Dedication of Monument
42d Regiment Infantry
September 24, 1891
Oration by Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Sickles, U. S. A.
The Forty-second New York Infantry was raised and organized by the Tammany
Society, in the City of New York, in May and June, 1861. The regiment was taken
to the field by the Grand Sachem of that year, Col. William D. Kennedy, who
died a few days afterward in Washington, in July. Colonel Kennedy was succeeded
by Capt. Milton Cogswell, an accomplished officer of the Regular Army. Among
the Sachems of Tammany who were conspicuous in their efforts to raise this
famous battalion, I may mention Elijah F. Purdy, Daniel E. Delavan, Isaac Bell,
Thomas Dunlap, Smith Ely, and John Clancy.
Early in the same year, 1861, several other Tammany leaders raised regiments
and brigades for the war. Among them were the Chasseurs, organized by Gen.
John Cochrane, the brigades of Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher, and General Corcoran,
and the brigade of General Sickles, which was composed of five regiments.
Meagher's and Nugent's Sixty-ninth Regiment lost more men in battle, killed
and wounded, than any infantry regiment from the State of New York. Sickles'
First Excelsior lost the most men killed and wounded in one battle, having
lost at Williamsburg, 79 killed and 168 wounded, including 7 officers killed
and 22 wounded out of 33 officers present. At Antietam, 8 color-bearers of
the Irish Brigade were shot down at Bloody Lane, but the brigade carried
the position. At Fredericksburg the color sergeant of the Sixty-ninth was found
dead with his flag concealed and wrapped around his body, a bullet having
the flag and his heart. At Antietam, the Forty-second, then in Dana's Brigade,
Sedgwick's Division of the Second Corps, charged with Sedgwick into the woods
around the Dunker Church, where it lost 180 out of the 345 who were engaged.
Maj. James E. Mallon, afterward colonel of the Forty-second, is especially
mentioned by General Howard and Colonel Hall, the brigade and division commanders,
for his efficient and fearless services in keeping the men in ranks under
fire, and for his daring in recovering the fallen colors of his regiment in
of the advancing enemy. Col. Edmund C. Charles, of the Forty-second was left
wounded, supposed mortally, at Nelson's Farm, one of the Seven Days' battles.
In the Chancellorsville campaign, the Forty-second, under Mallon, was present
at the assault and capture of Fredericksburg; and here again the regiment is
especially commended by the brigade commander, Col. Norman J. Hall, not only
for its coolness and steadiness in battle, but also for the admirable discipline
that under the most trying circumstances saved its position from the effects
of a panic, created by a false alarm in the night. Again, at Gettysburg, the
Forty-second, under Colonel Mallon, was distinguished for gallant conduct in
the second and third days of this battle. In the final charge of Armistead's
Brigade of the enemy, Sergt. Michael Cuddy, the color bearer,
was mortally wounded. Already distinguished at Fredericksburg for daring courage,
this heroic soldier, a moment after he fell with his colors, rose in the face
of the advancing enemy, and triumphantly waving the flag he so dearly loved,
this flag I now hold, dropped dead — his body covering the standard.
At Bristoe Station the brave Colonel Mallon, then commanding a brigade, was
killed at the extreme front while rallying his own regiment under a heavy fire.
At Ball's Bluff, in 1861, under Cogswell; in the Seven Days' Battles, in
1862, under Charles; at Antietam and Fredericksburg, in 1862, under Bomford;
Gettysburg, and Bristoe Station, in 1863, under Mallon; in the Wilderness
Campaign, in 1864, under Lynch, this intrepid old regiment gained fresh honors
conflict, until its term of enlistment expired July 13, 1864, when it was
mustered out of service, transferring a number of its men who re-enlisted,
with the recruits, to the Eighty-second New York.
The Forty-second took part in 36 battles and engagements. The largest losses
of the regiment were in the great battles of Antietam and Gettysburg, in
which it lost in killed and wounded 18 officers and 223 enlisted men; and considering
the total number of men present in the line of battle in the regiment, this
record gives the Forty-second the right to be included, as history has already
included it, among the great fighting regiments of the war.
