In February 1863 Colonel McGroarty and his fellow officers under General Schurz took the occasion of Washington’s birthday to respond to the growing anti-war sentiment. The following was published in the Fremont Journal March 13, 1863:
The Voice of Schurz’ Division
The officers of the Division of Gen. Carl Schurz have made the following expression to the President:
Camp Near Stafford Court House,
Feb. 22, 1863
His Excellency, President of the United States
We can celebrate the birthday of the great Father of this Republic in no more appropriate manner than by addressing you, Sir, a renewed expression of the sentiments which animated us when we took arms for the defense of the integrity of the Union, and which, since that day, has never ceased to animate us.
We have learned with the deepest concern that efforts are made in the loyal States to demoralize the consciences of the people by false representations, to undermine the sympathies of the masses with the great cause which is the subject of this conflict, to embarrass the Government in the prosecution of the war, and thus deliver the Republic into the hands of her enemies. We cannot find language strong enough to express our abhorrence of the factious men who carry on these treasonable machinations.
They have taken advantage of certain measures the Government has adopted for the purpose of putting down the rebellion, and, as just in themselves, we hail the measures as evidences of that energy and determination which alone can lead us to victory. We are as ready as ever to fight, suffer and die for the sacred cause of the Union, which is the cause of human liberty and progress, and more ready than ever to punish traitors at home just as well as the rebels in arms.
We hope to see a day of reckoning between those who went into the field willing to sacrifice their all for the country, and those miserable hypocrites who at the commencement of the war cringed before the majestic uprising of popular enthusiasm, and now avail themselves of an hour of misfortune and danger to defeat our efforts, to barter away the great future of this Union, and to trifle with the blood of the people.
On us, sir, you can rely. By the memory of the illustrious patriot whose birthday we celebrate, by the blood of the many brave men whom we saw dropping from our ranks on the field of battle, we renew to-day the oath we once have taken, and will fight against the enemies of the country, North and South, to the bitter end. Whatsoever hard-ships and privations the war may bring upon us we will endure – we will think of no peace but the peace which will spring from a final and complete triumph of our arms.
Col. A. Schemmlfenning [sic], Comd’g 1st brig.
Col. Hartung, 74th Pennsylvania
Col. McGroarty, 61st Ohio
Maj. Ruthers, 68th New York
Col. Brown, 167th New York
Col. Hecker, 82nd Illinois
Col. Krzyzanowski, Comd’g 1st brigade [sic]
Col. Mahler, 75th Pennsylvania
Col. Jacobs, 26th Wisconsin
Col. Peissner, 119th New York
Lieut. Col. Gelhman, 58th New York