Arthur Charles Ducat.

Speech of Gen. Arthur C. Ducat delivered at Rosehill cemetery, May 31st, 1870 online

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Delivered at ROSEUILL CEMETERY, May 31s/, 1S70.

At tho dedication of the Monument erected to the Soldiers of the Bridges Battery of the Army
of the Cumberland who fell daring the War of the Rebellion.

General Ducat upon being introduced by Captain
White, the Pres't of the Bridges' Battery Association,
spoke as follows :

I have been asked by some of my friends — survivors
of Bridges Battery of the Army of the Cumberland
— to come here to-day and say a few word;? at the dedi-
cation of the monument erected here to the memory of

fallen heroes.

It is with sentiments of the deepest emotion that I,
in my humble way, briefly address you and attempt to
perform the duty for which I have been unexpectedly

It is the first time I ever addressed a public assem-
blage, but I do not shrink from the task, conscious as I
am that, in reciting the history of this brave Battery,
and alluding to the noble and valorous deeds of those
whose ashes are here with us, my words will command
the attention of every true American who reveres the
memory of his national dead. It has become rather the
habit of our countrymen to make eulogistic orations at
the tombs of their friends ; I shall not attempt to do so
any further than it is necessary to do simple justice to
their memories. It would not become us, on this occa-
sion, to indulge in eulogies which would be distasteful
to the modest but earnest soldiers who sleep here, could
they hear us from their grave*. We commit them, with
all their errors, their sudden and perhaps unexpected
death, to the mercy of their Creator. We will keep
their memories dear and precious to us, and their fame
and their glory ever green and bright, among us and
our children. This is the purpose for which this beau-


tit'ul monument — surmounted by the statue of Hope,
inscribed with the fields of their fame, decorated with
the arm of their service, and surrounded by their graves

— lias been erected.

We have convened here to-day from all the Bur-
rounding country, from the great city, from all occupa-
tions and walks of life, to dedicate to good, brave and
patriotic soldiers this tribute erected by surviving
comrades and grateful and appreciative citizens. AVe
are here this lovely, peaceful day in May, in this beau-
tiful City of the Dead, in the center of this happy,
prosperous, and at last, thank God, free country, to
strew flowers on the graves of men, our respect for
whose memories this act so touchingly, beautifully, and
tenderly illustrates. AVe come to do all that is now
left us to do, to pay these memorial tributes to those
who have so freely given their young lives that we may
enjoy in peace and happiness the blessings which God
has so lavishly bestowed upon this favored laud — who
have given themselves a sacrifice to true liberty, that
every blot should be removed from the national escut-
cheon — who left their families, friends, and all who
were dear to them : their peaceful and happy homes —
who abandoned their prospects and aspirations in life,
without promise or hope of reward — to face death and
the hardships and horrors of war; that our country,
with out a blemish, might be left to us intact as we
received it from the hands of its Fathers, purified by
time and the inarch of human progress.

They went to assert and demonstrate to the world
that our Republic was no vain and empty boast, and,
as the result to-day, we are at peace with all nations.
The flag of this our country, now truly emblematic of
freedom, and more than ever before the emblem of a
nation created, defended and preserved by its valor and
its integrity, floats under every sky, honored by all who
love the free institutions and government it represents 5
feared but unassaile 1 by all who oppress and enslave.

It would gratify me exceedingly to-day to tell you
of the life of each and every one of the body of brave
souls who fell in Bridges Battery and whose names are
here inscribed — to recite a detailed history of the com-
mand — but the time given me will only permit of a
comparatively hasty and brief notice. * I would like to
be able to tell you how gallantly and well each man
did his duty in the place where each belonged.

To-day we have to do only with the dead. We
have not come to hear of or speak of the living, and
should I mention any living man it will be for the
purpose of making the history of the Battery understood
more clearly and in the proper connection with circum-

Bridges Battery, or rather the company from which
it was ultimately organized, was enlisted about the
time of the first attack on Fort Sumter, as a company
of engineer soldiers, sappers and miners. It was fore-
seen that in a great war, which was to every thinking
mind inevitable, a company of this kind was a necessity
of the volunteer service. This company, composed of
men well qualified for the duties of engineer troops,
was tendered first to the Executive of Illinois, and then
daily for weeks to the general government, but was
refused by both in the capacity offered. Such troops,
much worse qualified for engineer soldiers, were subse-
quently organized by regiments and brigades in all our
armies. Some of the men then enlisted as soldiers in
regiments going to the front. The company, as an organ-
ization, attached itself to and formed "G" company of
the Nineteenth Illinois Infantry, under Colonel Turchin,
but subsequently commanded by the lamented Scott.