The history of the Tammany Society which raised this regiment at the outbreak
of the war, dates from the foundation of our Government. This historical
organization was conspicuous among the founders of the great political party
it has always been identified. Among its illustrious roll of Sachems are
included the names of George Clinton, Philip Schuyler, Walter Bowne, Brockholst
Samuel Osgood, Daniel D. Tompkins, Garret Sickles, Stephen Allen, Michael
Ulshoeffer, John A. Dix, Samuel J. Tilden, Augustus Schell, John Van Buren,
Cambrelling and John T. Irving.
Jefferson, Madison, Clinton, and Jackson found their strongest supporters
in its ranks. Established as a bulwark against the aristocratic traditions
tendencies inherited from British ancestors, it supported Jefferson and his
policy of shaping our institutions and customs according to the maxims of
the Declaration of Independence. In the War of 1812 with England, the Society
Tammany sustained President Madison and Governor Tompkins in all the war
measures that brought that memorable conflict to an honorable peace. It resisted
efforts of secessionists and the treasonable overtures then for the first
time heard in the East. It supported Jackson in his measures for the suppression
of nullification in South Carolina; and it sustained him in his long struggle
against the money power, which, under the leadership of the Bank of the United
States, assumed to control the financial policy of the Government. It supported
Polk and Marcy in the War with Mexico, in the annexation of Texas, and in
acquisition of California, which established our boundaries on the Pacific
and the Gulf of Mexico.
When the Civil War of 1861 followed the election of Lincoln, the influence
of Tammany Hall was instantly shown in the patriotic action of the Common
Council of our city, where its power was supreme, pledging to the President
all the resources of the municipality, in men and money, for the support
the Government, in the enforcement of the laws, and to maintain the Union.
Let me here recall the concluding resolutions of the series, unanimously
adopted by the New York Common Council at a special meeting of the Board of
convened on the 19th of April, 1861, while the echoes of Sumter were still
heard. These resolutions I had the honor to draft.
Resolved, That we invoke in this crisis the unselfish patriotism and the
unfaltering loyalty which have been uniformly manifested in all periods of
by the population of the City of New York; and while we reiterate our undiminished
affection for the friends of the Union who have gallantly and faithfully
labored in the Southern States for the preservation of peace, and the restoration
fraternal relations among the people, and our readiness to co-operate with
them in all honorable measures of reconciliation, yet, we only give expression
to the convictions of our constituents when we declare it to be their unalterable
purpose, as it is their solemn duty, to do all in their power to uphold and
defend the integrity of the Union, and to vindicate the honor of our flag,
and to crush the power of those who are enemies in war, as in peace they
Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions be transmitted
to the President of the United States, and to the Governor of the State of
I well remember the words of President Lincoln, referring to this action
of our city government, a few days afterward, when I called upon him for instructions
touching the command I had undertaken to raise on the invitation of Governor
Morgan. He said: " Sickles, I have here on my table the resolutions passed
by your Common Council appropriating a million of dollars toward raising men
for this war, and promising to do all in the power of your authorities to support
the Government. When these resolutions were brought to me by Alderman Frank
Boole and his associates of the Committee, I felt my burden lighter. I felt
that when men break through party lines and take this patriotic stand for the
Government and the Union, all must come out well in the end. When you see them,
tell them for me, they made my heart glad, and I can only say, God bless them."
This action of the Common Council of New York made the great city a unit
for national defence; it united all parties for the Union. Men and money were
without stint for the war; gold flowed from Wall street to the National Treasury
like the stream of another Pactolus; every house and every shop was a recruiting
The electric flash that brought the news of Sumter to the North was not quicker
than the martial current that sped from man to man and from woman to woman,
transforming our people from civilians to soldiers. The flag lowered at Sumter
was unfurled everywhere on spires of church and cathedral, in Wall Street,
in market place, in every village and every schoolhouse, and over the homes
of the rich and poor, far and near. The newspapers, like mirrors, reflected
the universal war movement of the people. Public meetings were as spontaneous
as the April leaves that fill the woods, and Union Square could not hold the
thousands poured into it from every avenue and street, like unloosened streams
hurrying to the sea. Go where you would, there was but one theme to talk about — the
impending war. Traffic lost its thrift, industries were tedious, amusements lacked
zest, and it was only the sound of the drum and the bugle that won every ear.
