Joseph Ripley Chandler Ward.

History of George G. Meade post no. one, Department of Pennsylvania, Grand army of the republic online

. (page 5 of 24)
Online LibraryJoseph Ripley Chandler WardHistory of George G. Meade post no. one, Department of Pennsylvania, Grand army of the republic → online text (page 5 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Post and their male guests alighted, and, preceded by Mueller's Band,
marched slowly and solemnly through the cemetery between the masses
of people who had thronged there to witness the ceremonies, to the
grave of General Meade, where the services were held, hi an adjoin-
ing lot were assembled, under the leadership of Prof Jean Louis, a chorus
of sixty voices, who took part in the opening ceremonies of the great
Centennial Exhibition. These were secured by Comrade R. \V. P.
Allen, junior \'ice-Commander of the Post. After a dirge by the band.
Past Commander Jos. R. C. Ward, chairman of the committee, opened
the services with a short address : Adjutant W. H. H. Wallace read the
National and Department orders ; a quartet of young ladies, consisting
of Miss Maggie Williams, Miss Mary Gibson, Miss Hettie L. Williams
and Miss .Sallie Walton, then sang the Decoration Hymn,

" Blest be the ground where our braves are at rest."

This was followed by a brief address by Senior Vice-Commander Geo.
W. Devinny, who was in command in the absence of Commander
>hillikin. The chorus sang that beautiful hymn,

" ]!les^^ed arc the martyred dead."



Entered the .service as Private Co. C, Fifteenth Keg't Penna. Cavalry, August 22, 1S62.

Mustered out as Private Co. M, Fifteenth Reg't Penna. Cavalry, Jrne 21, 1865.

Mustered into Geo. G. Meade No. i, Octolier 13, 1S75.

Appointed Adjutant January 12, I1S76.

Rev. Henr\- C. Westwood. of the Chambers IVesbyterian Church, of-
hciated as chaplain, and W^endell P. Bowman, Esq., dehvered the ora-
tion. Whittier's Centennial Otie was suno- by the chorus. The beau-
tiful ceremony of decoratino; the orave of Ceneral Meade was per-
formed by Comrades R. W. P. Allen, E. G. Maize and .S. H. .^lleman.
The chorus sang-

" I hcird .1 VI. ice fnim heaven s.-iyiiii;,"

and the services closed with the lienediction b)- the chaplain. This was
the most impressive service the Post had yet held, and was admirably
arranged and manaoed ])y the following Committee of Arrangements,
appointed by the Commander: —

Jos. R. C. Ward, Cha.rman. E. G Maize, Qeo. W. Devinny

L. D. C Tyler, r. w, P. Allen, Wilbur F. Geer.

S. H. Alleman, W. H. H. Wallace,

Among the thousamls ot s])ectators were very many strangers who
were in the city attending the Centennial Exhibition.

Past Commander Jos. R. C. Ward, Chairman of the Committee,
opened the services with the following address :

\\hy have we asseniMe.l here lo-.hny in this city of the cIc-kI ? Is it to see the remains of some loved one
placed beneath the sod? No; hut to p.iy tribute to those already here, — our dead comrade.s — to decorate
their graves with spring's choicest flowers, an.l to place over their graves the Hag of our country, beneath
whose stars and stripes they fought, bled and died. I would ask you to consider this handful of vete-
rans you see here is not all ; but over this entire country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Gulf to
the Lakes, are there assembled thousands of our comrades and their friends, p.ayini; the same tribute to tens
of thousands of our deceased comrades, many of them who .stood with us the last time we met for this pur-
pose; and again consider, my friends, that we, too, must soon be laid to rest, and to you and your children
must be left the work we now |ierform. li.ach year our r.inks are ihinued, and each we need your as-
sistance more ; will you withhold it? I thiid< not. Therefore, .as each May brings .around the beautiful
flowers of spring, gather them together, and give to those who are anxious to do this labor of love; and
w^hen your little child asks yon. Why do you sirew these graves with flowers? atid why arc these little flags
planted there ? tell it that beneath lies a brave soldier.


