probably from The Worcester Spy, 21 October 1906
|RECALL OLD ARMY DAYS
Fortieth Reunion of Men of 15th Regiment.
The 40th annual reunion of the 15th regiment, Massachusetts volunteers, was in Worcester yesterday. The reunions are usually Oct. 21, the anniversary of the battle of Balls Bluff, near Leesburg, Va., in which the regiment lost 310 men, but the 21st falling on Sunday this year the reunion was advanced to the day previous.
The steady rainfall did not keep the veterans at home, and members of the regiment were present in large numbers, and beside the routine business, the splendid dinner and the speechmaking, swapped reminiscences and fought some of the old battles over again.
At 10:30 a.m., the veterans assembled at the board of trade rooms, Foster street, for a business session. Gen. John W. KIMBALL, president of the regimental association, not having arrived from Fitchburg, comrade W. G. WATERS, Santa Barbara, Cal., was called to the chair amid rousing cheers. He opened the meeting by a few introductory remarks, and the minutes of the meeting of a year ago were read by Secretary Edward A. RICE, Worcester.
At the close of the reading Gen. Kimball arrived and after being given three cheers, presided at the session. Mr. Rice read the treasurer's report showing a balance of $14.69 on hand.
A committee on nominations was appointed, consisting of the following:
Vote was passed that George H. (sic) Ward, the assistant secretary, who was appointed last year by the directors, be made an officer of the association.
The following committee was appointed to collect funds: George W. MIRICK, Dr. Henry ROCKWOOD, Albert N. FOSTER, and they later reported a collection of $28.
Deaths occurring in the regiment since the last meeting are:
In connection with the list of the dead, Comrade W. F. MILLER, President of Co. E; said that for three successive years he had been reporting Alonzo B. WALKER as among the dead, and that Mr. Walker now sat before him in the flesh, the healthiest dead man he had ever seen. Mr. Walker, who now lives at Brooks Station, Princeton, later explained that he had moved about, and Comrade Miller had lost track of him.
The committee on nominations reported as follows:
Capt. T. J. HASTINGS, who has been chairman of the board of directors, brought up the subject of the 15th Massachusetts regiment's monument at Gettysburg, which had been injured by the elements, and brought to Worcester for repairs.
Capt. EARLE said that the frost had greatly damaged the monument and that the shaft above the foundation was now in a shed on Main street, Worcester, and had been there two or three months.
Capt. EARLE told of the progress of the movement to have the government purchase the Balls Bluff battle field and said that the veterans wanted the place marked by tablets and that the $5000 appropriation to enable the secretary of war to buy the battle field had been carried in a bill and that Gen. KARNER will carry out the work.
The regiment voted to add Capt. Amos BARTLETT, Webster, to the standing committee of three having the Balls Bluff battlefield matter in charge. The committee as now composed is:
On motion of Capt. HASTINGS the assistant secretary was made an ex-officio member of the board of directors.
The meeting in the board of trade rooms adjourned at noon, and the veterans went to dinner in G. A. R. hall, 35 Pearl street. The George H. WARD post womens' relief G. A. R., provided a repast, the menu including turkey, scalloped oysters, cranberry sauce, pie cake, ice cream and coffee.
The ladies having direct charge of the dinner were: Mrs. Sarah L. MAYNARD, secretary of the executive committee, assisted by Mrs. P. F. MURRAY, Mrs. George H. WARD, Mrs. ELWELL, Mrs. J. W. WAITE, Mrs. PUTNAM, Mrs. Anna TORREY, Mrs. I. W. Van NESS, Mrs. Flora CHAPIN, Mrs. A. C. WILLARD, Mrs. Mary GOULD, Mrs. Lucy ROBINSON, Mrs. B. F. CLOUGH, Mrs. M. Jennie CUTTING.
After Chaplain John E. PHARNES had asked God's blessing and before the comrades sat down to eat they stood a few moments in silent reverence to the memory of departed comrades.
After dinner speeches were asked for by President KIMBALL, and he presented first, Mayor John T. DUGGAN, who told the old soldiers he was pleased to be with them, and welcomed them to Worcester, extending them the freedom of the city.
Following the mayor's speech the regimental song, "Near Conrad's Ferry," was sung.
George W. WARD, assistant secretary read letters of regret from
Toastmaster Kimball called attention to an article which recently appeared in the New England Magazine, stating that Gen. DEVENS was a colonel of the 10th Massachusetts. Gen. Kimball considered it an unfortunate mistake, as it might have some effect on historical articles to be written in the future.
Capt. Charles T. PRATT, son of ex-Mayor Pratt, spoke briefly on Willie Grout, the young lieutenant, who was killed at Balls Bluff.
"Marching through Georgia" was sung, and Gen. Kimball then expressed the regrets of the soldiers that Congressman Rockwood HOAR was too ill to be present, and Gen. Kimball asked Capt. EARLE to speak for him.
Capt. Earle informed the veterans that when their invitation to Congressman Rockwood Hoar reached him he was too ill to even send regrets. Capt. EARLE told of Congressman Hoar's service to the regiment in working for the appropriation to buy the battlefield at Balls Bluff, and closed his remarks by making a motion that the secretary of the regimental association extend to Hon. Rockwood Hoar the sympathy of the association. This motion was unanimously carried.
Commissary sergeant W. G. WATERS, who had planned his trip from Santa Barbara, Cal., especially to attend the G. A. R. encampment at Minneapolis and the reunion of the 15th Massachusetts regiment, was the next speaker, and he told of how hot it was in Minneapolis during the encampment, and said that at that encampment he had the pleasure of meeting comrade Henry BIGELOW, whom he had not seen before in 43 years.
Capt. Amos BARTLETT, Webster, followed with a witty speech. Capt. BARTLETT was humorous in his remarks, and then brought out the changes that 45 years had wrought.
Maj. Church HOWE, the original quartermaster of the regiment, attended the reunion for the first time in 38 years. He is now United States consul at Montreal, but he has spent most of the years since the war abroad, having been American minister at Palermo and Antwerp.
Maj. Howe's theme was the position of the government to the old soldier, and he was emphatic in the statement that no other country in the world take as good care of the old soldiers as Uncle Sam. He paid splendid tributes to Cols. DEVENS and WARD and to Willie GROUT and to his old comrades in arms.
George W. WARD, son of Col. George H. WARD, thanked the speakers for the kind references to his father, and said he had a modest mother, but she had not transferred that quality to him.
George H. BLISS, Boston, was called on for a speech, and he said it was the first reunion of the regiment he had ever attended. He was one of the recruits from Berkshire country who joined the regiment after the battle of Balls Bluff, and being taken sick was sent home before the regiment was and had lost track of his comrades.
Gen. Kimball having to leave for home in Fitchburg, Col. H. E. SMITH was called to the chair and presided during the remainder of the meeting.
W. F. MILLER spoke on "Comradeship" and the keynote of Mr. Miller's remarks being that the North and South are united in true Americanship, and the animosities of 40 years ago are wiped away.
Comrade A. H. FOSTER moved a vote of thanks to the board of trade, to the relief corps, and to the gentlemen who had rendered the regiment such efficient service at the reunion. The motion was unanimously carried, and the reunion came to an end by the veterans sing "Auld Lang Syne."
Among those who were entertained at dinner were: