New York (State). Monuments Commission for the Bat.

Final report on the battlefield of Gettysburg online

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and Carr, with Major Richardson, a committee to visit Gettysburg and inspect
the work done under the direction of the board during that season.

A number of sketch models for surmounting figure of State monument,
submitted in response to a resolution of the board adopted October 7, 1891,
were critically examined when the commissioners convened April 7, 1892.
The chairman was authorized to employ Mr. Caspar Buberl to prepare the
desired model, following outline of right-hand figure on New York State
shield. The commissioners visited his studio to inspect clay model of the
" Second Day " panel, for bronze alto-relievo of the monument ; much satis-
faction was expressed.

The arrangement of the four panels of bronze circular alto-relievo on upper
die of the State monument, was adopted by the commissioners September 20,
1892, and the engineer was instructed to remove the lettering designed for the
pediments on the ninth course of the monument. On October 10, 1892, the
commissioners visited the bronze foundry of the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Com-
pany and inspected a bronze alto-reUevo, cast for the State monument, which
was finished and mounted on frame work, so that the general effect it would
have in place could be judged therefrom. The work was approved. The
plaster cast of sketch model for surmounting statue was also examined at the
studio of the sculptor, Mr. Buberl, who was instructed to model a full-size
figure, in accordance therewith. The arrangement of panels on bronze alto-
relievo, considered at last meeting, was again discussed and formally approved
at this session.

At the close of operations on the field, in 1892, all of the regimental and
battery monuments, provided for by State appropriation, were completed, ex-
cept the one designed for the Twelfth and Forty-fourth Infantry. This monu-
ment is the largest and most expensive regimental monument on the field, and
on account of its location and character, a prominent and interesting feature.

The contractors for granite work of the State monument installed a well-
adapted plant for placing in position the heavy stone required, and began the



New York at Gettysburg. 1441

work of setting at the beginning of the season of 1892. The massive
carved cap was successfully set in place September i6th of that year. The
contract vnth the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company for the bronze circular
alto-relievo for the State monument was executed April 14, 1892; and on
April 15, 1892, Caspar Buberl signed the agreement for a full-size model in
plaster of surmounting statute and pedestal.

The bronze work furnished by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company, and
that furnished by Mr. Maurice J. Power, were placed in position before the
close of the year 1892; the grading and sodding of grounds adjacent to the
State monument and the paths surrounding same and leading thereto were
also finished.

General Carr and Major Richardson inspected full-size clay model of statue
for State Monument January 25, 1893. (The chairman's inspections were made
from time to time during the progress of the work.) Upon the afternoon of
that day the board convened and the work of Mr. Buberl was formally ap-
proved. Proposals for casting the statue in bronze were considered at the
same time, and the proposal of the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company was ac-
cepted. The proposed dedication of the State monument and regimental and
battery monuments was discussed at this meeting, and the chairman was re-
quested to prepare a detailed statement of the moneys required to furnish free
transportation to the veterans of New York commands who took part in the
Battle of Gettysburg; for the transportation and subsistence of the Governor,
Legislature and other invited guests, including a detachment of the National
Guard; for the incidental expenses of the commissioners in making the ar-
rangements ; and for the preparation of a suitable final report of work done by
the board, said estimate to call for an aggregate sum of $76,000 and to be
submitted to the present Legislature in the name of the commissioners. The
chairman was also requested to draft a suitable dedicatory inscription for the
front tablet of the State monument, and submit same to each member for his
criticism.

The dilatory methods of the contractor for the Twelfth and Forty-fourth
infantry monument came up again before the board, and, after a review by
the chairman of the many promises and failures connected with this trouble-
some case, the time for completion was extended to June 15, 1893, under
certain conditions.

