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Excerpts and Highlights from the
Fourth Regimental Reunion
16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
West Salem, Ohio
August 6, 1878
Web Author's Notes:
Below is a transcription of the recorded proceedings of the 16th Ohio's fourth reunion at West Salem, Ohio. It was taken from the Proceedings of Eleven Reunions Held By the 16th Regiment, O.V.I, compiled by Enos Pierson, Secretary of 16th O.V.I. Reunion Association, in 1887. This document was provided by fellow 16th OVI descendant H. Arlan Heiser of Ohio.

Certain misspellings from the original document, believed to be accidental, were corrected, while others were transcribed as recorded.

Proceedings of Eleven Reunions Held By the 16th Regiment, O.V.I

Fourth Reunion


The Association convened in the High School Hall, at 9 o'clock, a.m. The President, J. H. Morrison, favored the Association with a short address.

Comrades of the 16th welcome, welcome. I am glad to meet so many of you here to-day, it being the anniversary of the battle of Tazwell. Here in this village I call my old home, here I spent my boyhood, here I enlisted in the noble 16th, it is a fit place to have our first anniversary engagement, for here enlisted the first comrade that the 16th lost by the hands of the enemy. One of our best young men, a noble boy and honored citizen and a brave soldier. You doubtless all remember Peter Harbaugh of Co. K. There were other brave soldiers that enlisted from this place that are not with us to-day. I will name a few of them as I now recollect: Lewis Kohn and Peter Sebaker, of Co. I., John Summerton and Wm. Fulton, of Co. K., all good and true soldiers, and with the exception of one all fell from home and buried in different States. We would always remember when strewing flowers on the graves of our dear comrades buried here in our Cemetery, to have a nice wreath of flowers in remembrance of each of our dead comrades that lie in silent tombs on southern soil. But I must not try to make you a speech for I cannot entertain you. One word more. You all well remember 16 years to-day when we lost our brave and noble Captain Edgar of Co. B., and private James Hoke, of Co. I. It is a day long to be remembered, especially by those that were wounded, Sargeant Smith, Mapp Springer, myself and others whose names I cannot now recall.

When we think of the time it is not strange that time has wrought a change, boys that were less than 20 are now 35, those that were 30 are now nearing 50 and those that were 40 are nearing 60, but on occasions like this we are all boys together. But you must be a little lenient with me for I have been reported off of duty for a couple of weeks by our surgeon B. B. Brashear who was afraid I would be sent to the hospital in place of reporting here for duty. The first duty of a good soldier is to obey orders and in presiding over you to-day should I err I want you to remember it is of the head and not the heart.

The following members of the Regiment reported present:

(reunion attendance pages to be developed)

The Secretary read the minutes of the last reunion, which were approved.

On motion it was decided to hold our next reunion in two years.

On motion of Lieutenant DeSilva, a committee of one from each company was appointed to select the time and place for holding the next reunion.

The committee selected Orrville, O., as the place, and Tuesday and Wednesday of the third week of October, 1880, as the time for holding the fifth Bi-enniel reunion. The following officers were elected.

PRESIDENT--S. N. Coe, Orrville, O.

VICE-PRESIDENT--Harry McClarran, Wooster, O.

SECRETARY--Hugh M. Wilson, Orrville, O.

TREASURER--Abraham Gift, Orrville, O.

The committee appointed at Millersburg to prepare a history of the 16th O. V. I., not having done anything toward the proposed history, Dr. B. B. Brashear, was, on motion, elected Historian of the Regiment and a committee of one from each company was appointed to furnish him with all matters of interest they may be able to collect.

The committee consisted of the following comrades:

Co. A--Lieutenant W. H. Woodland.

" B--Capt. R. W. Liggett.

" C--Lieutenant C. W. Oldroyd.

" D--G. W. Cooper.

" E--T. D. Wolbach, Wadsworth, O.

" F--Captain W. Buchanan.

" G--W. M. Ross

" H--Captain A. S. McClure.