Now what is this Crand Army of llic Rcpuhlic ? Is it a religious or political organization ? No ; it is
a band of veterans who steer clear of ihe rocks of religious and political strife, and invite in their ranks all,
provided they have served their country faithfully and been honorably discharged. \Vc are bound together
by these three great principles, — Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty. Fraternity to each other, Charity towards
Ihe widows and oiphans of our deceased comrades, not as the cold world m ould administi-r it, liut as a brother
to a sister, or a father to a child, and Loyalty to our country and flag.

In conclusion, let me again ask you to render what assistance you can to our organization. Encourage
us with your countenance and means, as we need both. With these few remarks let me ask your attention
to the services of the d.ay.

Wendell P. Bowman, Esq., in his oration, said: —

Again, ray comrades, we meet together by the sacred graves of our fallen comrades to pay solenm tribute
to their memories, and place on their consecrated mounds heaven's choicest spring offerings. I am so deeply
impressed with the solemnity and grandeur of this day and our glorious surroundings, that my tongue is in-
adequate to convey the feelings of my whole soul. In the performance of our endearing exercises our hearts
are overwhelmed with the precious recollections of the past, and when I glance about me and see so many
familiar faces amid this vast assemblage of comrades and patriotic citizens, I thank God that the sacrifices
made by our brave comrades in death, and their innumerable deeds of noble daring in their country's cause,
that her institutions and principles might forever live, still live in the hearts of each and every one of us ;
and may the spirit here manifested be a true representation of a like feeling throughout our united and glori-
ous country. In this centennial year of our nation's existence, when strangers from distant climes are in our
midst, and our nation is on trial before the judges of this world, it is peculiarly fitting that upon this anni-
versary of our Decoration Day there should be no uncertain sound in our voice and feelings in paying hom-
age to our dead. Let the utterance go boldly forth that if they not sacrificed their lives upon their
country's altar, to-day we would have no .A.merican citizenship to boast of, no home of freedom to rejoice in,
no centennial of our Republic and the exposition of our unexampled prosperity in the pathway of nations.

\Mien we cast the eye backward over the pathway of time, and recount the patriotism and courage with
which our comrades went foith to do and to die in our country's, and recount the sacrifices made, — the
homes made sad by their departure to the field of conflict, their privations in camp, hardships on the march,
the blood and carnage of battle, terrible agony and suffering upon the retreat, the wounds and death upon
the field or in the hospital, — truly can we appreciate the utterance that all we have to be proud of as Amer-
ican citizens we owe to our fellow patriots and comrades. Let us not forget that in sacrificing themselves
they also caused untold sacrifices and deep privations in many a patriotic home ; their widows and orphans
all can stand forth to-day as living reminders of the ]wst, and better enable us to appreciate the great bless-
ings vouchsafed unto us through their devotion to our couiilry's cause ami for our hajipiness, and the leoTililc
cost at which they were purchased.

In thus remembering the past we can lielter appreciate the present : and let us here to-day, in the pres-
ence of these sacred graves, with the clear canopy of heaven over us, liy the side of the precious mound of
our immortal Meade, resolve in his own eloquent words before he led to victory on the historic field of Gettys-
burg, to renew our promises " to preserve and perpetuate our country and our cause." Let us here conse-
crate ourselves anew to the preservation of the glorious memories and associations of our comrades in death ;
let us renew our pledges to presen'e and keep sacred what they vouchsafed unto us, ^ this glorious and
prosperous country, in the full strength of a century, vitalized by the storms and experiences of the past, and
strengthened for a glorious future ; let us pledge ourselves anew to a union of hearts as well as of States,
throughout the length and breadth of our land ; let us upon this hallowed soil remember that dying for our
country is better than living for self, and that martyrs for liberty never die. Let us

*' Kneeling upon this sacred sod.
Swear to follow Freedom's God
In the pathway our comrades trod.

Swear that this fair land shall be
Evermore a legacy —
Precious, undivided, free."

