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United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 21st - MS 562: Transcripts

Transcripts - Address.  17th Anniversary of the Battle of Jonesboro, September 1, 1881

Comrades,

Our people are here to meet you and greet you. There are no strangers here; all are your friends; you need no introduction, you are on your native heath. We know you well more than twenty years. In April 1861 you went forward with our flag for freedom and the Union, it was a glorious banner then but you have made it supreme.

Yes. We know you, you were at Chickamauga and all the battles from Mission Ridge to Atlanta, you marched to the Sea and swept through the Carolinas.

But this is the anniversary of the battle of Jonesboro. You were there and we saw you charge the enemy of our flag and country. You were meeting face to face the keepers of Andersonville, Milen[?], Salsbury and Belle Isle. We were looking at you seventeen years ago today, you were forming for battle in front of an open field. It was four oclock and the hot Southern Sun shone in your weather-browned faces, no one among you doubted the nature of the work you were preparing for.

Rebel entrenchments well manned stretched far on either flank, and the bellowing battle was sounding in your ears. Our regular brigade and a brigade of volunteers on your left assailed the rebel line through a tangle of brush and fallen timber and were defeated and driven back like the impetuous waves from a mountain rock, leaving their dead, a battle flag and its guard in the dust under the rebel guns. The troops on your left had failed.

Then up you came with your third brigade and right manfully you bore yourselves. As you came forward under the rebel fire you never faltered, but moved steadily on. You were in an open field and Great God how your men went down under the tornado of death that came from the rebel works. Volley after volley and the artillery pelted and thundered, but you kept right on for the enemy's lines. We saw you man the rebel works but your front had become ragged and broken. We said you would fail, no men could stand that, you were lost. And we turned our eyes in despair from that terrible scene. But hope called and we looked again and saw your colors on the top of the rebel works and the sheen of your bayonets at play with the enemy in their trenches. The rebel line was broken and the day was won.

We say you went forward with our flag as the Standard of Liberty, free speech, free press, free conscience and National Unity. You wiped out Slavery, and our power as a nation is never doubted wherever our flag is seen. Our country is peaceful and happy in the enjoyment of every blessing that man can wish. We have all the rights and liberties that the founders of our nation ever hoped for. That is the reason we meet you and greet you; and our people have preferred for you enjoyment today all the grand things that our fat land can produce; and with warm hearts, open hands and right good will we bid you welcome.

MS 562: Introduction | Transcript List
MS 562 Series Description: MS 562: Introduction | 86th O.V.I. Records | Arnold McMahan Papers
MS 562 Abstracts: Part 1 (McMahan Correspondence) | Part 2 (Box 12) | Part 3 (Box 13) | Inventory
Manuscripts by Subject | Civil War Collections