249.-Sixth Regiment N. Y. Volunteers. Departure from New York, June 13.
The regiment arrived from Staten Island
, at the foot of Fourteenth street, and proceeded without delay through Fourteenth street and Fifth avenue to No. 63 Clinton place, where a magnificent silk banner was to be presented to them by the ladies of the Relief Committee.
On arriving at the house the men were disposed in lines, the officers in front, and a large concourse of people surrounding the place.
Rev. S. H. Weston
, chaplain of the Seventh regiment, accompanied by Mrs. George Strong
, who held the banner, proceeded to present it in the following speech:--
fellow-soldiers — I say fellow-soldiers, for We are all comrades in this holy war — I have been requested by the fair donors to address to you a few words on the presentation of this flag.
I trust you appreciate this beautiful flag as thoroughly as I do being allowed the honor of participating in this interesting ceremony.
Fellow-soldiers, this standard of our beloved country is confided to your care.
It is a precious charge, for it is an emblem of your country's integrity and renown.
See to it;, then, that these stars ever float over your heads as bright and pure as those above.
Preserve its stripes stainless as the virtuous hearts that tender you this magnificent gift.
As it sways to the breeze of Heaven, let it marshal you to an honorable career.
Under its folds you may win imperishable glory, and write your names in the pages of history, to be proudly read by your children and a grateful posterity.
Tread with alacrity, then, the path it points out to you. If it lead perchance to a bloody grave, it is “sweet to die for your country,” and all coming time will hallow your resting place as the bed of glory.
You have seen what a burial has been already accorded to the first martyrs in this war. If you come back victorious — which God grant — a grateful people will know how to honor the brave, and hail your return with thunders of applause.
and the heart of Bruce
of Navarre, on the eve of a tremendous conflict, bade his soldiers look for the crisis of battle where streamed the white plume on his helmet.
So let this flag wave wherever ebbs and flows the fiercest tide of war. I need not bid you bring it back with you, for I am sure if you return you will bear this standard in your midst.
slain in battle were borne home on their shields — it was a dishonor to return without them.
Remember, then, the counsel of the Spartan
mother to her son, when she presented him with his buckler: “With this, or on this.”
Bring back, then, this starry flag, without a stain, or let it be your winding sheet.
You have the highest incentive that can rouse the energies of man. You are engaged in a righteous quarrel; never was there a juster, a holier cause.
“Thrice armed is he who hath his quarrel just.”
You will contend under this banner for constitutional liberty; you will help to solve the mighty problem of self-government.
The eyes of the whole world will be on you. The lovers of freedom in all lands will watch the strife with tearful eyes and beating hearts.
This flag is the exponent of liberty; the hope of humanity.
You will march under no bastard ensign, with half the stars blotted out, and the remainder travelling in dark eclipse.
No palmetto abomination will flaunt treason over your heads, but above you will stream the banner triumphant on a hundred battle-fields, and under which your dauntless sires rushed to victory and renown.
As fellow-soldiers, around these Stars and Stripes cluster dear memories and hallowed associations.
Every thread in that dear flag has a tongue eloquent of human liberty, and reminds you of the priceless legacy bequeathed to you by your fathers.
Every stitch is eloquent of canonized Lexington
, Bunker Hill
, and Yorktown
They adjure you by the memory of your heroic sires — by their suffering, toil, and blood — not to suffer it
to be dishonored.
Thank God, we have such a rallying point in this struggle.
Its very presence in the fight hallows the cause and is an earnest of success.
Every star that blazes in those azure folds is worth a hundred thousand men. The ring of your battle cry will be louder and clearer — your hearts firmer — your arms stronger — where it leads you on. Its very sight must palsy the hands of the traitors, and, blaspheme it as they may, they hesitate to strike it down.
It is like an unnatural son striking at the heart of the mother that bore him; for beneath its honored folds were they born, and under its fostering care have they lived and won all they possess of prosperity and renown.
This proud ensign then represents not only the hopes of the future, but the glories of the past.
Every friend of human progress alive bids it God speed, and if the spirits of the illustrious departed are permitted to visit the scenes of their early triumphs, then are the shadows of the mighty dead leaving the skies to witness this conflict — all the martyrs of liberty down the track of time, from Marathon
You will fight under a cloud of witnesses — both the living and the dead.
But I adjure you, comrades, in the soldier do not forget the Christian
and the man. War too often appeals to the worst passions of our nature, and tends to deaden the sensibilities, brutalize the heart, and make even the compassionate cruel.
In the heat, then, of victorious fight ever remember mercy.
Be a magnanimous enemy in the hours of triumph.
You may disdain to ask quarter for yourselves, but never refuse it to a suppliant or prostrate foe. Let no wanton cruelty stain the laurels you may win. War, at best, is a tremendous calamity.
Add not to its horrors the devilish spirit of hatred and revenge.