At the muster of June 14th the following resolution was adopted : —

31eSoItie&, That the services rendered by Prof. Jean Louis and chorus in connection with the deco-
ration of tlie graves in Laurel Hill by the Post on May 30th last, are deserving of special thanks.

Itcsalucft. That these resolutions be entered on the minutes, and a copy of them, duly certified, be
forwarded lo Prof. Jean Louis.

On June 28th the Post adopted a resolution tendering the services
of the Post as a mounted escort to the Commander-in-Chief, John F.
Hartranft. on the parade of July 3rd, in honor of the Centennial. On
that da)- the whole Grand Army of the Republic paraded, coming from
all parts of the country to do honor to the City of Brotherly Love and
to the Nation ; and it was a ver)- impressive sight to see so many of the
veterans who had saved the Nation, marching again behind the same
tattered banners they had carried aloft in so many hard-fought battles,
but this time without the arms, paraphernalia and trappings of war, but
with the symbols of peace. Man)- of these comrades were shattered
and maimed, bearing honorable scars, received in defence of those flags.

Geo. G. Meade Post No. i paraded mounted, as escort to the
Commander-in-Chief, under the command of Commander [ames R.
Mullikin. with twenty-one comrades in line.

The experiences of some of the comrades were very amusino;. if
not painful, before the day closed. Some of them had not been on a
horse since the war, and others were mounted for the first time in their
lives. The demand for horses for that day pressed into service and
warranted as good saddle-horses man)- that never, perhaps, had a saddle
on before. It was impossible to cruide them, and some of the comrades
experienced considerable trouble in keepinjj^ their places in line and
making the necessary turns. Two horses had to be sent back, so that
day will long be remembered b)- man)- of those who participated.

As General Order No. 9 from Departnient Head-Ouarters, dated
July 1st, assigning the different Posts their position in line for the parade,
made no mention of Post No. i, the comrades were more or less indig-
nant at this apparent slight, and at the meeting of July 12th the follow-
ing protest, prepared by Comrade R. W. P. Allen, was presented and
unanimously adopted : —

^fierCitS tieo. C;. Me.nde Post No. I lias received no orders of any kind in ri-fercnce to the late
parade of the Grand Army of the Republic on July Jrd, and

SB3(|crcaS Cleneral Order No. 9 from Departnient IIead-(,)inirters. dated July I, 1S76, has been re-
ceived, and no mention is made of this Post, and

lOQhcreaS No official notification has been issued or received from Department Head (>uarlers iluat
this Post was to act as special escort to the Commander-in-Chief; therefore be it

HcsoIacA, That a protest to the oversight or carelessness of the Assistant Adjutant General of tin-.
Department be entered on the minutes of this Post, and a copy of these resolutions be Iransmitteil to

No reply being received from this communication, a committee
consisting of Comrades R. \V. P. Allen, Geo. VV. Devinny and Jos. R.

C. Ward, was appointed on 27th to wait upon the Assistant
Adjutant-General, John M. \'anderslice, and ascertain why this Post
was so discourteously treated. The committee reported on October
25th that Comrade Vanderslice disclaimed any intention of discourtesy
or oversight ; that not having received any official notice from the Post
of its intention to act as escort, or any notice from the Commander-in-
Chief that its services had been accepted, he could not take any notice
or make any official announcement of the same, and regretted that
the feelings of any of the members of the Post had been hurt. The
Committee therefore reported that no blame could be attached to Com-
rade Vanderslice, and was discharged from further consideration of the

In .September the Post was called upon to record the death of an-
other one of its officers, Comrade Wilbur F. Geer, Officer-of-the-Day,
who died -September 16, of consumption. He was buried in Monu-
ment Cemetery. A detail of comrades attended his funeral on Sep-
tember 1 9.

■Wilbur P. Geer was in I'liiladeljihia, State of Pennsylvania ; enlisted in Co. B, 8lst Reg't I'a. \'ols.,
on the 6tli day of .\ug\ist, 1862; held the office of Drum Major, and w.ts disch.irged June 25th, 1S65. lie
was mustered into CJeo. G. Meade Post Xo. I, Department of Pennsylvania, June 10. 1S74. and died Septenilnr
l6th, 1876, aged 30 years. Hurled at Monument Cemetery, Philadelphia.

