from The Worcester Aegis and Gazette, June 5, 1886 , (Volume 85 # 23), 


The Visit of Worcester County Veterans
Dedication of its Monuments
An Oration by Gen. Devens
Impressive Speeches By Hon. W. W. Rice, Gen. Sprague and Others    

[Special Dispatch to The Gazette]

New York , June 1.---Last evening a large crowd gathered at the depot to witness the departure of the Gettysburg Excursion party which included 150 persons.  Additions were made as was expected to this number, at the different stations along the route, until on our arrival in New York the party numbered 200.  Nearly one-half of this number were veterans of the 15th regiment.

 The guests of the regiment and its members were supplied with silk badges.  The veterans wore a blue silk badge and the guests crimson.  Each had a clover leaf the insignia of the army corps to which the 15th was attached.  The inscription was “15th Regiment excursion---Gettysburg, Antietam, Ball’s Bluff, Washington---1886”  The first stop after leaving the city was at Webster where a large crowd had assembled with a brass band which played ‘Auld Lang Sine.” 

Among the party were 

Gen. Charles Devens of Worcester ; Gen. A. B. Sprague, Gen. J. W. Kimball, wife and daughter of Fitchburg
Hon. W. W. Rice, Capt. D. M. Earle and wife of Worcester
Cutler Moore and wife of Warren
H. T. Dudley and wife of Wilkersonville; 
W. H. Anderson of Worcester
C. M. Palmer of Westminster
E. P. Morton of Webster; 
Mrs. Geo. H. Ward, widow of Col. Ward, Geo. W. Ward and wife of Worcester; 
Capt. Amos Bartlett of Webster; 
George W. Mirick of Worcester; 
E. J. Humphries, and R. E. Bowen, Fred J. Bowen of Millbury. 
Geo. K. Nichols and wife of  North Grafton, 
C. B. Newhall and wife of Worcester, 
Frank A. Holbrook, 
F. A. Dodge of Saundersville, 
R. R. Dodge of Wilkinsonville, 
Geo. J. Dudley and wife of Sutton; 
A. E. Houghton of Wilkinsonville; 
W. W. Holman, F. F. Ball, B. F. Stone, H. S. Poland, C. T. Stearns, G. N. Goodspeed, D. H. Pepper of Winchendon; 
G. F. Stevens of Springfield; 
O. Fairbanks of Worcester; 
Wm. Barret of Berlin; 
Newton Talbot of Boston; 
Joseph Shambo of Wilkinsonville; 
W. J. Coulter of Clinton of Clinton; 
F. G. Sargent of Grantville; 
Lucius Field of 36th regiment of Clinton; 
F. E. Nourse of Holyoke; 
Charles A. Watson of Northampton, N. H.; 
O. A. Laythe of Sterling; 
G. W. Laythe of Clinton; 
W. H. Shumway of Worcester; 
G. E. Shumway of Brookfield; 
Andrew B. Garfield of Millbury; 
B. A. Leonard, L. S. Amidown, Col. C. H. Page, Hon. A. G. Bartholemew of Southbridge; 
Samuel L. Pevear of Hampton Falls, N. H.; 
A. M. Eaton, Sibley Putnam, B. P. Lord, Sergt. P. F. Murray, Benj. Stevens, P. A. Thompson, A. S. Sawyer of Worcester; 
Augustus Renrick of Hyde Park; 
E. B. Hudson of Grafton; 
Cyrus Gale of Northborough; 
C. H. Newton of Fitchburg; 
P. S. Newton of  Royalston; 
Albert Davis of Upton; 
M. H. Montague, Osborne Walker; H. B. Bartlett, A. H. Foster, J. H. Lombard, J. C. Converse, Calvin G. Bliss, Lucien E. Bliss, C. H. Bartlett of North Brookfield; 
S. N. Wheeler, Benjamin Shattuck, J. H. Carpenter, Lyman Patch and wife, Col? E. P. Loring, Henry A. Willis, C. A. Corey, M. L. Sheldon, W. A. Hardy, Capt. A. A. Gibson, H. Bailey of Fitchburg; 
C. R. Frazier, Henry Greenwood Dr. J. B. Brigham, H. J. Raymond of Clinton, 
Charles F. Morey of Leominster; 
S. Doane of Boston;    
L. H. Rockwood of South Weymouth; 
J. J. Kendall of East Plympton; 
M. E. Chandler,  C. F. Chandler of Boston; 
E. S. Kendall of Westminster; 
B. F. Clark and wife of Conway N. H.; 
Geo. H. Eagan of Boston; 
A. C. Willard of Charlton; 
G. S. Gilchrist and wife of Lunenburg; 
J. L. Frost of Belmont; 
Col. J. M. Studley of Providence; 
Col. Chase Philbrick of Lawrence; 
Matthew Seymour of Danielsonville, Conn.; 
Wm. R. Warren of Fall River; 
C. A. Tenny of Sterling; 
Orlando McIntire of Sutton; 
C. E. Southwick, O. Southwick, of Hardwick; 
Capt. B. B. Vassal, C. R. Wiswall of  Newton; 
W. R. Dimond of West Newton; 
Henry Rusock of Webster; 
Postmaster T. A. Hills of Leominster; 
G. W. Rockwood of Northborough; 
Lieut. F. W. Pally of Leominster; 
Greenleaf Parker of Boston; 
Albert Everett of Worcester; 
J. H. Lawrence of Lunenburg and George M. Rice 2d of Worcester. 
The party was provided with special cars and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  We arrived at New London on time and found that staterooms had been reserved for us through the kindness of Conductor E. M. Turner, who looked well after our wants.  We arrived at New York early this morning but preferred a few quiet hours before going ashore.

