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Full text of "Augustus Peabody Gardner, major, United States National guard, 1865-1918 .."

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AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

MAJOR 
UNITED STATES NATIONAL GUARD 

1865-1918 



TTiough love repine^ and reason chafe^ 
There came a voice xuithout reply ^ — 
' Tis marCs perdition to be safe^ 
When for the truth he ought to die^ 



1919 

PRIVATELY PRINTED AT THE RIVERSIDE PRESS 
CAMBRIDGE 



COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY CONSTANCE GARDNER 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



U.. J 



FED i7lb: 

)CI.A5l23h9 



ESSEX 

Thine are the large -winds and the splendid sun 
Glutting the spread of heaven to thejioor 
Of waters rhythmic from far shore to shore ^ 

And thine the stars, revealing one by one. 

Thine the grave-, lucent nighfs oblivion. 

The tawny moon that waits below the skies, — 
Strange as the dawn that smote their blistered eyes 

Who watched from Calvary when the deed was done. 

And thine the good brown earth that bares its breast 
To thy benign October, thine the trees 

Lusty with fruitage in the late year's rest; 

And thine the men whose blood has glorified 
Thy name with Liberty'' s divine decrees — 

The men who loved thy soil and fought and died. 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 



Augustus Peabody Gardner was bom in 
Boston on the 5th of November, 1865, the 
third and youngest son of Joseph Peabody 
Gardner and Harriet Sears Amory. He came 
of pure English stock on both sides, the stock 
of yeomanry who came to America in the sev- 
enteenth century and settled in Essex County. 
The first Gardner we know of here was Thom- 
as, from Dorchester, England, who landed at 
Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1 624, and from 
whom the Massachusetts Gardners are de- 
scended. 

Augustus Gardner lost his mother at birth 
and his father before he was ten years old. He 
was brought up from the age of ten by his un- 
cle, John L. Gardner, passing his winters in 
Boston and his summers in Beverly. 

He was educated at Hopkinson's School in 
Boston and was ready for college when he was 
fifteen. His guardian considered this too early 

1 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
an age for Harvard and sent him to St. Paul's 
School for a year. In the autumn of 1882 he 
entered Harvard and was graduated with the 
class of 1886. He studied law for a year, but 
did not take a degree at the Law School. 

Meantime he had become a farmer and land- 
owner at Hamilton, Essex County, Massa- 
chusetts, having inherited the property there 
of his oldest brother who died in October, 1886. 
Here he devoted himself to the raising of Jer- 
sey cattle and in a smaller way to the breeding 
of thoroughbred horses. 

He had gone into business with his uncles 
in Boston, and it is characteristic of him that he 
made himself an expert accountant and book- 
keeper in order to be an efficient member of 
the family firm. 

For about ten years after his graduation, 
Gardner led the life of many young men of 
his age and generation. He worked at his busi- 
ness, but his real interest was in the country 
where he looked after his cattle and his farm 
and between times played polo and rode to 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
hounds. In 1892 he married, and in 1894 his 
only child, a daughter, was born. 

His first active work in politics began in the 
presidential campaign of 1896. He regarded 
Bryan's first Free-Silver campaign as a men- 
ace to the prosperity of the country and took 
the stump for McKinley. From this time on 
his interest in national affairs continued and 
increased. 

In 1898 when we went to war with Spain 
Gardner sought and obtained a commission in 
the Army and was assigned to the staff'of Ma- 
jor-General James H. Wilson as Captain and 
Assistant Adjutant-General. General Wil- 
son's command, the First Division, was in 
cam p at Chickamauga for six weeks and in J uly 
sailed from Charleston for Porto Rico. 

The day Gardner landed at Ponce he 
and his brother-in-law, who was serving as 
an ensign in the United States Navy, met 
most unexpectedly on the beach. I received 
the following letter: 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

July 17^ 1898 

We havej ust met and are both well. 
We shall attack Ponce together this afternoon, 
or to-morrow morning. 

Yours affectionately, 

A. P. G., G. C. Lodge 

The best idea I can give of Gardner's ex- 
periences in Porto Rico is by extracts from 
some of his letters. 

Ponce ^ Porto Rico^ 

July 31, 1898 

My dearest Constance: 

I am looking forward to the time 
when I can describe to you verbally the per- 
fect ludicrousness of this situation. 

We landed loaded to the muzzle and with 
our teeth set expecting to fight our way up 
here. Instead of which the inhabitants received 
us with open arms and tremendous enthusi- 
asm, and the first night I slept or dreamt I slept 
for a little while in marble halls. The fact was 

4 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
that I did sleep on a tessellated pavement, but 
as I had nothing under me it came hard. 