This year was a more successful one for the Post in tlu' increase of

membership; twelve new members were mustereti in tluring the year,

as follows : —

John H. Groves, M.D., John E. Davis, Wm. G. McEwen, E. Sherwood Walton, Geo. P. Eld-
ridge, Henry A. Robbins, M. D., D. D. S., Chas. F. Heaton, Alfred J. Sellers, Samuel Worthington
(Re-electeo). Caleb V. Atkinson, Lewis J. Wheeler, Wm. H. F. Ward.




Entered the service as Private, Co. B, 90th Reg't Penna. Volunteers, Februar)- 13, 1862

Final muster out as Private, Co. B, gotii Reg't Penna. Volunteers, September 12, 1863

Mustered into Geo. G. Meade Post No. 1, December 10, 1873

Elected Junior Vice-Commander, December 16, 1874

Elected Senior Vice-Commander, Decembers, 1875

Elected Commander, December 13, 1876

and we lost onr hy death, as mentioned,— ( Xllcei-of-the-l );n Will, lip I-

On December 13, 1876. Comrade Cieo. W. Devinny was elected

On January 10, 1S77. the first public installation of officers took
place. The Department officers that much o-ood would come
from throwing- open the doors and allowing the families and friends of
the comrades to enter the home of the Posts and enjoy with the mem-
bers a pleasant evenincr, an order was issued to that effect. Com-
mander elect Geo. W. I )evinny determined that Post Xo. i should also
reap any benefit that mig;ht accrue from such an opi,ortunit_\- to ha\-e
our friends with us, and made every effort to have the meetiuL; called for
the installation of our officers a success, ami at the same time (rive
our friends an enjoyable eveninjj;-.

A committee was appointed, consistinor of Comratles Tyler, De-
vinny and W'orthing-ton, to make the necessary arrangements. Manv
prominent members of other Posts were invited, and when the time came
to begin the ceremonies, the room was found to be well filled with mem-
l)ers and \isitors, man)- of whom were ladies.

In the absence of Commander Mullikin, .Senior \'ice-Conimaniler
1 )evinny presided, and the services were opened l)y an iniprt'ssi\-e |)ra\er
b)- Chaplain-elect \\m. G. McPlwen. The Irma Glet- Club sang "On
the Field of Glory."

Past Commander Clayton McMichael, who was detailed to install
the officers, was une.xpectedly called from the city, and Past Commander
Wm. R. Peddle, ot Post No. 2. was invited to be ijresi-nt to officiate in

his stead. He kindly consented to do so, and dul)- installed the follow-
uii^ officers : —

Commander .... ^- ■,>• ,

J. .... „ " ■ - <'ii'- \\. Dkvinny.

Senior \ ice-Commander R \V I' .\ ■ ■

Junior Vice-Conmiander - . . . i i, ,•-,■,.''"'

, ,. 1.. I '. V . 1 V I.KK.

Adjutant - - . . i.. . ,,.

,, " " " S.\M I. WoRTHINGTON.

Quortenna^ter - ..... j„s. R. f. W.-vki,.

^."/^7" - - - - .In.>NH.<;Kov,-.sM. D.

Chaplam ,,.,, ,. ., ,.

„^ , , - - - W \T. (,. .M( |-.\vi;n.

Officer-of-the-Day \Vm A. |[\,;v

Officer-of-the-Cruard |,,i,^ j.. n^.,^

.Sergeant-Major \Vm. 11. F. wrKi,.

(2uarterma.>ter-Sergeam - . . . , j^ |^ Wi.,^,, ,.

The effect of this service was t^^reatl)- enhanced by the presence of
a detail of the State Fencibles in full uniform.

Alter a short address by the new Commander, and another sonc,^
by the Irma Glee, came the main feature of the evenini^^, the presenta-
tion of a hne portrait of General Meade to the Post b\- his son. Colonel
George Meade, who canie in person to present it. Comrade Wemlell
P. Bowman was selected to make the presentation speech.

