely aspire, except the ladies, and they are only excluded that they may not endure the horrors of having Presidential bees in their bonnets; but it does include our distinguished guest and fellow-citizen from the pine woods of Michigan, GENERAL ALGER, and our beloved commander, “Old Rosy.” But that great office belongs to the people; it is theirs to withhold and to bestow; the President is the people's servant, not their master, and in that rests the perpetuity of our free, wise, strong government. The people gave it first to WASHINGTon, whose gleaming sword upheld the American flag on the battle fields of the Revolution ; they gave it to ANDREW JACKSON, whose military genius crushed LORD PACKENHAM at New Orleans; they gave it to WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, who outwitted and out fought the red children of the forest on the banks of the historic Maumee; they gave it to ZACHARY TAYLOR, “Rough and Ready” in dealing with the enemies of his country on the plains of Mexico; they gave it to ABRAHAM LINCOLN, uplifted by the great Jehovah to lead this people to perfect liberty, as Moses in times of old led the chosen people of the Lord; they gave it to U. S. GRANT, “the soldier of soldiers;" they gave it to JAMES A. GARFIELD, a comrade of the Army of the Cumberland; they gave it to BENJAMIN HARRISON, brave soldier and wise statesman, to whom this hour in confidence and trust we give our willing allegiance, approving all things in the past and hoping for great things in the future. Our wise forefathers made no mistake when they created that great office, and none when they made the President eligible to re-election, for, from WASHINGTON to HARRISON, the best have always been given two terms, and every President knows that if he pleases the people, and the people will it, he will be, for one time, his own successor. We hail the President that now is; he is our President, the President of all the people; long live the President of the United States. And this be the message that the Army of the Cumberland sends to him, and to his successors in that great office: “See to it, as is enjoined by your oath, that the laws are obeyed, and that the American flag given into your hands shall protect in all the rights guaranteed to him by the constitution and laws, without molestation and without fraud, the humblest citizen in the remotest corner of the Republic."
“ The Army of the Cumberland” was then beautifully rendered by MRS. AINSWORTH and the choir.
It sometimes seems to us, when we get around the board and look upon those who participated in these scenes, that the memory of them makes the members of the Army of the Cumberland grow younger, and when the next gentleman who is to respond to a toast arises and you look upon him again, those of us who saw him twenty-five years ago will feel that the memories of that past have made him younger. The toast now is “ THE ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND, and we call upon our young friend, GENERAL T. J. Wood, to respond.
GENERAL T. J. WOOD:
Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades, and Mr. Chairman-This cordial reception stirs one up considerably, after a separation of twenty-five years, though, to be exact, and you know, comrades, accuracy cardinal virtue in a soldier, it is not quite so long as twenty-five years since I was last with you. It is certainly a great satisfaction to the survivors of the Army of the Cumberland that so many yet live " to spin long yarns of the deeds they have done;" and not only that so many of the old soldiers of the Army of the Cumberland survive, but as our comrade, JUDGE COCHRAN, says, they remain so young. I take it that the “ fountain of youth” has been found by them in the consciousness of duty to the nation well done when its existence was imperiled.
The theme assigned to me is embarrassing, not because it is not an interesting one, but because the story has been told so often that it has lost the charm of novelty. The history of the Army of the Cumberland has become an integral part of the history of the nation. Then why talk to an audience of the American people of the great achievements of the Army of the Cumberland. The history of those achievements is well known to the American people; and not only known, but appreciated and held in grateful remembrance. Hence, I am embarrassed in trying to find any thing new to say to the toast assigned to me, and I think I would give up the effort altogether were it not for the adventitious aid of a mascot. Fortunately I have a mascot in the audience.
A fair and gentle maiden turns her sweet and lovely face on me most encouragingly; a face of transcendent beauty and loveliness, illuminated by the light by two soft, dark, liquid, lustrous eyes, that would excite the envy of the fairest houri in paradise. With this inspiration I will try to talk to you a few moments about the Army of the Cumberland. I say talk to you, not speak to you, for I frankly confess I lack the accomplishment of the average American citizen—the gift of speech-making.
