Dedication speech for the unveiling of the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry monument at Gettysburg, by A. W. Givin. Click here for the full text of ceremonies.
COMRADES:—A pleasant duty has been assigned me, that of transferring to the custody of the Battlefield Memorial Association this statue, and in doing so I may be permitted to say a few words of commendation to the Committee; also to compliment the artist on the completion of such a beautiful piece of work.
To the Committee I can say, comrades, your days, weeks, yea months of labor, thought and study have been rewarded in the production of the figure standing now before us.
In the selection of a subject none better could have been chosen, for here we have a fac simile of our own regiment; and in the choice of the artist we can say you did wisely. And to the artist, Edward A. Kretchman, who has carried out in every particular and detail the will and wish of the Committee, thereby giving to us a statue which he and we to-day feel proud of.
Standing as it does looking to our left which is being driven back, is preparing to give them another shot. This may appear to be the production of the imagination of the artist's brain, but it is not. It is a reality as some of you now standing here can testify. Men of the One hundred and fourteenth stood as this man stands, contesting the ground inch by inch.
The artist has given to him an expression of determination. He is fighting freedom's battle, the enemy must be driven back. Long marches, short rations, little rest or sleep weaves into the knitted brow a look of firmness. The compressed lips could they be opened would say emphatically, "The enemy must be driven back!" Hut I must pass on and ask the question, "what meaneth this?" I will answer, "To the memory of the brave men of the One hundred and fourteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Those who survive as well as to those who have fallen, is this monument dedicated."
Those who marched that long and weary march through rain and mud from Emmitsburg to Gettysburg, on the 30th day of June, well remember how you were urged forward by the heavy tiring to the right, hurriedly passing up this very road and by this very place, and as the sun sank behind those hills in the west, found you in the rear of the Twelfth Corps, near Cemetery Hill. Then moved from one position to another until dawn of day found you on that ridge, at the edge of the wheat-field, sup- porting K First Rhode Island Battery, Lieutenant John K. Bucklyn in charge, and remaining there until the battery was compelled to limber up and go to the rear. . Then a charge was made. Men sprang forward ready to meet the advancing enemy. And here I would cull a few words from the report of Major-General Lafayette McLaws, commanding the division of Confederates in our front, in giving a description of the charge, "Very soon a heavy column moved in two lines of battle across the wheatfield to attack my position in such a manner as to take the Seventh South Carolina in the flank on the right." So much as the two lines as he says were seen moving forward he was mistaken, as there was only one line and that was not very heavy. The line advanced until they reached the road, and here I may be permitted to set to rights a matter that has given rise to considerable argument, and that is, some contend they climbed over the fence into the road, while others contend there was no fence. Both assertions are true. Our pioneers were sent out to remove the fence and had partly chopped it down when they were compelled to desist by the heavy picket firing, so that when the regiment advanced the right was compelled to jump the fence while the left had no fence to climb.
Upon reaching the road the enemy was seen advancing in two lines. Steadily they moved forward until both parties met at or near the old barn, when a fearful fight took place; better described by one of the brigade commanders of the Confederates, for he says in his report, "Within a few feet of each other these brave men, Confederates and Federals, maintained a desperate conflict."
How long you remained in this position we know not. The time when you left the position in the wheat-field to make the charge was about 3 p. m. When you fell back and the Fifth Corps came to take your place, and when the Baltimore pike was reached the sun had gone down and it was quite dark. The brigade was assembled by break of day at or near "Devil’s Den," and there rations were distributed. After partaking of something to eat the brigade was ordered to the support of the Second Corps, which was being pressed very heavily, and who needed support. The regiment lay in the rear of the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania, and was able to assist in the loading of the pieces of the men of the Sixty-ninth. The balance of the time we spent in gathering up the muskets and burying the dead.
It was a sad and sorrowful task to lay beneath the ground he who had only a little while before been your companion and tentmate, now mangled and torn, you not even able to recognize him. Then you remember the sickening sight that met your gaze as you advanced to where the old barn stood to find it in ashes and the charred remains of many of your companions. You could mark their graves as that of unknown. The wounded were taken up and taken to the hospital, many to die on the journey thither.
Comrades, this ground upon which we stand is consecrated ground, made so by the blood of our own comrades, being so freely shed upon it. Would I could give the names of those brave men. Let the names of DeHaven and McCartney, whose names were hastily carved upon a board and placed at the head of their graves be ever remembered. The former, whose remains were transferred to the village cemetery, and whose grave every year is strewn with the choicest of roses, and whose memory is ever kept green, was my dear friend, he was my tentmate.
In looking over the figures given to tis of the number of men engaged in this battle Ave find tlie Confederates had 9,530 cavalry, 4,400 artillery, 54,350 infantry; total, 08,352. In the battle 8,950 afterwards reported, making 77,302.
The Union army was composed of 12,978 cavalry, 7,183 artillery, 77,208 infantry; total 97,369. Afterwards reported, 4,310, making 101,079. The losses I am not able to give, but it is estimated that 60,000 men of both armies were lost, killed, wounded and missing.
And now, comrades, here let as renew our fealty to each other. Let the associations formed upon the battle-field, on the march and in camp, be of such a character that it will not be severed until the great reaper death shall put forth his sickle and we then be gathered home. Let us never neglect one thing: that is to strew in budding spring the graves of our brave comrades who sleep the last sleep and who have fought their last battle. When opportunity offers remember your living comrades and the widows and orphans of those who have gone.
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