1861-1864 New York infantry. 84th regt..

Souvenir of the Brooklyn Fourteenth regiment monument ... on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pa., October 19th, 1887 online

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Online Library1861-1864 New York infantry. 84th regt.Souvenir of the Brooklyn Fourteenth regiment monument ... on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pa., October 19th, 1887 → online text (page 1 of 2)
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Souvenir of the Dedication



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OCTOBER 19th, 1SS7.

1^ £ to - 1) r h :

No. 47 Cedar Street.





The Fourteenth Regiment

On June 4th, 1885, a resolution was adopted by the
14th Regiment War Veteran Association, appointing a
Committee to take action in reference to placing monu-
ments on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pa., to desig-
nate the position of the "Brooklyn 14th" in that
decisive struggle with the great rebellion.

The Committee consisted originally of Gen. E. B.
Fowler, James Whitlock, James Woodhead, Anthony
Barrett and John Jochum. At their first meeting, Gen.
Fowler, Chairman, appointed John Jochum Secretary
of the Committee. It was then decided to add forr
War Veterans, then serving in the active Regiment, to
secure their co-operation. Other additions were made
as were found necessary, until the Joint Committee
numbered fourteen members. The details of the work
performed by this Committee, aided by the State of
New-York and patriotic citizens, can only be measured
by the glorious success of the enterprise, culminating
in the erection of a Monument which has been pro-
nounced by the highest authorities equal if not suj)erior
to any now existing on that memorable battlefield. It
consists of an 8-foot granite statue of a soldier in the


Chasseur uniform worn by the 14th Regiment, N. Y.
S. M., in the act of "handle cartridge." The pedestal
is nearly ten feet high, which, together Avith the base
and foundation stones, give an aggregate height of over
twenty feet. The die has four bronze plates let into
discs, which represent the Corps badge of the Regiment
in the field, those on the front and rear containing New-
York State and Brooklyn coats of arms, and on the
sides the name of Regiment, 2d Brigade, 1st Division,
1st Army Corps. Full historic data appear on the four
sides of base in raised polished letters, as follows :

"On Tnis SPOT, at 10.30 A. M., July 1, 1863, this Eegiment tak-


Another one has the following :

"JuLYl. First engaged the enemy between the McPuerson
House and Reynolds' Grove ; subsequently moved to this place
and engaged Davis' Brigade ; remained at the railroad cut on
Seminary Ridge unt^l the final retreat ; had a running fight
through Gettysburg to Gulp's Hill. On the evening op the 2d,
and again on the morning of the 3d, went to support Greene's
Brigade, and was heavily engaged."

On another side :

" Erected and Dedicated A. D. 1887."

On the 4th side :

" The 14tii Regiment New-York State Militia (84th New- York
Volunteers) entered the TJ. S. Volunteer service April 18, 1861,
participated in 22 engagements with the enemy, and "WAS dis-
charged on expiration of term of service, Juke 6, 18C4."

It is to commemorate tlie dedication of this beautiful
Monument at the railroad cut referred to that this
souvenir is offered, that future generations may know
of the heroes who gave up their lives that the Union
might live, and sometimes give a thought to the suffer-
ings and privations endured by the survivors of that
terrilic charge. Nor did their services end there ; for
on the second and third days, with shattered ranks but
stout hearts, they were assigned to other severely
threatened points along the line, keeping up the fight
until the routed enemy abandoned the field and treason
received its death wound. It is intended to designate
these positions by smaller granite markers, and the
Committee are now engaged in that important work.


Gen. E. B. Fowleh, Chairman^
Gen. James McLefr,

Col. H. W. MiClIELL.

Lieut. Col. S. Clobiiidge,

Major JoiiTsr McNeill,

Capt. Ramon Cakdina, Treasurer,

Lieut. Alfred Cranston, Finari'l Sec y,

Lieut. Alex. Barnie, Jr., Cor. Secretary,

James Wiiitlock,

James Woodiiead,

Anthony Barrett,

John W. Easox^,

John Jociium, Recording Secretary,




O Lord ! Father of the spirits of all men, and
strength of nations, behold us in adoration and suppli-
cation and thanksgiving before Thee.

We reverently thank Thee for Thy good will and
Providential protection toward and over this Republic.
Our fathers found their refuge and strength in Thee, as
they founded and defended and triumphantly estab-
lished our nationality. On Thee they leaned in sore
distress, and by Thy right arm were they delivered in
dark and j)erilous hours.

