Newspaper Articles Regarding Reunions of Co. D, 115th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Submitted by Craig Crawford, whose gr-gr-grandfather, John Moreland, was a member of Co. D, 115th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and participated in the "Battle of Buzzard Roost Gap"

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See also newspaper articles describing the "Battle of Buzzard Roost Gap"

Reunion of Company D.
Veterans of 115th Ill. Vol. Inft. Meet at Sugar Grove
Interesting History and Letters Heretofore Unpublished

Though few in number, probably 200 in all, (owing to the wet, inclement weather, assembled to enjoy the occasion Thursday at Layton, the soldier's reunion, and especially that of Co. D, 115th Vol. Inft. of which company there were present but seven was not devoid of the usual, if not more so, interest.

The crowd did not begin to assemble until afternoon. Captain Samuel Hymer, of LaCygne, Kan., the central figure, was conspicuous and not second in imporatance was a new face and figure, Lieut. John Schneider, of St. Louis, who played a most thrilling and essential part in the tragedy of the famous "block house" at Dalton, Ga., on the 13th of Oct. 1864.

The Hon. Geo. W. Prince followed Capt. Hymer, who had briefly, though cordially, welcomed all to the reunion, and made a very patriotic and effective address. He alluded to the magnificent results following the success of the federal army in crushing rebellion and particularly emphasized the righteousness of the cause by reminding his heroes that had the cause of the Confederacy prevailed this glorious and mighty nation would not today exist to exert such a universal influence for the inculcation and practice of the christian virtues for which the Hebrews of ancient times stood, and, so conspicuously as types of the better times to come. He said he believed the American people and America would with all their intelligence and civilized virtues and the rich, fertile soil and vigorous artisans in the manufactories were chosen by the Great Ruler of the Universe to accomplish for the world what He in His wisdom designed it should be. The good and magnanimous leaders of the great American Republic from Washington and his compeers down to Lincoln, Grant, Garfield, McKinley and Roosevelt had been inspired and actuated by the wisdom and love of the Creator to make this a nation "of the peole, for the people and by the people," to allow no king or monarchy to rule this chosen land of which we today are the heirs. He hoped peace and patriotic brotherhood motives and practice would actuate and govern every one of us as well as all others over this broad main and that the peace prosperity and foreign and domestic prestige continue to the end of time. He paid a fitting tribute to Capt. Hymer and his men and hoped the time would come when congress would vote them a special recognition for the heroic services. The address was heartily applauded. Mr. Prince referred to the following letters which Capt. Hymer had in his possession, and every unmistakable evidence of the gallantry of himself and squad.

The following letters from United States Senator, Wm. B. Bates, to Capt. Samuel Hymer are very interesting reading, and no doubt the extended acquaintance of both will add interest to The Citizen readers.

Washington, D. C., May 30th, 1900.

Mr. Samuel H. Hymer, LaCygne, Kansas. My Dear Sir: I received your letter of 15th inst. and was glad to do so. In it you recited an incident that occurred on the 13th of Oct. 1864, wherein I captured the Block House and Garrison near Dalton, Ga. You write me that you were in command of that fort, and as the result of that engagement you are totally deaf in left ear and partially so in the right, and draw a pension of $20 a month. In that connection you also state that Senator Baker, of Kansas introduced a bill to increase your pension to $50 per month, and asked my assistance to try and have the bill passed. In regard to the matter of your pension I beg to say that after the receipt of your letter I had an interview with Senator Baker proferring any assistance I could give, and directing him to call on me to do so should it be necessary. Senator Baker is a member of the pension committee. Senator Gallinger, of New Hampshire, is the chairman of that committe, and its most active and controlling spirit. So, with the view of furthering your interest I also had a personal interview with him, and showed him your letter as I did to senator Baker. I told both of them of the history of your gallant defense of the fort and how it was captured, and furthermore told them that I was so pleased with your gallant defense of the fort, that when you were my prisoner I took you to my own quarters and looked after your comfort the best I could while you were with me. I also themd them of Col. Johnson's command that had surrended without a fight, and when he was sent to me as a prisoner, because / rendering him with the same consideration that I did you. Now you know it is very rare they give $50 a month pension, and to no one unless totally blind, but I sand to senator Gallinger, the chairman, that I thought he ought to make an exception in your case because of the gallantry you showed under very adverse circumstances, and that I would be pleased to go before the committee and so state, if desired. If there is any hitch in the matter, this I propose doing of my own motion, and will advocate the passage of the bill if objections be made to it in the senate.

Now, my dear sir, to go back a little, I have always been trying to find and get your address, but had thus far failed, except as I remember, while I was Governor of Tennessee, I received a letter from the man who surrendered to me at that fort, and was more than anxious to answer it, but before I had time to do so amind the official duties crowding on me at the time, the letter was misplaced and never found, and the first I have known of you since is the letter in regard to your pension, and am very much gratified to receive it. You may not know the fact that the morning you were sent back as a prisoner, I wrote a note to the commander who had you in charge, directing good treatment to you and your men, and hope you received it. I advanced immediately into Tennessee, and was never able to hear anything of you afterwards. I am pleased to hear from you now, as I said, but not more so than to serve you in any honorable way I can.