" I--S. S. Eberhart.

" K--G. W. Littell.

Lieutenant Oldroyd offered the following resolution, which was adopted:

RESOLVED--That the action of the last Ohio Legislature, as shown in the late act of reorganizing of the Soldiers and Sailors Orphan's Home, should and does receive our earnest condemnation and that we, as comrades, who rallied in defense of the republic, and are entitled to the benefits coming to soldiers of a republic, or their children, demand that this stain upon our statutes be removed on the reassembling of the Legislature.

The dinner hour having arrived, the meeting adjourned.

The procession was formed in the following order:

West Salem, Polk, Troy, and Regimental Bands.
City Council.
Members of the Press.
Color Guards with Regimental Flags.
Officers and Members of the Regiment.

The procession marched to the A. & G. W. Eating House, where the proprietor, George Musser, had prepared a sumptuous dinner, tendered the soldiers by the citizens of West Salem and vicinity, as a token of honor, respect and friendship.

At 2 o'clock p.m. the old vets were formed in line and marched to the grove south of town, where the remaining exercises, consisting of music and speeches were had.

After singing, and prayer by Rev. Dr. Painter, the welcome address was delivered by Dr. Stouffer, of the 120th O. V. I.


Mr. Chairman, Friends and Comrades:

It affords me great pleasure to meet you under circumstances so pleasant, and to extend to you in behalf of our Mayor and my fellow citizens a most cordial and hearty welcome. Your presence here this mid-summer day recalls to memory many eventful incidents and scenes of the past, and fills the mind with emotion. Well do I remember when I first looked upon the brave and gallant men of the 16th Regiment of Ohio Volunteers. It was in the city of Wooster, shortly before its departure for the scenes of the conflict. It was then composed of almost a thousand men, the choicest spirits of this and adjoining counties, commanded by the gallant and soldierly DeCourcy. Well do I remember the feast of patriotism and flow of feeling, the gushing emotions, and words of friendly intercourse that characterized the occasion. Matrons and fathers, friends and loved ones were present, many of them for the last time, to say farewell, and bid their sons prove themselves worthy descendants of sires who had fought and died at Eutaw, Camden and Bunker's Hill. I need not add, gentlemen, that your patriotism, fortitude and perseverance proved that all you wanted was fair fields and favorable opportunities to accomplish as valuable and effective service as that achieved by any portion of the army. The 16th knew no fear, but when it entered the service for the Union, its motto was that of Godfrey, of Bouillon, with the Holy Lance, on the field of Ascalon, crying, "God for the right and the just." I cannot follow you through Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. Time would not allow me even to glance at the weary marches, hardships, reverses and hard fought battles, brilliant and constitute a part of the imperishable fame of our country.

But how changed the scene to-day. The clarion of war is no more heard upon the streets. Hostile armies stand no longer confronting each other in deadly conflict. The thundering artillery, the gleaming lines, the charging squadrons, the shriek, the roar, the carnage and the smoke of war in all its imposing forms has passed from our land, an honorable peace conquered, the great and undying principles of free government and personal liberty vindicated, without which all nationhood would be tyranny; and now peace like a glorious diadem everywhere perches upon our banners, shedding its benign rays of civilization and blessing all over the mountains and valleys, converting the wilderness and solitary place into luxuriant fields.

It is with emotions like these that we congratulate you and proclaim welcome, thrice welcome to the brave boys and heroic hearts who placed the standard of the stars above those lofty palaces where once floated defiantly the flag of treason and rebellion. To the soldier himself it is gratifying to know that the sentiments of patriotism, the lessons of ancestral wisdom and heroic self devotion are not yet extinct in the land of his birth and love. Our hearts have been too recently baptized with a fresh inspiration; and it exults once more to soar in the breezes of freedom, amid the sunlight of independence now spreading like the broad waves of heaven over the land of Washington, from the rocky pinnacles of New England to the sun-reddened waters of the Gulf of California.

