Testimonials from visiting soldiers.
Washington Artillery—recollections of their Richmond trip.A Memorial address to their Howitzer Host—For miles they marched between masses of sympathetic friends—a new theme.
The New Orleans Daily Picayune of June 20, 1890, printed the following, which will interest many persons: Last night the Washington Artillery held a regular monthly meeting, Colonel Richardson presiding, and a large number present. In addition to the regular routine work, committees were appointed, on motion of Adjutant Kursheedt and Lieutenant Baker, to get up suitable memories to be sent to the Richmond Howitzers, in acknowledgment and appreciation of their kindness during the recent trip of the battalion to Richmond. On motion of Captain C. L. C. Dupuy, it was voted that the following minute be spread upon the records of the battalion:
Memories of 1861, 1865, and 1890.The Washington Artillery recalls the afternoon of May 27, 1861, when leaving our homes, we began our march for Virginia through lines of brave-hearted but tearful mothers, sisters, wives and children, whom many of us ne'er would see again. In Virginia we met a welcome, such as could be given only by a  people whose men were knightly soldiers, and whose women were as heroic as they were lovely. Shoulder to shoulder with such soldiers, in the midst of such a people, and catching the inspiration of the majestic mountains, lovely valleys, beautiful rivers, sparkling brooks and crystal springs which Washington, Jackson and Lee loved so well, is it strange that we were incited to high resolves, and that honor perched upon our banners wherever our guns were heard? Soon the fortunes of war cut us off from our Louisiana homes, and the heart of Old Virginia grew all the warmer toward us. Every home was open to us, and Virginia mothers became mothers to us; and when want and famine came, the homeless men of the far South were still remembered with even greater tenderness by a people who forgot their own wants to supply ours. When the years of cruel war were at last ended; when many of those Virginia homes were in ashes; when the few which were spared sheltered those to whom little was left save honor, and when our guns were buried at Appomattox, and our tattered banners were reverently furled, we left Virginia with heavy hearts, sorrowing mostly for the people we were leaving in sore distress—a people the most unselfish the world ever saw. Long years have passed—‘Old Virginia never tires’—her homes are rebuilt and are as happy as of yore, the land again flows with milk and honey, Richmond has risen from her ashes and is more beautiful than ever, and Virginia is preparing to honor the immortal Lee whom she and we loved so well. Our dear old comrades-in-arms, the gallant Richmond Howitzers, say to us: ‘You were with us and of us long ago, and you must come to us again; the tents are pitched, the canteens and pipes are filled, the camp fires are burning brightly and the rations are cooking; if you don't come promptly Fitz. Lee will go after you with the cavalry, and you know what that means.’ We remember the way the cavalry had of bringing the boys into camp, but we thought they had a habit of keeping them out of Richmond. Things have changed, however. We have yearned for Virginia and Richmond many years, and ‘on to Richmond’ is again the watchword. The old flag we furled at Appomattox is again unfurled to the breeze, the bands are playing ‘Carry Me Back to Old Virginia,’ and we are again marching between long lines of friends—there are some tearful eyes among them, but they are those of veteran comrades whose hearts are heavy because they cannot be with us  again. The afternoon of the 27th of May comes again, and with martial music and flying banners we are entering Virginia the second time, after a lapse of twenty-nine eventful years. It is a moment of uncontrollable joy, and our voices fill the air with ringing cheers. We appreciate that we are among the Virginians, for they are greeting us at every station with rare flowers and hearty cheers as they did of yore. Daylight gives place to the silvery light of the full moon, and the clouds disappear that we may again enjoy the sight of those mountains and valleys and sparkling streams which were so beautiful when we lowlanders first saw them. The quiet beauty of the night suggests to our hearts that sweet peace has spread its ample mantle over this beautiful and much-loved land of health and plenty, and our reverent prayer is that the tread of battling soldiery and the din and desolation of terrible war may never again disturb these peaceful scenes—this glorious people. Our voices are hushed, our thoughts are in the past, and soon we are dreaming of the camp fires around which we found rest, wrapped in our blankets of gray. The dawn of a beautiful day finds us in the heroic city of Petersburg, and soon we are ‘home again’ in Richmond. All is joy and gladness, except when old friends come to us asking for those they knew and loved long ago and to whom we can only say, ‘They are with us no longer; they have gone to join Lee and Jackson in the eternal camping-ground.’ Their bowed heads and glistening eyes silently tell of the love those dear people bore our boys. The great day has arrived—the long lines of veterans are formed—they are Virginia's honored guests in the fullest sense of the word—the second generation in trim uniforms are also in line. Our veteran corps is uniformed as when first we went into Richmond, and carry our war-worn battle-flag (the gift of a Richmond lady) and our regimental flag, on which sixty battles are inscribed. Our active batteries bear the national colors and the beautiful Virginia flag which was presented to us by Virginia. The march begins; every street and every locality seems as familiar as years ago. Enthusiasm is so supreme that we did not regard the length of the route, and we are scarcely conscious of our feet touching the ground. For miles we are marching between masses of sympathetic friends. Virginia's great heart is up in her throat. She knows nothing to-day but the immortal Lee and those who followed him, and all along that  long route every door is open and every table spread, and at every halt of the column, the soldiers, old and young, are heartily invited to partake of Virginia cheer. In no place but Virginia is such graceful hospitality possible. It is the hospitality of a chivalrous, greathearted, unselfish people. It sought us and ministered to us on the weary march, in the hospitals where we lay sick and wounded; yea, even in the heat of battle, amid hissing shots and bursting shells, and in the horrors of the seige. And now the march is ended, and we are drawn up, line after line, around the monument. The veil is dropped and the magnificent statue of the great Lee stands revealed in its perfect beauty. Cheers such as we have not heard for a quarter of a century salute our noble chieftain, mingled with the thunder of artillery and the roar and rattle of musketry. It seems as if legions of heroes have risen from the dead and are fighting their battles again in defense of Richmond. Our trip has been a great joy to our veterans and a revelation and delight to our young men. Concentrated happiness cannot last always and stern duty hurries us back to our life work. Words can faintly express our thanks to the noble friends we have left behind. Our visit to them will be remembered with intense pleasure all our days. We rejoice that we met our old friends, the First Virginia, and recalled the memories of the days when we camped together. The gallant Howitzers, old and young, have not only revived the friendships of the war, but have revealed themselves the truest and best of friends, and their name will be a household word with us forever. In war they won laurels and an illustrious name. In peace they have won greater victories still—victories that have made hearts their willing captives. And now in our Louisiana homes, we have a new theme, ‘The memories of our second trip to Richmond.’
Everybody pleased.But joyous and grateful memories remained in the hearts of all visitors and participants, and numerous were the resolutions of appreciation rendered and returned in print to the Richmond hosts.
An unveiling Memorial.On the night of July 1st, 1890, the Richmond Howitzer Battalion held a drill in their armory, Captain John A. Hutchinson commanding. There was a full attendance, and the members of the Howitzer Association were present in force. Upon the conclusion of the drill the two bodies held a joint meetins, Captain Frank D. Hill, president of the Howitzer Association, presiding. Captain Hill presented to the Howitzers an offering from the Washington Artillery, New Orleans, with the following remarks: ‘One month ago we had as our guests that grand old battalion, the Washington Artillery from New Orleans—men who, twenty-nine years ago, left their homes and firesides, came on to Old Virginia to assist us in that struggle which lasted for four long and eventful years. They were men whom we may be justly proud of, and we feel highly honored that they were our distinguished guests. Although cut off from their homes and friends they continued shoulder to shoulder with us, and after a record second to none in the annals of our war, after the roar of their guns had been heard on every battlefield in Virginia, then only was their tattered, torn and bloodstained banner furled at Appomattox. But the scene changes. After a lapse of twenty-five years the march to Old Virginia is resumed. The old veterans of many a campaign are now accompanied by a stalwart battalion of young soldiers, who have grown up since war's alarms have ceased, and old and young are here with us to give tribute and praise to our old commander, Robert E. Lee, in the unveiling of a monument in bronze, enduring forever, to his high character. And now, comrades of the young company, I have the honor to present to you this memento from our departed guests, immortelles from the bier of Jefferson Davis, and beautiful photographs taken from scenes of his last hours and burial. We cannot but value such a gift as this, and to you, Captain Hutchinson, and the young Howitzers, I now present them with the hope that they may long be seen in the hall of your armory with your other cherished relics of the past.’
Captain Hutchinson in receiving the gift said: ‘I am not much of a speech-maker, but I cannot refrain from the expression of our sincere  thanks for the memento presented. The memory of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson shall ever remain green in our hearts, and we have no less reverence for the men who followed those illustrious leaders. This memento shall ever be sacred, and shall hang on the walls of the Armory as long as there is a man who calls himself a Howitzer.’