Very respectfully and truly yours, Wm. B. Bate

Washington, D. C., July 7, 1902

Capt. Samuel Hymer, LaCygne, Kansas. Dear Capt. Hymer: I suppose you have learned that the bill for increase of your pension passed some time ago, giving you fifty dollars a month. I received both of your letters and went in person twice to the pension committee room, and saw Senator Gallinger. He promised me to do what he could for it and did. I took the liberty of telling how you and I became first acquainted, and made your gallantry in defending your little fort near Dalton, Ga., a reason why you should be specially cared for in your old days. I should have written you before about it, but your letters I put aside for answer at leisure.

I hope you are well, captain, in your 73rd year (I am a little older) and that you may live many years yet to enjoy life.

Very Respectfully and truly yours, Wm. B. Bate

Senator Bate was the man, we are informed by Congressman Geo. W. Prince, that pulled down the last Mexican flat in the City of Mexico in 1848, and is a member of the present United States Senate Military Committee.

The absence of Rev. G. W. Ford, who was conducting a funeral in another locality was ? but speakers new and enthusiastic were not lacking. Mr. C. A. Lantz, who is the Republican nominee for County Judge, was called to the platform and in a few but appropriate remarks paid an appreciated tribute to the boys who were eligible to weaar the "little brown button" and he sat down with the applause of his hearers ringing in his ears.

Miss Becca Stephens recited a beautiful and touching poem, with fine effect and received merited applause.

Good music by the Rushfille band was interspersed and aided much in driving away the gloom that would have had a chilling effect but for the spirited patriotic airs of the band.

Capt. Hymer gave command to fall in, Musician Schneider sounded the bugle call and the veterans responded. There were twenty-one including Capt. Hymer of the Civil war, and two Spanish American soldiers present. Eight survivors of Co. D were in line. The following is the roster:

Mr. Schneider, of St. Louis, was present at the reunion of Co. D for the first time and this was his first meeting with Capt. Hymer and his comrades since he met them on the night of that ever memorable day at the "block house" near Dalton, Ga., 1864. The remarkable feature of it all is that these two, Capt. Hymer and Mr. Schneider, should come to know each other after an interval of thirty-three years and it all came about in this way. Mr. Schneider wrote an article for the National Tribune in which he gave an account of the part he played, describing the battle of the "block house," and for the first time the Capt. learned that the truce-bearer was a Union soldier. Captain Hymer read the article and at once entered into correspondence with him. Thus Mr. Schneider received the invitation and was accorded the ovation he received Thursday. The boys in the "block house" no doubt would never have survived that night had it not been for prisoner Schneider, and they love him as their human saviour.

Mr. Schneider had been captured by Hood's army. He was a musician and when captured was taken prisoner, ordered to shed his union Uniform and don that of the confederacy as a prisoner of war. He was an eye witness of the attack on the "block house" and saw the gallant resistance the boys were making. He saw that Col. Bate's command had had three flags of truce shot down during the afternoon by the squad in the block house, and the confederate officer had determined not to send another truce, but to wait till nightfall and then massacre the whole squad. Prisoner Schneider believing that the "block house" squad were not aware that all of Hood's army was upon them, volunteered to carry another flag of truce to them. He started by moonlight with a detail of confeds, under cover of a grade as high as the top of his head that protected him from the accurate fire of his comrades in the "block house," which truce, fortunately for them, they recognized. He succeeded in gaining the attention of the Capt. and his men and informed them of the superiority of numbers of the enemy and their fate if they persisted.

The results of his efforts are known, and all we have to add is that all can see how providence interposed to save the precious lives of these heroes for the cause of the Union and human freedom.

Mr. Schneider was the only prisoner out of his company taken and like many in ancient as well as modern history was evidently chosen as the right person to perform a gallant duty for which he was equal when opportunity presented.

When the assemblage dispersed it was remarked on every band that notwithstanding the weather and limited number present the genuine sociability, excellent addresses and good music made it worth while to be there.

Villanaw, Ga., Oct. 15, 1865.

I, John Snyder, musician, Col. E 2d Mo. Inft. Reg., 1st Brig., 2nd Div., 4 Corps, U. S. A., being a prisoner of war in the hands of the C. S. A., do solemnly swear that I will not bear arms against the Confederate States or aid or assist anyone so doing until regularly exchanged.

Attest: L. Johnson, Col. 44th U. S. Inft.

his - Jno. X Snyder - mark

Attest: By Commanding Gen. Hood

E. J. Harris, Col. and Asst. Adjutant Gen.

The foregoing is a copy of the original oath required of this prisoner of war when he was taken prisoner, and which was returned to him when exchanged. The original was exhibited by Lieut. Schneider Thursday at the reunion of Col. D, at Layton, and was a souvenir of the civil war much prized, not only by the possessor, but by all who had the privilege of holding it in their hands for even a moment.

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