New York Monuments Commission
For the Battlefields of Gettysburg,
Chattanooga and Antietam
For the Year 1915



Report of the New York Monuments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg, Chattanooga and Antietam for the year 1915.


MARCH 8, 1916.

To the Governor and Legislature:

I have the honor to submit as follows the third annual report of the New York Monuments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg, Chattanooga and Antietam, covering its work for the year 1915.

This Commission was instituted by chapter 550 of the Laws of 1913, and as formed and created it was vested with the powers and took the place of former commissions, created pursuant to chapter 466, Laws of 1886, chapter 269, Laws of 1887, chapter 726, Laws of 1893, chapter 371, Laws of 1894, and chapter 317, Laws of 1895.

As constituted, the Commission is authorized to determine the positions and movements of the several New York organizations engaged in battles of the Civil War, and to erect such memorials, monuments and markers upon such battlefields as may be required from time to time, as directed by acts of the Legislature of this State.

The members of the Commission are: Clinton Beckwith, Lewis R. Stegman, Horatio C. King (veterans of the Civil War) and Louis W. Stotesbury, The Adjutant-General of the State of New York.

Meetings of the Board of Commissioners were held on the following dates during the year 1915: March 19th, May 22d, July 23d and December 9th.

The annual meeting of the Commission was held May 22d, and at that session of the Board Lewis R. Stegman was re-elected chairman and John W. Lynch reappointed secretary.

The principal construction business that engaged the Commission during the year 1915 was the completion of the monument to Major-General Alexander Stewart Webb and its erection, on the battlefield of Gettysburg, provided for by chapter 547 of the Laws of 1912 and chapter 531, Laws of 1914; together with the construction and erection of a memorial to the Eighty-Fourth New York Volunteers (Fourteenth Brooklyn N.Y.S.M. Regiment), on the battlefield of Antietam, authorized by chapter 513 of the Laws of 1910.

A contract was executed with Worden-Crawford Co., of Batavia, N.Y., dated February 24, 1915, for the construction and erection of a granite pedestal for the statue to General Webb. The work of setting this pedestal on the foundation built for it by the Commission was finished September 10, 1915, and the following day the statue was put in place by the contractors for bronze work.

This statute was designed by J. Massey Rhind, of New York, whose plaster model was reproduced in bronze by Jno. Williams, Inc., of New York. It is eight feet high, and erected on the east side of Hancock avenue, opposite the Angle. The pedestal is nine feet, nine and a half inches in height, measuring twelve feet by eleven feet three and a half inches at the base. The stone is dark Barre granite.

Of the $8,000 appropriated for this monument, the sum of $6,678.35 was expended on it, leaving a balance in the State treasury of $1,321.65.

Bids that various contractors were requested to submit for constructing and erecting, on the battlefield of Antietam, a memorial to the Eighty-fourth New York Regiment were considered by the Commissioners at their meeting held May 22, 1915. The proposal of Frank T. Lang, of Brooklyn, N. Y., contained the lowest figures for doing this work, his price being $1,393, and accordingly the contract was awarded to him. This memorial was erected on the site selected for it on Cornfield avenue, opposite the Dunker church, on September 3, 1915. It is fourteen feet six inches in height, the base being six feet square. The stone is Quincy granite. The New York State coat of arms appears on the shaft, and on the die there is an inscription showing the part the regiment took in the battle and its casualties there. Of the $1,500 appropriated for this memorial $1,481.73 were expended on it, leaving a balance in the State Treasury of $18.27.

The Fourteenth Brooklyn memorial was dedicated, with appropriate ceremonies, on September 17, 1915, the anniversary of the battle. The dedicatory exercises were conducted by the members of the New York Monuments Commission and the committee representing the Fourteenth Brooklyn War Veterans Association, a large delegation from that association being present. Of the $1,000 appropriated for the purpose of dedication (chapter 726 of the Laws of 1915), $944.10 were expended, leaving a balance in the State Treasury of $55.90.

