Bygones of Monroe:
Departure of the Two Monroe Companies for Hillsdale-Sword Presentation
Capt. John J. Steven’s Company, consisting of about 130 men, left this city for the rendezvous of the 18th Regiment, at Hillsdale, last Friday. Most of the Company are stout stalwart fellows, who having enlisted from motives of patriotism and duty to their country, and leaving families behind them, will fight with an earnestness and determination of purpose excelled by none. This also is the character of nearly all the troops that are going out of this State under the last call of the President. The fair fame which has been won by the Michigan troops now in the field will not be tarnished by them.
After the Company had gathered at the depot on Friday morning, Capt. Stevens was presented with a beautiful sword by a few of his friends, Mr. W.H. Boyd making the presentation in a few well chosen remarks, as follows.
Capt. Stevens: There are two words dear to every man; home, and Country. You are about to leave your home, the home of your youth, and the home of your manhood, dear to you by the association of many long years, to go at the call of your country. Never was there a holier or nobler call than that which you and these worthy men associated with you have come forth to answer. Home is a dear place, but Sir, you and I have no home if our country is gone. This country is your home, the home of us all. These lakes and rivers; these fields and plains; these hills and valleys are our home; and for these you go, and for more than these; to preserve the liberties and constitution of our country, you go; for our flag, that flag under which Washington fought, and Warren fell; that flag which waved in triumph at Saratoga, Princeton and Yorktown in 1776, that flag which Perry on Lake Erie and Jackson at New Orleans waved in triumph in 1812; that flag which Scott carried in triumph to Mexico; for the defense of that flag you are to go; which though mangled and rent on Sumpter’s Heights shall yet wave in beauty again. Sir, we wish to say to you, that our hearts and our prayers go with you, and with all these at your command. We commend these our brothers and our sons to your care, believing that you will act toward them the part of a friend and brother, and will lead them on to victory. We commend you to Him who has ever been the guardian of our country, to Him who was Washington’s God, and to whom he daily went for wisdom and strength. Put your trust in God and keep your sword unsheathed, and victory and honor shall be yours. And, Sir, in bidding you, and these your fellow soldiers and affectionate farewell, I have the honor of presenting to you, as the gift of a few of your friends, this beautiful sword with the accompanying sash and belt. We feel confident that in the use of it you will do honor to your country for whose use and in the name of which I present it to you. When you draw this blade remember it is for your country, and your home, and that your home is our home, and that if we have no country we have no home. Farewell, Sir.
Capt. Stevens responded in the following language:
My Friends: I accept the noble weapon, and its well appointed accompaniments at your hands, and as your generous gift; and in coming days as the hand grasps the hilt of this sword, the heart will throb anew for the kind donors of this beautiful gift.
The presentation and reception of this weapon is no holiday ceremony; it is on the part of you my friends, the laying upon me the responsibility of bearing it fearlessly and unflinchingly upon every field where duty, honor and patriotism calls. It is on my part the embracing of this fearful responsibility, the undertaking to wear and bear this sword in the mighty struggle in which our country is involved; so that no spot or stain of dishonor shall ever tarnish its brightness; and God being my helper, and giving strength to my heart and arm, I embrace the ordeal. My friends, you have my sincere thanks for your generous gift.
Captain B.P. Ingersoll’s Company, raised in the western part of this County, also left for Hillsdale on Friday. Not having seen this company we cannot speak particularly of their appearance, but as they were raised in the best part of the County, we feel sure it must be a good company of men.
The citizens of the County feel the utmost confidence in the commanders of both of the companies, that they will unflinchingly perform their every duty, and watch with care, as all officers should, over the men in their charge.
(Monroe Commercial, August 28, 1862, Page 3, Column 1)