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[248] consciences had not been where we at least thought they ought to be. Some of us have never been able to get them in any other place to this day.

Now we are a very different body of men than we were twenty-one years ago. We are different—oh, how different—numerically! How memory rushes back to the brave fellows left in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia!

But we must draw a curtain over all that.

After the war was over, the greater part of those who survived drifted back to New Orleans. It was not long before we found that many of our poor fellows, either for themselves or for their families left in destitution, needed help. In order to meet this want, which touched our hearts, we formed ourselves into the Washington Artillery Association. We did not intend to recommence the war, or to hurt anybody, but the commanding officer here at the time—I need not mention his name—must have been ‘afraid,’ for he ordered us to disband. We obeyed as loyal citizens, but reorganized, leaving out the belligerent element in our name, and became the lamb-like Washington Benevolent Association, under which peaceful designation we did our work quite as well. We not only did a good deal for the living, but went on to erect some memorial of the dead. The monument which you all know so well is not what the gallant fellows deserve, but it is the best we could do.

Time has now closed up most of the sad gaps made by the war, and our work as a benevolent association is pretty near at an end, and so we have dropped that name and settled down into the military, but not dangerous title of ‘Veteran Association.’

And now, gentlemen of the battalion, we leave to your keeping the name which we have had no little pride in inscribing on the tablet of history, and with it, we commit in some sort our honor. We do not fear that you will fail to guard it well, and if, unhappily, you shall ever bear it in the din of battle, bring it back, if you must, in defeat, but never in dishonor.


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