And when in our generation danger beset our Na-
tional Union, Thou wert again our refuge and deliver-
ance. We thank Thee that the patriotism of the sires
lived in vigor in the sons. Thou didst give us a heritage
worthy of the sacrifice of noble citizens, and Thou didst
give us noble citizens ready to make a sacrifice worthy
of our heritage. And here this day, as we meet to
commemorate the devotion and death of those of out'
number who fell on this field of conflict, w^e invoke Thy
benediction upon our consecration of this Monument.
Let Thy blessing rest upon these living veterans, by
whose affection and comradeship^ they were moved to
cause the erection of this lasting and speaking memo-
rial. xA^ccept their offering, O Lord, as a tribute to
Thy glory. The God of this nation, as w^ell as to the
manhood and heroism of their fallen comrades.

May Thy blessing rest upon the widows and orphans
of those who fell on this spot, now consecrated to the


patviotism of their dead. May this Monnment ever
speak to future generations of the sacredness of Liberty
and the worth of native land ! Add Thy blessing to
the further services of this hour. Grant that the words
of him Avlio shall voice the great thoughts of this hour
maj^ be wise and inspiring of noble sentiments in all
who hear. Mercifully look uix)n us in our frailties,
and graciously assist us to live in obedience to Thy holy
will, that we, finally, may be accepted in Thy glorious
kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



My Comrades : I congratulate you that here on this
spot, once red with the life-ljlood of our brave com-
rades, now rises an enduring Monument that for centu-
ries to come will tell of the part taken in the great
decisive battle of the war by the Fourteenth Brooklyn.
We are honored at its dedication to-day by the presence
of official representatives of our State and City, and
comrades and fellow-citizens not only from Brooklyn,
but from all parts of our country. We are indebted to
the liberality of the State of New- York and our pat-
riotic fellow-citizens of Brooklyn for the funds to erect
this structure, and now, at its completion, our best
thanks are due to them that they have enabled us to
finish it while so many of us are living to be present at
its dedication. We welcome all, ladies and gentlemen,
comrades and civilians, and heartily thank them for
assisting us in the ceremonies by their presence here.
These beautiful flowers, in memory of a brave comrade
who died in yonder town from wounds received here,
have just been handed me. I knew him well. He was
one of three brothers who were my neighbors. Two of


them were mustered in with the Regiment ; the third,
then at sea, joined us immediately on his return. Two
of the brothers gave their lives to their country in the
ranks of this Regiment ; the third is now limping
through life with an enemy's bullet in his knee.

I accept these flowers to be placed on the Monument
in memory of the comrade whose name appears on the
card, and I accej^t them as a symbol in memory of all
our brave comrades who died on this held.

Music — Diege.

Gen. Fowler then introduced the orator of the day,
the Hon. Setli Low.


Veterans of the Brooklyn Fourteenth, Widows and
Wives and Daughters of "Veterans, you who endured at
home, while those whom you loved dared everything at
the front. Members of the Regiment, Gentlemen of the
Brooklyn City Government, and Fellow-citizens :

Standing here at Gettysburg, we seem to be standing
on one of the mountain- tops of history. Cemetery
Ridge is but a little eminence, yet from its consecrated
summit the eye commands a vision wider and more
wonderful than any to be seen from the loftiest Sierra.
Here, looking backwards, we seem to see not alone the
nation's past, s^^reading beneath us like a map, but out
of the shadowy distance we seem to see, converging
here, the multitudinous roads along which men have
struggled, during all the ages, towards the conception
of a free State, existing for and maintained by a fr«e
people. Here, looking forwards, ' ' the distance beacons ' '
to a glowing future, bright with hope for the multitudes


of men. 'Not in vain have tliey fought and died whose
fortunate mission it was to inteq^ret the past and to
bless the future.

