MAY 15, 1861.
Colonel Blenker And Gentlemen Of The First Regiment Of Rifles,— I have the honor to present this stand of colors to your regiment. It is the flag which for three-quarters of a century has been hailed in every quarter of the inhabited globe as the emblem of Constitutional liberty, and the beacon of hope to the oppressed of all nations.
In rushing with generous ardor to the rescue of our flag, you have given to your fellow-citizens a most gratifying proof of the patriotism and the devotion of our German population to the land of their adoption and choice. A large number of you have fled from oppression and tyranny in the Old World, after having in vain shed your blood for the liberties of your country on many a hardfought battle-field in Hungary and Germany.
You have found on these hospitable shores protection, freedom, and loving hearts, and in offering now the sacrifice of your lives on the altar of your adopted country you pay a debt of gratitude for the blessings vouchsafed to you under our liberal institutions.
Our most fervent prayers follow you to the path of duty and honor which you have chosen. May the Almighty, who has thus far showered His choicest blessings upon our cherished Union, protect her brave defenders. May He watch over you in the hour of danger, and may He grant you to return in safety to your homes and firesides after every star in this bright constellation shall have been restored, to abide with its sisters in union and peace to the end of time.