|Letter from Ed A. Pace to his father: letter contains Memorial Day Address of 1908|
|submitted by Jane Sanderman Mason: firstname.lastname@example.org|
Recently I received a copy of a letter written by Ed. A. Pace of New Market in 1908. I have added the letter to the bottom.
I wondered if this would be a good addition to the military section of the Taylor county and maybe even the Page county IAGenWeb site.
In the letter Ed is sending his father a speech he made on Memorial Day 1908 in New Market. The speech itself is very flowery, typical of the times, and not particularly interesting. What I thought was so memorable is towards the end of the letter, his references to different surnames, men who were from the area who fought in the War.
Jane Sanderman Mason : email@example.com
Letter to Charles Wesley Pace 1827-1908 from his son Edward A. Pace 1847-1925. Charles was an older brother of Edward Milburn. This letter was saved by Rose Pace Campbell, daughter of Charles W., and is now held by her great grandson.
The topic of the letter is the Memorial Day, 1907 and 1908 services held in New Market Iowa. Of particular interest are comments re individual soldiers, men from Page and Taylor county Iowa, who fought in the Civil War.
Surnames mentioned in the letter are:
Brown, Chaple, Cunning, Elkins, Flick, Hankins, Holiday, Mebley, Morgan, Murray, Pace, Reed, Rose, Scarlett, Sears, Simmons, Steves, Thompson
New Market, Iowa
June 16th 1908
We are all well, and hope this may reach you, in due season and find you enjoying the same blessings.
I wrote in my last letter, that we were going to have Memorial Services, at New Market (indeed we always do) and I would write you about some of the things they done.
The week had been rainy, and the roads were muddy, so that there was not as many in attendance as usual. Besides the novelty of the thing has worn away, and the services, has lost some of its political aspect, and is attended, more as a loving duty, than formerly. The day however was bright and beautiful, the members of the G. A. R., assembled at their hall (which is the Masonic Hall loaned them for the occasion). Forty one of the (boys of sixty two) Battle scared veterans, as they are want to style themselves headed by the New Market Martial Band, then the flag carried by R. H. MORGAN, and the Speakers of the day, marched to the Methodist Church, then there was the invocation (prayer). Then America was sung by the congregation, then Proff. STEVES read Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg, then a song by a quartett called the Sleep of the Brave, then followed the oration of the day, by Bruce J. FLICK who is the son of ex. congressman FLICK. Much was expected from the young man. He talked for thirty minutes, and sat down in profound silence, the speech was a failure, and the audience was greatly disappointed. Then after the benediction the people went home to dinner.
After dinner, the people assembled at the town park, and marched to the Memory Cemetery and decorated the graves of 26 of their comrads. The old soldiers marched by the graves of the dead and dropped a flower on the grave as he passed. There were many people gathered at the Cemetery, in fact the whole county had turned out, and many of the graves was beautifully decorated. Of course, there was many graves not decorated as whole families have moved away or become extinct. For instance there is not one of the SCARLETT family here now, and their graves were not covered with natures nose-gays. All but Harrison B. HANKINS, the soldier of Buena vista, was remembered by the old soldiers. After the Grand Army had strewn flowers on the graves of their Comrads who had died at home they marched to a mound, shaped like a grave, with a head board, marked the Unknown Grave, they formed a hollow square, and then had the address at the Unknown Grave.
This address I made. I have been called upon several times to perform this part of the ceremonies at Memorial day and have won many plaudits, from the Grand Army for the manner I have always performed this part of the ceremonies. I have in times passed went to a lot of trouble and taken lots of time in preparing these addresses, and have material enough to use in making a two hours talk if necessary. The only trouble is in assorting the material to suit the time and circumstances at the time the address is made.
Last year the master of ceremonies fell down and I was called upon to carry the thing through, and it rained to beat the band, and the people could not go to the Cemetery and I made the address in the Church and the Unknown Grave was a spot on the carpet. But the Grand Army wanted to hear me speak, so I did the best I could under the circumstances. The rain poured down and the thunder bellowed and I called it heavy artillery commemorating the heroism of their fallen comrads and the rain-drops natures tears shed on the graves of their fallen brothers. I shook the b___[torn] with a vengenece and made a regular, blood-a___[torn] war eagle speech, and had all the old Vets in tears. ___[torn] was so bad the graves of the departed heroes could not be strewn ore with flowers so the Post met the next Sunday and went to the grave yard and as it was a bright beautiful day the whole county round about Memory and New Market and the region round Hawley Ville and the Nodaway and One hundred and 2 bottoms came and the grave yard was full, and the crowd gave me good attention and I did make them a good speech. A speech that was appreciated by everyone except an unwhipped Copperhead.
