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FEBRUARY 19, 1879. Mr. HUBBELL. On the 6th instant I gave notice that at some future time I should ask the House to listen to the eulogies on my late colleague, General A S. WILLIAMS. I now ask unanimous consent that there be a session to-morrow evening at seven o'clock and thirty minutes for that purpose.
There was no objection, and it was so ordered.
FEBRUARY 20, 1879. Mr. HUBBELL. I offer the resolutions which I send to the desk. The Clerk read as follows:
Resolved, That this House has heard with deep regret of the death of Hon. ALPHEUS S. WILLIAMS, a member of this House from the State of Michigan.
Resolved, That as a testimony of respect to his memory the officers and members of this House will wear the usual badge of mourning for the space of thirty days.
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be transmitted by the Clerk of this House to the family of the deceased.
Resolved, That the Clerk be directed to communicate a copy of these proceedings to the Senate, and that as a further mark of respect to the memory of the deceased this House do now adjourn.
ADDRESS OF MR. Hubbell, OF MICHIGAN. Mr. SPEAKER: I rise to perform a solemn and painful duty; to announce the death and pay a humble tribute of respect to the memory of my late colleague, Hon. ALPHEUS S. Williams, who died at his residence in this city on Saturday, the 20th day of December last.
Time will not permit, nor am I competent to the task of pronouncing a fitting eulogy on the life and character of this most distinguished citizen of my native State; and I shall therefore content myself with a very imperfect sketch of his life and public services, with the hope that some one more ready in speech than I may fitly commernorate his character and virtues.
ALPHEUS S. Williams was born at Saybrook, Connecticut, September 20, 1810. On both father's and mother's side he came from the good old Puritan stock. The Starkeys, the Williamses, and the Pratts (among the earliest settlers of Saybrook) were men of note in the early days of the colonies.
In 1827 he entered Yale College, and after graduating studied law under the venerable Judge Daggett. Fond of travel, he visited every State in the Union, extending his journeys to the then Mexican province of Texas. In 1834 he traveled through Europe in company with his early friend, the late tragedian, Edwin Forrest, until the summer of 1836, when he settled in Detroit, Michigan, of which State he continued a resident until his death.
As judge of probate for four years, as one of the city council, as editor of the Detroit Advertiser (now the Daily Post and Tribune), he was usefully and honorably connected with civic affairs until 1847, when he went to Mexico with the First Michigan Volunteers as lieutenant-colonel of that regiment, and served with distinction from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico. Returning home he was made major-general of the State militia.
From 1849 to 1853 he was postmaster of the city of Detroit, and a member of the State board of education from 1856 to 1857. During all this time his connection with the old Brady Guards, and afterward the Light Guards, of Detroit, not only evidenced his love of and aptitude for military affairs, but helped to educate many brave men who, in their turn, when the war of the rebellion broke out, aided to educate and lead the Michigan regiments that went to the field. In 1861 he was commissioned as brigadier-general and took command in the Shenandoah campaign, succeeding General Banks as commander of the Twelfth Army Corps. His masterly retreat during that Virginia campaign takes rank as one of the noteworthy incidents of the war. History has chronicled his achievements as commander of the Twelfth Corps in the bloody battles of South Mountain, Antietam, and Gettysburgh, and also when in command of a division of the Twentieth Army Corps in that famous campaign which ended in the capture of Atlanta, that memorable campaign of “a hundred days under fire.” In this campaign his corps was the first to enter Atlanta and was placed in charge of the city.
In the famous march from Atlanta to the sea he was a trusted commander, and it was upon his wisdom, prudence, and forethought that the great leader of that historic expedition largely depended; and it was due as much to his soldierly genius as to that of any other one man that the campaign was finally brought to a successful and glorious termination. He was among the first to enter Savannah, and on his march from that city to Goldsborough did some of the hardest fighting of the campaign.
Aster participating in the grand review in Washington at the close of the war, he was sent to Gainesville, Kentucky, and afterwards placed in command of a military district in Arkansas, where his genius for affairs served to bring order out of chaos and to restore the society of that region to its normal condition. In June, 1866, he was honorably discharged from the Army.