Gettysburg , Pa. , June 2.---The Worcester County party reached here last evening in good time and in good health, having had a pleasant trip from Philadelphia .  Early this morning the party took carriages and visited the several principal places of interest, including Cemetery Hill, Culp’s Hill, Spangler’s Spring, the National Cemetery, Cemetery Ridge, ect, and the “Copse of Tree’s” where the 15th Mass. Regiment is located, and the Col. Ward Monument.  At every point there were reminiscences of the great battle, as one after another of the veterans recognized familiar locations.

At the 15th Regiment Monument , formal dedicatory exercises were held.  Capt. D. M. Earle of Worcester, chairman of the committee, presided.  reverend C. M. Palmer of Westminster , Mass. , officiated as chaplain and made the opening prayer, after which Gen. Charles Devens delivered the oration, speaking as follows:

[Oration by Gen. Devens]  

Comrades and Friends: We have met at a distance from our home on a great field rendered immortal forever by the victory won here for the Union of these states and for the great principle of liberty and equality on which that heroism must live or else have no life, to dedicate this monument to the memory of those of the 15th Massachusetts Regiment, who fell in that terrible conflict.

If such be the immediate object of this monument, it has also a wider scope as in a large sense it commemorates all the brave men who nobly gave or bravely offered their lives and testifies to our own devotion to, and faith in the great cause which demanded this solemn sacrifice.  Our gathering is in no sense ceremonial; yet simple and informal as they may be, we must willingly speak as we stand above these glorious graves some words that shall express however inadequately the gratitude we bear those men for their priceless service and the love and honor in which we cherish their memory.

So rapidly do the years move that in the near future the language of impartial history shall speak in the solemn and unanswered tones  in which it has recorded its judgment upon brave men and heroic souls long gone before us in the ages past.  But, although 23 years are gone since these hills rang with the echoes of the dead artillery and these fields almost shook with the tramp of contending armies, to us, then, men must ever be what they were that day, brothers and comrades, husbands, lovers, fathers and sons, every thing that makes life sweet and beautiful gathers and entwines itself around their memory.

The 15th Regiment mustered into the service in July, 1861, in Worcester , was the first of six regiments which were organized in that city for the suppression of the rebellion.  It was composed of Worcester County men almost entirely, and was the offering of ten towns in that county whose names in familiar conversation the companies frequently bore to the last in the regiment as well as the letters which were their proper designation.  I name them in the alphabetical order of their designation: A, Leominster; B, Fitchburg; C, Clinton; D, Worcester; E, Oxford; F, Brookfield; G, Grafton; H, Northbridge; I, Webster; K, Blackstone.  It was the only one of the regiments organized in the County of Worcester that participated in the battle of Gettysburg ; although all others were doing on other parts of the field reliable and faithful service.

The battle of Gettysburg indicates the high water mark of the rebellion.  Although many great battles were to be fought thereafter, many trials endured, many disasters encountered, yet the culminating battle was here and it was here that the tide was turned.  If the so called confederacy could establish itself firmly on the soil of one of the northern states it would indicate to Europe that the civil war was something more than a local one of vast rebellion and might perhaps gain for it an admission into the family of nations by them who were covertly supporting it.  Vicksburg was not yet taken.  It could not be wrenched from the grasp of the iron hands which held it, but the blow might be parried if a victory could be won for the rebellion upon northern soil.  Whatever were the motives and hopes which induced the invasion of Pennsylvania by general Lee, here they were seen to come to naught and were utterly blasted.

In view, it may fairly be presumed, in consequence of this great victory, of the fact that it was upon the soil of one of the free states and that this field is an appropriate memorial of the whole war, the state of Massachusetts on March 25th, 1884, appropriated to each of its regiments or batteries here engaged a sufficient sum for a suitable monument to be erected on the battle field.  The work of the artist is before us and that if simple it is yet graceful and appropriate, will be conceded.  No state has proved more tenderly regardful of the children whom she sent forth to battle than our own Massachusetts .

No troops ever went forth more carefully prepared, clothed and equipped than those who were sent out under her war Governor, John A. Andrew, whose name is never to be mentioned but with love and respect.  Never were men watched over with more affectionate regard through those stormy days of trial.  Since the war has closed no state has been more generous in supplementing the national bounty in behalf of our sick and wounded, our decayed and broken men.  It is to her that we owe the means of erecting this tribute to our fallen comrades, and for this we render to her today our grateful and cordial thanks.

I shall not undertake here, my comrades, at any length, to relate the deeds of the 15th Massachusetts , or fully to describe this great battle in which it bore so creditable a part.  The merest sketch must suffice.  Before this conflict the regiment had won for itself an honorable, I might safely say an illustrious name among the foremost and best disciplined regiments of the army.  There is a point with the bravest where organization looses its power, where losses are so severe and men so utterly broken that discipline fails and can do nothing more, and yet twice in its history it had lost more than half its men and still unflinchingly it had drawn off the remnant of its men resolutely and in good order.

At its first battle, that of Ball’s Bluff, unfortunate though the day was, it had established a reputation for valor and for determined staying power which it never forfeited or lost, but that reputation had been won at the expense of many, noble brave lives.  It was in this engagement that General Ward, then Lieut..- Col. , was severely  wounded.  He was destined afterward, bravely to lose his life on this field and the dedication of his monument will be a part of our solemn office today.

The Regiment made a campaign in February, 1862, in the valley of Virginia and then joined the forces of McClellan on the Peninsula .  At Yorktown , having been assigned to the command of a brigade by promotion, my own immediate connection with the regiment ceased and Colonel Ward being utterly disabled the active command passed for the time, to the always brave and reliable Colonel Kimball.  It participated in all the conflicts of this Peninsula .  I have re-read the reports of Generals Gorman, Sully, Howard, and Sedgewick.  In different forms of expression each of those generals has said that better and braver troops no man ever led.

