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FIRE THE WORST ENEMY OF RECORDS
Few are the record offices in New York State which have not suffered from this tragedy. Just recently it cost a county $10,000 to reproduce the election material which had been destroyed by a fire
does away with old form and so the matter goes from bad to worse, another argument for a central supervising authority.
In the matter of classification and indexing of records each office is largely a law unto itself except in so far as varying legislation or official orders on special subjects may determine. It is thus that we find almost as many different ways of classifying and indexing records as there are record offices. A new official in one of these offices with perhaps commendable ideas of progress, perhaps not, may introduce a new system, which in turn will be overturned by his In many county offices are to
be found evidences of these introduced and abandoned systems.
The remedy for these evils must come through an organization of a body which corresponds to the committee on drafting bills. Any legislative measure or official order which creates a new form of record or record book should be placed in the hands of such a body for the purpose of determining the effects on records and record keeping in the local offices. Conventions of county clerks and of city clerks should take up the question of determining the best systems of classifications and indexing to be adopted. Probably under the statute the division of public records may have the power to prescribe methods of classification and indexing just as the comptroller prescribes the forms for municipal accounting, but surely better results would be obtained could county and city clerks particularly be brought to the point in conference of taking some joint action. By such cooperation they might by representations to the legislature or to such a body on forms, the creation of which is recommended above, bring about a condition of records in our local offices comparable to those existing in countries like France and other European countries, and make the Empire State a model for the other states of these United States.
TOLSTOI ON HAPPINESS
Happiness, the happiness of yourself and of others, can never be based upon a fallible institution sustained by force. The true happiness which every human heart pants for lies not in institutions upheld by force. It can be attained at any moment by the path of love.
Such happiness was granted to us hundreds of years ago. Men, however, failed to understand it and did not grasp it. Now the time is come when we must accept it; firstly, because the folly and suffering of our lives have gone so far that our state is unbearable; secondly, the teaching of Christ has now become so plain that no man can fail to see it.- TOLSTOI.
STATE MARKS CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELDS
New York maintaining lead in commemorating services of its troops and
BY J. W. LYNCH
Secretary, New York Monuments Commission
HE October issue of STATE SERVICE announced that the New York Historical Association was offering prizes for best replies under the heading "Why Should Historical Sites be Marked?" Civil war J. W. Lynch veterans, New York's among them, have been recording, on enduring bronze and granite, answers to this question, all over, for several decades past; and, spite of their length of years, they are still constantly augmenting the large number of memorials, monuments, markers and tablets to their credit on the various battlefields where they were engaged little more than half a century ago, and where so many of their comrades and commanders "gave the gave the last full measure of devotion." For a diversity of good reasons, they hold that their own fields of fame the scenes of the greatest battles for the greatest purpose in the history of the world - deserve to be commemorated and perpetuated no less worthily than the most renowned arenas of encounters anywhere else no less than those of Greece and Rome of long ago, or the modern and the present, from Bagdad to the Marne.
And as to those who also, at that time, "fought for a cause they counted high and dear,” did they not prove themselves gallant Americans to the bitter end? Nor have they either ever since been unmindful of the
claims to recognition and remembrance, earned in many a fiercely contested conflict, of the brave men who fought with them and the able commanders who led them often and often to victory. Thermopylae and Marathon, Hastings and Waterloo, and a long list of the other old-world classic contests, are no doubt justly celebrated (while many more of them, like Blenheim and the Boyne, have been versified as exaggerations); but are any of them, even those which roused Demosthenes to attack Philip of Macedon or Cicero to aim his philippics at Catiline, ever likely to put in memory's shade the account of that memorable struggle, culminating in the "high-water mark," which inspired the Gettysburg oration of November 19, 1863, and which, in all likelihood, will be part of the world's literature in the year 2863, as it is today. Small wonder then that the boys of '61 have been anxious that their own historical sites should not be forgotten; and, judging from recent and present effort toward this end, their minds. are as intent upon it now as ever before. In fact, so many celebrations have taken place this year in battlefields of the civil war, and so many preparations are under way for further similar events, that it would seem as if, in the new crisis that has arisen, the enthusiasm and activities of the boys of 1917 in khaki have found a wholesome and responsive awakening among their elders, the "boys" of the blue and the gray who were in evidence in the early sixties.
An equestrian statue a colossal and splendid work of art the noble gift of
Virginia's sons was dedicated to General Lee at Gettysburg six months ago. A fine memorial is now being erected at Shiloh, in Tennessee, by the Daughters of the Confederacy. The exercises for dedicating Montana's equestrian statue to General Meagher were conducted early in 1917 at Butte. The middle of October last Ohio dedicated a magnificent memorial to its soldiers at Lookout Mountain, for their services in the "battle above the clouds." Pennsylvania's latest bronze statues at Gettysburg - those to Generals Geary, Humphreys and Hays are patiently waiting, if not nodding, to have them dedicated as soon as the purse strings at Harrisburg are loosened for this purpose. Other projects of this kind are also in progress or contemplated, the most notable of which is, as proposed, the chiseling on the side of a mountain in Georgia prominent figures in the confederacy, with allegorical figures and representations of historical episodes. The General Lee statue cost $50,000 and the Shiloh memorial is to cost the same amount.