Both in the construction and dedication of this memorial, the part of the New York Monuments Commission was mostly supervisory, the Commission co-operating in that capacity with the committee appointed by the Fourteenth Brooklyn War Veterans Association, namely, P. W. Ostrander (chairman), James Whitlock, Ramon Cardona and Wm. H. H. Pinckney.

A separate report on this monument and its dedication has been prepared for submitting to the Legislature.

By chapter 726 of the Laws of 1915, the sum of $10,000 was appropriated for dedicating, with appropriate ceremonies, the statue to General Webb, erected on the battlefield of Gettysburg. Provision was thus made for transportation to and from Gettysburg, Pa., of two hundred and fifty survivors of the New York commands engaged conjointly with the Philadelphia Brigade--General Webb's Brigade--at the Angle, on the battlefield of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, to be designated by the respective veteran associations, upon an apportionment, fixed by this Commission, to attend the dedication of General Webb's statue; for transportation of the Governor and Military Secretary, the Lieutenant Governor, the Comptroller, the State Treasurer, the family of General Webb, the Speaker of the Assembly, the President Pro Tem. of the Senate, the members of the Finance Committee of the Senate and the Ways and Means Committee of the Assembly, this Board of Commissioners and invited guests; and for the preparation, printing, interspersed with photographic views, and binding, of one thousand copies of the report and proceedings of the dedication.

At a meeting held July 23, 1915, the Board authorized the Chairman to proceed with the necessary arrangements for carrying out the provisions of this act; and a resolution was adopted at the same time, whereby Tuesday, October 12, 1915, was designated as the date for the ceremonies.

Under date of July 9, 1915, the Chairman addressed a letter to His Excellency the Governor, calling his attention to the act empowering the Commission to conduct this dedication and inviting him at the same time to deliver an address to the veterans in attendance thereat. The Governor in his reply advised that it would give him great pleasure to go to Gettysburg and take part in the ceremonies of dedication, that Mrs. Whitman would accompany him, and that, as suggested, he would speak to the veterans and their friends assembled at the statue.

From the official records and other sources, as well as maps of the battlefield, it was found that the following New York regiments and batteries co-operated with General Webb's Brigade in the repulse of Longstreet's assault at and in the vicinity of the Angle, and hence by the act their respective organizations were entitled to representation at the dedication:

Forty-second, Fifty-ninth, Eighty-second (Second N. Y. S. M.), Tenth, Eightieth (Twentieth N. Y. S. M.), One hundred and eighth, Thirty-ninth, One hundred and eleventh, One hundred and twenty-fifth and One hundred and twenty-sixth regiments of Infantry; the First, Eleventh, Thirteenth and Fourteenth New York Independent Batteries and Batteries B and K, First New York Light Artillery.

Accordingly, a circular that had been prepared was forwarded to the officers of those veteran organizations, notifying them of the date set for the ceremonies, the arrangements that were to be made with the railroads for furnishing their delegations with transportation to the battlefield, and other particulars regarding the dedication. Accompanying the circulars were muster roll blanks for the officers to enter thereon the names of the survivors whom they desired to designate for going to Gettysburg. Many of the regiments and batteries concerned not having veteran associations of their own their survivors were communicated with direct from this office and the muster rolls for them made up by the Commission.

Transportation for the official dedication party was furnished by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, on a special train, which started from New York at 9.40 Monday morning, October 11th. At Gettysburg, the party was accommodated at the Eagle Hotel--headquarters of the Commission--and the Gettysburg Hotel.

General Webb's command at Gettysburg being, composed of Pennsylvania troops--the Sixty-ninth, Seventy-first, Seventy-second and One hundred and sixth infantry regiments--known as the Philadelphia Brigade--the Commission was anxious that the Keystone State should be offered every facility and encouragement for co-operating with the Empire State in the ceremonies contemplated for this function. Accordingly, correspondence was opened with the Philadelphia Brigade Association, through their secretary, Major John D. Worman. With commendable enthusiasm and energy, they at once commenced organizing a delegation to represent them and participate in the dedication of the statute to their old commander. In fact, as soon as announcement was made of the date set for it they were ready to take the initiative in the matter themselves. On August 24th Colonel Lewis R. Stegman went to Philadelphia to confer with them at a special meeting called to effect arrangements for the part they were to take in the dedication. Admiration for General Webb and a desire to do everything in their power to honor his memory were much in evidence at that conference. Consequent on their deliberations then and afterwards, they were determined that at least fifty of their members should go to the battlefield; while Dr. G. J. R. Miller Joseph R. C. Ward and Captain John D. Rogers volunteered to deliver addresses at the exercises.

