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Transcript of Sword Presentation Ceremony By People of Millersburg, Ohio,
to Silas H. Corn (Company "B") and Rezin H. Vorhees (Company "E")
and the Response from Silas H. Corn

Contributor's Notes:
The following article was published in a Millersburg, Ohio newspaper of late May or early June, 1863. Lieutenants Silas H. Corn and R. H. Voorhees were at home on leave after being exchanged from Libby prison located at Richmond, Virginia.  They were honored by a group of local citizens and presented with engraved swords for their patriotism and conduct in the campaigns of the 16th Ohio Volunteer infantry. Mr. J. B. Welch made the presentation and Lt. S. H. Corn responded with the acceptance.

Web Author's Notes:
The sword shown above is the one described in the article, below. See additional photos of this sword on the Soldier's Profile page for Silas Corn.

"Honor to whom Honor is Due."

 "Compliments to Lieutenants Corn and Vorhees.

On Friday evening, last, a large number of citizens assembled in the Court House to witness the presentations of two very handsome swords to two young heroes of the Sixteenth Ohio Regiment, Lieutenants S. H. Com and R. H. Vorhees, who, with a large number of their comrades were made prisoners at the battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi in December last. The meeting was organized by electing Dr. Ebriglit as President and Mr. Jas. Richardson, Secretary. The Lieutenants were seated upon the platform and the Millersburg band played a national air. After which, our Mr. J.B. Welch was called upon to present the swords on behalf of the citizens, which he did in the following eloquent address:

 Lieutenants: As the humble representative of your grateful fellow citizens, I come to pay you a tribute of respect in their behalf for your gallant conduct during a two years' campaign, as defenders of our liberties, as defenders of the liberties of mankind. Need I say that we feel grateful that the opportunity is given us to reward you, though in but a slight degree for your patriotism. Happy are we tonight that you are with us to receive an expression of appreciation for your loyalty to our government. Though we feel most bitterly the absence of many of your comrades in arms, we feel that in honoring you as their officers, we honor them also, and when you return to the tented field and they gather around to learn of their friends at home and view these marks of our esteem, they will rightfully claim a share in the honors this night conferred upon you. Glad are we to show you our appreciation of your heroism in something more than words. You have been tried in the severe ordeal of battle and prison and your bearing makes us feel proud that you are our fellow citizens. Go and perform your duties in the future as in the past- our prayers go with you. In encouraging you to go forward, we do so conscious that victory shall finally be achieved and this monstrous rebellion be crushed. Though not gifted with the spirit of prophecy, we feel confident that we will come out of this fearful struggle more firmly united and hence a stronger nation than ever before. We must not, for a single moment, harbor the thought of a dissolution of the Union. We must not permit a single State to secede. Secessation is but another name for death. Let the government call for every able man in the North to aid you in putting down the rebellion. Let the conscription commence today, tomorrow, when it will. It will be obeyed. 'Tis false that we intend refusing you our support. All we have, our lives if necessary, we will give to aid you in the good work, and we wish you to bear these tidings to your comrades in arms. Tell them they are not forgotten. Their operations are watched with interest. We rejoice at their success, lament at their misfortunes. We know you have endured the hardships and privations incident to a soldiers life uncomplainingly. You may have to endure more, for this is a gigantic rebellion, sustained by the bravery of men worthy of a better cause-, they are terribly in earnest. But these are facts you have no doubt often thought and we will leave them. Permit me, without further ceremony, to present you these slight tokens of the esteem of your fellow citizens. Well do they know the hand in which they are placed. May the hours during the remainder of your campaigns, be as bright as these glittering blades; and if it is your lot to again meet the enemies of our country in battle, may be true to their trust and may God serve you to strike home for the right, and when the glad shout of peace again echoes through the land, may you return to receive the congratulations of a grateful people. Then may you hang these deadly instruments in your halls, as lasting evidence of your countrymen's appreciation of your patriotism in the hour of your countries need.
Lt. Corn, in accepting the tokens of regard, responded in the following appropriate and patriotic remarks:

My friends and fellow citizens: In saying that I receive this manifestation of your kindness with feelings of gratitude, I very inadequately express my emotions. In the presentation of these beautiful swords, you confer on us the highest honor known to a soldier, and lay us under the greatest obligation to our country.  By the sword, our fathers achieved our independence, and by the sword, we are now called upon to sustain the constitution which established our government. To you, Sir, and to my fellow citizens, you represent on this occasion and on behalf of Lt.Vorhees as well as myself, permit me to return heartfelt thanks for this manifestation of your confidence and the eloquent sentiments of kind regards and high esteem with which these presents are attended. I shall regard this event as the proudest moment of my life, and shall ever reflect upon it, with pleasure and gratitude. We not only regard it as a manifestation of personal sympathy and respect, but also as an expression of your sentiments and a declaration of your loyalty, to the cause in which we are engaged. The capacity of man for self-government is now on trial before the eyes of the civilized world The best government on the face of the earth is here struggling to perpetuate her existence, and success depends mainly on our personal efforts. That she may succeed, she has called into existence a military force superior to any that ever before graced the earth, and that this force may be effective, the free, continued and undivided support of you, my friends, who remain at home, is indispensable. The soldier in the field, knowing that his efforts are appreciated at home, and that his blood; if shed, at all, will not be shed for the good of an ungrateful people is moved to greater deeds and with a lighter heart and firmer hand he performs his arduous duties. As one who had some experience in military life, and knows the effect of public sentiment on the minds of the soldiers, I entreat you, if you love your country, and desire the success of our army, never to allow your interest in our cause to grow lukewarm or cold. The soldier knows too well that his only dignity consists in the justice of his cause, and to deprive him of this "we take away his Gods." I am happy to learn that this co-operation is not wanting here. The evidence presented to me this evening in these appropriate gifts, abundantly shows that the efforts now being put forth to put down this wicked and causeless rebellion will be sustained here. It is true that we would all hail with joy that glorious day when we may "beat out swords into plowshares, and our spurs into pruning hooks," but as long as this struggle for free government endures, it is our duty to our country, posterity, and our God to beat our plowshares into swords and our pruning hooks into spurs. We have been taught to love our country and venerate our flag. For almost two years, although entirely inconsistent with our chosen course of life, we have endeavored in our humble capacity to do the duties of a true soldier to the Union and we cannot express our Gratitude to you for this appropriate acknowledgement for humble services. But having tried the fortunes of war, and knowing the causalities to which every man is exposed who goes into battle, we make no boast of past actions, nor glowing declarations of what may be expected of us in the future, our record is before you, read it and judge for yourselves. Yet we feel justified in saying that the confidence manifested in us this evening shall never be betrayed, nor shall these beautiful swords ever be disgraced. We hope to carry them in triumph through battles yet to be fought and when peace shall once more smile upon our country, we hope to bring them back and lay them aside where, through the blessings of God upon our restored country, they may remain forever sheathed."

Just as Lt. Corn closed his remarks, some slight commotion became visible at the door, and in a moment after, about twenty-five veterans of the noble 16th who had suffered in Southern prisons with the two officers upon the platform, rushed into the Court House, and as soon recognized, at the suggestion of the president they were welcomed first by three long, loud and hearty cheers and afterwards by a general handshaking and other expressions of joy by citizens and soldiers.  The Star Spangled Banner was sung, the band played, and the meeting adjourned in great glee, bearing off the worn and prison bleached soldiers.


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