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RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMEMMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS.

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Presentation on theme: "RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMEMMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS."— Presentation transcript:

1 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMEMMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS

2 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 The Return of the Flags, December 22, Boston, Massachusetts “There occurred in Boston, at the end of the war, a ceremony which came the nearest attainable to a general review and reception of the surviving Massachusetts soldiers. It occurred on Dec. 22, 1865, the two hundred and forty- fifth anniversary of the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth. It was called forth by the following orders proceeding from Governor Andrew:” - (1 Massachusetts Adjutant-General's Report (January, 1866), pp ) CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS 2

3 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS. Headquarters, Boston, Dec. 13, (General Order No. 18.) By General Order No. 94 of the War Department, issued May 15, 1865, volunteer regiments and batteries, on their return to their respected States, when mustered out and discharged, were to deposit their colors with the Chief United States mustering officers, to be by them transferred to the governors of the States. Since that time, the following Massachusetts regiments and batteries, having faithfully served their country to the end of the rebellion, returned home and been discharged, their colors have been received by Brevet Col. F. N. Clarke, U. S. A., chief mustering officer, viz.: 2nd, 11th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 31st, 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th, 40th, 54th, 55th, 56th, 57th, 58th, 59th, 61st Regiments of Infantry, 1st Battalion Frontier Cavalry, 3rd, 4th, 5th Regiments of Cavalry, 4th5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 15th, 16th Batteries Light Artillery, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th regiments of Heavy Artillery. On Friday, 22nd instant (Forefathers' Day), the colors will be escorted from Colonel Clarke's headquarters, No. 2 Bulfinch Street, to the State House, where they will be formally received by His Excellency the Governor, and placed in the public archives of the Commonwealth, to be sacredly preserved forever, as grand emblems of the heroic services and patriotic devotion to liberty and union of one hundred and forty thousand of her dead and living sons. The escort will be preformed by the 1st Co. Of Cadets, Lieutenant Colonel Holmes commanding, who will report to Brevet Colonel Clarke, at his headquarters, at 11 o'clock A. M., when the line of march will be taken up. All general, regimental and company officers, and past general, regimental and company officers of Massachusetts, and especially all officers and past officers, and all non-commissioned officers and privates of the several organizations named above, are invited to take part in the ceremony and join in the procession. The officers will, as far as practicable, detail a color-guard for the colors of their respective late commands. The original date of muster- in of each command will govern its place in the procession. Officers and enlisted men, as far as practicable, will appear in uniform. For further orders and information apply to the Adjutant-General of the Commonwealth. By order of His Excellency John A. Andrew, Governor and Commander-in-Chief. William Schouler, Adjutant-General. CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS 3

4 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 “Forefathers' Day, Dec. 22, 1865, the two hundred and forty- fifth anniversary of the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth, was selected for the return of the colors to the State, and Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch was chosen commanding general. His headquarters were established on Boston Common, and before the procession started, these colors were turned over to him by Colonel Clarke. The flags of those regiments and companies, which had filled their allotted term of service prior to May 15, were taken from the State House and delivered to the several commands for use during the exercises. -(from “The State House, Boston, Massachusetts (1905) by- Ellen Mudge Burrill:) CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS 4

5 RETURN OF THE FLAGS As the regiments and batteries arrived at the State House, the color bearers left the ranks and arranged themselves upon the steps, while the remainder filed to the grounds at either side. Governor Andrew, attended by his staff and invited guests, came down the steps to the place designated for the closing ceremonies. Prayer was offered by Rev. Samuel K. Lothrop, D.D., then General Couch delivered the colors to the governor, who accepted them in behalf of the people and the government, after which they were placed in Doric Hall. -(from “The State House, Boston, Massachusetts (1905) by- Ellen Mudge Burrill:) CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS

6 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 General Couch addresses the Governor as follows: "May it please Your Excellency: We have come here to- day as the representatives of the army of volunteers furnished by Massachusetts for the suppression of the rebellion, bringing these colors in order to return them to the State, who entrusted them to our keeping. You must, however, pardon us if we give them up with profound regret,-for these tattered shreds forcibly remind us of long and fatiguing marches, cold bivouacs and many hard-fought battles. The rents in their folds, the battle- stains on their escutcheons, the blood of our comrades that has sanctified the soil of a hundred fields, attest the sacrifices that have been made, the courage and constancy shown, that the nation might live. It is, sir, a peculiar satisfaction and pleasure to us that you, who have been an honor to the State and nation, form your marked patriotism and fidelity throughout the war, and have been identified with every organization before you, are now here to receive back, as the State custodian of her precious relics, these emblems of the devotion of her sons. May it please Your Excellency, the colors of the Massachusetts Volunteers are returned to the State." CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS 6