To supplement Pennsylvania's quota to the occasion, General James W. Latta, of Philadelphia, a Civil War veteran, responded with alacrity to be the orator for his State.

Colonel Andrew Cowan, of Louisville, Ky., who commanded the First New York Independent Battery at the " High-water Mark" July 3, 1863, also promised to deliver an address.

Colonel Zan L. Tidball, of Buffalo, a member of the Fifty-ninth Regimental Association, and Department Commander G. A. R. of the State of New York, was appointed grand marshal, and Captain James Ross, of the Eighty-second Regimental Association, adjutant-general.

The statue was to be unveiled by Mrs. Bayard Cushing Hoppin, of East Islip, N. Y., granddaughter of General Webb, but illness preventing Mrs. Hoppin from going to Gettysburg that honor was reserved for Miss Anne R. Alexandre, of Lenox, Mass., also a granddaughter.

Pursuant to request made by the Commission; in. behalf: of the State of New York, to the War Department, under date of July 26, 1915, there was present for duty at the exercises a company of Battery E, Third U.S. Field Artillery, Captain Clarence N. Jones commanding. Major General Leonard Wood, commanding the Department of the East, who was intimately acquainted with General Webb and a great admirer of his, took a special interest in this assignment of the battery.

There were 203 transportation orders furnished vetetans of the various regiments and batteries entitled to send delegations to the dedication. Of these forty were returned unused. Some of the organizations concerned had but very few in attendance. As the years go by and as veterans become feebler, they seem less and less inclined to revisit Gettysburg, much as they liked to go there formerly. The Philadelphia Brigade contingent present numbered sixty-five.

It was sought in advance to have the dedication of General Webb's statue conducted in a manner fully worthy of his memory, and the occasion proved to be a battlefield event which put the town of Gettysburg and the Angle in gala. As a part of the printed itinerary the veterans and the official party devoted the early part of the day to visiting salient points along the northern part of the field. The first stop was made at the Wadsworth monument. Here Colonel Lewis R. Stegman described leading incidents of the opening of the battle. Before resuming the journey, a group photograph was taken of the party. Another halt was made at Culp's Hill, where it was told how General Greene, with his small brigade of 1,350 men gallantly held his ground on the night of the second day against overwhelming odds. Many other famous spots and beautiful memorials in this territory, were also passed and pointed out by the guides. Soon after midday the procession that was to go to the Angle began to assemble; and at the appointed time--half past one -- the start was made for the monument. The route of the parade was along Baltimore street to the Taneytown Road and then Hancock avenue. Captain Clarence N. Jones with a detail from his battery, acted as escort. The Governor and his party drove from the Eagle Hotel -- the headquarters of the Commission. The veteran organizations were in charge of the grand marshall Colonel, Zan L. Tidball, Captain James Ross, adjutant-general, and a large number of aides appointed from among the regiments and batteries. As the carriage passed along the streets, greetings in plenty were given their occupants. There was no mistaking the fact that it was a holiday--Columbus Day and General Webb Day. At two o'clock, as the exercises were about to commence, grandeur, characterized the scene around the statue, at the Angle. The "High-water Mark" or its environments have seldom witnessed anything so impressive. Hundreds of people from Gettysburg and adjacent towns had come to join the procession, thus making quite a concourse present. As a dedicatory preliminary, the "boys" of the Philadelphia Brigade alighted from the carriages within four hundred yards of the stand; then, escorted by the band, they marehed proudly to the statue, and on reaching it the "boys" all the way from New York, who had arrived in advance, welcomed them with cheers and gave their comrades a rousing receptions. The guests as they arrived were shown to their places by men from the U.S. Battery. Colonel Lewis R. Stegman, Chairman of the New York Monuments Commission, acted as master of ceremonies. The Citizens' Band of Gettysburg furnished the music. The opening prayer was pronounced by the Rev. William T. Pray, a veteran of the field. Miss Anne R. Alexandre, of Lenox, Mass., granddaughter of General Webb, unveiled the statue. Then the U.S. Battery began thundering a major-general's salute of thirteen guns, which solemnly resounded over the slopes of Cemetery and Seminary Ridges. The oration for New York State by Governor Whitman was a special feature. When he was introduced as not only Governor of the Empire State but also as the son of one of the angels in human attire who hastened to Gettysburg immediately after the great struggle was over, to give consolation to the dying and help to the wounded, the veterans did not fail to show their appreciation of this coincidence. The orator for Pennsylvania, General James W. Latta, in his eloquent address, took a comprehensive and philosophical view of war in general and the Civil War in particular -- giving prominence to Gettysburg. He paid a glowing tribute to General Webb and the Philadelphia Brigade that he so ably commanded. General Horatio C. King recited two poems of his own composition which were listened to with interest. Colonel Andrew Cowan's address was a vivid word picture, and to those who had the privilege of listening to him it was an interesting and historial object lesson. Colonel Cowan enjoys the distinction of being one of the heroes of the Angle himself, and this fact imparted rare significance to his narration of the melee which took place there. Dr. J. G. R. Miller treated his audience to a very interesting address on the history of the Philadelphia Brigade and the numerous engagements in which it was actively engaged, including its never-to-be-forgotten resistance to Pickett's charge, of the brunt of which it bore a heavy part.