It was upon occasions similar to the present that the citizens of ancient Rome would go out and meet the returning soldier with exulting shouts of joy, welcoming him at the gates, conducting him through the streets of the Capitol, beneath flower-wreathed and sculptured arches and from lofty porticos proclaim that the occasion should be commemorated as a National Holiday.

In a kindred spirit we meet to-day, fellow comrades, and welcome you as part of a gallant army, who, battling for the preservation of Republican Government, have won laurels as glorious and brilliant as ever decked the brow of Roman conqueror or consul. Yes, laurels and fame imperishable, bathed in the heart's blood of many of your numbers. When the decree had gone forth that the heights of Chickasaw should be stormed, and the question was asked, Who will follow me? The response came up all along the line: "Every member of the 16th will follow you to victory or death!" Headed by your gallant commander, I see you dash through the forest, over marshy, uneven country, by gigantic gorges and tremendous chasms, amid a storm of iron hail, but not to victory, but many to death, and others to the starving, loathsome prisons of the enemy, in comparison to which death would have been a welcome visitant. Braver men never shouldered a musket than the American soldier. History fails to chronicle in all its wide domain greater deeds of heroism than those consummated by American armies. It is said that in one of the storming parties in the rear of Vicksburg on the 22d of May, that the banner of the regiment was entrusted to the care of a regular soldier who pledged himself that he would never surrender it up. Through a hurricane of shot and shell that decimated their ranks as they went, the chosen stormers moved, that banner borne proudly in front. Suddenly it was seen to sink, an officer leaped to the side of the standard-bearer, a grape-shot had torn away most of his head. He had fallen with the flag-staff tightly clinched in his hands, and it could only be liberated after death had completely done its work. That soldier passed with the star-spangled banner waving above his soul to the battlements of Heaven.

In conclusion, let me say, soldiers of the 16th, we extend to you a hearty greeting. May your stay with us be pleasant and agreeable; and while we drop with you the silent tear of sorrow for the loss of those who cannot be with you to-day, for those who sleep in soldiers' graves, upon the mountain slopes, the battle plains, and Louisiana swamps of the South, we shall long keep bright their memories in the sanctuaries of the heart, and extend to the survivors our warmest gratitude and highest admiration. Sleep proudly on, ye noble dead. The green turf is a far sweeter couch than the feverish bed. There is no nobler boon than to "look proudly to heaven from the death bed of fame." The children of future years will speak your name with pride, and strive to emulate your deeds, and when Ohio's sons shall be called in their country's service, they will pray to pass like you in Elijah's fiery chariot to Heaven.

And now amid the inspiration of this commemorative day, with all the recollections of the past, of Tazewell, Cumberland Gap, Chickasaw Bluffs, Vicksburg, Lexington, Gettysburg, and a hundred other battle-fields which cluster in our memories like stars when the storms are past, let us pledge ourselves anew, come what will, whether Socialism, Communism or Catholicism, to love, honor, guard and maintain, this, the best government on earth. In spite of all discouragements, I am enthusiastic upon the destinies of my country. When I look upon all her giant physical resources, her matchless political institutions, I feel a pride in our plain Democratic patrimony, which I would not exchange for all the tawdry formalities and gilded drapery of aristocratic institutions. At such an hour, the young American patriot can, like the old Welsh bard upon the Rocks of Snowdon, take his stand as we now do, and see far off through the lifting haze of futurity the domes and turrets of a mighty people, flashing in the eyes of the gladdened sun; the mingled harmonies of intellectual and religious excellence going up from every hill-top and vale; social and domestic beauty covering the land like a smiling atmosphere; each successive billow of time rolling up an accumulation of improvements; and the whole mighty heart beating and palpitating with virtuous emotions of pride and joy at the rapid strides these Young Republics have made towards perfection. Heaven grant that such anticipations may prove more than the wild dreams of Plato or the Utopian fancies of Moore.