In July, 1861, Crossly and Thornton, of the company,
were killed in the performance of assigned duty.

The company, with its regiment, served under Gener-
al Fremont, and was subsequently ordered to the Army
of the Potomac. This order was countermanded by
Providence. Some chivalric sympathizers at Huron,

Indiana, having tampered with a railroad bridge, pre-
cipitated the train, with the regiment on board, down
sixty feet, killing Sealock, Brattstown, Cutting, and
Noble, and injuring fifty Others of the company. This
necessitated the return of the regiment to Cincinnati for
re-equipment. In the meantime it became necessary to
reinforce General Robert Anderson, in Kentucky, and
the Nineteenth was assigned to General O. M. Mitchell's
division, and served in all the marches and actions of
General Buell's army up to the time General Rosecrans
took command. Captain Bridges, in command of the
company at this time, was detailed to assist the Chief
Engineer of the army at Nashville. Field-artillery being
needed, the company was selected to form a battery,
being provided with the only available guns, some cap-
tured at Forts Donelson and Zollicoffer, and in one week
the company had the guns mounted, and in position, in
the defences of Nashville, the officers and men applying
themselves to their new duty in a manner that demon-
strated immediately that no error had been made in
their detail as artillery. On the 14th of February, 1863,
the company received its order from the War Depart-
ment to organize a six-gun field battery, and had the
maximum number of men in a few weeks. Marching
from Nashville to Murfreesboro, constant and judicious
drill and industry soon made the battery one of the best
equipped and most efficient commands in the volunteer

The battery was assigned to the Pioneer Brigade
(an engineer corps), but, desiring more active service,
at the request of its officers, it was assigned to the
Second Division of the Fourteenth Army Corps, com-
manded by Major General Geo. II. Thomas, the noblesl
Roman of them all — the model soldier and good man.
They served with this corps in the brilliant movement
on Tullahoma, across the the Cumberland Mountains,
Tennessee River, the Sand and Raccoon Ranges, in the
action at Dug Gap, and (lie battle of Chicamauga.

In those days that tried the souls of our truest and
our best, this batten*, with the grand old Army of the
Cumberland, was true to itself, doing its duty bravely
and well, losing twenty-six men — six killed, six wounded
and fourteen captured, with forty-six horses. Here, in
the battle of the 20th of September, fell the gallant
Lieutenant Bishop, fighting his guns to the last;, even
until the enemy was in his battery and on his flanks, and
bavonetting his men, did he fire his guns, double-shotted,
and fell dead at his post. No braver soldier sleeps.
Here also fell the brave men — 'Ferris, Hammond, Haas,
and Tenneson ; all fighting and serving their guns, they
met their death in the very teeth of the enemy. The
battery here brought off four of its guns by hand, the
horses having been killed, and held its position until
ordered by General Thomas to fall back.

On the 21st, under Major General Geo. H. Thomas,
the battery did its duty.

At the battle ot Mission Ridge, the battery did most
important and gallant service, £and was mentioned by
General Thomas in his official report. It occupied
Orchard Knob, in advance of our main line. In the
first day's operations, in six hours after daylight, fourteen
guns had been driven out of the enemy's first line of
works, and their entire artillery had retreated to the top
of the ridge. The signal of six guns, for the grand
charge upon Mission Ridge, was fired by this battery,
which maintained its position until the close of the bat-
tle. The long and arduous winter campaign in East
Tennessee, to reinforce General Burnside, was com-
menced on the 27th day of November, 1863. The bat-
tery was constantly marching, and always ready and
willing for duty. The men suffered great privations in
this campaign, from cold, exposure and want, but they
Buffered without a word of complaint. Here was sown
the seed for the grave for more than one of their

The battery served at Tunnel Hill, Buzzard Roost,


Resao.i, Adairsville, Kingston, and Cassville. At the
latter place Captain Bridges was made Chief of Artillery
of the Fourth Army Corps. The battery, under com-
mand of Lieutenant Temple, distinguished itself at Mt.
Hope Church, and other places, and, under Lieutenant
White, won an imperishable reputation at Pine Mount-
ain and Kenesaw Mountain. At the last mentioned
battle fell the gallant Lieutenant S-eborn, working his
section at short range against the artillery of the enemy,
the battery silencing more than twice its number of guns.