The State of New York has organized many functions at Gettysburg similar to this, but never was a celebration conducted under its auspices that evoked greater enthusiasm than the dedication of General Webb statue.

On the afternoon of the dedication Governor Whitman held a reception at the home of the president of the Pennsylvania College, where he made a brief address to the students, for which he was warmly thanked and applauded.

On October 13th the official dedication party visited the battlefield of Antietam -- about forty miles distant from Gettysburg. This trip proved very enjoyable and interesting. The rendezvous at Antietam was the celebrated Dunker church. Here, after luncheon was served Colonel Stegman spoke on interesting incidents of the battle. From the Dunker church the party went to the historic Burnside Bridge, at which point the operations of the left wing of the army were described.

Under date of December 2, 1915, material for an illustrated report on the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg by Civil War veterans of the State of New York, conducted under the auspices of this Commission, and also the manuscript and pictures for a report on the dedication of statue to General James S. Wadsworth, at Gettysburg, October 6, 1914, were submitted by the Chairman to J. B. Lyon Company, State Printers. These books will be completed and ready for distribution among veterans early in 1916.

The report and proceedings of the statue to General Webb, and its dedication, at Gettysburg, October 12, 1915; will be presented to the Legislature of 1916, and soon thereafter the State printers will commence work on it. The Commission expects to have this report in book form, ready for sending out, early the coming summer.

It is required of the Commission that it make triennial inspection of the monuments erected by the State nn the battlefields of the Civil War. At the end of January, 1915, Colonel Clinton Beckwith and General Horatio C. King inspected New York's monuments at Cold Harbor, Va., Andersonville and Ringgold, Ga., Vicksburg, Miss., Wauhatchie, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and Orchard Knob, Tenn.The report of their inspections was laid before the board at the meeting which convened March 19, 1915. Except that some slight damage has been done to a few of the monuments their condition was reported to be all that could be desired.

Some years ago the former battlefields commission had markers constructed for the purpose of designating the positions where four of the regiments of the "Excelsior" Brigade were in action at Gettysburg. After being completed, these markers in consequence of the Gettysburg National Park Commission not receiving definite instructions as to their disposition, were not put in the locations intended for them and remained on the field unplaced. A conference regarding this matter took place between Colonel John P. Nicholson, Chairman of the Gettysburg National Park Commission, and Colonel Lewis R. Stegman; and shortly after, at the meeting convened May 22, 1915, the subject of putting the markers in their right places was considered by the Board. The regiments for which same were made were the Seventieth, Seventy-first, Seventy-second and Seventy-fourth New York Volunteers. Pursuant to the decision of the Commission and further conference with Colonel NichoIson, they were evenutally placed on the line of the "Excelsior" Brigade, close to Sickles avenue, a map showing their exact locations having been made by the Gettysburg National Park Commission. This map is dated June 29, 1915.