In his remarks he spoke of the

" deep sense of giatitude he felt tow.-uds Colonel .Meade for presenting tills beautiful picture ofliis di.stinguished
father to this Post. That he unable to adequately express his feelings, and w.ts glad that he was present
to witness the love and aft'ections of our comrades towards (ieneral .Meade and their appreciation of the grand
and imperishable work done by him for his countiy." I le then pictured vividly and elo(|Uciilly General .Mcadc
upon the field of battle ; how gallantly he took command and was first and in the front in times of
danger and wherever duty called ; how he led at Antietam, Fredericksburg arul Chancellorsville, and con-
tinuing said, " When Lee cut loose from his base of operations and st.arted, we kiu'w not wliithcr, the whole
countr)' was aroused, anxiety prevailed everjwhere. The anxious iiiquirv w:is, Where is ?
where is he going ? Fathers, mothers, sister, and loved ones, all were eagerly looking for tidings from the
dear ones at the front. Uncertainty prevailed ; cv en the .Vdministration was alarmed ; the Union trembled
with apprehension, and the immortal Lincoln looked almost in vain for a commander of that noljle army that
was to protect the Capital of our nation and drive back the invaders from our land ; then it was, with wisdom


Iiorn of inspiralion, lie v, Ircl.d cur yallanl M.iidr lo taKi- ir.nini:iii.l in llu- iiiiil-i of all lliat alarm and
uncertainty of June lS6j. lieu- will hi- iliil connnan.l tin- wurUl kn(.w~. Hi. c;, victory at (;ctty>lmig
savi-d our country and broke llu- backbone of the rebellion. Under hi. eonnnaml that };iand old Army of
the I' made the I'liM fair, clean victory. Thi'^e meinorii-. are de,-|) down in our lu'.uls, and so long as
our pulses beat we can never ro);,'et the memories of our beloved ehirf. I li- nolile sacrifices, his gallant deeds
and unsellish devotion to hi-, country w ill live fori-vcr in the hearts of a grateful peoijle, and the historian will
reconl liim as one of the greatest generals the world ever |iossesse<l."

Then, turning to Colonel Meade, he said, " Colonel Meade, in your name 1 present this picture of vour
illustrious father to Ceorge C. Meade Tost, Xo. I. < irand .\niiy of Ue|iulilic, knowing lull well tli.u its mem
bers will cherish it with sacred care and revere hi. inemorv." CommancU'r [os. 1-i. C. Ward was called i.i|)on to receive the
|)icture on hehalt oi the Post, and the Idllmvin^- is an ahslract of his
remarks : —

I regret that it has not fallen to more able hanU to receive llii. beautiful picture of our late eomiuin.
der, Major-Oencral (JeorgeC. Meade, after whom this, (he senior I'ost in this I )eiiaitnieiil, and we liopeMion
to make it the first, is named. I know 1 express the sentiment of every comrade of the I'ost when I s.iy we
cordially every word so elotiuently spoken by the comrade who presented this jiicture on behalf of
the son of that great soldier, and to you, Colonel Meade, we return our sincere thanks for the honor you have
confened upon us in being present this evening, and for the pleasure given to us in putting us in possession of
this picture of your father, whom we all admired so much as a soldier and loved as a commander. It is partic-
ularly gr.atifying to me, for dming the campaign of 1S04 1 saw much of Ceneral Meade, being on stall' duty
was frei|uently neoi" him. I ajipreciate his ability and hi. cue for hi. men, and knowing full well his worth
and the admiration and esteem in which lir wa. held by his comrades, I selected his name as the one this
I'ost should bear, therefore I am glad of this o])portuiiity of receiving on behalf of the I'ost this picture,
which we will ever cherish and preserve, and at the same time bear in remembrance your kindness in pre-
senting the same to us. 1 therefore ask you. Colonel .Meade, to accept our warmest thanks for your present,
and to you. Comrade l!owmaii, we al.o return our thanks for the elo!|Ueiit manner in which you have pre-
sented the gift.