Neither does it lack significance that this battle
should have been fought on the soil of Pennsylvania.
The popular faculty, which so often gives names with a
deej) insight into the real significance of things, long-
ago called Pennsylvania the Keystone State. Histori-
cally, no less than geographicall}^ the name applies.
In the majestic arch formed by this Union of independent
States, Pennsylvania always has been the keystone.
Upon the soil of Pennsylvania met the first and the
second Continental Congress. Upon the soil of Pennsyl-
vania, George Washington was commissioned Commander
in Chief of the Continental Armies. Upon the soil of
Pennsylvania was made the immortal Declaration of In-
dependence. Upon the soil of Pennsylvania the Liberty
Bell first of all rang out the joyful peal of liberty through-
out the land. It was here that Franklin drew lightning
from the sky, and it was here were forged the thunder-
bolts which made the Colonies independent States.
Again, at Gettysburg, in our own generation, were
hiirled the bolts which have made the Union free.

The Civil War, in which the battle of Gettysburg
was the turning point, became inevitable when the
Constitution of the United States recognized and per-
mitted slavery within our borders. Whatever other
issues of constitutional interpretation w^ere involved,
they all hinged upon slavery, as that which gave to
them all their chief meaning and consequence. At the
outbreak of the war men did not see this clearl}^, as they
see it now. The preservation of the Union was the
rallying cry ; and men said it oftentimes without at all
realizing how^ grand a cr}^ it was. The preservation of
the Union by no possibility could involve only the life
of the nation. It involved necessarily the freedom of a
race and the best hopes of mankind. Without slavery


the national life never would have been in danger.
Without the abolition of slavery the preservation of the
Union was a dream. Yet the war began with the most
emphatic declarations that slavery should not be dis-
turbed. In the beginning, one hundred years ago, the
Fathers admitted slavery into the Constitution, because
without it the Union could not have been formed. For
seventy years, compromise after compromise was made
with reference to slavery, for the preservation of the
Union, in the vain hojoe of preserving a political fabric
undisturbed, which had within itself forces as antagonis-
tic as light and darkness. At last it was open w^ar, and
defeat followed defeat for the soldiers of the Union, until
it became certain that the Union, when preserved, would
be a Union Avhollyfree. At Gettysburg were discerned,
for the first time, the faint beginnings of the longed-for
end. Here were pronounced at last, to the wild, swelling
waves of slavery's great sea, the words of Omnipotence,
"Hitherto shaft thou come, but no further."

Most fittingly, the army through which this decree
was uttered was the Army of the Potomac. For two
long, weary years that magnificent body of soldiers
had endured defeat and disaster. Not always being
worsted in isolated encounters, they still were exposed
constantly to the most trying of all military experi-
ences, where defeat brought disaster and victory
brought small advantage. Still, though defeated often,
they were invincible.

" Trampled and beaten were they as the sand,
And yet unshaken as the Continent."

Commanders there have been sometimes, who, by
their overpowering genius, have led their conquering
legions without a defeat from the first small victory to
the complete triumi)h. Others, again, after a career of
dazzling success, have marched to humiliating over-
throw. Still others, bj^ their intrepidity and unyielding


courage, have held their shattered troops aboi\i; them
until despair turned into victory. But I can think of
no other case where the army was of itself superior to
the fate of its leaders. Commanders might come and
commanders might go, but the Army of the Potomac
could not be beaten. It could not, indeed, subdue its
enemy, until a leader worthy of itself was at its head,
but that enemy dashed itself in vain against its heroic
columns until, under the lead of the great Commander,
the Army of the Potomac ground even its valiant
antagonist to powder.

Here, at Gettysburg, the tide of war began to turn.
The presence of these regimental monuments, in large
numbers, reveals the popular recognition that this, in a
sense peculiar to itself, was the pivotal battle of the
war. Step with me for a moment to yonder cemetery,
" where the bones of heroes rest." There you shall
see the graves of men from eighteen of our States, from
Maine, on the East, to Minnesota, on the West. Side
by side with the graves over whose heads the name of
their State appears, breathing, as it were, a benison from
home, you shall see almost one thousand graves of the
nameless dead. Comrades, how hard it seems ! To die
for one's country; to yield this last full measure of a
patriot's devotion ; and not even to have it known that
you have died ! Not known ; not known, indeed, here,
but well known, I like to think, by Him who seeth in
secret that He may reward openly.

