temptation to violate their oath and desert their flag.
Offered commissions in the rebel service, money and land freely tendered them, they all scorned the inducements held out to them, submitted to every hardship, and, when at last exchanged, avenged themselves on the field of battle for the unavailing insult offered their integrity.
History affords no brighter example of honor than that of these brave men, tempted, as I blush to say they were, by some of their former officers, who, having themselves proved false to their flag, endeavored to seduce the men who had often followed them in combat and who had naturally regarded them with respect and love.
Such is the regular army,--such its history and antecedents,--such its officers and men. It needs no herald to trumpet forth its praises; it can proudly appeal to the numerous fields, from the tropics to the frozen banks of the St. Lawrence
, from the Atlantic
to the Pacific
, fertilized by the blood and whitened by the bones of its members.
But I will not pause to eulogize it. Let its deeds speak for it: they are more eloquent than tongue of mine.
Why are we here to-day?
This is not the funeral of one brave warrior, nor even of the harvest of death on a single battle-field, but these are the obsequies of the best and bravest of the children of the land, who have fallen in actions almost numberless, many of them among the most sanguinary and desperate of which history bears record.
The men whose names and deeds we now seek to perpetuate, rendering them the highest honor in our power, have fallen wherever armed rebellion showed its front,--in far-distant New Mexico
, in the broad valley of the Mississippi, on the bloody hunting-grounds of Kentucky
, in the mountains of Tennessee
, amid the swamps of Carolina
, on the fertile fields of Maryland
, and in the blood-stained thickets of Virginia
They were of all the grades,--from the general