. . . We have pushed our outposts about eight 
miles towards San Juan and meanwhile spend 
our time trying to restore some semblance of 
method in this city and in paroling the Porto 
Rican Volunteer Army 

I hope we shall get ahead soon and I sup- 
pose we shall as soon as provisions and troops 
are landed 

Coamo^ P. R. , August 9, /98 
My dearest Constance: 

I have been under fire in a fight this 
morning just outside of this town and as far as 
I can see I did all right. I believe the General 
has mentioned me in his dispatches. 

Colonel Biddle and I left camp with the 1 6th 
Penna. yesterday evening and started into the 
mountains where we camped. At 12.30 a.m. 
Biddle and I left camp with the pioneer train 
and cleared the road for the troops. We had a 
very hard march, but managed to head offthe 

5 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

Spaniards and captured 1 80, killing six or sev- 
en including the Commandant of Ponce. He 
exposed himself terribly. I had a shot at him 
myself with a Krag-Jorgensen which I bor- 
rowed. It was the only shot I fired and, thank 
Heaven, I missed. 

It is almost impossible to realize that it is 
you they are firing at. You feel like saying, 
"You damn fools, don't point your confounded 
guns this way."... 

I was in the saddle fourteen hours steadily 
except when I was leading my horse and part 
of the time during the fight. I should say the 
fight lasted about three-quarters of an hour 
and that about 3000 or more shots were 
fired 

Coamo, P. 7?., August 14, 1898 

Dearest Constance: 

I suppose that the war is over and I 

shall try my best to get home soon 

I had not been in ten minutes from a dan- 
gerous reconnaissance when the news came 

6 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
that the protocol had been signed. I had been 
out in command of about thirty cavalrymen 
and signal men for thirty hours in the moun- 
tains trying to find a road by which to attack 
Aibonito from the rear. 

It was a very unpleasant trip, as we were 
fired on from the trenches before we had been 
out two hours, and from that time on we were 
in danger from ambush, as our presence was 
known. Moreover, we had to drag our horses 
up the mountains and camp in the rain on the 
side of a hill without a fire to make coffee and 
not a stitch of canvas in the outfit. 

The saddest thing I have seen was a com- 
pany of the 3d Wisconsin marching in the 
funeral train of two of their number who were 
killed probably after the protocol was signed. 
It seemed so unnecessary, and the "Dead 
March " from " Saul " which the band played 
was harrowing. 

I can't help being glad the war is over. Any 
man who has been under a hot fire and says 
he was not afraid is either a fool or a liar. 

7 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
There is no cowardice in being afraid. The 
question is whether a man does his duty in 
spite of his fear 

After the war was over, on September 5, 
1898, General Wilson wrote from Ponce, 
Porto Rico, as follows : 

Now that the war is over and we are about 
to return to the United States, I wish to inform 
you that the campaign which has just ended 
has more than confirmed the favourable opin- 
ion I formed atChickamaugaPark of the char- 
acter and ability of Captain Augustus P. Gard- 
ner. He is a very able man with unusual 
aptitude for the duties of an adjutant-general. 
He is patient, painstaking, exact, and untiring 
in his work. Nothing ever deters him from 
getting to the bottom of any question, or of 
carrying through any duty entrusted to him. 
With a discriminating judgment and a certain 
understanding he has proven himself to be 
capable of mastering all the duties of his rank 
and position, and I do not doubt, of any higher 

8 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

rank or station he might have been called upon 
to fill had the war continued. It is the unani- 
mous opinion of those with whom he has been 
associated on my staff, as well as of those at the 
headquarters of Generals Miles and Brooke, 
that he is so far as they know the best adju- 
tant-general that has come into the Army 
from civil life during this war. 

Then, too, he is as brave and cool as any 
veteran under fire, and has not failed to seek 
service upon every occasion which promised 
to result in a skirmish or a battle. 

It may interest you to know that in addition 
to recommending him for the position of Colo- 
nel of the Sixth Massachusetts because I 
thought him to be just the man to bring that 
regiment out of its diflSculties, I have in my 
official report of operations recommended him 
for the rank of Major in the Adjutant-Gen- 
eral's Department, or, failing in that, for the 
brevet of Major United States Volunteers for 
gallant and meritorious services in the Porto 

Rican campaign 

9 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
I do not know what Captain Gardner's am- 
bition or purpose in life may be, but I am sure 
there is no private or public position of use- 
fulness to which he may not hopefully aspire, 
for if he carries into the effort to attain his ends 
the same intelligence and serious earnestness 
of purpose which have characterized his serv- 
ices with me, he will most surely succeed 

Yours sincerely 

James H. Wilson 
Maj. Gen. Vols. 