I have thus briefly epitomized a military career to which volumes might be devoted, and which history must record as among the most glorious of that immortal few whose achievements fill the brightest pages of American history. Throughout his long and arduous service, which began with the beginning of the war and ended only when the final surrender was made, he never was taken by surprise, lost a battle, or suffered a defeat. The estimation in which he was held by his companions in arms cannot be better illustrated than by reading a letter addressed by the General of the Army to Major Farquhar, son-in-law of General Williams, on the occasion of the latter's death :
HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES ARMY,
Washington, D. C., December 22, 1878. DEAR Major: I am just returned from attending the funeral of your father-inlaw, General ALPHEUS S. WILLIAMS, member of Congress, of Michigan, where I met his daughter, Mrs. Chittenden, and his son, as also Mr. Chittenden and other friends and a committee of the House of Representatives, who will accompany his remains to his home at Detroit. We of the military did all we could to manifest the great respect we had for his character as an officer by ordering all the soldiers now near Washington to attend as a guard of honor from his rooms to the train which bears his body to its final resting.place in Detroit, and I also personally attended with every member of my staff in uniform. But this does not complete the debt I owe to General WILLIAMS as a soldier and a patriot; and to you, his son-in-law, I venture to do more, because you as a soldier appreciate the feelings appropriate to the occasion. I will have prepared, engrossed on parchment for his family, the official record of his service in the Mexican war and of that greater war of a national salvation in which General Williams bore so conspicuous and manly a part. This military record may seem to you and to his family too formal, too short to compass a life which spanned sixty-eight of the most eventful years of the world's history, and may sound too much like Hamlet's moralizing on Alexander: "Alexander died; Alexander was buried; Alexander returned unto dust.” And as I know full well that the feelings of those nearest him demand something more personal, more specific, I must, at the risk of being officious, write you more of my own personal thoughts and appreciation.
General WILLIAMS commanded a division of the Twelfth Corps, which was sent so rapidly from the East to Tennessee under General Hooker to re-enforce the Army of the Cumberland after the battle of Chickamauga. I myself at that time was hurrying for the same object, from Memphis, with the Army of the Tennessee. The great battle was fought at Chattanooga, and then were made the combinations for the final critical campaign of our civil war. The Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were consolidated into the Twentieth Corps, commanded by General Hooker, with General A. S. WILLIAMS commanding the first division of that corps, and the senior division commander in that corps. In May, 1864, I succeeded General U. S. Grant in command of the grand army designed to advance into the enemy's country from that quarter, and was most fortunate in my command in having such men as WILLIAMS in command of the fighting divisions. Up to that date we were absolute strangers, but my personal acquaintance then began and ripened into a friendship which was close and muiual to the day of his death. To recount his services during the eventful years of 1864 and 1865 would require a minute history of all the operations of that army, for General WILLIAMS participated in every movement and every battle from Chattanooga till the close of the war, always in command of a division, and of his whole corps on the capture of Atlanta, and up to Goldsborough, North Carolina, a period of eight months; always most active and eminently qualified by nature and experience. He had the love and respect of his command eminent degree, and like his prototype, General Thomas, the soldiers styled him “Pap WILLIAMS."
Though eminently an officer of action, he had the patience and affability of manners which won the love and veneration of his men. Frequently in our long, weary marches I rode by his side, and was often delighted with his cheerful disposition and love of wit. On onc occasion he told me that in a certain Wisconsin regiment of his were some Winnebago Indians ; that in passing the regiment he inquired of one of them what he thought of our march below Atlanta into Georgia. “Ugh, a big hunt,” was the reply. At a later day, after we had passed Richmond, Virginia, I found General WILLIAMS dismounted in a clover-field. He had gathered in his hand a cluster of the white-clover blossoms of early spring (May, 1865), and holding it up to me, he said: “Thank God, we have got back to a land of civilization.” I inquired wherefore, and he said: “You can't have civilization without good milk, and you can't have good milk without white clover."
I am sure that his staff officers and his soldiers will supply his family with many testimonials of their love for him; and the purpose of this letter is to assure you and those who will treasure his memory that, apart from the consideration and respect we all feel for the general, he held a surer place in our hearts and affection. Our numbers are growing less daily, and soon the names and fame of the actors in the great drama of our civil war must pass into the keeping of younger men like yourself; and I bid you to remember that your children are those of General ALPHEUS S. Williams, who offered his precious life and his great abilities to rescue from the greatest possible danger the precious legacy of a government designed for treir honor and safety; and I trust that you will tell them of his glori