From: Cynthia Whited
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2015 8:37 PM
To: (all Catt Co Legislators)
Subject: THE POWER OF ONE
Each of us has the power to be a hero. My great-grandfather, Allen Williams, enlisted to fight for the Union and left his home in Cattaraugus County in 1862. He and 3000 other county men set off to a very dangerous and uncertain future. Each of them took a vow to protect and save our country. Many never returned.
Allen was a member of the 154th New York Infantry Volunteers. He fought in Gettysburg where many in his regiment were lost. Fortunately, he survived, and went on to fight at the battle of Rocky Face Ridge in Georgia.
The Union forces were attempting to gain control of Dug Gap, a steep rock strewn mountain. The Confederate forces had the advantage of being in control of the summit. Boulders and rocks were rolled down upon the Union troops as they dodged the Minie balls fired from above.
The regimental flag bearer struggled to lead the 154th up the daunting hill. As he neared the summit that man was shot and killed. A second man leaped to keep the flag from falling and was immediately wounded. A third soldier took the flagstaff and pushed forward again, only to sustain a serious wound. Allen grabbed the flag and continued up the incline, with the regiment behind him, successfully planting the flag at the summit.
He was later promoted to sergeant and given the flag to carry for the rest of the war. He marched with Sherman to Atlanta, and took part in the victory parade in Washington. Fortunately he returned home.
In 1914 the Memorial and Historic Building in Little Valley was dedicated by Cattaraugus County to honor all those men who had shown their courage and patriotism in the war. It is a unique octagonal building with an ornate tile floor and had a glass dome that allowed the sun to shine on the memorial plaques for all the fallen comrades. Those still alive attended the ceremony, knowing that the community had shown its love, appreciation and admiration.
There is an opportunity for you to again allow the sun to light the tiles in the Memorial. Many in the county, and well beyond, are hoping that you will step forward and support the effort to save and renovate the Memorial with your leadership. Please be a sunbeam and a hero. There are many of us who will follow the flag up the rocky hill with you.