Dedicated to the memory of the Boys of '61 who went off to "see the elephant" and changed a nation
In early 1861, our nation was heading for a crises of major proportions. The nation was to be split into two segments of the population, both with very different views of the nation's future. In April, 1861, the South would declare war upon the North by firing upon Fort Sumpter. This is the story of one regiment of Ohio volunteers which included men of all ages, even brothers, in a fight to preserve our nation.
Col. T. R. Stanley
The following speech was given by Colonel Stanley upon the release from service of the 18th Ohio Volunteer Infantry:
Headquarters, 18th Ohio Vols.
Camp Chase, Ohio Nov. 4, 1864
General Orders} No. 52
The time has at length arrived when we the officers and soldiers of this Regiment are about to sunder the associations of the last three years and lay aside the duties and suffering of soldiers and return to civil life.
Having served your country honorably you now return, I trust, better than when you volunteered in the service. You realize what it costs to sustain a good government. During all these years in camp, in bivouac, on the march, on the battlefield, you have done your duty. We went forth nine hundred and thirty strong. Now we number three hundred and thirty. Eighty-nine of our number are left behind as veterans. The sanguinary fields of Stones River, Davis Crossroads, Chickamauga and the other battles and skirmishes in which you have participated, with the diseases incident to a soldier's life and death will account for the other five hundred.
May their memory be ever fresh in our recollection and may we emulate their virtues and heroism while we forget their errors. A grateful country will not fail to honor the living who have and hold in grateful remembrance the memory of the deceased.
When you volunteered, you knew that I was to be your commanding officer. Almost without exception you have yielded a ready, cheerful obedience. How well I have discharged my duty is not for me to say. I can stand before God and you this day and say that I have always had your welfare and care first in my thoughts. I have not placed my own care or comfort before yours. I have not suffered the ones of my family for my own profit in any way to interfere with my duties to you.
"I thank God that it has been my privilege to be your commanding officer. Much of the time however I have been separated from you by being placed in higher commands. I have always left you thus with regret and in our parting let none but pleasant, kind remembrances have place. You have been to me as my sons. I take leave of you as a father. May God have and keep you in peace and safety to the end."
Signed T. R. Stanley, Col.