|Thursday, 5 July 1906|
Fifteenth Regiment with its Old Flag at unveiling Exercises in Worcester
Veterans of the Civil War from all parts of Worcester county and many from other parts of the state turned out in large numbers in Worcester on the Fourth, to participate in the exercises connected with the unveiling of the statue of Maj. Gen. Charles Devens, in front of the Worcester county court house on Court Hill. Despite occasional light showers, the program was carried out as originally planned, and no rain fell during the ceremonies at the memorial.
Governor Guild, Secretary Taft and Gen. Stewart L. Woodford of New York city were the guests of honor. A parade of nearly 1000 veterans formed at the corner of Main and Front streets and marched to the site of the statue.
The dedicatory exercises, which were held outdoors, were opened with music by a band, after which introductory remarks were made by Gen. William F. Draper of Hopedale. Rev. Dr. Daniel Merriam offered prayer. Gov. Guild gave a greeting from the commonwealth, and Gen. Draper made the speech of presentation of the memorial to Worcester county.
The memorial was unveiled by Charles Osborne Devens, grand-nephew of Gen. Devens, and was accepted on behalf of the county by Warren 'Goodale, county commissioner. Gen. Woodford then delivered the oration of the occasion. The exercises closed with the singing of "America," after which the line was re-formed and a march was made to the Worcester armory, where luncheon was served.
The memorial is in the form of an equestrian statue in bronze on a granite base. The base is appropriately inscribed.
E. V. Sumner Post 19, G. A. R., of this city went to Worcester on the regular morning train. They were accompanied by the 6th Regiment drum corps and all report a very interesting occasion. Post 19 had 68 men in line, several members who reside in Townsend joining those who went from this city at Sterling Junction. Commander Ackley was in command and all the subordinate officers were present. Marching was very comfortable notwithstanding the age of the veterans and the warm weather in the earlier part of the day. No member of Post 19 was overcome by heat or fell out of the ranks. All returned home on the evening train. Post 10 of Worcester kept open house during the day. Capt. J. C. McMullin of Camp Clark S. Simonds, S of V., represented Post 19 on the staff of Chief Marshal Wood of the Second division.
The chief center of attraction at the exercises were the survivors of Gen. Devens' old regiment, the old 15th, and the old flag which went through the battle of Antietam. Gen. John W. Kimball of this city commanded the veterans. Gen. Kimball succeeded Gen. Devens in the command of the regiment immediately after Gen. Devens' promotion to brigadier general and was in command through the Peninsula campaign and at Antietam. He is the only survivor of the first field officers, Lieut. Col. Ward having been killed at Gettysburg.
There were 140 veterans of the regiment in line on Wednesday. Company B, Fitchburg Fusiliers, was represented by Artemas A. Gibson and Granville C. Hosmer of this city, Andrew Riley of Winchendon and Josiah C. Wilder of Worcester. Gen. Kimball was captain of the company when they left Fitchburg, June 28, 1861, but was promoted to major a few days later when the regiment was at Camp Scott, Worcester. Through the courtesy of Capt. Bartlett of Webster, the 15th regiment survivors were given a fine dinner at the Lincoln house. The flag of the regiment, which was carried through many battles, was borne by Color Sergeant Henry E. Smith of Worcester. It was so torn and so tender from age that it was not unfurled and after the dinner the colors were escorted back to the Worcester city hall and after being saluted by the veterans with uncovered heads, it was returned to the custody of Mayor Duggan.
In the corridor at the Worcester city hall where the regiment was drawn up, before the parade started, there was an interesting ceremony in connection with the turning over the colors.
The formation of the regiment was under the guidance of Capt. David M. Earle, acting adjutant, who selected these color guards, to act with Col. Henry E. Smith who was selected by Gen. J. W. Kimball to carry the colors of the regiment in the parade, after they were presented to the regiment by Mayor Duggan, H. H. Slayton and C. H. Bartlett, F Co., Henry S. Baker, D Co., and Andrew Riley, B. Co.
After acknowledging the salute of the regiment, Capt. Earle presented Col. Joslyn acting as commander until the arrival of Gen. Kimball, to Mayor Duggan and then to Gov. Guild.
In remarks preliminary to the turning over of the colors to Col. Smith, Mayor Duggan said, --
"The request of your regiment to obtain its state colors from the cabinet of this building is the most pleasing thing to me of this whole celebration. I am glad that I am able to grant your request. It is good that the presentation of the flag can be here within the walls of this municipal building, in the shadow of which, almost, you bid goodbye to your friends so many years ago.
It is an esteemed privilege to hold in my hands the emblem of the field of battle -- the flag that you followed through privation and strife. It is no small honor to one who at the time you went away was a small boy, a son of the generation of which you are a part, to be mayor of this city of Worcester to turn over to your care again the flag which was with you in the awful battles in which you conducted yourselves so honorably. I am not afraid but what you will care for it as you did in battle when under the her, Gen. Devens, patriot, scholar and fine example of man. It is a great pleasure to present you this flag to be carried in the parade todaqy. I present it to you now. All honor to the 15th Massachusetts."
Col. Joslyn said in reply --
"Your Honor, I know this command well enough to justify me in saying that the flag will be cared for and returned in good condition."
"I have no fear of that," returned Mayor Duggan.
Col. Joslyn turned the flag over to the care of Col. H. E. Smith at this point, and Mayor Duggan called upon Gov. Guild to say a few words.
Gov. Guild said:
"Your Honor, the may, Col. Joslyn and men of the 15th regiment, I observe that you plan, today, to carry the white flag of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, carried with the regiment in the Civil War. The regiment that carried that flag never knew shame and never knew dishonor. I congratulate you for the distinction that is yours to have been a command under that distinguished scholar, lawyer, statesman, that was sent to the halls of congress at Washington. We are proud of you and will protect you. The laws of the state and the nation have bounds that will not exclude you from help that you may need.
I thank you for the courtesy, members of the fine 15th."
Gen. Kimball, commander of the regiment, has just arrived, and wishes to say a few words," announced Capt. Earle.
"I am sorry, men of the 15th, that I was unable to be here in time to receive the flag for the regiment. This is the old flag that was with us in the battle of Antietam. It was then in the hands of Col. Smith, our color sergeant. The colors could not have been in better hands. We entrusted the colors to him at that time, and we can surely entrust them to him today, 44 years after the end of the struggle. He and 330 other went down in that awful battle, and mingled their blood with that of others. He bore the colors bravely and proudly, do so today, Col. Smith.
Thank you, mayor, for allowing the old regiment to look upon its old flag, many of us, probably, for the last time. We shall march more proudly, today, for habing our old flag with us."
After Gen. Kimball's speech the regiment marched out of the hall by twos and down Front street to a position near Commercial street, where it occupied the place of honor in the second division.