It was in the same division with the 19th and 20th, who, it is just to say received similar recommendations.  My own words are of little importance compared with those, but in a report made by myself to Gov. Andrew, Dec. 20, 1862 , principally as to the 7th, 10th and 37th Regiments of Mass., then in my brigade.  I spoke of the 15th in language which I believe as firmly now as when I wrote it: “Called upon,” I said, “both at Ball’s Bluff and at Antietam when it was commanded by Lieut. Col. (now Colonel Kimball), to endure the terrific loss of more than one half of its men engaged, it exhibited a courage and fidelity more than worthy of veteran troops, for it was worthy of the holy cause which had drawn its men from their peaceful homes.”

At Antietam when I was moving up with my Brigade on the morning after the principal battle, anticipating its renewal, my orderly George W. Mirick said to me “Gen. Sedgwick is wounded, lying in a hut near the road.”  I jumped off my horse and ran in for a moment.  After speaking of his wound, which although it disabled him for the time, was nor severe, Gen. Sedgwick said to me “your old 15th was magnificent yesterday, no regiment of the regular army ever fought better.”  I thought he might well say this, when at a later period I learned that it had carried 606 officers and men into the battle and that its list of casualties was 322 men, all 24 of whom but were accounted for by name as killed on the field or wounded.  It certainly was a sufficient complement when he says in his report that its “conduct was not different from what it was on other occasions.”  The disastrous battle of Fredericksburg followed Antietam, and was followed by the no less unfortunate  battle of Chancellorsville .  In both these engagements the 15th had a part worthy always of its reputation.

 It can not be denied that their expect was to depress the North, and the hope to take advantage of that depression was included in the campaign that Gen. Lee now inaugurated.  When the design of Gen. Lee was unmasked Gen. Hooker acted with great vigor, crossing the Potomac only one day later, and moving so rapidly as to threaten Lee’s communications, and interpose between him and his cavalry.  As celerity of movement was now of the highest importance it is worthy to note that the 15th, together with the 19th Mass. , received the compliment of a special complementary order for its vigorous and compact marching on the day when Gen. Hooker crossed the river in pursuit.

At Frederick , in Maryland , Gen. Hooker was relieved from command, and Gen. Meade substituted, but the Potomac Army advanced so vigorously that Lee fell back from the Susquehanna, anxious lest his line of retreat should be barred.  The first encounter took place to the north, west of Gettysburg, the battle being opened by Beaufords cavalry, the 1st and 11th Corps on our side being the only corps engaged, outnumber by the enemy, they were forced back to the crest on which we are standing.  The 15th Regiment, whose fortunes we desire more immediately to follow, was in the 2d Corps, Hancock’s, and proudly they were all entitled to wear the cloverleaf, which is its badge, for the good work in those days.  Its division commander was Gen. John Gibbon, and Col. Ward was acting temporary brigade commander of the First Brigade, in which it served.  Gen. Hancock, who without troops, had been sent forward to Gettysburg, had reported that the ground was favorable for a battle; that it could be held until nightfall, and orders had been at once issued for the concentration of the army at Gettysburg.

The 15th on the night of July 1st, bivouacked about three miles from the field, and moved forward on the morning of July 2d, with the rest of the 2d Corps at daybreak, reaching the field about 7 o’clock .  The other brigades of the division were in line.  The First Brigade was formed in the undulation or hollow behind the line of  the regimental monument, so that it might be readily moved to the aid of other parts of the line in column of regiments.  Col. Ward who had been relieved by the arrival of the brigade commander, now took command of the regiment  He spoke briefly but spiritedly to the men, urged them to do their duty and told them of the momentous issues involved in their holding the ground firmly.

It was not until about 4 o’clock that serious conflict took place by a terrific attack upon the left of the 3d Corps which had been thrown forward to a more advanced position on the Emmetsburg Road , which ran diagonally to the front of our general line.  The line of the 3d Corps, commanded by Gen. Sickel’s  extended along that road by the Peach Orchard, then turning back to the foot of Round Top, its right resting on the Emmitsburg Road in echelon, some 550 yards in advance of the line of the 2d Corps.  To protect his own left and the right of Gen. Sickel’s Corps, and to fill the gap, Gen. Hancock ordered two regiments to be advanced to the Emmitsburg Road north of the Cadori House.  The 15th Massachusetts , Col. Ward, and 82d New York , Lieut. Col. Huston, were ordered to move forward, which they immediately did, forming along the road, the 15th being on the right and the 82d on the left.  This line did not immediately connect with the extreme right of the 3d Corps, but was some 200 yards from it, nor with the extreme left of the 2d Corps but was partially in front of it.

The attack which had commenced at the extreme  left of the 3d Corps and at the Peach Orchid, gradually extended to its right until the whole line of the corps was engaged.  It was nearly seven o’clock in the evening when the storm fell upon the 15th and 82d New York .  the extreme right of the 3d Corps was now attacked by Barkdale’s , Wilson’s and Perry’s Confederate Brigades and forced gradually back, thus uncovering the left of the line of the two regiments whose action we are following Wrights Georgia Brigade now advanced and would have struck or swept around the right flank of the 3d Corps but that it was encountered by these regiments.

The engagement was desperate, from their advanced position the two regiments  were to some extent under the fire of our own men as much as that of the enemy.  The 82d whose left was now wholly uncovered was first forced back, and the whole weight of the assault fell upon the 15th.  It was necessary to retire to the line of the 2d Corps, and thither? fought its way back.  

 But the two regiments had done their work well in protecting the flank of their own corps, for as the enemy followed closely they were handsomely repulsed by then second Brigade of their Division, and by a portion of the 13th Vermont , which had just reached that part of the field.  In this fearful conflict we had to mourn the loss of many brave officers and men, among them Col. Ward, who gallantly fighting as his regiment steadily retreated, he received the mortal wound of which, in a few hours later he died.  Lieut. Col. Huston was mortally wounded.  But if terrible blows had been received they had most terribly been returned.