Y ou may have heard the anecdote of the Southern man
who saw the great review of the Union armies in Wash-
ington at the end of the war. As the trooi^s went
marching by, carrying the banners of Michigan, Wis-
consin, Iowa, Minnesota, the regimental numbers indi-
cating the multitudes of soldiers that had come from all
these States, he rubbed his eyes, and asked where those
States were. When he had studied geography, he
said, there were no such States. Soon he identified


them as part of the Northwest Territory and its neigh-
borhood, when he uttered this reflection : "If we could
but have known — if we could but have known." The
sagacity of Jefferson, he saw, in dedicating to Freedom
in 1787 this great Northwest Territory, after all had
brought to naught in the end the slavery permitted in
the Constitution. But if the new States did their part
heroically, the old States were equally worthy of their
traditions and their history. Yonder cemetery contains
more men from the State of New- York than from any
other Stace, and through the war she maintained her
primacy. The other day I was in the Adiron^^acks,
and in the little town of Keene, with its few hundreds
of iDopulation, I found a Grand Army post ntimbering
still 39 members. So they came from the hillside and
from the plain, from the forest and from the open, and
so, with equal devotion, they came from the great cities
of the State. The official records show that from
Brooklyn over 32,000 men went to the front, and the
Brooklyn of that day was a city of little more than
200,000 people. Among this number the first to enlist,
and the equal of any regiment in either army in gallantry
and heroic service, was the regiment in whose honor this
monument is erected. While known, also, as the S4th
New-York State Volunteers, it always has been best
known and best loved as the Brooklyn 14th. For this
reason, and by reason of its permanency as a militia
regiment, both before and since the war, it has come to
be looked upon as the typical Brooklyn AVar regiment.
Never did city have a grander regiment upon which to
bestow its affection and its pride. The fateful shot at
Sumter went hurling through the frightened air on the
12th of April, 1861. Just six days thereafter report
was made to headquarters that the 14th Regiment was
in readiness to be marched to the front ! This was its
answer to the call for volunteers — prompt, courageous,
patriotic. It meant business. When on the way to
Washington the Colonel, then Alfred M. Wood, received


a desi3atcli from the Governor of New- York, asking
him by what authority he had talven his regiment out
of the State without orders. Colonel Wood replied :
" By authority of Abraham Lincoln, President of the
" United States, and we hope with your approval."
This reply suggests the remark which Lincoln himself
is said to have made to Secretary Chase at about the
same period. "These rebels are violating the Consti-
" tution to destroy the Union. I will violate the Con-
" stitution, if necessary, to save the Union." It needed
no prophet to foretell that such a regiment would acquit
itself with honor. It began its fighting at Ball Run.
There Colonel Wood was wounded and taken prisoner.
Colonel Wood's wound disabled him for further service,
even after he was exchanged, and from that time the
regiment fought under the command of our gallant and
modest friend. Colonel Fowler, except for a brief period
after the second battle of Ball Run, in which engage-
ment Colonel Fowler also was seriously wounded.
During this interval the Regiment was commanded
by Lieutenant-Colonel William H. Debevoise. Colonel
Wood's experiences as a prisoner w^ere exceptional.
About that time some Confederate privateersmen had
been made prisoners, and it was proposed by some that
they should be treated as pirates. In response to this
proposition the Confederate authorities took Colonel
Wood and others and held them as hostages in the County
jail. Others of the regiment, officers and men, found
themselves in Libby Prison. I have been much struck,
in reading a letter from one of this number, with the
dreariness of a military prisoner's life. Leaving aside
all questions of cruelty, the monotony and weariness of
it must have been almost beyond endurance to men full
of vigor.

I wish to pay my tribute of gratefal honor to the he-
roism which suffered in this form, no less than to the
gallantry which on field after field dared every chance
of Avar. Soon most of these first prisoners were ex-


changed, and one can Avell imagine the scene -when they
found themselves once more under the Stars and Stripes.
Of both those who were released and those who welcomed
them, the contemporary account says, "every eye was
dim with tears." So quickly did the Brooklyn Four-
teenth sound the whole deep meaning of that horrid
word, w^ar.

