“a great and unusual honor” — Massachusetts State Quarter Coin

Today, the Massachusetts State Quarter Coin remembers when the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company visited England and first enjoyed an evening in their honor on July 8, 1896.

From the Wheeling [WV] Daily Intelligencer of July 10, 1896:

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Unusual Honors Shown the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, Massachusetts, by the British Military Officials.

London, July 9.—The reception accorded to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts by the officers of the Royal Artillery at the latter’s mess, at Woolwich, last evening was the most enthusiastic it is possible to imagine.

Colonel Lockhead of the Royal Artillery, presided, supported by the earl of Denbigh, General Morris and Prince Christian Victor. The toasts of “The Queen” and “The President of the United States” were drank standing and in silence.

Lieut. Savage, of the Bostonians, responded for the visiting Ancients and the earl of Denbigh replied for the Honorable Artillery Company.

All reference to a closer union of the two countries were loudly applauded. The American Ancients returned to the Hotel Cecil at 4 o’clock in the morning.

The scenes of yesterday were repeated in the court yard of the Hotel Cecil this morning. Large crowds assembled as early as 7 o’clock and there was much enthusiasm displayed.

The visiting detachment of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery company marched to Waterloo railroad station in the same manner as yesterday, headed by the bands of the Honorable Artillery company, and the Salem cadets.

There was loud cadet cheering for the Americans all along the route and the visitors left the station at about 9 o’clock for Aldershot in order to witness a review of the troops.

The weather was very hot and the route to Waterloo station was dusty in the extreme. But, for all that, the streets were more crowded than they were yesterday and the Bostonians presented a fine appearance and the brilliant sun which reflected their glittering accoutrements.

When the men entered the railroad station and the band of the Honorable Artillery company struck up “The Star Spangled Banner” and the standard bearers waved their flags as Colonel Walker saluted with his saber.

Then there was a tremendous outburst of cheering and shouts of “Good for the Old Stars and Stripes!” “Bravo for Cleveland!” “What a magnificent body of men.” etc.

The American artillery men were received at the railroad station by Lord Wolseley, the commander-in-chief of the forces. Sir Evelyn Wood, the quartermaster general of the army, and other officers of high rank, all in full uniform.

The United States Ambassador. Mr. Thomas F. Bayard, his secretary, Mr. Carter, and the other officials of the United States embassy, accompanied the Bostonians on the train to Aldershot.

The Ancients arrived at Aldershot at 10 o’clock and were met on the platform by the Duke of Connaught, commander of the military district. Sir Redvers Buller, the adjutant general to the forces, and the headquarters staff, the latter on horseback.

When the train stopped at the depot the Duke of Connaught said: “Where’s the American ambassador?”

Mr. Bayard was pointed out to the duke and the latter, after welcoming him, escorted the American diplomat to a carriage, which was immediately driven to Laffen’s Plain. Accompanying Mr. Bayard were Messrs. Carter and Hoge, who were presented to the duke of Connaught by the ambassador. No speeches were made.

The Ancients were then drawn up on the platform and the Duke of Connaught, after welcoming Colonel Walker and the officers of the Honorable Artillery company, of Massachusetts, inspected the visiting detachment.

The Americans were then conveyed to Laffen’s Plain in over forty war department wagons. The sun was scorching as the long procession started at 10:30. The route to the plain was lined with villagers and others who warmly cheered the Americans. The Duke of Connaught, Lord Wolesley and the headquarters staff were on horseback.

When the plain was reached it was seen that the saluting point was flanked by a large number of coaches and drags filled with ladles. For the accommodation of the visitors and their friends special stands had been erected.

Nearly 20,000 troops were paraded and they presented a brilliant spectacle, uniforms trim, neat and well-fitting, accoutrements polished to the utmost and arms glistening spotlessly clean.

The sham fight commenced soon after the arrival of the American Ancients. The troops were under the command of Generals Swaine and Bengough. After some well executed maneuvers had been carried out, the whole force marched past the saluting point, where the stars and stripes floated a short distance from the royal standard.

In all there were twenty-two regiments of infantry, cavalry and artillery on the field.

The carriage containing the United States ambassador was drawn up under the Royal standard and next to the royal carriage containing the duchess of Connaught and her two daughters.

The march past commenced at 1 o’clock. Lord Wolesley had previously introduced Colonel Walker to the duchess and the princess, and then Mr. Bayard and Colonel Walker stood by the royal carriage.

Lord Wolseley, however, asked Colonel Walker to share the salute with him. This is a great and unusual honor. Colonel Walker accepted and stood by the side of Lord Wolseley’s horse.

Lord Wolseley, the duke of Connaught and Colonel Walker were the only officers in advance of the royal standard.

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The Massachusetts State Quarter Coin shows with an image of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company parading in Boston, circa 1903.

Massachusetts State Quarter Coin

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