The Georgia Brigade of Wright had left on the field either killed or seriously and perhaps mortally wounded, three of their regimental commanders, Col. Warden of the 22d Georgia, Major Ross, commanding the 2d Georgia; Col. Gibson, commanding the 48th Georgia, and its loss in subordinate officers and men was proportionately heavy.  I have spoken somewhat fully of the conduct of the 15th of the 2d of July, for from the isolated position which it and its companion regiment occupied they rendered a peculiar, dangerous and gallant service.

Notwithstanding the forcing back of the Third Corps, the wd of July had taken as a whole, closed successfully for our army.  Round top which protected our left, was now so firmly held that it could not be torn from us, and on our extreme right at Culp's Hill although some advantage had been gained by the confederates, it was clear that all they had obtained could be taken from them, as it was indeed on the next morning.

It was about 1 o’clock on the 3d of July, when the preparation for the terrific assault intended to break the center of our line and drive in confusion its two separate fragments on two distinct lines of retreat, began by one of the most terrific cannonades ever known.  The Confederate army was especially strong that day in artillery and Gen. Lee was able to concentrate for this 150 guns.  For two hours or more this storm continued towards the center it was intended to break.  Sheltering themselves as far as possible by such rude breastworks as they had been enabled to make, or troops, whom the artillery fire is intended to demoralize, await the struggle which is to come by the movement of the enemies infantry.  The position of the 15th Mass. , now under the command of Col. Joslin lay during this tempest of shot and shell is some 20 to thirty rods to the left of the monument.  Hancock knows that somewhere on the 2d Corps the weight of the assault is to fall and as he ride along the line rouses his men by inspiring words and his own gallant bearing.  It is about 3 o’clock , and the Confederate fire slackens so that their infantry may move out of the woods that have partially sheltered them.  They are coming now in numbers nearly on quite 18,000 men. Longstreet organized the assault; but Pickett’s Division of Virginians is to lead.  It contains about 5000 or 6000 men who have not yet fought in the battle and is supported on the right and left by divisions from other corps in their army.  It is a relief to see them come, for fierce as the encounter must be, the recumbent position of our men under the blazing July sun, is intolerable, and they spring to their feet with alacrity.  The enemy was formed for the attack in two lines, which as they moved, contracted their front and doubled or tripled their lines by reason of the difficulties and obstructions of the march, thus having the appearance and to some extent the formation of columns as they are generally termed.  They were severely handled by our artillery, but the enemy came steadily.  The assault was directed at first precisely toward the point of the line where the brigade was posted, in which the 15th served, but more lately and advanced it deflected to our right, perhaps because the clump of trees afforded them a prominent landmark, or because of the fire of Stannard’s Vermont Brigade which was now thrown forward on the right flank.

The 15th Mass. , with the other regiments of the brigade following this movement, presently moved towards their own right to encounter the attack when it was about to strike on the line of the 2d Corps.  in this movement many of our own men fell, notably Capt. Jorgenson and a little later Capt. Murkland. as the 15th Regiment reached the clump of trees, the enemy breaking through the line of Gen. Webb which was marked by a lone stone wall, for a moment fairly pressed the Union lines back, it was the last effort of desperation.  The assaulting lines or columns could do no more.  There was a moments pause, but the point penetrated by the enemy was instantly covered, and if by common consent the order “Forward” was given, and our men resolutely advanced upon the foe

“The first time I heard ‘Advance the Colors !’ says Capt. Hastings of the 15th, was from Corporal Cunningham, although it was only the repetition of the order given by Col. Joslin.” The order was uttered and repeated from man to man as well as from General to Colonel, along the line.  No one can say who gave it first.  There was some confusion, for in the rapid movements and the heavy fire, organization was to some extent lost, but all know what is to be done, and are resolute to do it.  Firmly on now comes the whole Union front, officers if they cannot always direct by their commands,  animate by their example.

For a few moments the contest is most furious, but such a struggle is to desperate to endure long.  The Confederate lines waver, yield, break at last while many of their men throw down their muskets and throw up their hands in surrender.  A few wild disorganized bands strive to fall back to the Confederate lines from which they had issued so bravely an hour or two before, and the Army of the Potomac as it gathers up the straggling prisoners by thousands knows that by its steady valor a great victory has been won. for the Union .

In this conflict our regiment had its full share alike of the danger and the glory for both on the 2d and 3d of July it was at the points where the fiercest fighting was done and where the victory was finally secured.  Depleted by its former engagements, the 15th brought into the battle only 18 officers and 221 men.  It lost killed on the field, 3 officers and 19 enlisted men, and wounded ( of whom many afterward died ), 8 officers and 85 men; in round numbers one half of those whom it had engaged.  tested in a merely material point of view, Gettysburg was one of the great battles of the world.

While the loss in our own regiment was 50 per cent., throughout our whole army, it was probably from 25 to 30 per cent.  In the Confederate army it was without doubt larger, as it had been the attacking force.  But dreadful as the story is when we remember that the killed, wounded and prisoners of the federal army numbered 23,000 men, who shall say as we reflect how much was done here for freedom and law and good government throughout not only our country but the world. that the victory won here was not worth even the noble lives it cost.

“The spot is holy where they fought,
And holy where they fell,
For by their blood the land was bought
That land they loved so well.”

I will not undertake to follow the history of the 15th regiment, except by a single sentence.  It fought in all the battles of the Army of the Potomac in 1863 that followed.  it was in the great battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor with which the year 1864 opened, sadly depleted in the ranks it was never false to its reputation and its full term of service completed it was mustered out in July of that year at Worcester with only 150 men.  As its Colonel I had carried from Worcester in 1861 a thousand and sixty-five men and it had received about seven hundred recruits.  Its men who were killed on the field, or died of wounds and disease during its term of service were 364.  This does not include of course those who were discharged for wounds or disability, many of whom returned home only to die.  Tried in this terrible and bloody test, its place is among the most gallant regiments of the Union army during the entire war.

