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‘Our fallen comrades.’


Speech of Colonel T. L. Bayne, of the Washington Artillery.

[At the Reunion of the Washington Artillery in New Orleans, May 27th, 1882, Colonel T. L. Bayne made the following response to a toast to ‘Our Fallen Comrades,’ which we cheerfully give a place with the other speeches on the occasion which have sketched the history of that famous old command:]

Every heart in this company throbs with a response to this toast more eloquent than words: ‘Our Fallen Comrades.’ [329]

I see in the faces of the veterans around me evidence of the emotion called forth by this reference to their brave companions, with whom they have marched, and bivouacked and fought. They recall the faces and forms of their comrades, whose names appear upon this roll of honor. They remember with what enthusiasm they joined them as members of this now historic command—with what patriotism and courage they followed its flag over more than forty battle-fields of the war, and finally gave up their lives in defense of their country—leaving to us their names and their history, which we will not willingly let die. We have sculptured their names and their battles upon the granite monument erected to their memory, and we carry them engraved in our hearts, where they shall remain enshrined until the pulse of their last comrade shall cease to beat. And then we will pass their memory to our successors, the present and future members of this battalion, who will come to know more and more, as long years shall pass, what an honorable heritage has been left to them.

But their memories e'er shall remain for us,
     And their names without stain for us,
The glory they won shall not wane for us,
     In legend and lay
Our commander in gray
     Shall forever live over again for us.

And now, after having paid our tribute to our noble dead, whose memory we will ever cherish, I ask my friends by my side to unfurl the glorious battle-flag of the Fifth Company of this command, which the widow of its gallant Captain, Cuthbret H. Slocomb, returns through me to those who bore it, and with their assent I commit it to the custody and safe-keeping of this battalion. You are charged to guard it well, for it has been borne upon many a battle into the thickest of the fight by strong arms which are now cold in death; it has been followed by our brave comrades, who have fallen under its folds. It was almost the last flag that floated over Confederate troops at the close of the war, and when Spanish Fort was evacuated, it was sewed around the body of Orderly Sergeant Bartley, to be yielded only with his life. It comes to us through the hands of the noble wife of that gallant chief, whose untimely death will ever be lamented, not only by this command, but by all of the people of this great city, and of this State—by all good men and women everywhere, who love courage, fidelity and patriotism. [330]

There are other leaders among our honored dead whose names and leadership are worthy to be associated with that of our beloved Captain, and those names are already upon the lips of the veterans around me. I mean Lieutenants Vaught and Blair; Sergeants De-Merrett, Denegre, and others of the Fifth Company. Under this flag they led our comrades to victory, and during all of the war showed that they were soldiers without fear, and gentlemen without reproach.

There are still other names both among the dead and the living which deserve to be mentioned as associated with this precious relic. The living are among you. Your eyes and hearts turn to them without naming them.

The officers and men of the Fifth Company feel that the names of all our hallowed dead are now associated. They are all upon the same roll of honor. The living will draw together in closer fellowship with you and with each other and will ever cherish with you the honored memory of ‘our fallen comrades.’

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T. L. Bayne (2)
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