The (Boys in blue) selected me for this place again this year. I think I said in my last I would tell you in part what I said at the place called the unknown grave. I spoke without prepared notes and it was an off-hand talk. I said in part:
Gentlemen of the Grand Army
It has been my sad pleasure to attend Memorial services on the thirtyeth of May every year since Memorial day was instituted by the Grand Army of the Republic to commemorate the heroism and bravery of their fallen comrads, and to recount the hardships that they endured, in the great struggle for the preservation of the Union, the liberty of themselves and their children.
Can you go to their graves? Sad to say, you cannot for they were buried where they fell in the old field, in the thicket, in the corn field, some on the mountain-top and on the hillside, in the valley, down by the spring, in the dry creek, in the gutter in the old road, single and double and in groups and in piles in the sink-holes.
These dead comrads of yours, they were buried where they fell, or not buried at all. Some of them were torn to pieces by blood-hounds, in the gloomy swamps of Alabama, North Carolina, at the prison-pens at Anderson Ville and Tyler Texas and no man knows their graves. For they were killed by Guarrillas, in the lonely woods, and assassinated by citizens when hunger drove them to some house in a clearning.
It is for these men I speak today, this one hundred and sixty thousand private soldiers who fill unknown graves. The private soldiers whose bodies were lain upon the altar of our country and whose blood was accepted as a part of the sacrifice and was offered as an atonement for the National sin. Each of you may stand at this mound and see under it the mangled form of your father, your brother, your cousin, or some dear friend, who went forth at his country's call, Alas - never to return. This mound does not represent an Officer's grave, it is of the man of whom the old couple speaks, all quiet on the Cumberland tonight, not an officer lost, only a private or two moaning out alone the death rattle. These were the men whose memory cheered you on to the charge, to avenge whose death you rushed upon the sheets of flame that leaped from the cannons mouth and streamed from thousands of muskets. These were the men that fell by your
sides, amid the leaden hail, who died amid the roar and carnage of battle. They died as heroes die with their backs to the field and their feet to the foe.
___[missing]had incured the anger of Almighty God. By the destruction of the liberties of a race of people we had imperiled our own liberty and the liberty of our children. We had to fight, the war was inevitable. It came and after four years of toil and strife and blood and carnage it ended but the root of the tree of liberty had been watered by the blood of five hundred thousand men. And it is a fitting tribute to their memory that you assemble once at least a year and recount their deeds of valor and commemorate their glorious death.
We have paid a great price for our liberty and I am proud that I had an interest in that great price, that great sacrifice. I am proud that my Father was a soldier and stood shoulder to you in that great struggle. You have passed in review the history of the events that immediately preceeded that war. You have heard the shot at Sumpter and felt again the tingleing sensation that thrilled you. At that time you have again heard the bugles notes calling you to battle, again you hear the fierce music of the fife and drum, again you have enlisted and taken leave of father and mother, of wives and children, and of brothers and sisters and sweet-hearts.
And you go into camp and soon you are drilled, and soon you are drawn out in lines of federal blue. You have marched down the Mississippi, you have been to Fort Donaldson, to Shilo, Vicksburg, Millikens bend, Champion Hill and Iuka. You have been down on the Potomic and through the wilderness. You have been down on Stone River and heard the Rebbel yell at Gettysburg. You have recounted the defeats and victories of four years of terrible war. But after each battle you had duty to perform, you had to bury the dead. Where did you bury those whose lives were accepted, whose blood was spilled.
The shackles that fell from four millions of Negroes was only an incident of the war for the preservation of the principle of self government. And your comrads that fell on the six hundred battle fields that dot the mountains, plains, hills, and valleys of the Southland died that the principle of government, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth. I know of no grander duty to our country than to teach patriotism and I know of no better way to teach patriotism than by holding up for example those who have died for liberty.
We assemble together on the Lords day, and listen to the old old story of the Cross. We look upon him who died to redeem us from spiritual bondage, whose blood was shed that we might escape the bondage of sin and ascend again from the valuts of the tomb and are made glad in our hearts, that we can have a part in that blood that was so freely shed and rejoice in feeling that the sacrifice was made in our behalf.
And we teach our children that it was necessary for Christ to die the death of the cross for without the effusion of blood there is no remission of sins. We as a nation had sinned. We as a nation had held a race of men in bondage. We had sold them, we had parted man and wife, and we had indeed denied him the most sacred relation in life, we had parted families, we had sold maidens on the auction block for inforced prostitution, we had robbed them, beat them, scourged them and shed their blood. Their blood was on our fathers, and on you their children, and it is written, who so shedeth mans blood by man shall his blood be shed.