From an article published in the National Tribune of this year by Mr. ? F. Gilman, formerly of the 32d Mass. , it appears that in percentage of its losses it stands fourth among those who served in the armies of the Union army.  I have not the means of verifying the accuracy of Mr. Gilman’s statements.  I am able to state however, from my own examination in the records of the Adjutant Generals office of Massachusetts, that its proportional loss of men who died during its term of service having regard to the number of men born upon its rolls is larger than that of any of the regiments that went from our commonwealth.  The actual losses were greater than those of any other regiment except the 20th. Mass. But this gallant regiment was in the service eight months longer and had upon its rolls more than half as many men, in all three thousand and thirty men.  Massachusetts sent to the war 60 gallant regiments all of whom did honor to the state, whose children they were and to the cause they served.  To have gained such a place among them as that won by the 15th is surely a sufficient eulogy.

How shall I speak of my friends and comrades of those men, when I remember that it was my duty to command them nearly a year and to lead them in the first of many bloody battles in which they fought.  Certainly no better or braver men ever went forth in obedience to the solemn call of country.  They were the young farmers, mechanics and business men of our County of Worcester , men who thought and felt as freemen.  Before them lay the path of duty; they could take no other road; they were animated by no hope of agrandizement, for most of them left behind far more lucrative positions; they were stimulated by no hope of bounties; they were excited by no fixes of personal ambition; they were enflamed by no wild enthusiasm.  Calm and deliberate reflection had told them that it was by their hands and the hands of men such as they, that the Union must be defended.  They were no kinless men, no waifs of society such as float on the surface of turbulent waters of great towns and cities.  Around them were the most sacred ties that bind us to life.  Yet they laid these aside to answer the call of country.  They were such men as make the heart, and bone, and sinew of a nation and embraced all that was noblest and purest in its young life.  When shall their glory fade.  Not surely while the great flag that they follow waves above a free and united country.  All that led this regiment in battle that now are living are here today.  I am sure I speak for all when I say that I wish we could have led and served them better.

The monument we have reared to them is not a monument to the glories of war.  If that were all, it were better that the state of Massachusetts had withheld its gift, and that this granite block was sleeping in its native quarry. No one knows better that we who have seen the trampled fields, the desolated homes, the blazing towns, the agonies of the dying on such a field as this, less happy than the dead, who are past all pain, what the horrors of war are.

 A war can only be justified or ennobled by great, and solemn cause, and that cause the American people had.  It is the noble spirit and the high resolve that their government should not be destroyed, that freedom should prevail wherever their flag floated, which we seek to commemorate.  Patriotic self devotion, unflinching loyalty to duty, these we would honor, these we would hold up to the reverence and imitation of those who come hereafter, whether he who displays those great qualities fell with the stars of the General, or the eagle of a Colonel, on his shoulder, or in the simple jacket of a the private soldier.

This memorial is reared in no spirit of hostility toward or exultation over the defeated in our late civil war.  Let the passions it engendered pass away from the dreadful source from which it sprung.  Even if the baffled and beaten traitors around whom gather all the infamies and horrors by which a wretched cause was rendered even more wicked, still parades himself with feeble utterance to cry out the cause is not dead, secession and slavery are in their dishonorable graves together.  The hand of a merciful Providence will extend to them no resurrection.  But the recollections of the grand results which our bretheren achieved and the heroism with which they achieved them can not be allowed to pass away.

Over the unfortunate and erring with whom they contended let the long grass wave undisturbed.  Yet as we stand by these glorious graves we can not confound the heroes and marytrs of a noble cause with those whom the twin furies of treason and slavery lead forth to battle, unless by a confusion of ideas worthy of chaos itself.  It is the cause that sets our brethren apart among the myriads who people the silent cities of the dead.  We should not be true to their just fame if in any sickly sentimental gush of reconsideration we should hesitate to assert that the principles for which they died were right, and those against which they fought were deeply wrong.  That assertion, in no sense unkind or ungenerous to those with whom they were once in deadly strife, this monument makes today.  It tells of bravery and valor, but it tells of more than these, for it tells of duty and patriotism, and it summons all who look upon it hereafter to answer their call.

We dedicate this monument then, the gift of Massachusetts to the memory of the dead of our 15th Regiment, who fell on this immortal field, and in the various conflicts in which the regiment fought, to the memory of those who served in it and nobly offered their lives for their country, as they have passed, or shall hereafter pass away, and, to the memory of their brave comrades of the whole Federal army.  We dedicate it to the great cause of the Union and the freedom of all who dwell beneath the flag, which is the emblem of its sovereignty, in the solemn trust that “Government of the people, by the people and for the people,’ shall not perish from among men. 

At the close of Gen. Devens oration there were brief addresses by Gen. John W. Kimball of Fitchburg , Col. Geo. C. Joslin of Boston , Col Charles E. Philbrick of Lawrence .

Letter  From Senator Hoar

Senator Hoar, who was expected to accompany the excursion, was detained in Washington by important public duties, and sent the following letter, which was read:--  

Worcester , May 31,  
To the !5th Regiment:--

I have looked forward to the expedition to Gettysburg as my chief holiday in this long and laborious season, but I am obliged to give it up.  The soldiers of the 15th are the last men who would desire me to disobey the command of the public duties which require my presence in Washington .  I am very much disappointed not to be with you.  I have never been and never shall be in better company.

 Life has few opportunities like that of visiting these famous fields with the survivors of the men who have given them there renown.  The hands of the youth of Worcester County have a large share in planting the laurel that shall ever bloom on the fields of Ball’s Bluff and Antietam and Gettysburg , laurel fragrant and immortal as freedom itself.