Congress appropriated $150,000 for camp and rations for the veterans attending the four-day reunion held at Vicksburg, October 16-19, 1917. The success of this event, known as the National Memorial Reunion and Peace Jubilee, did great credit to its organizers, a large association composed of prominent and influential veterans in the west and south, of which Major F. A. Roziene was president and Colonel Edward A. Stevens secretary, both residents of Chicago, where the association had its headquarters. Illinois had the most organizations, on the union side, at Vicksburg. This was not such a large reunion as the Gettysburg semicentennial celebration in 1913, which, with its total attendance of 53,407 (8,694 from the South and 8,142 from New York), must have more than five times, if not six times, the number who traveled to Vicksburg, but it was none the less a most wholesome sign
of the times and participated in with great zest by all. It was held in the national military park, a splendidly laid out reservation of more than 1,300 acres, with numerous and beautiful monuments all over, twelve of them State memorials. During those four days, by the glories and solemnities of the mighty Mississippi, the blue and the gray commingled constantly in joyful and friendly fashion; welcoming each other spontaneously and gleefully as contingent after contingent arrived from every direction. Throughout, it was love and joy for the blue, joy and love for the gray. Hundreds and hundreds of them had not met since the journeying home for the spring plowing and the adieus that followed quickly after General Grant and General Lee exchanged those famous scraps of paper at Appomattox in April, 1865.
The government took excellent care of the "boys" at Vicksburg. The immense tents and the long tables with plenty on them were all that could be desired. Their best thanks were tendered to General H. H. Whitney, U. S. A., who was commanding general at the encampment, and to Colonel W. D. Newbill, U. S. A., in charge of the quartermaster service for the occasion, for the superb preparations and arrangements that they had caused to be made for their reception and entertainment. General Whitney and Colonel Newbill were also most generous in giving the veterans an opportunity to go sight seeing, in every mode of conveyance, when they preferred this to resting in the comfortable and commodious tents or exchanging reminiscences there. Vicksburg gave veterans and visitors a real southern welcome.
But all the people there in uniforms were not septegenarians or octogenarians, for Vicksburg has now a large mobilization camp; and, forsooth, age and youth camping close to each other then and passing and repassing by the thousand all day long, presented
they proved to be
good "mixers "
for the New York memorial, October 17th, were brief but brilliant. Hundreds of veterans took part in them. Music was furnished by the United States military band and the salute was fired by the light artillery. Colonel Andrew D. Baird, of Brooklyn (president of the Williamsburg Savings Bank), a veteran of the 79th, had charge of the exercises. Colonel Baird was at the head of his regiment the last year of the civil war and commanded it at the siege of Petersburg.
Being a veteran of the siege of Vicksburg, his remarks and recollections were naturally listened to with great interest. Dignifiedly and in appropriate words, he presented, in behalf of his state, the memorial to the
government, and Captain Wm. T. Rigby, chairman of the Vicksburg national military park commission, made cordial and fitting response in accepting it for the government. As a fitting
finale to the
proceedings, after "The Star Spangled Banner
was played, Col. Baird asked the audience to join him in a chorus of "Auld Lang
Col. Andrew D. Baird, 19th, N. Y. Reg.
Advantage was taken of the peace jubilee for the dedication of three monuments, the New York and Missouri memorials and the union naval monument, and formally transferring them to the United States government. New York had but a small delegation of veterans at this reunion, for geographical as well as other reasons. Their transportation, as in every other case, was provided by the state, through the New York monuments commission. They are survivors of the four New York organizations which took part in the siege, June 14 to July 4, 1863; the 46th (Fremont Rifles), 51st (Shepard's Rifles) and 79th (Highlanders)-regiments of infantry-and Battery L, 2d N. Y. Light Artillery (Roemer's). All their survivors whose addresses could be found were offered transportation to Vicksburg. The ceremonies of dedication
Joseph I. Clark
Syne," and this they did, well nigh hilariously, and with the finest effect, the blue and the gray vieing with each other in echoing this well known world anthem, loudly and heartily.
P. S. M. Munro, of Roemer's Battery, delivered the oration, a fine effort, which the Vicksburg papers published. Mr. Munro is an accomplished gentleman, and though far in the seventies is still quite active and energetic. He has been employed by the government pushing the propaganda of purchasing Liberty bonds, for which he is eminently fitted by reason of his readiness and resources as a speaker and his zeal for preparedness in the present national crisis.
This memorial was erected in 1908 by the New York monuments commission. It is constructed in obelisk style, standing on a high mound near General Grant's headquarters. It has two bronze tablets, one giving the New York organizations at the siege and the other in outline the operations that led to the capture of Vicksburg, and Jackson forty miles away. The memorial cost $11,600.
Even while at Vicksburg, veterans were contemplating further battlefield memorial work. The 50th Pennsylvania delegation passed a resolution there that their legislature should be asked for money to erect a bronze statue to General John G. Parke at Vicksburg. He took a prominent part in the capture of Jackson, July 12, 1863. And homeward bound Colonel Baird, with his
comrades of the 79th, spent a day at Knoxville investigating the matter of an appropriate site for their proposed monument at Fort Sanders. Fort Sanders. This they intend to have in readiness for dedication early next summer. So far, there is but one monument at Fort Sanders, and this was put up by the Daughters of the Confederacy.
In Tennessee, New York already has memorials or markers at Chattanooga, Wauhatchie Valley, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and Orchard Knob: also a marker to Ireland's brigade at Ringgold, Ga., and a State monument at Andersonville to its prisoners confined there. In Virginia, it has regimental monuments at Cold Harbor, Cedar Mountain and Manassas, and seven regimental monuments at Antietam, Md.
In Gettysburg, which has verily "the labor of an age" in votive stone and bronze within its broad boundaries (15,860 acres), hav
ing grown to be a sort of open-air national valhalla, no other state but Pennsylvania can be compared with New York for the number and splendor of its monuments. Not including markers and tablets, each of the two states has erected close on a hundred monuments on this field. A healthy rivalry has gone on apace between them in this respect, and the race is not yet over.
New York's latest contributions to Gettysburg are the bronze statues to Major-General Abner Doubleday and Brevet Major-General