|from The |
| Reunion Co. B, 15th Regiment.
The annual reunion of Co. B, 15th regiment, M.V.M., was held at Wachustt Park on Saturday. With the excepton of one or two slight showers the weather was all that could be desired. The meeting was called to order by H.D McIntire, first lieutenant commanding. The roll was called and the following responded to their names:
John W. Kimball
It was voted to hold the next annual reunion at Crystal Lake, Gardner, June 28th, 1880. The officers were instructed to secure half fare on all the roads centering at Gardner, if possible.
The company then adjourned for a collation which was very
abundant and was heartily partaken of by all present. Sergt. Spooner
read the following letter from Attorney General Devens:
Letters were also read from Capt. Charles H. Eager, Amos C. Plaisted and W. G. Waters.
Interesting remarks were made by Gen. John W. Kimball, A. J. Nye, John R. Farnum, Alderman Sibley and others. Uncle Cyrus Thurston, who was one of the original members of the Fitchburg Fusillers in 1816, related an anecdote of an event that transpired in Westminster 60 years ago, in 1819. Gen. Kimball said that Westminster could be proud that she sent the youngest commissioned major general to the United States service; Gen. Nelson A. Miles. Three rousing cheers were given for Gen. Miles.
A vote of thanks and remembrance was extended to W. G. Waters of San Francisco, Cal. W. W. Holman of Winchendon furnished excellent music for dancing which was enjoyed by man. A very fine time was enjoyed and much satisfaction was expressed by those who participated.
Address of A. J. Nye.
And in this last sentence I find a text, the gladdest for we meet again face to face the comrades with whom we have stood shoulder to shoulder, and shared the vicissitudes of the camp, the march and battle, where the missles of death were flying thick and fast about us, and brave and true men whom we loved as brothers were falling ou our right and and on our left, and yet we stood with unflinching fidelity shoulder to shoulder, each giving strength to the other by expressing in his countenance his unyielding determination to stand firmly and to the last by that flag which is the symbol of all we hold dear; or lay down our lives to preserve the integrity of that Government for which our fathers sacrificed more than we can possibly realize to establish. To me; (and I believe I speak the sentiment of every comrade --) the solid enjoyment of this day goes with me through the year. As each recruiting anniversary comes round we come up here bringing with us our household gods. And our wives and little ones anticipate the day with impatient longing, and enjoy it when it comes with quite as much zest as we ourselves. We meet in this beautiful grove, so quiet and secluded, that for the time we seem to form a world of our own, leaving behind us to the great world outside, all the petty rivalries in the mad pursuit of gain, ambition, or self-agrandizement and live over again the days, when standing constantly face to face with death, those things seemed not to exist; but we seemed drawn closer and closer together by one common and all absorbing motive, and that a purely unselfish one. With most of us life is a struggle against poverty, none of us I apprehend are burdened with wealth, each has his own individual cares, responsibilities and sorrows to bear, but we leave them all behind today and look into each others faces with a faith and confide3nce which only those can feel who have suffered together.
I do not wish to mar this occasion by any undue allusion to sad
memories. But no thinking intelligent person would wish to purchase
immunity from sorrow at the price of forgetfulness. No! We would not
forget if we could. Time has softened our grief, and at this
distance we are able to look calmly on that which it once seemed
utterly impossible for us ever to do. Although even now, at times,
with some of us the memories of the past come rushing over the soul
with crushing weight. Yet it is chastened by the thought that that
which brought untold sorrow to our hearts brought joy and gladness
to millions of living souls and will continue to be a source of
gratitude and thanksgiving to unborn millions. Let us not mourn then
as those without hope, but in the immortal words of Longfellow:
And just here I wish to answer some aspersions cast upon us for holding our annual reunion and disabuse the minds of those casting them, of the utter fallacy of the sentiment expressed. We are accused of meeting to foster and ?? feelings of resentment towards those against whom we fought in the late war. Now I deny the charge emphatically, and say that such an aspersion could only come from a narrow and cowardly soul. We did not go to war because we loved Johnny less, but because we loved Uncle Same more, and when Johnny was chastised sufficiently to bring him back to allegiance to his kind and indulgent Uncle, then, and ever since, have we not been willing to clasp his hand and call him brother?
I wish those who are so foolish as to suppose that a soldier in the discharge of his duty is motivated by so unworthy a motive as hatred towards an enemy, could have seen the thousands of prisoners taken while crossing the river, after Gettysburg; when they came through our lines, poor, tired, hungry, discouraged fellows, without rations; and although we were on short rations, yet we, almost to a man, divided with them, giving them the larger half. And the idea that now, after 15 years, we should meet for the ignoble purpose of kindling the fires of revenge is preposterous, and could never for one moment be entertained only by carpet-bagging demagogues who had not pluck enough to go honorably in defence of our common country, but who stayed at home and found fault with those who did go, and who held open the bag and net, ready to catch the loaves and fishes that might come to them by way of fat government contracts. And that same class now stand ready on the slightest provocation to cry war! War!
The day of our reunion brings to every true loyal heart a great opportunity. We can in a great measure undo the work of those who labor for sectional partisanship. If the fraternal union is not complete, we can bring to the memories that cluster around this day, the love of a common country. If the work of the war is not complete, we can aid its completion, but we cannot do this by preaching another war. Much has been done to bring about peace and harmony to our distracted country and much remains to be done, but time is needed to accomplish it. Lincoln and Andrew did not hope to transform a people by one great struggle. To unite the country, to bring to all men a common law and a common freedom, this they sought to da, and this they did. And ll narrow partisans who are seeking to undo this, by rekindling the fires of sectionalism and attempting to arraign North against South, and shouting the war cry, should be frowned down and sent to the rear.
There is much more suggested by the occasion that I would like to say, but I am admonished by the inexorable motion of the hands on the dial plate that it is time for me to stop. So thanking you for your patience in listening so long, and hoping we may meet next year under as pleasant circumstances as surround us today, I will close with a few general observations. The live of today is the fruit of the whole life of the past, and the seed of the future; in the Devine economy, there is no waste of light, or power, and no turning back. The line of progress, thought we may not always be able to trace it, is clear to Him who perceives the end from the beginning, and in whose logic, slow it may be but infallible, effect follows cause, though ages may intervene.
Then let us no longer look backward for the golden age of which poets dreamed, and mourn that it has baded from the earth forever, but let us look forward to the free empire of the future, whose foundations are broader and firmer, whose superstructure will be grander and more beautiful than any reared in the days of despotism and of force, and ll of whose beauty, and strength, and wealth and power shall be the common possession and equal inheritance of all the people gathered within its grand and ample domain.