In connection with this letter from General 
Wilson, I append two letters received after 
Major Gardner's death, one from General 
Wilson, and one from General O. H. Ernst, 
who commanded the First Brigade in the First 
Division in Porto Rico. 

January 15, 1918 
Mrs. Augustus P. Gardner. 
My dear Madam : 

I am stunned and deeply grieved 
by Major Gardner's death, and I offer you and 

lO 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

your family my profoundest sympathy. From 
the Spanish War to the present time I have 
watched his career with the deepest interest. 
As a staff officer he was unrivaled in his con- 
stant and intelligent devotion to duty and I 
never knew a man from civil life who so 
quickly or so thoroughly familiarized himself 
with his technical duties, or who performed 
them with such marked ability. But that was 
not all. He was always, night and day, at his 
post, and in the hour of action never failed to 
offer himself for duty with the troops. 

At the affair of Coamo, Porto Rico, he ac- 
companied the turning column with Colonel, 
now Major-General, Biddle, and by put- 
ting himself with the very front of the fight- 
ing line showed the highest qualities of a 
soldier. 

As a Congressman he was full of patriotic 
ardor and interest in the National welfare, and 
no man could dispute the correctness of his 
general course. After so many years service 
as a Representative, his resignation from Con- 

11 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
gress to re-enter the Army filled his friends 
and the Country with admiration 

That such a man should be carried away 
at the beginning of a new, and what must 
have been a successful, era of his useful and 
honourable life is hard, indeed, and must be 
profoundly regretted by all who had the priv- 
ilege of knowing him. 

May God rest his soul in peace ! And may 
his fame continue to grow with the constitu- 
ency which honoured itself so signally in hon- 
ouring him for so many years as its Repre- 
sentative in Congress! 

Again assuring you of my sincere regret 
and sympathy, I beg you to believe me. 
Faithfully your friend 

James H. Wilson 

January \7, 1918 
My dear Mrs. Gardner: 

Will you allow an old admirer of your 
husband, tho' a stranger to you, to offer a word 
of sympathy in your terrible grief? Twenty 

12 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
years ago, in Porto Rico, I was a witness of the 
aptitude, zeal, and gallantry which he brought 
to the military service, and I have been an in- 
terested observer of his public career ever 
since. I appreciate more than most how great 
a National loss his death is. 

It must be some poor consolation to you to 
feel that you have the sympathy of the entire 
Nation, and, poor as it is, I beg you to accept 
my contribution, which is great and sincere. 
Yours very sincerely 

O. H. Ernst 

On his return from Porto Rico Gardner was 
very ill with typhoid fever, and on his recov- 
ery, in February, 1 899, he went to Europe 
with his family. 

In the fall of 1 899 he was elected to the 
Massachusetts State Senate and served two 
terms there. He gave especial attention to mil- 
itary affairs and was on the Military Commit- 
tee and Chairman of the Committee in his sec- 
ond term. At this time he was also Captain of 

13 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

Company E, Eighth Massachusetts Militia. 
On his resignation from the Senate in 1 901 he 
was presented by his colleagues with a dress 
sword. 

The winter of 1901-02 was passed in the 
South, but in March, 1902, Gardner received 
word that Judge Moody had resigned his seat 
in Congress to enter President Roosevelt's 
Cabinet, and immediately started North to an- 
nounce his candidacy for Congress from the 
Sixth District of Massachusetts. After a hard 
fight, entailing constant personal work and a 
close attention to details, he won the nomina- 
tion, and in November, 1902, was elected for 
the short session of Judge Moody's unexpired 
term and for the subsequent Congress. This 
was the beginning of fifteen years' continu- 
ous service in the House of Representatives. I 
cannot attempt to do more than touch on his 
political career; it belongs to the history of 
this country and must be described by other 
pens. 

Gardner was always the friend of the Glou- 
14 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

cester fishermen and laboured for them early 
and late. He also worked through many years 
for the restriction of immigration and the pro- 
tection of the American worker. He led the 
fight against " Cannonism " and was instru- 
mental in reforming the Rules of the House. 
With his customary thoroughness he had made 
himself master of the rules of parliamentary 
procedure, and the Speaker, Mr. Clark, told 
me he was one of the ablest parliamentarians 
in the House. On March 12,1915, the Speak- 
er wrote to him as follows : 

My dear Gardner: 

... I take this opportunity to say in 
writing what I have very frequently said by 
word of mouth, and that is that I regard you as 
one of the ablest and most thoroughly honest 
Members of the House of Representatives. I 
wish you all sorts of happiness and prosperity. 
Please remember me to your wife. 
Your friend 

Champ Clark 
15 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
In the summer of 1 9 1 4 Gardner went abroad 
with his wife and daughter for a much-needed 
rest. There was not much rest connected with 
the trip, however, as he reached London July 
19, and on August 2 came the European 
War. 