  Gettysburg will be counted always as one of the great battles of the world; it was the turn of the tide of Rebellion, it will also be forever associated with Lincoln ’s brief and wonderful oration, unsurpassed in all our literature for simplest and loftiest utterance of sublimest truths. But you will not have forgotten another of the most eloquent utterances that ever came from American lips, your own Col. Deven’s address to your own broken but undaunted ranks, after the fearful slaughter of Ball’s Bluff.

 Life has nothing, no wealth, no office, no title, no fame like the memories that are yours today.  Nothing that man can receive is like that which has been your to give.  All honor and glory which this world has to give is cheap and poor compared with that which belongs to you and your comrades, and which is summed up in the simple sentence “these are the men who served their country.

I am, faithfully yours,
George F. Hoar

The assembly then adjourned to the monument of Gen. Geo. H. Ward , the first Colonel of the 15th Regiment, when an address was made by Gen. A. B. R. Sprague.  He spoke as follows:--

Mr. President, Gentlemen  of the 15th Mass. Association: In behalf of the Worcester City Guards Veterans Association I return thanks for the courtesy of your committee and with whose request to join in the exercise of the occasion, I will briefly comply.

Comrades and Friends:

This part of the great battlefield of Gettysburg is hallowed by tender memories of one we loved, who here sealed his devotion to his  country with his blood.  Here the angel of death held high carnival and reveled mid shot and shell and carnage 23 years ago.  How changed the scene today.  No armed host encircle the crest from Culp's Hill to Round Top, and the desperate Army of Northern Virginia has left no trace of its fruitless struggle.

“Hark how the shered calm that breathes around,
Bids every fierce, tumultous passion cease,
In still small accents whispering from the ground
A grateful earnest of eternal peace.”  

You my comrades, who with bated breath in that whirlwind of death grasped the rifle stock or swords from hilts and beat back the foe in the smoke of that terrible conflict may well bow here in reverence, as brands plucked from the burning.  

Col. George Hull Ward was born in Worcester Massachusetts , on the 26th day of April, 1826.  He was from good military stock.    His father Col. Artemus Ward was enrolled as a soldier in the militia in 1821, was made Captain of the Worcester light Infantry and rose to the command of the regiment.  He was named after one of the early pastors of the Old South Church; of which his parents were honored members, and it was their intention that he should be educated for the ministry, but after passing through the common and high schools he gained their consent to choose his own vocation, and after years of close application at the age of 21 he became a skillful machinist.  At the age of 16 the death of his mother and a sister brought a burden of sorrow, which bore heavily upon him and made him thoughtful, as well as self-reliant, beyond his years.  At 21 he enlisted in the Worcester City Guards, and through the various grades rose to the commander in 1852.  His through knowledge of the duties of commanding officer eminently fitted him to maintain the company in a high state of discipline for eight years, from whose ranks 31 field and line officers followed the fortune of the old flag in the armies of the Union .  

While members of the City Guards we marched side by side bearing the clumsy flint lock musket; drilled weekly together by old Scott’s tactics; camped and messed together as private, non-commissioned and commissioned officer for years when it was unpopular for young men outside the regular army to spend their time learning the art of war.  In his happy home and at his place of business I was always welcome, and no unkind word or act that ever for a moment disturbed the regard and affection that bound each to the other, lingers in my memory today.  Colonel Ward was a born soldier, of fine physique and commanding presence; quiet in movement and speech; a gentleman in manners, his sunny smile shone through the repose of his manly face.  He had risen to the rank of Brigadier General of the 5th Brigade of the M. V. M., just before the war began, and from personal knowledge and without fear of contradiction I affirm that in the school of the soldier, the company, the battalion and evolutions of the line, as an organizer and disciplinarian he had no superior in the volunteer militia.  He had a taste for agriculture and horticulture and was living on a farm in the suburbs of Worcester with his beloved wife and two little boys, the youngest less than two months old, when the President called for 75,000 men to suppress the armed rebellion.  Massachusetts responded promptly and the great War Governor ordered by regiment and battalion parts of brigades, and the hope of Gen. Ward entertained that his entire command would be ordered out would not be realized.  June 28,1861 Camp Scott , the first in Worcester , where volunteers were enlisted for three years or the war was occupied by men of the 15th Mass. Vols. Infy., and of this camp Col Ward assumed command. The best and the bravest rallied around its colors, and within a month he was qualified as Lieutenant Colonel, and upon the same day July 26th, Major Devens already in the United States Military service as commander of the 3d Battalion of Rifles was qualified as Colonel.  Within six weeks from the occupation of the camp, it left the state for service in the field, and the truth will bear me witness that no regiment ever left the camps of our old commonwealth for the front, better officered, drilled, disciplined  and equipped, and the distinguished commander who subsequently won the admiration of all in higher positions on many a well fought field affirms that this was largely due to the skill, efficiency and discrimination of Col. Ward.  

In the battle of Ball’s Bluff so disastrous to our troops, Col. Ward lost a leg by amputation, the result of a gunshot wound and remained in hospital till the January following when he reached his home in Worcester, and when sufficiently recovered he was assigned to duty in charge of camps where regiments were being recruited and organized for service.  The knowledge he thus imparted to officers and men was of incalculable value and gave them a standing among veterans.  It was my fortune to command one of these regiments which in the forming process had been directed and instructed by him, and I shall never forget to give credit due to him for the  esprit-du-corps with which he inspired the command and the faithful service he rendered to the end that all might acquit themselves like men.  

After a years absence he joined his regiment and assumed command.  His wound never permanently healed and he wore with difficulty his artificial limb.  On the march it was often detached and strapped to the saddle.  The long forced march from Falmouth , Va. between June 16th and July 1st of the two great armies that met in deadly conflict on this field was accomplished by him not only with great discomfort and fatigue, but untold suffering.  Stretching along this crest from Culp's Hill to round top lay the Army of the Potomac on Thursday, the 2d of July, opposed by the Confederate Army.  The 15th Mass. and 82d New York were thrown forward without support to the Emmitsburg Road at this point, and held this advanced line until overpowered by the swelling force that crowded their front and flank when, just as the order to retire was given, Col. Ward here fell mortally wounded.

