Address to 97th ILL Vol. by Victor Fivquain, Colonel 87th Ill. dated August, 1865, Springfield, Ill.
[Contributed by Mary Lou (Guyette) Wardlaw, granddaughter of Charles Titus
(16 Mar 1844 Dresden, Muskingum Co OH-24 Jan 1927 Mattoon, Coles Co IL).
Her Grandfather, Charles Titus, joined the 97th Vol. Inf. under Col. Victor Vifquain in Coles Co IL. Charles Titus' son, Victor Vifquain Titus, was named after his commanding officer.]
Farewell men of the 97th Illinois! Peace has broken the ties that for three long years have united us together.
The moment to separate has arrived. Our task is done. The honor of our country is vindicated. Our glorious Union
has been preserved intact and the struggle is ended. Of all that is dear to our hearts, a soldier's friendship,
contracted in continual campaigns and maintained in the fearful uproar of battle and in the solemn quiet by the
vivouac fire, is the dearest and most devoted of friendships. It is so, for God has made it so, as a compensation
for the many trials that you have endured. It is so because a soldier's heart is a noble heart. It is useless for
me to enumerate the deeds you have done; every one of you has them engraved in your heart, and men more able than
I have eulogized your bravery and devotion. My last words to you are most affecting to my heart. To think that
I never more will see you in line of battle with the Stars and Stripes waving their glorious folds over you; to
think that the 97th will never more be together on the march, in camp or in battle; to think that I will never
more have the right to say; 'Fall in 97th;' to think that I never more will have the honor to lead you in battle,
is for me a very sad thought. Still I am happy to return you to your homes; happy to think that your wives and
children, your parents and your friends will soon press you to their bosoms and hear from your own lips the terrible
'History of the Rebellion.' I am grieved to part with you, and still I am happy to return to your Prairie State
four hundred of the nine hundred braves who left their homes and all that was dear to them to fight the battles
of their country. Only four hundred! Five hundred comrades left behind, sleeping the sleep that knows no waking.
Dear friends! Gallant soldiers! Glorious martyrs! Fitting sacrifices offered upon the altar of their country! 'May
their memory grow green with the years and flourish with the lapse of ages.'
Farewell again 97th Illinois! Farewell boys, - boys who upon a word from me were all willing to sacrifice your
lives, - farewell. My heart desires to tell you things that my hand is not strong enough to write, but it is my
desire to be remembered by you. I shall ever remember the 97th Illinois, and the honors you have won for me will
ever be an object of my most sincere gratitude. May you all be happy and prosperous in all your undertakings. Farewell,
God bless you.'