Colonel Cornelius Cadle, Chairman Shiloh National Military Park Commission
Governor Cummins, Gentlemen of the Iowa Shiloh Commission, Ladies and Gentlemen:
When I was notified that Iowa would dedicate her monuments here today, I so advised the Secretary of War and asked that either he or the Assistant Secretary of War Colonel Robert Shaw Oliver, who was a Union soldier in our civil war, should receive these monuments from you, Governor Cummins. In reply, Mr. Taft asked me to express his regrets that his official duties, as well as those of the Assistant Secretary of War, would prevent their attendance today, and directed me as Chairman of the Shiloh National Military Park Commission to receive, from you, sir, on behalf of the United States, these magnificent monuments that the state of Iowa has placed here in commemoration of what her soldiers, dead and living, did on this field over forty-four years ago.
When we fought here, we fought for the preservation of the Union. We did not realize that we were making history in that first great decisive battle of the war, nor that the work of the Union soldiers would result years afterward in making the United States one of the greatest of nations.
The last line of one of the verses of “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” reads, “The world offers homage to thee.” This should be amended to read: “The world offers homage, honor and respect to thee.”
For now no one of the great world nations decides upon an important matter without first considering, “What will the United States say.” We, who are living of the army, that fought here and at Corinth, Vicksburg, Atlanta, the March to the Sea, and the campaign of the Carolinas, to the end of success, are glad that our work resulted in a united nation and resulted too in making us a world power.
Upon this monument is inscribed in the granite, just finished apparently by the figure “Fame,” lines written by Major S. H. M. Byers, an Iowa soldier, that would be imperishable even if not cut in the stone and are applicable to this occasion:
“Brave of the brave, the twice five thousand men
Who all that day stood in the battle’s shock,
Fame holds them dear, and with immortal pen
Inscribes their name on the enduring rock.”
I, sir, as an Iowa soldier in the battle of Shiloh, feel a pride and honor to receive for the United States these monuments, and to assure you that they will be cared for hereafter by the government.
And now, Mr. Chairman, I will describe briefly our park; its inception and the work that we have done to beautify and maintain this historic battlefield.
The Shiloh National Military Park was established by act of Congress, approved December 27, 1894. The bill was drawn by our friend and comrade, Colonel D. B. Henderson, and provided that a national military park should be established on the battlefield of Shiloh; that the armies who fought there, the army of the Tennessee, commanded by General U. S. Grant, the Army of the Ohio, commanded by General D. C. Buell, and the Army of the Mississippi, commanded by General A. S. Johnston, “may have the history of one of their memorable battles preserved on the ground where they fought;” that three commissioners should be appointed, one from each of the armies engaged, and a secretary and historian, all of whom should have served in the battle of Shiloh, and that the commissioner appointed from “Grant's Army of the Tennessee” should be the chairman.
There were appointed by Mr. Daniel S. Lamont, then secretary of war, Colonel Cornelius Cadle, of the Army of the Tennessee, chairman; General Don Carlos Buell, of the Army of the Ohio; General Robert F. Looney, of the Army of the Mississippi, and Major David W. Reed, of the Twelfth Iowa Infantry, as secretary and historian.
General Buell, at his death on November 19, 1898, was succeeded by Major James H. Ashcraft of the Twenty-sixth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.
Colonel Looney, at his death, November 19, 1899, was succeeded by Colonel Josiah Patterson of the First Alabama Cavalry.
Upon Colonel Patterson's death on February 12, 1904, he was succeeded by General Basil W. Duke of Morgan's Cavalry.
The commission as now constituted consists of myself, Major Ashcraft and General Duke and Major Reed.
The act of Congress required us to restore the battlefield to as near as possible the condition existing at the time of the battle. The park includes about 3,650 acres, the absolute fighting ground of April 6 and 7, 1862. The roads then existing, public and camp, have been placed in thorough condition, as you have seen from riding over them.
Two hundred bronze cannon such as were used at Shiloh and mounted on iron gun carriages mark the position of artillery fighting.
The eighty-three Union organizations encamped on the field when the battle opened have their camps marked with a tablet in shape like a cross section of a wall tent.
Every headquarters, Union and Confederate, are marked with a monument of shell, suitably inscribed.
About four hundred iron historical tablets describing the battle lines of both sides have been erected.
Mortuary monuments have been erected for the commanders who were killed or mortally wounded in the battle, as follows:
Five burial trenches where the Confederate dead were buried, by order of General Grant upon Tuesday following the battle, have been suitably, and I think properly, marked.
The first day tablets are square; the second day, oval. The colors of the Army of the Tennessee are blue, the Army of the Ohio, yellow and the Army of the Mississippi, red.
One hundred and ten monuments have been erected by the various states at a cost of about $213,000. I think that I can safely say that those erected by Iowa are the most artistic.
SOURCE: Alonzo Abernathy, Editor, Dedication of Monuments Erected By The State Of Iowa, p. 253-5