Gardner went at once to the American Em- 
bassy in London to offer his services and was 
put to work to organize an office force. This he 
did so successfully that the machine he started 
has run the business end of the Embassy ever 
since. From August 7 until he sailed for home 
the middle of September, his attention was 
given to this work and also to minute and care- 
ful observation of the lack of preparedness in 
England and the terrible sacrifice of life re- 
sulting therefrom. He saw how it must pro- 
long the conflict, and determined, on his re- 
turn to the United States, to do all he could to 
spare his own country a like fate. 

He reached home towards the end of Sep- 
tember and made his first preparedness speech 
at Hamilton the day he arrived. He was run- 

16 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

ning for Congress, but his speech was entirely 
devoted to the War and conditions in Europe 
and to the necessity this country was under to 
prepare against war. He began on that day his 
campaign of two and a half years to bring the 
people to a realization of their defenceless con- 
dition that they might remedy it as rapidly as 
possible. He started with the Navy, as being 
the first line of defence, saying that "The 
wisest thing the United States can do is to build 
a Chinese wall of Dreadnoughts and battle- 
ships around this country and do itnow! " 

In those two years and eight months, until, 
in May, 1917, he himself entered the Army, 
his time and thought and strength were given 
to preparedness. At first he met with con- 
tempt and ridicule, and many ordinarily intel- 
ligent people were simply bored and thought 
him an alarmist. His was a voice crying in the 
wilderness and few listened or heeded. He be- 
came probably the best-informed man in the 
United States on Military and Naval condi- 
tions. His knowledge was vast and accurate. 

17 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
He had an iron memory, and all his facts were 
at his tongue's end. He made speeches all over 
the country, and at length people listened and 
heeded and called for him to tell them the 
truth. 

In contrast to such statements as " Peace 
without victory," "Too proud to fight," "At 
need a million men will spring to arms in a sin- 
gle night," we may put Gardner's battle-cry, 
"Wake up, America!" 

He said, "After all, men and nations, when 
a principle is involved, seldom count the cost 
unless they are * too proud to fight.' How for- 
tunate for civilization that Belgium was not 
*too proud to fight.' " 

"So long as there is an armed autocracy in 
the world there must be armed democracies 
to keep it in check." 

For some years after the Spanish War, 
Gardner was a reserve officer in the United 
States Army, but finally resigned his commis- 
sion. In December, 1916, when it looked as 
though America would go to war, he passed 

18 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
his physical examination successfully and re- 
entered the reserve. 

On February 3,1917, the German Ambas- 
sador was handed his passports, and on Feb- 
ruary 14 Gardner received his commission, 
unsigned, but dated February 14, as Colonel 
in the Adjutant-General's Department. 

Events moved rapidly, and on April 6, 1 9 1 7, 
the United States declared war on Germany. 

Gardner proposed to resign at once from 
Congress and take up his commission in the 
Army. He was, however, a leading member 
of the Ways and Means Committee, the Rev- 
enue Bill was in Committee at that time, and 
at the request of the Speaker of the House and 
the Chairman of Ways and Means, Gardner 
remained in Congress till the Revenue Bill was 
reported and passed the House. On May 22 
he resigned from Congress and on May 24 he 
was sworn into the service of the United States, 
his commission was signed, and he was or- 
dered to report to General Bell at Governor's 
Island, New York. 

19 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

We will pause here for a moment and look 
back before we go on to the last few months 
of his life. 

Gardner, as a youth and young man, was 
reserved, rebellious, and given to "kicking 
against the pricks." He was slow to make 
friends, but when he once gave his friendship 
it was for life. He was inclined to be opinion- 
ated and argumentative and was not always 
easy to get along with. 

But all this time he was only finding him- 
self, and if ever a man learned of life and 
learned to rule his spirit, it was he. Endowed 
with a high order of intelligence, a keen sense 
of humour and a remarkably retentive mem- 
ory, the years of his life were spent in edu- 
cating himself in the best way, that he might 
thereby serve his country and his country- 
men. 