The flag so long without meaning, unless
seen far away from home, on some distant sea, or in a foreign land, all at
once had a new charm; it filled our eyes and stirred our hearts. We counted
its stars; it stood for the Union. For the rich, it meant their wealth; for
the poor, who have only a country and a home, it meant everything they held
dear; for the slave, it meant freedom. We saw the colors proudly carried by
the battalions hastily summoned to Washington; and among the multitudes that
filled the streets, gayly decked with a thousand banners, there were not many
who did not wish themselves in the ranks.
The State of New York raised 400,000 men for the Union armies. Of these vast
numbers, 53,000 died in service. Our State has erected 76 monuments on this
battlefield, commemorating the heroic services of its battalions and its batteries.
Of the 300 renowned battalions in the army, whose losses in battle, in killed
and wounded, as shown by Fox, were the greatest — 59 were New York troops.
In this number are included 4 of the 5 regiments of Sickles' Brigade.
From 1861 to 1865 the State of New York expended $125,000,000 in raising
and equipping its troops. The New York regiments and batteries took part in
than 1,000 battles, engagements, and skirmishes. Of the 250 regiments of
infantry, cavalry, and engineers raised in our State, 127 of them were organized
mainly recruited in the city of New York. The very large enlistments for
the navy, besides, were mainly drawn 'from our city.. The municipal authorities
and our citizens never faltered a moment in their efforts to advance the
of the Union. The City Hall Park was filled with barracks; the families of
the city volunteers received an allowance toward their support from the city
treasury, a bounty nowhere else given. Millions were voted by the city to
equip the municipal regiments. And afterward we supported enthusiastically
of Antietam and Gettysburg for the highest honors in the gift of the Republic.
This is the honorable war record of our patriotic metropolis.
There are nearly 400 monuments on this battlefield; all but two of them commemorate
the services of the soldiers who fought this battle. I have seen many monuments
in other countries erected in honor of commanders of armies, but it was reserved
for us to signalize in this manner the heroism of the rank and file of our
battalions. Apart from this battlefield, a hundred of these memorials are
already placed in as many towns and cities. There is no better way to prepare
next war than to show your appreciation of your defenders in the last war.
No nation can long survive the decline of its martial strength. When it ceases
to honor its soldiers, it will have none. It cannot be said of our Republic
that it has been ungrateful. We give more than a hundred million dollars
a year, in pensions, to the soldiers of our wars. We recognize their right
share in the grand result of their achievements. Our people help the helpless
survivors; we try to save their families from want; we erect monuments to
the men who fell in battle. The military power of this country rests in the
of its reserves, the 6,000,000 of citizens ready to volunteer to take up
arms whenever the exigency demands their services.
There is a day and an hour in the annals of every nation when its life hangs
on the issue of a battle; when it stands or falls by the sword. Such a battle
was Gettysburg. You are now standing on the field where the destiny of this
Republic was decided. Right here, are some of the brave soldiers, veterans
of the Forty-second, who helped to win the decisive victory for the Union.
You stand, right here, on a spot that was a vortex of battle; man to man,
steel against steel, rifle and cannon and sword, shot and shell, the hoarse
of desperate combatants, the smoke and flame and the clash of arms. Right
here, near this clump of trees the resolute onset of the veteran divisions
Pickett and Pettigrew and Trimble met the solid front of Hancock's Corps
as the ocean wave strikes the rock, and like the wave, was dashed into spray
the advancing lines of the enemy broke into fragments against the wall of
Right here, in the thickest of the combat stood your own gallant Forty-second,
under the eye of the young and gifted Mallon. He says in his official report: " I
formed the regiment in line, facing the decisive point; the line was but fairly
established and but just started in the direction of the contested point, when
Colonel Hall, our brigade commander, with words of encouragement cheered us
forward. With the impetus conveyed by these words, the regiment vigorously
advanced, and in that charge which rescued our batteries from the hands of
our foe, which saved our army from disaster, which gave to us glorious success,
this regiment was foremost and its flag in the advance."
