The Post and the Watertown Citizens' corps had accepted an invitation from Rev. Dr. Danker to attend Divine service at Grace church in the evening. At seven o'clock both organizations formed in the armory, and marched to the church, the corps acting as escort to the Post. The corps were in command of First Lieut. Scott, Captain Settle being indisposed. They were in full uniform, with side arms, and made a fine appearance. The church soon after their arrival was densely crowded, large numbers being unable to gain admission. The decorations were very tasteful, consisting of flowers, emblems, etc., while the pulpit was gracefully festooned with the national colors. The service was largely choral, with appropriate lessons and hymns. The music was finely rendered by a large choir. After evening prayer, the following very able and instructive address was delivered by the rector, Rev. Dr. Danker, and it was listened to very attentively by the large congregation. His subject was:
My dear comrades of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Citizens' corps.
The Heroic Principle is a grand and noble truth There has never been a scheme for improving and elevating our humanity, in which men have not offered up their lives's best efforts, and ofttimes sealed the undertaking with their blood. Science, literature, art, philanthropy, freedom, all have their heroes, who were not afraid to endure dreadful torments and agonizing pains of the cause they loved and cherished. As we glance over the bright and long extended line, the heart palpitates with emotion, the eye grows dim with admiring tears.
Anon we may behold our revolutionary ones, enduring plague and pestilence, poverty and war - half starved, all tatters, pricked by the frost and frozen by the cold, leaving a long trail of bloody footprints where the naked feet had kissed the ground. Homes pillaged, ruined hearthstones, crops in ashes, their pleas and things laid waste - their dearest and most holy sentiments outraged and trampled on by a brutal foe, yet throughout their terrible baptism of fire, they preserved, those grand old souls, and handed down to us an everlasting heritage in this union of states, over which the banner of the stars casts its protecting shadows.
What scenes have swept before your eyes, but eighteen short years ago, brave soldiers of the Grand Army of the Republic, "wars and rumors of wars," smoke and vapor of battle have surged one after another athwart your vision, until we, who sat at home and read of your heroic achievements, could almost hear the shock of rushing squadrons and see the gleam of bristling bayonets advancing to the charge.
Event after event of thrilling interest thronged fast and thick upon one another, and no man then could tell what or when the end would be. Sumter fell, and the story of the gallant defense by the heroic Anderson and his little band have become almost a grand-sire's tale. Embalmed in the records of the past, that event will stand forth bright and glorious forever.
The whole country sprang from its lethargy, grasped its weapons with firm hand, and like "a giant refreshed with new wine," poured its hosts of serried legions into the very heart of Virginia's sacred soil. The land resounded with the din of hammers and the clang of anvils forging munitions for carrying on the stern conflict. Merchants left their counting houses, clerks their desks, mechanics their soil, farmers their fields, like old Putnam, forsaking the plow in the unfinished furrow, and hurried to the fight. Students thew aside musty tomes and midnight lamps, gave up the dry pages of Tacitus and the sparkling verses of Horace, and arrayed in warrior's apparel, joined the hurrying legions.
On many an earnest-eyed youth, "high-brow with lofty thought," the fond mother bestowed her parting blessings girding on her son's armor, like the Spartan matron, and bidding him return "with his shield, or on it." And he the first fruits of that home, consecrated with prayers and tears, went to share the soldier's rude hut, filled with patriotic purposes and Christian zeal. Alas how many sons returned no more, saved to be laid away in the quiet graveyard, wrapped in their winding sheet.
My only brother perished in Farragut's attack on Mobile. The Tecumseh, commanded by the brave Craven, struck a torpedo beneath the waves, sank in a moment and a hundred gallant souls found a watery tomb. Peacefully they rest beneath the blue waves, down deep in their iron coffin, peacefully they rest, waiting that hour when the archangel's voice shall pierce the remotest recesses of the deep, and the dead from that far-off southern bay shall wend their way to the bar of God.
Let me not forget to name him now, him, who sank "unknelled, uncoffined" to the bosom of the old ocean, over whose grave your or I, can cast no flower or garland, and you will pardon me, I know, as I stand here this bright and beautiful evening, while my year goes out over the intervening distance, and drops a tear of tender sorrow for that young life, so early finished, in the providence of God.
What a mighty thrill was that which sped with electric swiftness through every bosom, in the spring of '61, in a moment heart was bound to heart, and we were linked inn a bond of union stronger than adamant.
We have felt when viewing our petty partisan strifes and sectional disputes that the ancient flame of patriotism which once burned so brilliantly upon the altars of our forefathers have forever taken its flight, and left but decaying ashes. Events have shown our mistake: it still blazes as mighty as in days of your, had has become a fiery pillar, indeed, sending a mighty glow throughout all nations, and people, and lands, till every yoke shall be cast off, every chain broken, and tyrants and thrones vanish like night visions. We are living in a grand historic period. In Europe, as well as in our own country, great changes have occurred hero the civil war and the results it has accomplished upon our constitution and race. Abroad, our eyes have seen the emancipation of the Russian serf; the unification of Italy and Germany; the erection of the French republic upon the ruins of the Napoleonic empire, and the practical overthrow of Turkey's wretched rule. These are events well worth beholding. This is an age well worth living in. The truths your comrades and friends died to keep inviolate, are now pervading the entire old world, and over their grass-clad graves the genius of freedom strides on to accomplish her magnificent destiny!"
