At four o’clock in the afternoon the regiment assembled and marched into town, where the procession was formed for the march to the monument. The Orator, Poet, Chairman NINTH Regiment Gettysburg Monument Committee, New York Board of Commissioners, Officers of Gettysburg Memorial Association, Officers of Society of Army of the Potomac, Officers of Society of First Army Corps and Disabled Veterans, were in carriages. The members of the Veteran Association, together with comrades from John A. Dix Post No. 135, and Alexander Hamilton Post No. 182, G. A. R., and Veterans of the 61st, 97th, and 119th New York regiments, formed the left of the line, the regiment on the right. Upon reaching the monument the Veterans were drawn up facing the east front, the Regiment forming a double line behind them. A stand had been erected to the left of the shaft, and upon it were grouped many distinguished Veterans and a number of ladies.
That is the opening of the Dedication of Monument chapter of the History Of The Ninth Regiment – (Eighty-Third NY Volunteers) in the Civil War Collection in the Accessible Archives database. The monument to the fallen was dedicated at Gettysburg on July 2, 1893.
The monument to the Eighty Third New York Infantry Regiment is northwest of Gettysburg on Doubleday Avenue. You can see it on this map.
After everyone was assembled and the opening prayer, the poet, Mr. Rowland B. Mahany, was introduced, and read the following verses:
By Rowland B. Mahany, of Buffalo, NY
What shall we say to crown the honored dead,
What voice of ours shall magnify their fame,
Who on this field for Truth and Country bled.
In storm of shot, in hell of battle’s flame?
Weak were our words to sound the note of woe,
And vain the woven laurel of our praise.
If that high faith by which their memories grow,
Exalted not the spirit of our days!
We sit at ease! Across our prosperous years,
No bugle peal of War’s alarum sounds;
No host of armed battalions now appears,
To desolate what smiling Commerce founds.
Blest is our land! It teems with all increase,
Its glory is the glory of mankind;
And all that Nationhood can give in peace,
The slaves of older systems here may find.
Yet with inglorious triumphs in the mart.
Men lose the grateful thought of freedom won,
Nor estimate aright the dauntless part
By heroes borne, in deeds of valor done.
In wealth’s mad race, men’s finer sense is dulled,
They give not meed of honor as they might,
Nay, even scorn, through conscience lost or lulled,
The Soldiers of this War for Human Right.
We greet, to-day, the great, majestic Past,
Wherein those heroes wrought their work sublime
Whose glory never can be overcast,
While Progress treads the broad highway of Time.
Here on this storied ground whose holy sod
Is fertile with the blood they nobly shed,
We gather now to consecrate to God,
The fame of His, and our, immortal dead.
On Gettysburg the fate of ages hung,
The unborn millions in the future’s womb
Rejoiced, when our exultant anthem rung
And Freedom’s light broke over Slavery’s tomb.
No, never struggle was akin to this!
The old-time battles meant dynastic gains;
This ranks both Marathon and Salamis,
For Humankind was freed upon these plains.
Here on this spot where countless heroes fell,
We rear this fair memorial to their worth,
That to all generations it may tell
That Freedom everlasting here had birth!
Oh, hallowed shaft! that speaks the garnered grief
Of those whose tears forever silent fall
For their lost loved ones, whose existence brief
A dream of glory seemed and that was all!
They went in strength to nevermore return;
Their dust was mingled with the myriad years;
But while high deeds make bosoms beat and burn,
Their names will grace the temple Fame uprears.
Through all the changing future’s vast unknown.
Their valor points the length of Freedom’s day;
We, for the love we bear them, raise this stone,
To mark the mightiest triumph on the way.
While now we glorify that matchless host.
Whose, faith and courage spurned all doubts and fears,
Forgive us if we turn to honor most,
Our own brave NINTH, our peerless Volunteers!
We need not praise them in sonorous rhyme,
Who wrote their epic in red lines of steel;
Words echo faintly down the aisles of time;
Deeds merit deeds to make their meaning real.
When Lincoln blew his Northern bugle blast,
The eager NINTH enlisted “ for the war “;
And though death mowed their comrades thick and fast,
They bore the flag before Columbia’s car.
At Gettysburg—here on this very spot
They checked o’erwhelming numbers—undismayed!
Ay, North Carolina felt their courage hot,
When down they swept on Jverson’s Brigade.
But why recount the ceaseless roll of fame.?
Their glory is as deathless as the stars!
Of those that fought, we see each shining name,
Where neither praise or censure makes or mars.
Here where their hearts were wrung, we consecrate
Ourselves to that great truth for which they died—
Their legatees of freedom in a State
Where evermore the Union shall abide.
And, as our love’s best love the Nation claims,
Let us forget the fury of past strife;
And North and South with re-united aims,
Move forward in the future’s grander life.
Yea, that the South fought well, let us rejoice;
They were our brothers, chivalrous and brave;
And though they lost the battle, let our voice
Place Valor’s wreath above each hero’s grave.
We are too great to cherish olden wrongs;
The din of conflict dies within our ears,
As swelling on the breeze the festal songs
Of Peace and Friendship greet the coming years.
O North and South, O Nation one and free!
We lav our whole existence at thy feet,—
For here the hallowed dead who died for thee,
Have glorified and made thy fate complete.
The reading of the poem was listened to with rapt attention and frequently elicited outbursts of applause.