I know that it has been said that in consequence of his disability incurred in the line of duty he should have retired from active service with the sacrifice he had made, and the laurels he had won.  So thought  and advised a host of his friends, but the decision was his own and from it there was no appeal.  the last letters to his loved ones were written in view of the impending conflict and with no expressions of regret for the cause he had conscientiously adopted.  I know that his life went out when his sun was at meridian, when crippled as he was, living, there might be in store for him the blessings and benedictions of his countrymen when peace should be restored with healing on its wing, but---

“To every one upon this earth death cometh soon or late,
And how can man die better than in facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers and the temple of his Gods.”

He was devoted husband, a loving father, an affectionate son, a reliable friend, a worthy and loyal citizen, the brave defender of the government and the flag.

A great Post of the Grand Army of the Republic bears his name and his portrait is on the wall of the great public hall of the city of his birth along with that of Lincoln and Andrew, a perpetual reminder of his noble life and heroic death.  We who knew him and can never meet again on this spot sacred to his memory, consecrated by his blood, by this granite shaft which bears his likeness in the chiseled marble, can draw fresh inspiration from the lessons of his life, his faith and resignation as crippled and suffering he went into the conflict and down the dark valley of the shadow of death to life immortal.

“Alas for him who never sees the stars shine through the cypress trees,
Who never sees the breaking day across the mournful marble play,
Who never learns in hours of faith the truth to flesh and sense unknown
That life is ever lord of death and love can never love its own.”

Hon. W. W. Rice then formally delivered the Ward monument over to the Gettysburg Battlefield Association, with the following address:--

Address of (Congressman) Hon. W. W. Rice.

It would be more fitting that those of us who were not here or in kindred and connected service on those great days of July 1863 should keep silent today.  High  enough privilege for us to listen to the words of those who have the right to speak; to stand uncovered in the presence of the mighty memories which burden this sacred spot.  Here was fought one of the great battles around which are grouped the epoch of the worlds history.  Marathon, where the Persians was driven thence from art loving Greece, Poitiers, where the moors were beaten back from Christian Europe, Waterloo, where the sun of Austerlitz went down in blood, Yorktown, where American independence was won, Gettysburg, where it was saved, all were historic points in the history of races.

In none of these were the issues more clearly defined, or the results of vaster importance than in the last.  They were brave men, 6000(0) fighting men, who came wearing the gray.  Many of them were honest men, but they were fighting on the wrong side, they were fighting against progress, against civilization, against liberty, against the integrity of the Republic, in which were it but that God rules we may believe the last hopes of humanity are gathered.  Flushed with victory, insolent in self confidence, they came across the border with high hopes of conquest and plunder.  They saw these peaceful homes, fruits of honest industry, of free unowned labor, they thought to win the right to extend over them the baleful shadow of their peculiar institutions.  But before them on these heights was the Army of the Potomac .  They had met that army before, they had won victories over it, but now close behind it lay the home of the men mustered beneath its banners.  Three days they fought in bloody strife, but the fourth day rose on a routed invader, on a triumphant victory to the Union Army.  The bells of that anniversary day never rang out with gladder peals for the cause of the confederacy was lost, that of the nation was  served, the sword of Gettysburg gentle and peaceful Liberty for all the broad land forever more.  On the second of these great days it was the privilege of Col. Ward to die.  “Fortunate,’ said the old poet, “are those who die young their fame secure.”  Gettysburg and death were not necessary to the fame of Col. Ward.  That he had already won, but when fate added these, it gave him immortality.  I suppose that among all the brave men that our country sent to the war there was no truer soldier than he, in whose memory you dedicate this stone today.  I saw him in his modest home the winter after Ball’s Bluff, patient, uncomplaining, unassuming, but not content.  he had then given but one limb to his country.  All to soon he returned to his command.  Some of you can bear witness, for you were with him.  How bravely he struggled against weakness, privation and pain, until he met death on that fateful afternoon here in the front of the mighty strife.  His pains were settled, his weary march was ended.  He fell as a soldier should, “with his back to the field and his feet to the foe.” 

There was no better blood in our country than his, kindred of the old General, whose tomb is across the lake on Shrewsbury Hill, the first commander in chief of the Army of the Revolution, he sleeps in the quiet cemetery of his native city;  first on the roll of heroes whom Worcester gave to the last great war for freedom.  You build to his memory this monument on the spot where he fell.  You engrave upon it in endearing letters his name and his fate.  In this you do well, but he did better.  He helped to build a monument  nobler and more enduring than this, the nation; for which the fathers aspired and suffered.

  Never finished until he died, but cemented by his blood and that of his three hundred thousand comrades fronts the world in majestic beauty and invincible strength the culminating fabric of human aspirations, its foundations justice to all; its wall, peace and liberty won by the sword.[Volume 41 #121 Worcester Spy, June 3, 1886 insert in their column at this point] Hon. Church Howe of How Neb., the first adjutant of the regiment, paid eloquent tribute to the regiment and to Col. Ward’s memory.

After Gen. Sprague and other gentlemen had spoken, Gen. Devens said:
 I most cordially concur in all that has been said of Colonel Ward.  He was a natural soldier, sincerely attached to military life, between himself and myself there existed the most cordial relations from the time the regiment entered service to the day of his untimely death.  In the organization, drill and discipline of the regiment he rendered most valuable service.  Gen. Sprague's remarks and those of others, have done him no more than justice and I thank him for them.  I thank him also and all friends for the aid we have received in erecting this appropriate monument, and my comrades and friends in the name of the survivors of the 15th Mass. Regiment.  In the name of the old City Guards of Worcester and of others who have come to our assistance I dedicate this monument to the memory of Colonel George H. Ward, who fell in command of the 15th Mass. on this immortal field; may it stand through winter’s cold and summer’s heat, through sunshine and through storm, to attest the patriotic self devotion of a true soldier who died for his country.