In addition to $7,500 for office expenses, the Commission has requested of the Legislature of 1916 appropriations of $5,000 each (preliminary work) for statues on the battlefield of Gettysburg to Major-General Abner Doubleday and Brevet Major-General John Cleveland Robinson; also $5,000 for the purpose of grading, fencing and beautifying New York park at Antietam.

Statues to General Doubleday and General Robinson at Gettysburg are long past due. When General Reynolds fell at Gettysburg, immediately after the battle opened, General Doubleday succeeded to the command of the First Corps and withstood for hours the onset of superior forces. The heroic and effective defense made by him on that occasion is given as the principal reason why General Lee's troops could not occupy Cemetery Hill on the evening of the first day. Also the third day, at the Angle, he rendered timely aid in the repulse of Longstreet's assault. General Doubleday, as well, fired the first gun in reply to the attack on Fort Sumter, April 12, 1861; and in many another hotly-contested field during the Civil War - notably at South Mountain and Antietam - the commands under him rendered signal services.

Like so many other New York commanders, General Robinson's opportunity for very distinguished work at Gettysburg, occurred the first day, on Seminary Ridge, where, with General Doubleday and General Wadsworth, vastly outnumbered, he was engaged in resisting the combined forces of General Ewell and General A. P. Hill; and how well he acquitted himself in that memorable struggle is attested by the fact that his men took prisoners in an open field, a large part of a Southern brigade. Of General Robinson's part in the campaign before Richmond, in 1862 - the seven days' battle - General Kearney in his report wrote as follows:

"I have reserved Gen. Robinson for the last. To him this day is due above all others in this division, the honors of this battle. The attack was on his wing. Everywhere present, by personal supervision and noble example, he secured for us the honor of victory."

At Spotsylvania, in the battle of Alsop's Farm, General Robinson, while leading his men in the fight, received a wound which necessitated amputation of his leg. After the war, in 1872-1873 he served as Lieutenant-Governor of the State of New York.

New York park at Antietam, a piece of land seven acres in area, was purchased by this State some years ago, for the purpose of erecting memorials there. New York regiments to the number of eighty-seven took part in the battle of Antietam, fought September 17, 1862, and known as the "bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War." Nearly one-third of the Union forces in that engagement was made up of New York troops, and their losses amounted to one-third of the entire casualties. The present fencing around this park is only rough boarding, in a tumble-down state in parts, while the plot is overrun with weeds and low shrubbery -- leaving it in a very dilapidated state. The erection of granite posts around it, from four to five feet high, with piping between, the laying out of pathways and the construction of two main gateways, one on the Hagerstown road and one on the Smoketown road, would effect a great alteration and much-needed improvement on the park. One monument has already been erected within its bounds, the memorial to the Twentieth New York Regiment; and in the near future it is hoped that New York will see fit to erect a handsome State monument there, in commemoration of its soldiers who fought and fell on that field.

The total amount of the Commission's expenditures for the year 1915 charged to its "Expenses" account, was $8,080.09. Of this amount, $4,438.15 were charged to the appropriation of $4,956.78, allowed by chapter 521, Laws of 1914, and $3,641.94 against the appropriation of $5,000 under chapter 531, Laws of 1914.

By chapter 726 of the Laws of 1915, $7,500 were appropriated for the use of the Commission to meet its office expenses which amount still remains intact; and of the $5,000 appropriated by chapter 531, Laws of 1914, there was a balance of $1,358.06 left on December 31 1915.

The total amount of the appropriations therefore at the disposal of the New York Monuments Commission at the beginning of 1916 for its "Expenses" account was $8,858.06.