But, before proceeding, I wish to ask a question which has been troubling my mind for some time. I had the good fortune during the past summer to spend a few weeks on one of the lovely islands–Middle Bass-of Lake Erie. This island, as you know, is much affected by the elegant people of the lakeside cities and towns. While at Middle Bass I had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of many agreeable people, the memory of whose cordial politeness I will long cherish. I was struck with the number of fair and gentle maidens I saw at Middle Bass, and I have seen so many of them during the few days I have been in Toledo that I am fain to ask whether the fair and gentle maiden industry is a specialty of this part of the country. If any citizen of Toledo will relieve my anxiety on this point I will acknowledge my obligation to him.
But I must not put too great a stress on your patience. I acknowledge the full force of the old maxim, “ brevity is the soul of wit," and I will suggest, not only the soul of wit, but of pleasant talking also, so I will get down to the theme assigned to me: The Army of the Cumberland. What a surging crowd of memories comes up to the mind of every man who was a soldier of that army at the mention of its name! With all those of us who were with that army “from start to finish ” the memory goes back to the autumn of 1861, when there were only three or four nuclei scattered through Kentucky. Who that remembers the little detachments scattered through Kentucky could have predicted that, before the close of the war, the Army of the Cumberland would number two hundred thousand men on its rolls ? But, isolated as those nuclei were, they made memorable history. The battle of Mill Springs was fought, and victory won, in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, in January, 1862. This was the first national victory.
The victory of Mill Springs will ever be memorable as the first national victory; but, perhaps, it will ever be more memorable for another reason. It was as the commander of the national troops in the battle of Mill Springs that "the greater Virginian” of whom we heard last evening in the annual oration delivered by our comrade, GENERAL THRUSTON, came prominently before the nation.
Need I mention his name to an audience of soldiers of the Army of the Cumberland; or, indeed to an audience composed of the American people? He began his service in the Army of the Cumberland as a division commander, and terminated his connection with the grand old army, as its honored and beloved commander, at the close of the most stupendous war of modern times with the integrity of the National Union assured.
The divisions of the Army of the Cumberland, though under a different name, were first distinctly brought together at Nashville, in March, 1862. Its commander at that time was that accomplished soldier, GENERAL BUELL. From Nashville we marched to the Tennessee river, where we arrived in time to save our sister, Army of the Tennessee, from impending destruction. Thence followed the fall of Corinth, the fatiguing campaign of the hot summer of 1862, and then the race back, on nearly parallel lines with Bragg's army, to the Ohio river. Fortunately, we reached the "beautiful Ohio” first. Then we turned on the Confederates, forced them back till they made a junction with Kirby Smith's force at Perryville, where they stood to give us battle. The Confederates did this simply to check the pursuit, and drew off in the night. However, the pursuit was continned till the Confederates were expelled from Kentucky, when the divisions of the Army of the Cumberland were again concentrated at Nashville. Then followed the bloody battle of Stone river. None of us who were there will ever forget that awful day—the 31st of December, 1862. For three days the fate of the battle was undecided, hung trembling in the balance. Fortunately, at last, the balance inclined our way, and the Confederates " got up and got.” I pass over the six months of weary dirt digging at Murfreesboro, the expulsion of the Confederates from Middle Tennessee, the crossing of the Cumberland mountains, the passage of the broad and majestic Tennessee, and the occupation of Chattanooga, to reveal to you the Army of the Cumberland on the battle field of Chickamauga, Sunday afternoon, the 20th of September, 1863. Who that stood, that sunny afternoon, in that blood and carnage, and saw the heroic valor displayed by the Army of the Cumberland in that direct strait of battle, will ever forget that scene? Though every assault of the Confederates had been bloodily repulsed, which would have enabled the national army to hold the field, it was withdrawn, pursuant to orders, to Chattanooga. Then followed the sixty-three days of short rations, with the Confederates looking down on us from the crest of Mission Ridge and the summit of Lookout Mountain.
The weary occupation of Chattanooga was terminated by the most dramatic incident of the war. This incident was the not only unorilered, but prohibited, assault of Mission Ridge by the Army of the Cumberland, November 25, 1863. This successful assault shattered the center of the Confederates into fragments and hurled them into a disorderly retreat.
I must pass by the dreary winter campaign of 1863-64, in East Tennessee, without notice, though it was rough enough on those of us who went through it. The verval season of 1864 saw the commencement of the concentrated operations of our armies, which presaged the success of the effort for the suppression of the great Rebellion.