May 30, 1897
West Point, May 29. — The dedication of the Battle Monument in memory of the officers and men of the regular army of the United States who fell in battle during the civil war, and which was erected by their surviving comrades, will take place here on Monday morning next at 11:30 o'clock. The following is the order of exercises:
Music by the Military Academy Band.
Prayer by the Rev. Herbert Shipman, Chaplain of the Military Academy.
Presentation of the monument to the United States Army by Brig. Gen. John M. Wilson, Chief of Engineers, United States Army.
Acceptance by Lieut. Gen. John M. Schofield, retired, and presentation to the General Government.
Acceptance by the Hon. R. A. Alger, Secretary of War.
The National salute.
The "Star-Spangled Banner" by the United States Military Academy Band.
Oration by the Hon. David J. Brewer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Handel's Largo by the band.
Benediction by Chaplain Shipman.
The erection of Battle Monument is the culmination of an idea conceived in October, 1863, by Lieut. H. C. Hasbrouck, now Lieutenant Colonel in the Fourth Artillery, while he was stationed as an instructor at the Military Academy.
The idea took the form of a suggestion, to the effect that all officers and enlisted men of the regular army then in service be asked to contribute a certain percentage of the monthly pay for one month toward a fund for the erection of the monument. The suggestion was speedily acted upon by the formation of an organization, with Col. A. H. Bowman,º Superintendent of the Military Academy, as President. An appeal was then sent out for subscriptions to the project, a standard of rate being fixed at $27 for a Major General down to $1 each for enlisted men.
The response to the appeal was general, prompt, and earnest, and in due time the sum of $45,000 was thus collected.
The committee selected Trophy Point, upon the northern brow of the plain, as a site, and designated the 15th of June, 1864, as the day for its dedication. Active preparations were begun, and Major General George B. McClellan was invited to deliver the oration. The dedication was attended with great pomp, all the troops available in the vicinity of New York Harbor being present.
Gen. McClellan had a short time prior been relieved from his duties as Major General, and Secretary Stanton, between whom and McClellan there existed a spirit of antagonism, sent an order to Col. Bowman on the morning of the dedication to not permit Gen. McClellan to deliver the oration. A great commotion ensued. Col. Bowman ignored the Secretary's order, and McClellan delivered the oration. Presumably on this account Col. Bowman was in the afternoon of that day relieved of his duties as Superintendent of the Military Academy, and Gen. Cullumº was appointed his successor.a
This event damped the ardor in the project, and the matter remained dormant until 1890, when Col. John M. Wilson, then Superintendent of the Military Academy, revived the enterprise and pushed it forward to completion, the interest on the funds originally collected having accumulated until it reached upward of $75,000. Owing to various delays and modifications in the original design involving the entire remodeling and recasting the figure of Fame and the bronze tablets, the monument was not completed until the Fall of 1896.
The co-operation of the Adjutant General's office was obtained in the determination of the names of all officers and enlisted men of the regular army who were killed or died of wounds received in battle during the war of the rebellion, and great care was taken in the revision of the lists. The monument now bears, cast in bronze, the names of 188 officers and 2,042 men, and the following inscription on the body of the shaft:
"In memory of the officers and men of the regular army of the United States who fell in battle during the war of the rebellion this monument is erected by their surviving comrades."
The monument consists of a monolithic shaft of polished pink Milford granite, •forty-six feet high, standing on a cylindrical pedestal, and bearing on a square abacus a granite sphere, upon which is poised a winged figure of Fame, with trumpet and wreath. The whole stands upon a circular stylobate and stereobate of granite steps, divided at regular radial intervals by eight square plinths bearing granite spheres belted with bronze, upon which are inscribed the names of enlisted men. The names of officers are applied in bronze letters on the face of the circular pedestal.
The speakers' pavilion and the auditorium were completed yesterday, and are now in the hands of New York decorators. The auditorium has twenty-one flag masts on its roof and 800 new chairs, purchased especially for the occasion. The structure and furnishings cost the committee about $5,000. The stands are situated on the triangular sward just south of the handsome monument. The stand is in the form of a semi-circle, and is built of finished lumber, with neatly turned columns. The grand stand also forms a large semi-circle.
The following officers have signified their intention to attend the ceremonies: Gen. John M. Wilson, Gen. Wesley Merritt, Gen. G. S. Greene, Gen. George D. Ruggles, Gen. W. B. Franklin, Gen. Daniel Butterfield, Gen. T. H. Stanton, Paymaster General; Gen. E. L. Viele, Gen. Rufus Saxton, Gen. W. F. Smith, Gen. J. H. Wilson, Gen. Alexander S. Webb, Gen. James Longstreet, Col. J. C. Tidball, Col. E. Langdon, Col. Alfred Mordecai, and Col. J. J. Upham.
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