The bill referred to in the preceding paragraph, making provision for New
York Day at Gettysburg July i, 2, 3, 1893, was duly submitted to the Legisla-
ture. In the Supply Bill of that year $49,500 was appropriated and became
available May 18, 1893. As it was estimated that at least 5,000 survivors
would make application for free transportation to attend the ceremonies, entail-
ing an extended correspondence and a vast amount of detail work to carry the
project to a successful issue, it was decided not to wait until the appropriation
became available. A circular letter was, therefore, promulgated on March 27,
1893, to the veteran associations of all the New York commands, with a view
91



1442 New York at Gettysburg.

of ascertaining how many survivors desired free transportation on " New York
Day ;" another circular followed on April loth, inquiring as to lines of railroad
and the stations at which the men would assemble, inclosing blank forms for
lists of names of veterans applying for transportation. On April 20th, another
circular was forwarded to each regimental organization, urging that the names
and addresses of those desiring transportation be furnished without delay.
Circular No. 4, on the same lines, was dated May 6th, and fixed a time for filing
a supplementary list.

At a meeting of the board, held May 6, 1893, the plan and scope of the
forthcoming dedication on the thirtieth anniversary of the battle we.re deter-
mined. Provision was made for checking and verifying the lists of applicants
for free transportation, so as to be assured that those whose names appeared
upon the rolls, furnished through the organizations, were participants with
New York commands at the Battle of Gettysburg. Arrangements were made
for securing tents to provide shelter for those who desired to camp on the
field. The program of exercises for the dedication of the State monument,
July 2, 1893, was decided upon, and Bishop Potter of New York was chosen
as the orator of the occasion., The chairman of this board was requested to
act as presiding ofificer. The question of a suitable escort for the Governor
was taken up, and Adjutant General Porter suggested that as an escort of
less than a regiment would be greatly dwarfed by the large numbers present
he recommended, in view of the small appropriation available, that the escort
be omitted. Upon the suggestion of the chairman, the matter was referred to
General Slocum, to confer with the War Department, and obtain detachments
of United States Regulars for the occasion. In the matter of music. General
Slocum undertook to get the band at the Soldiers' Home at Bath without
charge. The subject of music for the occasion was therefore referred to
General Slocum, to report at the next meeting. It was proposed by General
Sickles that a bronze " Medal of Honor " be struck off in connection with the
" New York Day " celebration, to be given to each survivor of a New York
command who took part in the Battle of Gettysburg. This proposition met
with much favor and was adopted. The preparation of a suitable design and
its execution was left to the chairman, with power, as was also the matter of
providing appropriate invitation cards and ribbon badges. By reason of the
greatly increased detail work, incident to the " New York Day " ceremonies,
upon the recommendation of General Carr, Major W. W. Bennett was en-
gaged to assist the engineer and secretary from May 6th to September 25,
1893, performing the varied duties assigned to him in a diligent and efficient
manner.

The first official notice to the various New York commands of the action
of the board relative to '' Medals of Honor " was contained in Circular No. 5,
dated May 24, 1893, by which the executive officers of each veteran organiza-
tion were requested to exercise the utmost care to verify in every instance the



New York at Gettysburg. i443

fact that each and every applicant on their list was a veteran who participated
with their command at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Information was given by Circular No. 7, under date of May 31, 1893, that
700 tents, 12x14 feet, from the Quartermaster General's Department, U. S. A.,
would be pitched adjacent to the cemetery for the accommodation of all
veterans who desired quarters under canvas. The date of the principal ser-
vices of the occasion was promulgated in this circular, also the method of
issuance and distribution of transportation certificates.

The matter of transportation and subsistence of His Excellency the Gov-
ernor and his staff was placed by the commission in the hands of Adjutant
General Porter, at a meeting held June 6, 1893. A communication was re-
ceived from the board of trustees of the Soldiers' Home at Bath, tendering the
services of the Home band to the board for New York Day. The engineer
was directed to procure transportation and subsistence at Gettysburg for the
band under the charge of the quartermaster of the Home. Col. DeWitt C.
Sprague was selected as poet. The chairman was authorized to procure corps
and brigade flags representing the corps and brigades with which the New
York troops served at Gettysburg in July, 1863. He was further empowered
to arrange for transportation and subsistence for the commissioners. At this
session — June 6, 1893 — it was agreed that a military procession to take
place immediately before the ceremonies on July 2d would add interest to the
occasion. By resolution, duly adopted, Major General Daniel Butterfield was
selected as marshal, he to name his own aides and arrange a program and
submit the same to the board.