Then followed speeches by Dr. Brashear and Capt. A. S. McClure. In response to the toast Field and Staff, Dr. W. M. Ross said:

(full transcription forthcoming)

Theo. D. Wolbach then spoke as follows:

(full transcription forthcoming)

S. N. Coe addressed the Association as follows:

(full transcription forthcoming)

Col. M. B. DeSilva spoke as follows:

... This vast outpouring of your people; your city filled with flags, music and the booming of cannon, not only brings back to our minds the glorious pomp and circumstance of war, but that your people have not forgotten the defenders of your rights and liberties. Once more we not only extend our thanks for your kindness, but also to the bands that have discoursed such excellent music; to the artillery for their salvos, and to the officers of the Association for their labors in making so grand a success of our reunion. I thank you for your kind attention.

(full transcription forthcoming)

The following letters of regret were read:

VISELIA, KENTON CO, Ky. July 24th, 1878.

DR. B. B. Brashear,
Akron, Ohio

Dear Sir:--I received one day last week a card of invitation asking me to meet with the surviving officers and soldiers of the 16th Ohio Infantry at West Salem, Ohio, on the occasion of their reunion on the 6th of August.

I thank you very sincerely for the invitation as it is a great pleasure to find myself remembered by those who were engaged in the service of the Nation in the days of its past.

I regret very much that I cannot be present with you in person--duties and obligations at home forbid--but I will be so in spirit.

The 16th was an earnest, ardent and gallant regiment that left evidence of its valor on every field where it met the foe, it merited then, and it merits now the thanks of all lovers of the country for its devotion to duty.

My earnest hope is that so long as the survivors of the regiment shall assemble to renew and cement the bonds of friendship begun in the field, and to do honor to their venerated dead, that they may also remember that as their bullets aided in preserving the integrity of the nation, so too their ballots may be equally necessary in transmitting to future generations the rights and privileges of equal and exact justice to all men -- won by the sword.

It is scarcely necessary to say to you that it would afford me great pleasure to grasp your hand, and that of another person--the mother of the regiment--God bless and preserve you both for many years to come.

There is another reason personal to myself why I should be glad to meet the 16th. Some fifteen years since I prepared an article for the magazines on the Cumberland Gap Campaign, it was declined at the time, but under the flattering advice to preserve it for its historical value. I would gladly read it to our old comrades if the opportunity should ever present. My own regiment was gathered together from the extremes of the State, and there is no probability that it can ever be reunited.

At some time in the future and under more favorable circumstances than just now present I hope I may be permitted to do so to the 16th.

Yours very truly,


August 1st, 1878

J.H. MORRISON, President.

The camp fires of Cumberland Gap burn brightly in my memory to-night, old comrades and I regret, more than my pen has the power to express, my inability to be with you at your reunion to grasp the hands and look in the faces of the brave boys who rallied round the dear old flag of the 16th Ohio. We suffered together in the cold of winter storms and the scorching heat of summer, we endured thirst, weariness and danger and not a man of us but is glad to-night that when treason and disloyalty aimed their missiles at the great heart of our country that we sprang up to defend her. Not one but is a better man to-night with the consciousness of duty done.

We rejoice in a great and happy land where peace and freedom reign through all her borders and while we are glad together we do not forget the brave soldiers who suffered with us but who gave their lives for the land they loved and "in the pale realms of shade," wait to answer to the roll call of honor in the "army of the Lord." God bless you all is the prayer of you old friend and comrade. G. W. BAILEY.

The exercises were interspersed with excellent vocal and instrumental music.

One of the most pleasing features of the day was the presentation of a handsome oil painting of Cumberland Gap, painted by S. J. Uhl, of Springfield, O. This masterly piece of art was presented to Mrs. Dr. Brashear, of Akron, O., as an attribute of respect for her patriotic labors, kind and unwearying attention to the sick and wounded, and the hardships she endured while with the Regiment during their long and weary marches, and the many bloody battles in which they wee engaged.

The Association then adjourned to meet in Orrville, in October, 1880.

J.H. MORRISON, President.

DAVID BAKER, Secretary.

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