7 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 Governor Andrew replies: " General: This pageant, so full of pathos and of glory, the concluding scene in the long series of visible actions and events, in which Massachusetts has borne a part, for the overthrow of rebellion and the vindication of the Union. These banners return to the government of the Commonwealth through welcome hands. Borne, one by one, out of this capitol, during more than four years of civil war, as the symbols of the nation and the Commonwealth, under which the battalions of Massachusetts departed to the field, they come back again, borne hither by surviving representatives of the same heroic regiments and companies to which they were entrusted. At the hands, General, of yourself, the ranking officer of the Volunteers of the Commonwealth (one of the earliest who accepted a regimental command under appointment of the Governor of Massachusetts), and of this grand column of scarred and heroic veterans who guard them home, they are returned with honors becoming relics so venerable, soldiers so brave and citizens so beloved. Proud memories of many a field; sweet memories alike of valor and friendship; sad memories of fraternal strife; tender memories of our fallen brothers and sons, whose dying eyes looked last upon their flaming folds; grand memories of heroic virtues sublimed by grief; exultant memories of the great and final victory of our country, our Union and righteous cause; thankful memories of a deliverance wrought out for human nature itself, unexampled by any former achievement of arms; immortal memories with immortal honors blended,-twine round these splintered staves, weave themselves along the wrap and woof of these familiar flags, war-worn, begrimed and baptized with blood. Let the "brave heart, the trusty heart, the deep, unfathomable heart," in words of more than mortal eloquence, uttered, though unexpressed, speak the emotions of grateful veneration, for which these lips of mine are alike too feeble and unworthy. General, I accept these relics in behalf of the people and the government. They will be preserved and cherished, amid all the vicissitudes of the future, as mementos of brave men and noble actions." CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS 7

8 CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS 8 The colors were at first draped around the pillars in Doric Hall, but on April 12, 1866, were ordered placed in the niches on the north side of the hall and in the sides of the recess occupied by the Washington statue. In 1895 they were stored in a fire-proof room, where they remained until placed in Memorial Hall, April 2, 1900.“ -(from “The State House, Boston, Massachusetts (1905) by- Ellen Mudge Burrill:) RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015

9 9 As the Commonwealth of Massachusetts moves toward the final year of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, , we propose that the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Sesquicentennial Committee, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Civil War living historians and Veterans organizations join together to perform the final event of the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration. CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS December 22, 2015 will be the 150th anniversary of the ceremonial return of battle flags issued to Massachusetts regiments by the Commonwealth as they left for war. Edward Simmons' mural in Memorial Hall shows the 1865 "Return of the Flags”, where Major General Darius N. Couch lead color bearers from every regiment, (except those still in the field) in presenting the returning battle flags to Governor John Andrew.

10 10 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 Our proposal is that the “Return of the Flags” ceremony be reenacted in a public ceremony on December 22nd, CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS We envision assembling at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Boston Common and parading inside the Common, up Park Street to the front steps of the State House, where the governor will be waiting to receive the flags. 10

11 11 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS The ceremony would include the Governor (or his representative) and members of the Massachusetts Legislature, with Members of the Sons of Union Veterans, Civil War living historians and members of modern Veterans organizations acting as color bearers, “returning” the recreated flags to the governor. Color bearers in Civil War uniform, flanked by color guards comprised of modern Veterans in uniform, carry replica Civil War battle flags from Boston Common to the steps of the State House. Troops are met at the State House by state officials, and a ceremony, including a prayer, short speeches, and ending with a recreation of the 1865 exchange between General Darius Couch and Governor John Andrew. Color bearers then proceed into Doric Hall, and place the battle flags in preplaced flag holders, draping the columns. The color bearers file out and return to the Boston Common. 11

12 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 We ask that the Massachusetts Sesquicentennial Committee participate in the event, assist in coordinating the ceremony, help in obtaining the necessary permissions and inviting appropriate participants in State government. CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, with both its own funding and through an appeal to various Veterans, historical and civic organizations, will coordinate the private fund raising for, and fabrication of, the replica flags for the event. The SUVCW has set aside $7500 for the fabrication of battle flag replicas for this event. Upon conclusion of the “Return of the Flags” ceremony, the replica flags will be available for loan to the Commonwealth, so that they may continue to be displayed in Memorial Hall. 12

13 RETURN OF THE FLAGS 2015 We recommend forming a committee for the event, consisting of members of the participating groups, who will also act as liaisons between their group and the others. CEREMONY FOR THE CLOSE OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF THE CIVIL WAR IN MASSACHUSETTS Members should include the Massachusetts Sesquicentennial Committee, Park Rangers, Superintendent of State Buildings, the City of Boston, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Round Tables of Massachusetts, the New England Brigade of living historians, the American Legion, and various other participants. Additional events, such as a living history on the Boston Common, the firing of a cannon salute, a Civil War band as part of the event, and a reception following the ceremony, may be added, time and finances permitting. 13

14 The Department of Massachusetts SONS OF UNION VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR 14 Kevin P. Tucker, Past Dept. Commander 58 Forest Street Wakefield, MA Dexter Bishop, Sr. Vice Commander 387 Old Boston Road Topsfield, MA


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