[ Volume 41 # 121 Worcester Daily Spy, June 3, 1886 insert in their column at this point as follows]


J. M. Krouth, for the Gettysburg Memorial Association, made an excellent address , receiving the monument into the guardianship of the association. The exercises were then closed by the singing of the doxology — “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”  and the benediction by Rev. Mr. Palmer.

Details of the Excursion

Eagle Hotel, Gettysburg , Penn. , June 1, 1886.---

The trip thus far of the 15th Regiment Battle field Excursion has proved a most decided success.  All the details, thanks to a most efficient committee, have been arranged for the pleasure and comfort of the party and they have proven themselves as good organizers of an invasion in time of peace as they were executors in times of war.  the members of the committee with us are Capt. David M. Earle of Worcester, Capt. H. T. Dudley of Wilkinsonville and Gen. John W. Kimball of Fitchburg .

At New London last night there was ample accommodations for all on the palace of the Sound, the steamer City of Worcester, on which had been reserved a sufficient number of staterooms, although for the first time this season every one was taken. After a supper all were soon at rest preparitory for today's long ride  At an early hour this morning a large portion of the party were up and on deck in time to see the sun come up out of its bed in the ocean blue  It was of a deep red hue, and had the appearance of a monster ball of fire.

Soon the shores of Connecticut and long Island seemed to meet in the distant foreground and the lookout opened up with a panorama of most changing beauty, elegant country  seats, public institutions and works of industry.  In about an hour Hellgate was reached, the tide was at ebb and the sight of the swift  running water over the rocks told of the great importance of the work of General Newton.                             The landing at New York was made on time.

 Here some of the party were welcomed by George W Brady Esq., the agent of the Norwich Line, and a former much respected citizen of Worcester .  After breakfast at Jersey City the party found a special train waiting.   The 15th Regiment train consisted of four of the Pennsylvania Railroad cars, which were our home until we reached this historic spot, the high water mark of the Rebellion of 1861-65.  Attached to the train some said as a rear guard, others as guests, was Co. B. of the State Fencibles of the City of Brotherly Love .  Captain William Chew and 75 men.  They were accompanied by the Metropolitan Band of 25 pieces.  These soldiers were returning home from a trip to New York where they had been to decorate the grave of the nations hero, General U. S. Grant.

The committee have been aided in the details of transportation by John H. Markley of Boston, Traveling Passenger Agent, New England District, of the Pennsylvania  Railroad, and later by J. L. Chapman of Philadelphia, Traveling Passenger Agent of the Pennsylvania Railroad, John B. Bagley, Jr., of Harrisburg: General Traveling Agent of the Cumberland Valley Railroad, and James T. Long of Gettysburg, Traveling Passenger Agent of the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad.  Mr. Markley will remain with us until we reach Antietam .  He has been of much help and has proved to be a valuable addition to the party, the right man in the right place.

The Pennsylvania Railroad is one of the best constructed roads in the country.  There has been a marked improvement since we went over it during the dark days of the Rebellion. Its many changes were very notable.  It is said its road bed has no superior.  The greater portion of the distance between New York and Harrisburg is ballasted with broken stone and its banks are symmetrically graded and covered with closely trimmed grass.  There is but very little smoke and no dust.  For miles the road is as straight as an arrow, we remember one length of eight miles.  The heaviest of all steel rails are used, weighing 68 ponds to the yard and 12 yards long.  The conductor when asked if we were not running unusually fast, answered, “No, not very fast, only 57 miles an hour;” but with the heavy rails and well laid road bed, to one riding in the cars it did not seem to be as fast as we often ride on some of the New England roads when half that distance is covered in the same time.

The ride across New Jersey and through Pennsylvania was replete with interest.  The train being a special had no occasion to stop except at long intervals.  All along vegetation was much more advanced than in Worcester County , and the foliage of trees and bushes appeared to be heavier.  Hardly had we left New Jersey before we passed, not the noted “Wheat Field” and “Peach Orchard “ of the battlefield of the “Waterloo of America,” but through fields of waving grain all heaped out, and some turning as if ripe for the reaper, and orchards of peach trees, some of which brushed the train as we slowed down, and peaches as large as walnuts were picked.

All along the line, but particularly after we left Philadelphia , large country sets were seen on every hand, while the stations were monuments to architectoral beauty made more beautiful by landscape gardening.  when Lancaster county was reached there we saw immense barns and sheds and great preparation for fields of tobacco, for which the country is famous.  After leaving Harrisburg then we entered a country like the Connecticut , Deerfield and Hoosac and other valleys of New England , only more continuous.

 Through the watchful care of the several representatives of the railroads, who say it was one of the best parties they ever conducted across the state, we reached Gettysburg one hour and twelve minutes ahead of time announced in the circular of the committee.  At Harrisburg we met the gentlemanly clerk of the Eagle Hotel, and as a result rooms were assigned to nearly all before Gettysburg was reached.  

  We have just had our supper and are making preparations for the night.  Some are out for a walk about town, some have gone to Sergeant W. D. Holtzworth’s illustrated lecture on the Battle of Gettysburg, while the larger part are preparing for much needed rest.  There was a large crown at the station when we arrived.  flags and streamers are flying on every hand while the air is loaded down with the perfumery of the June roses which are now loading down the bushes with various ---- beauty.

 On our arrival at the Eagle Hotel we met Major Church Howe, who was first Quartermaster of the 15th Mass. and after an Aide –de-Camp to General Sedgewick.  He came East from Nebraska on purpose to be with his comrades once more.

H. L.  D


15th Massachusetts VI