The form of certificate issued on the occasion of " New York Day " to those
whose names were on the rolls prepared by the board, and entitled by their
services to free transportation, was contained in Circular No. 9, dated June 12,
1893. Information was given in this circular that Gen. Daniel Butterfield had
accepted the appointment of grand marshal. Commanding officers of organ-
izations, on their arrival at Gettysburg, were directed to report to General
Butterfield at his headquarters.

On June 21, 1893, the commission inspected the surmounting statue for
State monument at the foundry of the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company. At
the meeting which followed, on their return to the office of the board, arrange-
ments were made for immediate shipment of the statue and its proper setting
in position upon the monument, prior to " New York Day." An extension of
time for filing applications for free transportation having been requested by
many survivors, it was decided that all applications filed at the present time
and verified by the regulations heretofore adopted, should be granted. This
ruUng respecting time obtained, as far as practicable, until the day prior to
the departure of the commissioners to Gettysburg.

The first installment of certificates was issued on the evening of June 14,
1893, and proceeded uninterruptedly until the requirements of the muster



1444 New York at Gettysburg.

rolls, filed on or before June 7, 1893, had been met. The preparation of cer-
tificates, called for by the supplementary rolls filed after that date, was taken
up in their order and issued in accordance with the action of the board at a
meeting held June 21, 1893. Upon an examination of the certificate exchanged
for tickets by the railroads, no counterfeits were found. Each certificate was
numbered, specifying the railway company, name of veteran, the command to
which he belonged and the station from which transportation was to be fur-
nished. These particulars were placed on the stub opposite the certificate
before it was removed from the books in which the blanks were bound.

The certificates for transportation were placed in the hands of the executive
officers of the veteran organizations for distribution to the veterans in whose
favor they were drawn. A bulletin was issued to accompany each certificate,
instructing the holder to present the certificate at the railroad station specified
thereon and receipt — for transportation furnished — in the presence of the
railroad agent. Certificates were not transferable; if not used, were ordered
returned.

There were 7,165 certificates issued; 5,317 certificates were exchanged for
tickets, by thirteen railroads at 366 railway stations ; a large number of unused
certificates and many railroad tickets were returned ; and the value of the latter,
based upon rates named in the settlement for used tickets, was accordingly de-
ducted. In conclusion, it may be added that many commendatory letters on
the success attending the transportation of veterans to and from Gettysburg
on the occasion of " New York Day " celebration were received. A very
small number of complaints were filed, each of which was duly investigated.

The issue and distribution of medals of honor to Gettysburg veterans of
New York commands was an interesting and popular feature Connected with
the dedication of monuments on " New York Day," and one greatly appre-
ciated by New York veterans. It was the chairman's desire that these medals
should possess artistic merit; with this in view, application was made
to the Secretary of the Treasury at Washington to strike off the medals
at the United States mint in Philadelphia. The superintendent of the mint
offered every facility for the preparation of the dies and the prosecution of the
other work incident to the matter in hand. A design was accordingly pre-
pared and duly accepted by the commissioners. Proposals were received on
the 1 6th of May, from the engraver of the mint, for furnishing the dies
for medal and bar; and from the superintendent naming price foir each
medal and bar, mounted complete. The chairman accepted these proposals,
and on the following day the mint was duly notified. In his letter of accept-
ance the chairman said : " You understand fully that my desire is to have an
appropriate design and a high character of execution, for the important occa-
sion of which it is commemorative, and I beg to enlist your valuable aid and
expert knowledge in our behalf."

When the muster rolls for medals, called for by Circular No. 9, began to
reach this office, it was learned that the number of applications would far ex-



New York at Gettysburg. 1445

cee'd that shown by the transportation rolls. One thousand more medals were
thereupon ordered from the mint, making a total of 7,000. By August i,
1893, all the veteran organizations, with few exceptions, had filed their muster
rolls for medals. Upon a tabulation of the same, it was learned that an aggre-
gate of fully 10,000 were necessary to fill the requisitions to date, and with the
supplementary rolls that would naturally follow it was estimated that a grand
total of 11,000 medals were required. After correspondence with his col-
leagues, the chairman directed that an order be placed with the mint for the
balance of 4,000.

