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Henry Dunlap Transcript

FELLOW CITIZENS AND SOLDIERS OF THE STATE OF MAINE

It is with no ordinary pride that we, natives and former residents of your own proud State, now welcome you within our midst. We welcome you as coming from among those who have built up the civilization and commercial enterprises of our native State; we welcome you as associated with all of those fond memories which cluster around our earlier years; but above all, we welcome you as citizens of our common country, marching to the defence of our common constitution.

But seven short weeks have elapsed since the President of the United States sent forth his appeal to the American people to rally for the protection of the nation’s capital. That appeal rang like a clarion note through the towns and cities of the North; the great loyal heart of the Northern people was stirred as it never was before; and behold today, a quarter of a million bristling bayonets have answered to that call. From the remotest borders of our own native State to the farthest prairies of Kansas, has gone up one united, simultaneous shout – “The Union must and shall be preserved.”

It was with pride and satisfaction that we heard your noble response to your country’s call.  When your Governor was asked how many of Maine’s regiments were ready for the field, he responded in one short comprehensive word, ‘All.’ That welcome answer came not unexpected to our ears. That enterprising spirit which has felled the forests of Maine and dotted her plains with thriving cities, towns, and villages; which has sent forth her ships upon the farthest seas, beneath unfamiliar constellations; that spirit we knew would lead you on in the foremost ranks of those who are rushing to our country’s call.

The sons of Maine resident in the city, wishing to show in some degree their high appreciation of your patriotism, wishing to pay some fitting tribute to the loyalty of our native State, have instructed me to present you, her worthy sons, this flag – our nation’s flag – the same glorious old flag that was first bathed in the baptismal fires of the Revolution.

For more than eighty years it has floated proudly over us, with the smile of God ever upon it, encircling as with a halo of light its radiant folds. It is the same dear old flag that we have loved to gaze upon from our earliest childhood, the emblem of all that we hold most dear and sacred upon the earth, and never, while a true American heart throbs on American soil, shall one stripe be torn from its rays of white and red, or one star be stricken from its radiant field of blue.

We entrust it to you, knowing that we have confided it to loyal hearts and sturdy hands. Bear it with you to the field where duty calls you; bear it with you, if need be, beyond the Potomac, not to invade the so-called “sacred soil of Virginia,” but to protect and defend the far more sacred soil of our common country.

Let it be shown to the world at large that wherever there is one blood-bought rood of American soil, there the American flag will wave without molestation.

You are about to leave us, to march, perhaps, to scenes of conflict. Our hearts’ best wishes go with you. Let the memories of those who earned with their blood this heritage we now enjoy, let the recollections of those you have left behind you at your respective homes, let the heart-felt ejaculation “God bless you,” which rises from the thousands now around you, cheer you on in the path which lies before you.

Henry Dunlap, Esq.


SIR, AND GENTLEMEN, SONS OF MAINE:

We did not come here with the expectation of being compelled to do any speaking, nor are we men of words. We are men of action.

Accept the simple and heartfelt thanks of the First Maine Regiment.

It is only idle labor for me to tell you how much we appreciated your kindness in bestowing on us so handsome a gift, and that we will defend it with our hearts’ blood, you may rest equally assured.

We are your own brethren and you must be willing to let history record our deeds and speak of our bravery.

We go to meet our brethren who went before us to defend the constitution and laws, and we trust that we may be instrumental in placing our unhappy country once more in the same position she occupied prior to this present difficulty.

--Col. Nathaniel Jackson