While Comrade Wartl was speaking-, Reynoltls Post, Xo. 71,
stormed the outi.)Ost, and were captured am! liroui^ht in under ^iiartl
by Officer-of-the-l>ay IdaL^y, and safely honsctl. '['he IrmaCdee then
sang-, "When I am dead and gone. Darling." I'ast Commamler J.


Spencer Smith, of Post No. 2, recited "I'.arl.ara iM-eltchle." An ad-
dress was made by Assistant Adjutant-General J. M. X'anderslice. The
Irma Glee sang -Good Night," and the ceremonies closed with tattoo
by the fife and drum corps of Post No. 71.

This evening's entertainment marked a feature in the life of Post
No. I. It was the first given by the Post, gave it an additional im-
petus to a more useful and successful life, it interested the members, who
pledged themselves to attend the meetings and to assist in building up
the Post.

The committee appointed on April 12, 1S76, to devise means to
replenish the Post Treasury, after trying several ways, recommended
the opening of a contributing roll, and, in compliance with their wishes,
resolutions to that effect were adopted December 27, 1S76, and they
prepared and issued the following circular during the early part of

Mi'All (JIAKTKKS Clji. (;. MeADK I'usT, N(1. I, Dkp't I if I'kNNA.,

GKAMi AuMV 111' THK KKlTlil.lC.

At astated meeting of Ceo. C. Me.i.le Post, No. I, I)e])artinent of l'eiin>ylvania, ( I. A. K.,lieKl Decem-
ber 27tli, 1876, it was

HcSolaeA, Tluit this Post open a roll for Contrihuting memlier-, to assist the I'ost in its charities to
deserving soldiers or their families.

lIcSolucA, That an annual payment of two dollars shall constitute any person, iirespcctive of sex, a
CVjntril tilting menit ter.

The Gr.and .\riny of the Republic is composed of honorably discharged soldiers and sailors who served
during the late civil war. It is in no sense a political organization.

The principles of the Order are embodied in these few words: —

" Kkateknitv, Ciiakity and Loyai.iv."

Our object in establishing a contributing membership is entirely rhaiit:ible. The destitute soldiers, suf-
fering from disease or wounds, the widows and or])hans of those who dii-d that tlie nation might live, rei|uirc
our const.ant aid, and we believe there are many, of either sex, who woulil be glad to give in this way for a
cause so holy.


TI,o Cmn,! Army Ma. al.o und.r,:,!.,,, llu- rl.arsc of ,1,. .Lcoration nf soldk-,-.' K,-avos, which occu,s
annually on May 30tli.

Post No. I wouUI be glad lo have .ho personal a..i>,ance of any of i>s memhors.
You and your friends are earnestly re |ue>ted to aid in these laudal.le o!,jecls.
A histoo- of the IVst will be shortly published, and a copy sent to each contributor.
Subscriptions will be received, and information s-iven, by any of the following committee:—

»;i.'). 1'. Ki.nKii,,;,.:, .V,>. /7 M,r//i St - eiilh St,;;/.

K. \V. P. .Vii.KN. Xo. ,02 IV.duiil Slie.t.

I.. I). (-'., A:>. St3 Xoi-iI, Xhutcnth Slic-t.

It was freely ciistriluited, hut the response was only mea<^cr. It
was, however, the beghmino- of a contnbutin.<,r or associate roll, to whicli
have since been added, with yreat lieneht to the Post, a hiro-e numijer
of distinguished and intluential names.

At the muster of April nth. Adjutant W'ordiington informc-d the
comrades of the Post that lie had understood from relial)le authorit\- that
"General Ulysses S. Grant had never joined the Grand Army of the
Republic, simply because of the complications that might arise were he
to do so while occupying the Presidential chair." Those obstacles being
now removed, and it being well known that he •' entertained kindly feel-
ing towards the Order," he had concluded, w\m\\ his own responsibility,

Online LibraryJoseph Ripley Chandler WardHistory of George G. Meade post no. one, Department of Pennsylvania, Grand army of the republic → online text (page 5 of 24)