THE Society of the Army of the Tennessee, which held its twenty-sixth annual meeting at Council Bluffs October 3 and 4, 1894, is a notable organization. It is truly representative of the great generation of men that marked the heroic epoch in our national history from 1861 to 1865. Although but thirty years have elapsed since that period, the achievements of those four years are to the majority of the present generation a misty tradition.
Around the dying embers of the rebellion, on the 14th day of April, 1865, in the senate chamber of the Capitol of the state of North Carolina, thirty-three officers of the Army of the Tennessee met on call of Major-General Frank P. Blair, in whose brain the idea of such a society is said to have had its origin. General Blair called the meeting to order. General W. B. Wood was elected chairman, and Col. L. M. Dayton, of General Sherman’s staff, secretary. The object of the meeting was stated to be for the purpose of perfecting a permanent organization of the officers of the Army of the Tennessee, to hold meetings in any way deemed expedient “by members of the association. To this -end a committee of five, consisting of Major-General Frank P. Blair, commanding the Seventeenth Army Corps, Major General John A. Logan of the Fifteenth Corps, Major-General Giles A. Smith -of the Fourth Division of the Seventeenth Corps, Major-General A. J. Smith and Brigadier-General W. B. Woods, was appointed to perfect the organization. Nine days later, at the same place, another meeting was held and the Society was permanently organized. The name was then decided upon, the ” Society of the Army of the Tennessee.” The membership was to include all officers who had at any time served as officers in that army. The objects of the Society, as promulgated at that meeting, were :
To keep alive and preserve the kindly feeling which has been one of the characteristics of this army during its career in the service, and which has given it such harmony of action and contributed in no small degree to its glorious achievements in our country’s cause. The fame and glory of all the officers belonging to this army who have fallen either on the field of battle or in the line of duty shall be a sacred trust to this; Society, which shall cause proper memorials of their service to be collected and preserved, and thus transmit their names with honor to posterity. The families of all such officers who shall be in indigent circumstances will have a claim upon the generosity of the Society, and will be relieved by the voluntary contribution of its members whenever brought to their attention. In like manner the fame and suffering families of those officers who may hereafter be stricken down by death shall be a trust in the hands of their survivors. For the purpose of accomplishing these objects the Society shall be organized by the annual election of a president and vice-presidents, one to be chosen from each army corps of the old Army of the Tennessee, and a corresponding and a recording secretary. The Society shall meet once in every year, and those officers who for any cause are unable to attend its meetings will be expected to write to the corresponding secretary of the Society and impart such information of themselves as they may desire and which may be of interest to their brother officers. Honoring the glorious achievements of our brothers in arms belonging to other armies whose services may have contributed in no small degree in the reestablishment of our government, and desiring to draw closer to them in social feeling, the president or either of the vice-presidents of this Society shall be authorized to invite the attendance of any officer of the United States army at any of our annual meetings.’