What lofty examples of hard-hood come trooping before us as we gaze back the long vista of the ages, and see them starting out here and there like golden milestones along the highway of history! Men who with cool brained and unflinching courage were not afraid to endure even a death by inches; men who split like water the choices drops of life-wine, drenched the green sod, and filled the little flower's bright cup; men, and women, too, who dared anything and everything for their beloved land. The Heroic Spirit did not perish with those early Christians whose blood redden the sands of Nero's amphitheater, and whose agonies afforded the rare sport for the heathen mob at the Roman circus. It flourished long after their dying prayers were wafted to heaven and still lives.
Not alone was it exhibited where the fagots were heaped high, and the flame with serpent tongue licked the victims flesh' not alone in the days when the stake, the block and the ax met the eye at every turn; when holocausts of victims were offered to the grim Moloch of superstition, and the very kennels ran red. No, thank God! it still lives, and will live as long as these United states - till the end of time.
Our sad fraternal conflict has afforded many a name which prosperity will transmit to brass and marble. Such names as Ellsworth, whose tomb is laved by the rolling waves of the Hudson; brave Grevel, chivalrous Winthrop, gallant Lyon, the gray haired statesman Baker, young Webster, noble Sedgwick, fearless McPherson, and many another daring souls, whose heroic actions have escaped the notice of man, and over whose turf-covered mound rises the simple headstone, with the touching inscription: "An Unknown Soldier." Farewell patriot dead, from this fitful, bustling scene of turmoil and care! Farewell, until the red morning of the resurrection sparkles over yonder hills! Farewell, till the long shadows of eternity stretch in gloomy magnificence over time, till the trumpet's tremendous voice bids you shake off death's cold palsy,and rise with ice-cold brows aglow with a beautiful immortality! Till then, farewell light rest the sold above ye, and peaceful be your slumbers; may the eye of Almighty Love ever watch over that sleeping dust, and the slumbers repose upon the gentle arm of Jehovah reconciled.
"From the silence of sorrowful hours
The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers,
Alike for the friend and the foe;
Under the sod and dew,
Waiting the judgment day.
Under the roses the Blue
Under the lilies the Gray.
"So with an equal splendor
The morning sun rays fall
With a touch impartially tender
On the blossoms blooming for all;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;
Braided with gold the Blue
Mellowed with gold the Gray.
"Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
The generous deed was done;
In the storm of the years that are fading
No braver battle was won;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day,
Under the blossoms the Blue,
Under the garlands the Gray.
"No more shall the war-cry sever,
Or the winding rivers be red.
They banish our anger forever,
When they laurel the graves of our dead
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;
Love and tears for the Blue,
Tears and love for the Gray."
While for us, dear friends, who remain it is our duty faithfully and well to preserve the heritage our departed brothers have handed down. Over the sepulcher of our fallen comrades, let the north and south claps hands, never to be dissevered; in the words of our lamented president, "With malice towards none, and charity toward all," let our only contention be hereafter who shall be greatest in the business and social arena; while the "Mystic cords of Memory" springing from each soldier's grave, whether shadowed by the southern palmetto, or the pines of New England, shall only vibrate in each household hearth with the message of peace and good-will --proclaiming the emphatic legend: "Those whom God hath joined together, let no man ever again put asunder."
You and I have seen the flags in our state capitol, which men have followed proudly to death. I have stood beneath the arches, and gazed up at the ragged stripes as they hung above me, torn with shot and shell, and thought of what my brothers and friends have undergone for our dear land. These are those within my voice's compass whose eyes have seen those tattered ensigns amid the storm and dust of battle. You saw them wave amid whirling smoke and the fiery flame of war, and stood to your arms beneath them, when the air was thick with iron hail and brave men fell around you like autumn leaves. As a scholar has said, "And you shall have your fame. It shall live in chiseled marble and breathing of music. The granite, proud of all such alliance, shall wed your immortality with its endurance and your fame shall never be forgotten among men; for American, the latest born among nations, and as I hold, the greatest in her destiny, has taken you to herself as those who saved her in peril, and she will love you until death, and when American - the American that is to be - dies, the world dies." But what are earthly compared with spiritual victories? and what are those tattered flags at the capitol besides the banner under which the hosts of God march on? What are they? They are like rags beside the vesture of a king. They type the strength of man: this gives expression to the power of God: they symbolize our earthly nationality. This published to the wide universe the name of Him who is King of King and Lord of Lords. Let me plant this Banner of the Cross "here in your midst,for Patriotism and Christianity go hand in hand, and here, upon his sacred spot, vow with me, as you see its folds stream out like waves of living light - vow ever to be true to your country, and true forever to your God!"