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6th Vermont Infantry

Kimball Collection

Letter of Capt. Fred M. Kimball to his old comrades

Topeka, Kansas Sept. 29, 1911

To the Surviving Members of Co. D., Sixth Vermont Volunteers

Dear Comrades:-

Having received an invitation to attend the Fiftieth Anniversary of the organization of your (our) old company and its departure for the front, to be held at Barton on the 5th prox., I can only send you my warmest greetings and bid you God's speed, as the great distance seems to bar the way and makes it impossible for me to attend, though the pleasure it would afford me of once more meeting my old comrades, cannot be measured by words. You were then 100 strong, the youth of the land, full of zeal, vigor, and patriotism--anxious for the fray, to do battle for our country and to die if need be to preserve and perpetuate its unity inviolate. Today you are but a feeble, though patriotic still, an army that conquered the greatest rebellion that the world ever saw and restored Old Glory to her place as the ensign of a reunited country without one missing star or one strip effaced,--Grand Old Flag, which by your valor and prowess and that of your compatriots through that long struggle for liberty and human rights, for the saving of our country unbroken and the preservation of our republic, it now floats triumphant around the world, the harbinger of peace, the forerunner of good will to mankind, and giving the unqualified assurance, backed by the now most powerful nation on the globe, that beneath its protecting folds the oppressed of all nations shall find refuge and protection, and whole it stands for power. It stands for universal peace. All nations do her homage and all countries respect her power. Little, my comrades, did you realize the far-reaching results of the heroic deeds, awful sufferings, appalling sacrifices that you, your compatriots and your dead comrades endured during those four long years of battle and carnage of war.

You not only broke the shackles of slavery in our country but around the world and today the glorious sun of heaven rises not upon a master nor sets upon a slave. You shot to death the heresy of state rights, and reestablished on the continent a republic, the permanency of which shall forever rest upon the intelligence, loyalty and patriotism of her people, and by the silent influence of which all civilized nations of the globe now giving to their subjects better laws, greater measure of liberty and justice and more human rights and privileges. The progress of the world's achievements in the last half century as an outgrowth and directly attributable to the results of that great war are greater than during the previous one thousand years. Your meeting is not to celebrate the triumphs of a tyrant, the crowning of a king or the jubilee of an emperor. No tread of a conqueror is heard to disturb the quiet of your greetings. You pay no homage at the graves of dead royalty, but you do, my dear old comrades, rightfully glory in the cause you have helped to make honorable and our dead comrades made sacred, and while you sing the praises of our great republic, saved and redeemed, you also pay tribute to the memory of those brave boys who in their young manhood with the future right before them gave their lives a willing sacrifice upon the altar of their country, that our nation might live--who sealed their devotion with their life's blood--brave, noble, heroic men--God bless their memory. There was Hale, Dwinnell, Phelps, Bailey, Stiles, Mason, Davis, Page, Livingston, Abbott, Partridge and scores of others whose names are engraved in letters of living light on the galaxy of heaven to shine forever. Impartial history has recorded that no other organization of that great army of patriots achieved greater honor, suffered more hardships, sustained heavier losses, or endured severer trials than the five regiment comprising the old Vermont Brigade, and of all the companies in the old brigade there was not one that deserved greater credit for duty well performed or endured more hardships than Company D of the Sixth Regiment. Memory loves to dwell upon that eventful past and the eye is closed that the spectral scene may be prolonged. The love of my heart for you, my old comrades, with whom I shared toils and struggles of war, of battles, long marches, the bivouac and the camp will never die as long as life lasts and reason keeps its throne. May God bless you, one and all, my dear Comrades, your wives and your loved ones.

Most Sincerely Yours,

FM Kimball



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