Dedication of the 78th Pennsylvania Monument on the Chickamauga Battlefield | American Battlefield Trust
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Dedication of the 78th Pennsylvania Monument on the Chickamauga Battlefield

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November 15, 1897

Dedication speech for the unveiling of the 78th Pennsylvania Infantry monument at Chickamauga, by Captain R. P. Scott.

Comrades, more than a third of a century has passed since last we stood on this line. Then dark, angry clouds hung over us. This ground was convulsed with the mad rush of contending armies and the terrible shock of battle. But today how different! All is changed; the heavy tread of hostile armies is no longer heard in the valleys; the sound of war has ceased to reverberate among these mountain ranges; the sword has been sheathed, and all nature is enjoying the sweet repose of this holy day. Yes, thank God. the angel of peace has spread her white wings over our blessed land and we now know but one flag—the stars and stripes — emblematic of the unity of a great nation. 

Since the day you stood here in the full flush, strength and pride of young manhood, touching elbow to elbow, waiting with bated breath, beating heart, and strong steady nerve the onslaught of the enemy, many of our comrades, high as well as humble in rank, have lain down and fallen into that dreamless sleep which knows no waking in this world, and, though they have put on the garb of immortality, and returned to the dust, their faces are to us unchanged, and may it not be possible that they are with us. in spirit, today and know what we do and say here. 

Looking into your faces today, perhaps for the last time in this world, I am sensibly reminded that time is slowly but surely laying his hand heavily upon us, and that we. too, shall soon join our departed comrades in a fairer clime, where generous fruits on trees immortal grow....This monument, erected, and now being dedicated, as a tribute of loving affection, by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to her soldiers of the old 78th Pennsylvania Infantry, not only recalls to memory their sacrifices, loyalty and unselfish devotion, which many of them sealed with their lives, but reminds us that they gave their services and lives on the field of honor in defense of the Constitution, the chart of liberty, justice and humanity Therefore, comrades and friends, standing within the shadow of this monument, let us this day resolve to more highly value and more fully appreciate the great privileges and blessings that we, as American citizens, enjoy. These ceremonies will not be in vain, if we lay to heart their true meaning and have a deeper reverence for our flag, knowing that beneath its starry folds are protection and safety for the humblest citizen. 

Then, my comrades and friends, with feelings of deepest gratitude, which are the noblest impulses of the human heart, we make this offering, dedicate this monument to the brave, loyal patriotic men who served their country in the old Seventy-eight Pennsylvania, in the dark days of 1861- 1865, and consecrate it to the hallowed memory of those who died in defense of the Union and Constitution, and who, their life's work done, lie calmly, sweetly sleeping in their silent graves waiting and watching with the Christian's hope for the dawn of resurrection morn' and the coming of Him who hath said. "I am the Resurrection and the Life. 

And, though this granite may crumble, and their memories be forgotten of men, their heroism, their noble deeds, the great work which they did for the elevation of mankind, the glory of their country and its free institutions, will shine and grow brighter as the ages pass, and their names will stand for all time in bold relief, in letters of unchanging lustre, upon the scroll of fame in the long roll of patriots who have died in defense of their country.