As he grew older, it seemed as though all 
the roughnesses and thorns of his earlier na- 
ture were smoothed away, leaving the kind 
and gentle heart and the sound, ripe intellect 

20 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
in their mellow perfection. He was the best 
of companions and the best of friends, a true 
patriot and a real American. 

Before he died he had begun perhaps to 
reap the reward of his untiring work for the 
country he loved so well and served so faith- 
fully. At his death the whole nation seemed 
to rise to do him honour. Both Houses of Con- 
gress passed resolutions and adjourned out of 
respect to his memory, and he was offered a 
public funeral in the Capitol. The General 
Court of Massachusetts also passed resolu- 
tions and letters came from all over the United 
States. He had served his country well while 
living and gave himself for her sake at the 
last. In this connection I print a note received 
from Colonel Roosevelt : 

Sagamore Hill J May 6, 1918 
My dear Constance: 

When the war came, Gussy's na- 
ture was stirred to the depths ; he has left as 
fine a memory as young Shaw or young Low- 

21 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
ell in the Civil War — a heritage of honour to 
all who come after him ; and to my own chil- 
dren's children it will be a matter of pride that 
I was his friend. 

No man in the country rose to the needs 
created by the war as he rose ; and the last 
three years of his life left me his debtor as well 

as his friend. 

Ever yours 

Theodore Roosevelt 

His first assignment, at Governor's Island, 
was from the end of May till the middle of 
August, 1917. He was then ordered to Camp 
Wheeler, Macon, Georgia, to the Thirty- 
first Division, commanded first by General 
Keman, and later by General Hayden. This 
was one of the new " tent " camps, and Gard- 
ner found plenty of work waiting for him, as 
the place was by no means ready for troops. 

On August 28 he wrote : 
As you will see from the heading, I am still 
at a hotel, but I move into camp to-morrow. 

22 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
There are no troops here as yet except a few 
camp guards, etc. We are supposed to have 
a division of 24,000 men or thereabouts ; but 
as a matter of fact there are (confidentially) 
only 14,000 National Guardsmen left avail- 
able in the three States of Georgia, Alabama, 
and Florida. Unless we fill up with drafted 
men I don't know what we can do. 

I have six civilian clerks, all inexperienced. 
It has been pretty hard work, but the office is 
now running pretty well. 

November 1, 1917 
. . . About my movements I am entirely in 
the dark. I shall try to stop in Washington on 
my way to New York if we go via New York. 
. . . Very likely we shall be in camp near New 
York for quite a while. 

And on November 5 : 

. . . Your letter of November 2d here just 
now. I do not know whether I am glad to go. I 
try not to reckon in the old terms of thought 

23 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
until the war is over. I hope I am ready for 
anything. 



For some months he had been trying for 
a change from the Staff to the Line so that he 
could serve with troops. He wrote, " If I go 
abroad as a Staff Colonel I shall probably pass 
my time sitting at a desk in an office in Cha- 
lons, and see nothing. " 

On December 7 he came to Washington 
and was then, at his own request, '' demoted " 
from Colonel to Major. He was sworn in as 
a Major on December 8 and assigned to the 
command of a battalion in the One Hundred 
and Twenty-first ( Georgia ) Infantry. He was 
delighted at the change and returned to Macon 
in the best of health and spirits. From this time 
for a month he worked early and late with his 
command, thinking from day to day that the 
overseas orders would come. His great desire 
was to serve in France with troops ; but this 
was not to be. 

On Wednesday, the 9th of January, he had 
24 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 

a chill and was persuaded to lie down in his tent 
during the afternoon and night. On Thursday 
morning he was able to get up and dress; but 
his temperature was so high that he was put 
into an automobile and taken to the Base Hos- 
pital, and there laid upon the bed from which 
he w^as never to rise. He died on Monday, Jan- 
uary 14, at five o'clock in the afternoon. His 
going was so quiet that the watchers at his bed- 
side could scarcely tell when he passed from 
life to death. He was fifty- two years old ; but 
in the last twenty years of his life he had done 
the work of twice twenty years. 

It is hard to sum up the character of such a 
man in a few words, and when we are very 
near to him it is increasingly difficult. I think 
he had the finest sense of justice of any one I 
ever knew, and all his life he played fair. He 
was gentle in the best meaning of the word, 
and his loyalty was of the highest kind. He 
never hadadishonest or dishonourablethought 
and always, in every step of his career, he 
placed ideals above expediency. 
25 



AUGUSTUS PEABODY GARDNER 
He is buried in the National Cemetery at Ar- 
lington, and in that vast sepulchre of noble 
hearts, there sleeps no finer patriot or more 
gallant gentleman.