195                                HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.



Officers and Soldiers of the Army of the Tennessee:

           The profound gratification I feel in being authorized to release you from the onerous obligations of the camp, and return you, laden with laurels, to homes where warm hearts wait to welcome you, is somewhat embittered by the painful reflection that I am sundering the ties that trials have made true, time made tender, suffering made sacred, perils made proud, heroism made honorable, and fame made forever fearless of the future. It is no common occasion that demands the disbandment of a military organization, before the resistless power of which mountains bristling with bayonets have bowed, cities have surrendered, and millions of brave men been conquered. Although I have been but for a short period your commander, we are not strangers; affections have sprung up between us during the long years of doubt, gloom and carnage, which we have passed through together, nurtured by common perils, sufferings and sacrifices, and riveted by the memories of gallant comrades, whose bones repose beneath the sod of an hundred battle-fields, nor time nor distance will weaken or efface. The many marches you have made, the dangers you have despised, the haughtiness you have humbled, the duties you have discharged, the glory you have gained, the destiny you have discovered for the country in whose cause you have conquered, all recur at this moment in all the vividness that marked the scenes through which we have just passed. From the pens of the ablest historians of the land, daily are drifting out upon the current of time, page upon page, volume upon volume of your heroic deeds, and floating down to future generations will inspire the student of history with admiration, the patriot American with veneration for his ancestors, and the lover of republican liberty with gratitude for those who, in a fresh baptism of blood, reconsecrated the powers and energies of the Republic to the cause of constitutional freedom. Long may it be the happy fortune of each and every one of you to live in the full fruition of the boundless blessings you have secured to the human race. Only he whose heart has been thrilled with admiration for your impetuous and unyielding valor in the thickest of the fight, can appreciate with what pride I recount the brilliant achievements which immortalize you, and enrich the pages of our national history. Passing by the earlier, but not less signal triumphs of the war, in which most of you participated, and inscribed upon your banners such victories as Donelson and Shiloh, I recur to campaigns, sieges and victories that challenge the admiration of the world, and elicit the unwilling applause of all Europe. Turning your backs upon the blood-bathed hights of Vicksburg, you launched into a region swarming with enemies, fighting your way, and marching without adequate supplies, to answer the cry for succor that came to you from the noble but beleagured army at Chattanooga. Your steel next flashed among the mountains of the Tennessee, and your weary limbs found rest before the embattled hights of Mission Ridge, and there, with dauntless courage, you breasted again the

Intro Previous Next ToC Index