Charleston Daily Gazette
Colors Turned Over To The Second Regiment.
An Enthusiastic Occasion Upon Which Every One Cheered - Governor Atkinson Makes a Fine
Address in Which He Points Some Useful Moral.
August 8, 1898
Colors Turned Over To The Second Regiment.
An Enthusiastic Occasion Upon Which Every One Cheered - Governor Atkinson Makes a Fine Address in Which He Points Some Useful Moral.
The magnificent stand of colors purchased by the patriotic ladies of Charleston for the Second regiment, West Virginia Volunteer infantry, was presented to that crack organization Saturday evening at half past six o'clock by Governor Atkinson in a graceful address of twenty minutes.
The regiment was drawn up in close columns of battalion formation just below the railroad on the parade grounds, Col. Casteel, who received the colors in behalf of the regiment, standing in front of the speaker just in advance of his staff. Back of the governor was a long triple line of vehicles containing a goodly portion of the fashion, beauty and gallantry of Charleston. Interspersed among the vehicles and jammed in a solid phalanx behind them was a throng of citizens and visitors numbering many hundreds.
The governor's address was punctuated with frequent applause and very heartily cheered at its conclusion. It was then that Kanawha valley had an opportunity to hear thirteen hundred happy soldiers cheer. Everybody cheered. The flag was cheered. The regiment was cheered. The governor was cheered. Colonel Casteel was cheered. And when there was nothing else to cheer, the fellows just cheered anyway, and they were all triple cheers, easily heard up in the city.
The colors were then turned over to Company F, which, owing to its position, is the color company, and amid the blare of bugles triumphantly borne to camp. There was some criticism because the Charleston company was not honored with the guardianship of the colors, but this could not be. The Charleston company being the ranking organization, occupies the place of honor on the right and the colors had to go to the center of the regiment.
The Governor's presentation address was an admirable one. He reminded the men that they were soldiers and patriots, and the people of this great republic would not fail to reward its soldiers for every act of valor and heroism. He referred to the achievement of American soldiers in the past and in the present, devoted a few minutes to the theory of war generally and of the war with Spain specifically, and concluded thus:
"My countrymen, I have been requested by the ladies of Charleston to present our Second regiment of West Virginia Volunteers with this stand of colors. No regiment in the service will have a superior outfit, because these flags are as fine as money will buy. You are patriots and the donors of these flags are also patriots.
"These Charleston ladies do not class themselves with Semiramis and Zenobia, who wrote their names in blood; nor with Aspasis, who corrupted Athens and made Greece drunk with the wine of her sensuous charms; nor with Cleopatra, Egypt's beautiful and the world's most shameless courtesan - nay, none of these, famous through their unwomanliness and infamy, as the illustrators of the glory of their sex. None of these typed American women are represented among the dorns of these flags. Their type of womanhood is of that truer and better character which is represented in history by Penelope; weaving amid her maidens through weary years the web that sheltered her virtue, until her royal husband returned from his wanderings and wars to gladden her waiting heart; or courteous Rebecca at the well or timid Ruth gleaning in the field, or nobler still, the Roman Cornelia, who, taunted in Rome's decaying age by rivals with her poverty, held up her virtuous children, exclaiming, 'These are my jewels!' Fit woman to have been the mother of Gracchi, and like whom had all Roman mothers been, Rome might to this day have boasted an unbroken progeny of heroes. These, my countrymen, are the types of women West Virginia produces and we need not therefore wonder at the stamina and manhood of our West Virginia troops, than whom no better and braver men ever leveled a musket or unsheathed a sword.
"In the name of the good women of Charleston, I hand those flags over to you, and in their name and in God's name, I beg of you not to allow any one to lower them except yourselves. It is our flag - your flag; may God Almighty grant that it may never be made to kiss the dust while it is in your keeping.
"Let us, my fellow citizens, not forget that generations of men and women may come and go, and follow one another as do the billows in the ocean's crest, rising in their majestic form, crystal-crowned, only to fall and be dashed to pieces upon the rocks along the shore; but let us remember forever that the acts of true heroes never die.
When the Buddhists, as they aimed to do, reformed the Brahmin faith, they laid down six transcendent virtues - alms, morals, science, energy, patience and charity. These were their stepping stones to eternal repose. A thousand years later Constantine espied the flaming cross in the midday sky, and while the emblem of faith has been carried in triumph to every spot upon this globe, our struggles toward a higher and better estate upon the earth are opening the door upon the future, so that all of us may see within. Let us thank God for this unrestricted vision; and let us pledge ourselves anew to rear to these patriots this flag of state, until its towering monument shall catch the first rays of the rising, and the last rays of the setting sun
"In the name and on behalf of these friends of mine and yours, I present these banners to you for your keeping now and forever."
Military and Wartime