The Second and Last Day of the Great Pageant – The Grand Review of Sherman’s Armies

May 24, 1865 (Thursday)

As with the day previous, below you’ll find text pulled from the New York Times describing the second day of the Grand Review. It is accompanied by photographs taken mostly by Matthew Brady.

Empty stands waiting for spectators.
Empty stands waiting for spectators.

The men who marched from the Ohio to the Tennessee under BUELL, only to march back again; who first penetrated down into Alabama under the daring and nervous MITCHELL; who fought at Perrysville under MCCOOK, and checked the advancing tide of the rebellion to again send it reeling southward, at Stone River, under the chivalrous ROSECRANS; who toiled over the rugged passes of the Cumberland Mountains and seized the great natural fortress of Chattanooga; who held the left with a tenacity that saved them from defeat at Chicamauga, under the ever-victorious THOMAS; who stormed Lookout Mountain, and fought above the clouds with HOOKER; who cut their way from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to the sea; who swept the Carolinas as with a besom of destruction, and who gave the finishing blow to the great rebellion, in following the lead of SHERMAN, and HOWARD, and SLOCUM — these were the men who received to-day the enthusiastic plaudits of a hundred thousand spectators.

The tastefully decorated stands near the Executive mansion were again occupied by President JOHNSON, members of the Cabinet and Lieut-Gen. GRANT, together with distinguished army and navy officers, chiefs of Executive Bureaus, the Diplomatic Corps and families, and other personages. The vicinity of the reviewing point was densely crowded over a larger area than yesterday, this locality being the most attractive.


The Army of the Tennessee moved from the Capitol at 9 o’clock this morning, proceeding toward the Executive mansion. At the head of the column rode Maj.-Gen. SHERMAN, who was vociferously cheered all along the line, while many clapped their hands and others waved their handkerchiefs and miniature flags. The greeting of this hero was in the highest degree enthusiastic. He had been presented with two large wreaths of flowers, one of which had been placed around his horse’s neck, the other hung upon his own shoulder. Maj.-Gen. SHERMAN was accompanied by Maj.-Gen. HOWARD, formerly in command of the Army of the James. Next followed Maj.-Gen. LOGAN, Staff and escort. He yesterday assumed command of this army. Maj.-Gen. HOGAN appeared at the head of the command. This corps is composed of troops from Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. The Seventeenth Army Corps was preceded by its commander, Maj.-Gen. BLAIR, with his staff, followed by the headquarters escorts. The troops of this corps are from Illinois, Ohio, New-York, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota and Michigan. The next in review was the Army of Georgia, Maj.-Gen. SLOCUM commanding, who rode at the head of this column.

The Twentieth Corps was commanded by Maj.-Gen. MOWER, and comprised of volunteers from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New-York, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Ohio, Delaware, Indiana and Michigan. This was succeeded by the Fourteenth Army Corps, Brevet Maj.-Gen. J.C. DAVIES commanding. It was composed of volunteers from Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois. Michigan, New-York, Minnesota and Kentucky. The respective commanders of the armies, divisions and brigades, bore upon their persons profusions of flowers which had been bestowed in acknowledgment of their heroic deeds; and as they passed along the line cheers were given, and handkerchiefs and flags waved by those who chose this mode if testifying their gratitude for the gallant services of both officers and men. None seemed in weary of continuous gazing at the troops, as there was . always presented something of increased interest.


The armies represented all branches and divisions of the service-cavalry, artillery and infantry — with sufficient variety in trimmings and appointments to relieve the general sameness of uniform, and several regiments of Zouaves contributed to produce this effect. There was an extensive flashing of drawn swords, bayonets and polished brass cannon in the clear sunlight, sections of pontoon bridges, and ambulances, and stretchers, and even heavy wagons were features in the procession.

There was also a fair representation of the spade and ax department the implements being carried on the shoulders of both white and black soldiers.

Much amusement was occasioned by a display of pack-horses and mules. They were all heavily loaded with commissary supplies, including chickens. A coon, a dog and a goat were comfortably fastened to three of the saddles. These were the pets of soldiers. Two black soldiers of largest size, riding on very small mules, their feet nearly touching the ground, was regarded as a comic scene in connection with this part of the display, and occasioned general laughter.

Twentieth Corps
Twentieth Corps

An interesting feature in the grand military parade was the exhibition of flags and banners of various patterns, some of them entirely new; others were carried torn by bullets and reduced to shreds, while others, entire as to material, were faded by exposure to the weather, or blackened by the smoke of battle. Several staffs were carried from which the flags had been shot away. All the spear-heads wore ornamented with flowers, either in bouquets or wreaths. It was remarked, as in contrast to the Army of the Potomac, that the troops comprising the Armies of Georgia and Tennessee wore the wide brim felt hats regulation pattern. Their appearance in all respects was equal to that of the Army of the Potomac, notwithstanding they had performed more marching service. Their general movements were much admired, and accordingly applauded. The commander of each army, corps and division, attended by one staff officer, dismounted after passing the General-in-Chief, and joined him until his army, corps or division had passed tho reeviewing-stand, when he remounted and joined his command. Officers commanding regiments presented swords on passing the reviewing officer, but company officers were not required to make such salutes. Brigade bands or consolidated field music turned out and played as their brigades passed. One band to each division performed during the march from the Capitol to the Treasury Building. After the troops passed the reviewing officers, they were marched to their respective quarters.

Reviewing stand.
Reviewing stand.

Secretary SEWARD, notwithstanding his severe physical affliction, took a deep interest in the review.Gen. AUGUR made him comfortable and furnished him with a good position at the headquarters of the defenses of Washington, that he might witness the grand military display.

The Armies of Tennessee and Georgia occupied six hours in passing, the same length of time required yesterday for the review of the Army of the Potomac. The following are a few of the incidents of the day: Previous to the march a number of young ladies made their way through the crowds of spectators and soldiers on Capitol Hill, and festooned upon some of the officers bouquets, wreaths and garlands.

General Slocum.
General Slocum.

It has already been stated that Gen. SHERMAN led the advance to-day, accompanied by Gen. HOWARD, with bouquets in their hands and their horses decorated with flowers. Upon reaching the western part of the city a veteran reserve soldier approached Gen. SHERMAN with another bouquet but the horse of the latter became restive and he motioned the soldier back. “Give it to HOWARD” shouted the multitude, but he, too, having but one hand, could attend only to his prancing horse, so the veteran returned to his scat with his offering amid cheers on all sides. Riding to the western entrance of the Executive mansion. Gen. SHERMAN dismounted, and, with Gen. HOWARD and Staff, joined the group on the stand.

The reception given to Gen. SHERMAN exceeded in enthusiasm that extended to any other officer. Gens. LOGAN, J.W. GEARY and FRANK BLAIR especially received7 the acclamations of the multitude. As the head of Maj.-Gen. FRANK P. BLAIR’s corps reached Fourteenth-street in the marching column, some one hundred and fifty gentlemen, mostly from Missouri, presented to the General a splendid banner, and to each of the officers of his staff a beautiful bouquet.


A number of gentlemen from Philadelphia kept open house to-day for the entertainment of officers and soldiers of Pennsylvania and other States, and in the evening engaged a band of music, and serenaded Gens. LOGAN, HOWARD and BLAIR, and Ex-Speaker GROW. All these gentlemen made speeches, which were enthusiastically applauded by the large crowd in attendance.

Let's play who's who!
Let’s play who’s who!


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