Our Government had permitted a wrong - a terrible wrong. It had shed the blood of a race of men. WE as a government and incidentally, the preservation of Liberty for the whole world. The issue for which you fought and for which your comrads died was of far more consequence than the freedom of the Negroes of the south. Human liberty was the vital issue at stake. Popular Government was on trial. Monarchists claimed that men are incapable of self-government, that our Union was a rope of sand to be washed away by the waves of discord, brought about the clashing interests of different localities and conditions.
The contention of the South was well expressed in these words. I hold (said that great statesman Stephen A. Douglass) that this is a white mans Government, made by white men, for white men and their posterity forever. This was the feeling and sentiment that animated the southern soldier. His principle was the puritanical principle, liberty for himself, and was only racial in extent and confined to the white race. And a government built upon such a foundation cannot stand as was well stated by the immortal Lincoln, in answer to Douglass, a then famous statement. I hold said Mr. Lincoln That a house divided against itself cannot stand. This government cannot exist half slave and half free. It must become all slave or all free. So you soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic in the great contest that was waged between the North and the South fought for the liberty of your selves, the liberty of your children, but for the liberty of the whole world.
What thoughts of home, of loved ones, of mother, and wife and children and sweet-hearts, flitted through their minds ere their sprits fled, we cannot tell. But the last sight their glazing eyes beheld was that starry-banner, streaming above the blood stained field. And the last sound that fell upon their ears was the shout of victory when the red field was won. And when the long roll was again beaten you felt that their souls were marching on and their spirits sang to in memories song:
But though my body moulder boys my spirit will be free, and every comrades honor boys will still be dear to me, there in the thick and bloody fight nea'r let your courage lag for I'll be there still hovering near above the dear old flag.
Yes, cover this mound with flowers and cherish their names as precious memories, let there be flowers for those that you love. Has anyone remembered John SEARS, the first from Memory Iowa to offer his life for his country who fell in the gray of the morning at Shilo. Yes there is a flower for Sears. Robert HOLIDAY too is remembered by some soldier friend. And Benson THOMPSON whose life-blood stained the snow at Ft. Donaldson, he too is remembered at this hallowed spot. And Ben BROWN who fell at Kelley's ford. And Hiram CUNNING who sleeps on Champion Hill. And brave John MORGAN who rests with Perry MURRAY in the deep dark waters of the Mississippi. Did anyone think of Jonah (Done) REED who rests at Duvals Bluff whose last words were as he threw his wasted arms around his Captains neck, good-bye Captain, tell Mother, God bless her for I am not coming home. Yes there is a flower in memory of him from his mothers grave. And there is a flower for Andy CHAPLE who fell at Black River bridge. And there is one for poor Bob SIMMONS , Bob was not accounted as much but his name is on the roll of fame that is as lasting and eternal as the hills. And has John ELKINS been forgotten. I think I see a flower on this Unknown grave in kind remembrance. And ROSE and MEBLEY are not forgotten by their comrads. There is a bunch of flowers, a red rose and a white rose and a forget-me-not in hallowed memory of Sargent E. M. PACE (Uncle Milburn) who was killed at Centralia Missouri. In memory I can see him now. How I loved him How proud I was of my dashing uncle, so tall and manly. And I see him now, through history's eye on that fatal morning. I see him stand erect before that fatal line of murderous men. I see that smiling demon, Anderson, and I hear the calmly given command, Fire. I hear the murderous roar of the volley as it rolls out on the plains of Centralia. I hear the dull thud of the bullets. I see him fall and his blood, my kindred blood, blood spilled to cement together the union of the states, blood shed that his children and my children might always be free.
But why go on with the list, time fails but loving hearts will never fail and each returning year will witness the fact that they did not die in vain. And coming generations will remember them with gratitude and do honor to their memory. And Gentlemen of the Grand Army of the Republic, when you have answered the roll-call on earth and sleep in the quiet grave the custom that you have instituted will be kept. And you too will be remembered by a greatful people and your graves will be yearly covered with natures adornment - beautiful flowers. And when Revelry sounds on Eternitys Morn and your fallen come forth in their faded coats of blue you too will be there with your robes washed white in the blood of Christ and join with them in singing glad Hosanna to the Savior.
Well Daddy, I have been a long time in finishing this letter and my only object in writing it was to amuse you and if in doing so I have succeeded I am well paid for the time it has taken. Since commensing to write this letter I have learned that Arguile Harden PACE has died. He died on the second day of June and was buried on the 6th at Osawattamie Kansas. But death will soon claim us all. Write me whenever you can,
I am your Affectionate Son, E. A. Pace