At Chattahoochie River the battery did splendid ser-
vice, destroying the pontoon bridge of the enemy by its
accurate and rapid practice, and receiving the compli-
ments of General Thomas — and those of us here who
have been soldiers of his army know well that, with his
rigid uprightness, he never bestowed a compliment un-
less it was well deserved. Here Hathaway was killed in
battle. At Peach Trej Creek and Atlanta, the battery
did good service, and was again complimented by Gen-
eral Thomas. At Franklin the battery was thrown into
the salient angle of our lines, with little protection, and
maintained its position during the entire battle. Atone
period the advance of the enemy was fifty yards in rear
of the position, with the guns of four batteries and
Opdyke's Brigade, in which was the Eighty-eighth Ill-
inois, and on its flank the Seventy-second Illinois, our
own gallant men. Due attention was paid to the brave
brigade of the enemy — it never rejoined its comrades.
The enemy lost thirteen general officers on this afternoon.
It was a crushing defeat to Hood.

At the battle of Nashville the battery was again in
action, retaining the reputation that distinguished it
throughout the war. Having taken an honorable part
in thirty engagements and traveled 20,000 miles in the
-service, the battery was mustered out in July, 18G5.
Returning to Chicago, the citizens gave it a reception
worthy of its deeds and its fame.

The names of the honored dead are inscribed on this


monument and on the tablets which surround it. It is

proper here that I should mention poor Brown, Avho for
three days, with a broken leg, at Andersonville prison,
received no surgical aid and died. Here also poor
Henriifer pined and died.

It has been said that republics are ungrateful. The
nature of our government is such, that without the con-
sent of our own people, through their representatives,
sufficient expenditures for the support of wounded sold-
iers and sailors, widows and orphans of soldiers and
sailors, cannot be made, but we have evidence to-day,
in these beautiful monuments we are here to dedicate,
that the hearts of our people are right, and that appeals
to them in any way that may be necessary to honor
the dead or comfort those they left behind, and the
wounded soldier or sailor, will never be in vain. Let us
hope that your voices will be raised in behalf of those
left crippled and homeless, but not friendless, by our
wars, and that the good and generous will do in this
respect their duty as promptly and nobly as did the sold-
iers and sailors for their sakes. I commend them to
your generous sympathies.

There is a grave of one of our bravest and best with-
in the enclosure of this Cemetery unmarked. I hope
that when we assemble here one year from to-day, a
fitting monument will be erected to his memory. It is
the grave of the lamented General Ransom.

After these dedications of to-day, and in the future
on this Anniversary, in honoring our dead, we know no
Company, no Regiment, no Brigade, no Division, no
Corps, no Army, no State, no Birthplace — all were sold-
iers of the Republic who died for it — we honor all alike.

There is to me something exceedingly touching in
this annual decoration of the Soldiers graves with flow-
ers, by loving hands.

I am sure it makes us all better men and women to
come here once a year and place wreaths of evergreens
and blossoms on the mounds that surround us, emblem-


IK. i lit* LUNURE

013 704 087 i

atie of those higher, immortal crowns which we earnest-
ly hop,* and believe our departed friends have attained.
I know it touches me deeply, and in a wayunfelt to the
same extent until the clay comes around again, and re-
minds me, as we'll as all of us, that what we now enjoy
has not been without its price.

Such acts of ours foster and nourish the military
spirit of our young men. They teach them that to be
a soldier of the Republic of the United States, is not to
be forgotten when they fall in the path of their duty ;
and, to be practical, in a country like ours, where the
military establishment is so limited, it is necessary that
something be done to keep alive a true soldierly feeling.
One of the greatest incentives to its achievement is the
knowledge that brave and meritorious acts and services
are appreciated and acknowledged.

It must be a very great consolation to the relatives
and friends of the soldiers who sleep around us, that
their remains have been gathered to this pleasant place
where they can come and hold with them the sweet
silent converse of memories of the past.

To those whose loved and lost sleep in unknown
graves, on the bloody fields of the national contests, by
the roadside, on the mountains, in the swamps, and
wild ravines of the South, I would say, be consoled
that they died and were buried like soldiers when thev

"On Fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread,
Anil glory guards with sol, '11111 round,
The bivouac of the dead."

Our noble dead have awakened to another morn
than ours. May their morn have brightened into per-
fect day. May they look down gratefully to-day upon
those who have raised this modest homage to their
memories. May they look down with pleasure upon
those who bear or inherit their honor and their name

And may we, as a people, be thankful for the age in
Which it has pleased providence to east our lot, and for
the country of which we are citizens, men and women.

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