It was said of Washington
— Liberty unsheathed his sword, Necessity stained it, Victory returned it. In this unnatural strife, let the pleading voice of humanity be heard even over the roar of battle.
Smite with the sword of the Lord
when duty commands; but in the flush of conquest, remember the Divine promise--“Blessed is the merciful man, for he shall obtain mercy.”
Above all, remember Him who giveth the victory.
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.
Implore the protection of the God of Battles.
You may feel indifferent now. You will be serious, thoughtful, in the presence of the enemy.
You will not regret then your daily prayers.
If your duties are exciting you may make them brief.
That was a short prayer of the publican--“God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
It was accepted.
Imitate the great captain when about to rush into a desperate conflict.
You can remember it--“Oh, my God, if I forget Thee this day, do not Thou forget me.”
Pray, then, yourselves, and dear ones at home will pray for you. And now God be with you, and bear your shield and buckler against all your foes, temporal or spiritual, and return you to your homes — conquerors for humanity's sake, your country's sake,--conquerors for Christ
received the banner from the hands of Mrs. George Strong
, and, carrying it into the ranks, gave it into the hands of the color-sergeant
. Colonel Wilson
and the color-sergeant
then returned to the foot of the steps, both grasping the banner of liberty.
seemed deeply affected, and his utterance was choked for some time.
His wife stood on the stoop, regarding him with tearful emotion.
At length he summoned courage and spoke as follows:--
I can hardly speak; utterance has been taken from me. When I see my wife, when I see the ladies of New York city, who have done so much, I have to say of that flag that I love it better than my wife or child; better than I love her, my wife, do I love the honor of that flag.
For my God first, for my country next, and for my family next.
(Cheers.) I have sacrificed every thing except my God for that flag--(cheers)--and I do believe as enthusiastically as the men who went to Palestine
to fight, that the man who fights for that flag, although he dies, he dies holy, and fighting for the Almighty.
(Enthusiastic cheering.) I feel this in my heart; I can hardly speak, for I know not what I had to say. What I do say I say from my heart, and it is as God directs me — that this is a religious war. It is a war for the intelligence — for the freedom of the world — not for this country.
(Cheers.) It is a war to protect men, women, and children; that the liberties of the people may be protected in spite of aristocrats or would-be traitors.
(Cheers.) It is not for the glory of fighting or being the colonel of any regiment that I go forth to fight.
It is because I devote my life to this cause.
(Cheers.) I love my wife and child second to my flag, which I am ready to defend and die for. (Cheers.) The ladies of New York, God bless them, for they are Heavenborn angels — they have proved Heaven-born angels to me — to bless and protect the poor traveller as he passes through the world.
They have looked on me as one who was disgraced in the world — and some of my men bore hard names once.
But they are honest and true.
They are nature's noblemen.
(Cheers.) They are such men as those who guarded the liberty of this country — such as those who guarded the liberties of England
, made the King
sign Magna Charta
--(cheers); they are such men as made Rome
a republic, and fought for liberty in France
(Cheers.) They are as the sons of Abraham, who went forth to fight the Philistines.
I love that flag, (pointing to the banner,) and though I go upon the torrid, sandy beach of Pensacola
, and die there; though I go on the plains of Texas
, it matters not. If I go on the plains of Virginia
and gain renown, it is well; but wherever we are told to go. we go there, as long as it is for the honor and perpetuity of
the flag, the freedom of the world, and the protection of the beautiful city of New York
(Tremendous cheering.) That man (pointing to the standard-bearer) will carry that flag, and when he goes another will carry it who will not be afraid of ten thousand traitors--(cheers)--and when he dies every man will jump to grasp the flag.
(Cheers.) It will take, however, a good many to kill him, and I don't think the ball is moulded, or will be moulded this year, to kill either him or me. (Cheers and laughter.) Ladies, I thank you from the inmost recesses of my heart.
I again express every feeling in full on behalf of my gallant officers and my devoted and patriotic men. (Loud applause.)
Officers of the Sixth Regiment.
The following is a list of the field, staff, and line officers:
field officers :--Colonel, William Wilson
, John Creighton
; Major, William B. Newby
Staff officers:--Adjutant, J. J. Heary
; Quartermaster, M. E. Bradley
; Surgeon, P. B. Peace
; Assistant Surgeon
, Edward Lynch
; 1st Lieut.
. Company B--Captain, A. T. Whiting
Company C--Captain, R. H. Hazeltine
; 1st Lieut.
, R. Baily
; Ensign, M. Hanham
. Company D--Captain, Patrick Duffy
; 1st Lieut.
, Dufraine; 1st Lieut.
; 1st Lieut.
; 1st Lieut.
Company H--Captain, Peter Duffy
; 1st Lieut.
; 1st Lieut.
, Hoelzle; 1st Lieut.
, Kraehl.--N. Y. Herald
, June 14.