The board, at the meeting September 17, 1893, formally approved the order
given by the chairman for 4,000 additional medals, making a total of 11,000
from the United States mint. A copy of an assignment of claim of contractor
for constructing monument to the Twelfth and Forty-fourth New York In-
fantry was read. The principal details connected with this work were stated,
and it was deemed inadvisable to make any payment thereon, either in whole
or in part, until the monument was completed and free from all claims and
liens, as required by terms of contract. On the following day — September 18,
1893 — a basis of settlement with the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company for
casting of surmounting figure for State monument was formulated. The ad-
justment of accounts with the several railroad companies for transportation of
veterans to and from Gettysburg was left to the chairman and secretary.

The chairman, under date of December 12, 1893, reported to his Excellency
the Governor the proceedings of the commissioners in connection with the
dedication ceremonies in July, 1893. On February 24, 1894, the chairman
submitted to the board a statement of moneys appropriated by chapter 726,
Laws of 1893, for " New York Day " at Gettysburg, July i, 2, 3, 1893, also the
disbursements, in pursuance of said act, together with a statement of bills for
transportation from the various railway companies, showing the amount of de-
ficiency — $27,534 — which had been foreseen and expected, and submitted for
consideration a draft of an item to be inserted in the supply bill for that year
providing for the deficiency. The draft received the approval of the board,
and General Sickles was authorized to forward copies to the chairmen of the
proper committees of the Legislature, with the reports of the engineer em-
bodying the executive work of the commissioners appertaining to " New
York Day."

The item before mentioned was favorably acted upon by the Legislature
of 1894, and the balance required to pay deficiencies for transportation was
provided by chapter 358 of that year. The settlement of accounts with
the several railroad companies was effected by August 16, 1894. These
bills were prepared with much care. On the statements accompanying the
vouchers covering these disbursements, appears the number of each certificate
used and the name of the station where the same was honored ; each rate was
duly computed on the basis of three and one-half cents per mile, one way



1446 New York at Gettysburg.

distance, which required that the short-line mileage from each of the stations
to Gettysburg should be calculated.

By reason of the wide publicity given through the newspapers and at
gatherings of veterans, that " Medals of Honor " would be issued by this
commission to members of New York commands who participated in
the Battle of Gettysburg, applications continued to be received by the
secretary. From this condition arose the necessity of the most careful scru-
tiny to verify the claims of each applicant. The assistance rendered by the
Auditor of the War Department in furnishing reports from the muster rolls
of June 30th and August 31, 1863, on file in his department, was of special
value and highly appreciated. The first application to the Auditor bears the
date of November 3, 1893, and since that time the correspondence has contin-
ued with greater or lesser intervals according to the frequency of applications.
These requests have been promptly and satisfactorily responded to, and the
nature of the replies has governed the distribution of the medals, in accordance
with the regulations of the board.

On April 17, 1894, the commissioners assembled at the office of the board.
The chairman stated that the meeting had been called to take proper action
on the death of Maj. Gen. Henry Warner Slocum, a member of this board,
which occurred on Saturday, April 14, 1894, at 2:05 o'clock a. m., at his
residence, 465 Clinton avenue, Brooklyn, N. Y., and offered the following
preamble and resolution, which were unanimously adopted.

" Whereas, This board has learned with profound sorrpw of the sudden
decease of our colleague, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum ; therefore, be it,

" Resolved, That the secretary be directed to enter upon the minutes
this expression of our sense of the bereavement we have suffered ; and we unite
with our comrades of the Union Army and especially the surviving veterans
of the State of New York in placing on record our appreciation of the dis-
tinguished military services of the deceased and the high sense of rectitude
and honor which marked all his conduct in civil life.

" Resolved, That this board, as a body, atteffd the funeral of General Slocum
to-day in Brooklyn.

" Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the widow and
family of the deceased."

The board thereupon adjourned, and the commissioners and secretary at-
tended the funeral of General Slocum.

An act of the Legislature, passed April 4, 1896, directed the commission-
ers to erect an equestrian statue of Major General Slocum, at Gettysburg,
and appropriated $25,000 for that purpose.

Maj. Gen. Josiah Porter, Adjutant General of this State — who had been
an ex-officio member of this commission since its organization — died at
New York, December 14, 1894. The board met at the residence of General
Sickles on the 17th of December, and the commissioners and secretary, as
a body, attended the funeral of General Porter on the afternoon of that day.



New York at Gettysburg. 1447

After a lingering illness, Bvt. Maj. Gen. Joseph B. Carr died February
24, 1895, at his home in Troy, N. Y. The secretary was directed to place
the following minute upon the records of the board:

" Whereas, The members of this commission have been informed of the
death of their colleague, Bvt. Maj. Gen. Joseph B. Carr, on Sunday, Feb-
ruary 24, 189s, at his residence in Troy, N. Y., therefore, be it

" Resolved, That the secretary be directed to enter upon the minutes of the
board, this declaration of the great loss we have suffered, and we join with
the Union veterans of the War of the Rebellion, and particularly with those
of the State of New York, in recording our high appreciation of the dis-
tinguished military record of the deceased, his unblemished character and
reputation in civil life, and the valuable services rendered as a member of
this commission.

" Resolved, That a copy of this minute be sent to the widow and family of the
deceased."

The board and engineer and secretary, as a body, attended the funeral of
General Carr, at Troy, on Wednesday afternoon, February 27, 1895.

On April 8, 1895, in accordance with the provisions of section 4, chapter
466, Laws of 1886, his Excellency, Governor Morton appointed Bvt. Maj-
Gen. Alex. S. Webb, of New York city, a member of this commission,' vice
Bvt. Maj. Gen. Joseph B. Carr, deceased, and Bvt. Brig. Gen, Anson G.
McCook, on the 23d day of May, 1895, in the place made vacant by the death
of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum..

By chapter 317, Laws of 1895, it was provided that the commission, con-
stituted by virtue of chapter 466, Laws of 1886, and further continued by
chapter 269, Laws of 1887, and known as the Gettysburg Battlefield Monu-
ments Commission, and the commission constituted by virtue of chapter
726, Laws of 1893, and further continued by chapter 371, Laws of 1894, and
known as the Chattanooga Battlefields Commission, be consoHdated and con-
stituted as one commission, and that the commission so constituted by reason
of such consolidation shall be known and recognized as the New York Monu-
ments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg and Chattanooga. In
compliance with section 4 of this act, the senior member of the two boards
of commissioners thereby consolidated having called together the members
of the two separate commissions, on April 24, 1895, for the purpose of organ-
ization, Maj. Gen. D. E. Sickles, U. S. A.., was elected chairman and A. J.
Zabriskie was appointed engineer and secretary. The consolidated com-
mission, so organized, has proceeded in the erection of monuments and plac-
ing markers designating the positions of New York troops on the battlefields
around Chattanooga in Tennessee.

An appropriation of $6,000 was made by chapter 932, Laws of 1895, for de-
fraying the expenses of the final report of the Gettysburg Monuments Com-
missioners. The act provided that the " Report shall contain a representation
of each monument erected by them, with a statement of its location and



1448 New York at Gettysburg.

cost and the dedication ceremonies, and also a brief history of each New
York regiment and battery that took part in the Battle of Gettysburg, as
authenticated by the official reports and records."

Prior to the passage of this act a large amount of material had been col-
lected for a final report and its plan determined. The commissioners author-
ized the chairman to engage a competent person, familiar with military ser-
vice and conversant with war records and literary work, to write the History
of New York at Gettysburg, as it is found in the official reports and authen-
tic sources of information; and to revise such matter as might be presented



Online LibraryNew York (State). Monuments Commission for the BatFinal report on the battlefield of Gettysburg → online text (page 59 of 61)