Wheti Co]. Wood found himself free, and within the
Union lines again, the regiment w^as in camp near
Washington, He repaired at once to his command to
receive their congratulations upon his release. "The
regiment aj)peared," so says the chronicler, " in the
" peculiar chasseur dress for which it has become
" famous — the red pants, dark blue Jacket, with two
" rows of bell buttons, and red breast-piece, having
" also a row of bell buttons, and red cap." " Col.
" Wood assured the boys that they had established at
" Manassas a reputation which they might well strive
" to maintain, ' for,' said he, ' you are the dread of the
" enemy.' " " Everywhere he had been assured by
" Confederate officers that his regiment, the ' red legs,'
" had fought more desfverately than any other at the
" field of Bull Run." This testimony is supi)orted by
the praise the regiment received from the Union Com-
mander, by whom it was named, with special mention.
In General Orders. Thus, its first battle found the
regiment already the " fighting Fourteenth." I do not
propose to follow the regiment from field to field, but I
do desire at this time, as matter of historical record, to
name the different engagements in which the regiment
took part :


Bull Run.


Sul]>hur Springs.


Binn's Hill.








Spottsylvania, Aug. '62.


Manassas Plains.


Rappahannock Station.


Chant illy.


11. South Mountain. 17. Seminary Hill.

12. Antietam. 18. Gettysburg.
18. Fredericksburg. 19. Mine Run.

14. Port Royal. 20. Wilderness.

15. Fitzliugli Crossing. 21. Laurel Hill.

16. Cliancellorsville. 22. SjDottsylvania.

A roll of honor long enough and splendid enough to
satisfy the greatest caviler.

From contemporary newspaper accounts sent to the
journals of other cities than Brooklyn, Avhich I quote
as presumably impartial, as also by extracts from the
official records, I am able to show, in a measure, how
the regiment appeared at the time in the eyes of others.

Here is an item touching their services at Fredericks-
burg : " The brilliant feat of the Brooklyn Fourteenth
"in keeping up, without straggling, with the Cavalry and
" Artillery on a march of twenty-six miles, during the
" hottest day of the season, and then, with but three
" hours' rest, dashing on after the enemy's cavalry for
" four miles, is the subject of most flattering en-
" comiums."

The regiment led the advance at the capture of Fred-
ericksburg by Gen. Augur. After the battle had been
fought " anxiety was manifested," so reads the record,
" to know by whom the 14tli Regiment of Brooklyn
" was led during the gallant advance upon the town."

I need not tell you, men of the Fourteenth, that it was
led then, as so often on other lields, with equal bravery
and skill, by Col. E. B. Fowler, since General by brevet
for his services during the war. In the spring of
1863, Gen. Reynolds, that superb lighter, issued a
special order, thanking the Brooklyn l4th and the 24th
Michigan, for their splendid services on the expedition
to Port Royal. At South Mountain and Antietam,
when under the command of Lieut. -Col. Debevoise, the
regiment signalized itself as usual by its brilliant


charges. And so we come with them to Gettysburg.
It was their fortune to be with Gen. Reynokls in the
heavy fighting of the first day, when a fragment of the
Union Army hekl the great body of Confederates in
check, until the Union forces could be brought up in
sufficient numbers to make a successful stand on Cem-
etery Ridge. They were among the first, if not them-
selves the first, to begin the infantry fighting of that
memorable struggle.

The sad duty fell to them of removing from the field
the body of the heroic Reynolds, when he fell directly
behind their lines. Nothing daunted even by this dis-
aster, they added lustre to their already glorious record.
They held their ground until flanked, and then, falling
back and changing front, all the time under fire, they,
in company with the 95th New- York and the 6tli
Wisconsin, all under command at the moment of Col.
Fowler, drove back the enemy in their front, Davis'
Mississippi brigade, and upon this ground where we
now stand compelled a large part of them to surrender.
It is recorded that they took more prisoners here than
the regiments engaged had men. Thus you will see this
is indt;ed the proper spot uiDon which to place the monu-
ment we have dedicated to-day. The life blood of many
of our brothers has enriched the underlying soil ; the
wounded in their agony have here looked up in prayer
to the bending sky ; and here the blessings of a grateful
nation have descended uj)on the brows of the living and
the dead.

" Whene'er a noble deed is wrought,
' Whene'er is spoken a noble thought,

Our hearts, in glad surprise,
To higher levels rise.

" The tidal wave of deeper souls
Into our inmost being rolls,
And lifts us vinavvares
Out of all meaner cares."


To commemorate and to perpetuate tlie memory of
not one but many such noble deeds, this monument to


Online Library1861-1864 New York infantry. 84th regt.Souvenir of the Brooklyn Fourteenth regiment monument ... on the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pa., October 19th, 1887 → online text (page 1 of 2)