Right here, too, the brave Michael Cuddy fell with his flag, this very flag,
and here he rose once more, as Mallon says, " and waved his flag in the
face of the enemy not ten yards distant — that flag he loved so well,
of which he was so proud, and for which his precious life without a murmur
was freely given up." All honor then to Meagher, O'Rourke, Kelly, Corcoran,
De Lacy, Mallon, and Cuddy — glorious types of the Irish-American soldier.
Of the effective force of 80,000 men, on our side, engaged in the Battle
of Gettysburg, 27,000, fully one-third, were New York troops. And of the total
loss in the Union Army, 23,000, our loss was 6,707.
The day is not distant, I trust, when the War Department will establish a
military post here, at Gettysburg, which shall include the battlefield among
so that all of the topographical features of the ground may remain unimpaired,
and the numerous monuments erected by eighteen States on this field, may
be properly guarded and preserved. Such a military post should be garrisoned
at least one company of artillery, with its appropriate,, equipment, to the
end that the morning and evening gun may forever salute the flag of the Union
which was so heroically defended on this consecrated ground.
To-day Europe is a camp. The soil trembles with the tread of millions of
armed men that listen for the command that will begin a conflict such as the
has never seen. Happily, here we enjoy the tranquillity of perfect peace. Our
battles are fought; fraternity at home and good will abroad are stronger guarantees
than armies. France, Germany, Austria, and Russia are now disciplining their
vast armies in sham battles, the school of war. We spend our money in teaching
our children the arts of peace, and while you enjoy its blessings you have chosen a fit moment to commemorate the men who won this
boon for us at the cost of precious sacrifices.
The soldiers of 1861 were not enlisted in a war of conquest. They did not
follow an ambitious usurper; they were not tools of kings to rivet chains on
hands. They took up arms for the people, of whom they were a part, to save
the people's government, and to maintain the people's Union. The volunteers
of 1861 were the flower of our young manhood. If they were poor in purse, they
had at least a home and a country, and for these they gave all they had to
give — their time, their services, and their lives. For their homes and
country and for you they risked wounds, disease, privations, and poverty. Compare
the situation of this country in 1861 with its position now, and you will all
comprehend why it is that so many States and cities and towns have erected
soldiers' monuments. The same comparison helps us to understand why it is that
we give a hundred million dollars a year in pensions to soldiers and sailors.
These proofs of public appreciation and gratitude mark the estimate put by
our citizens on the services rendered to the country by the Army and Navy from
1861 to 1865. In our time no ruler will be chosen in this country who will
take a dollar away from the bounty given by a grateful nation to its defenders.
Standing near the magnificent tomb of Napoleon in Paris, some years ago,
my son, then a boy of six or seven years, said to me, " Father, does Napoleon
know what a beautiful monument he has? " This question, like many others
asked by inquisitive boys and girls, was not easy to answer. I trust that the
brave and faithful soldiers of the Republic who fell in the great conflict,
far away from home and kindred, now see and know what is done for their memory
by the men and women of this generation. I trust they know something of the
splendor and the strength of the Republic they died to save. Let the presence
of your own heroic dead consecrate this monument. Let it stand for uncounted
years, to tell the story of Tammany's devotion to the country in time of war,
and of her love for her soldiers who fell in the great conflict. American from
head to foot in its beautiful design, graceful in form, impressive in its grand
proportions, let this memorial remind the coming generations, as long as bronze
and granite lasts, of the debt they owe to the Tammany Braves of 1861.
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