Georgia Confederate Veterans' Association of Fulton County.

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as much now as ever."

The scene was witnessed by hundreds. The ladies in the carriage cried.
General Smith turned his face away. As Gen. Anderson dropped his com
mander's hand an old veteran gathered it.

"General," he cried, "I was there. I was right behind you when you
signed them articles with Sherman."

General Johnston smiled, saying: "I wish to God you had been right
in front of me."

The carriage stopped in front of the stage door to the opera house. The
General and his escort were assisted to the ground.

Old veterans tried to lift him to their shoulders, but warned thai his health
would not allow it, meekly they drew a Way. In it the same love was appar-
ent which characterized their greeting.

Mrs. Milledge took the old hero by the arm, and followed by Gen. Smith
and Mrs. Percival, started for the stairway.

The crowd fell back silently, making a pathway for them. It was a path-
way strewn with love, and not with roses.



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As they started up the steps, an old veteran touched the General, saying :
"Mars Joe, let me touch your garment. I fought through the war, and have
traveled two hundred miles to see you."

The old General stopped and grasped the old man's hand. A minute later
he disappeared in the opera house.

AT THE OPERA HOUSE.

By three o'clock the opera house was full. First came in the Confederate
Veterans and the ladies of the Memorial Association, and when they had been
seated the parquet, dress circle and first gallery were quickly filled to overflow-
ing with gentlemen and ladies.

The Confederate Generals and a few prominent citizens occupied the stage,
with General Joseph E. Johnston and General Kirby Smith occupying seats
close to each other near the centre of the front row.

When the Generals took their places on the stage they were lustily cheered.
As General Johnston and General Smith took their places they were given an
ovation. The opera house rang with the cheers of veterans, the ladies waved
white handkerchiefs, and men and women stood up. The Generals bowed
their acknowledgments and took their places in the centre.

When all was quiet Judge W. L. Calhoun came to the front of the plat-
form and said:

"General Evans will now introduce Private Black of the Confederate
army. "

This caught the audience in its humor, and the hall again rang with cheers.

General Evans then introduced the orator of the day as follows:

"Comrades — Let us on this occasion, made great by the principles and the
memories we celebrate, made great by the men who stood by the principles we
are here to commemorate, give attention as they are discussed before you by a
man who stood by them While we mourn many of those who have passed
f nun our midst, or died in defending the principles, the memories and the prin-
ciples can never die.

"We are all in the ranks to day. We are in the ranks of the Confederate
army. It lias passed out of existence as an organization. We meet no longer
upon the battle field, but, nevertheless, there is that existing which every Con-
federate soldier feels to-day can never be disarmed. [Applause.]

"It is my greal pleasure today, not to keep you waiting, but at once to let
you listen to our silver-tongued orator, who sprang up in the midst of the Con-
federacy, gave himself in his youth and in his prime to our cause, and has since
been faithful to every doeirine of the cause, and is here to-day holding a high
place in our hearts — himself his highest eulogy."

Major Black was greeted with cheers as he rose. As soon as quiet was re-
stored, he began his oration, which was considered one of the most elegant anil
erudite addresses ever delivered in this State

[ts Statement of facts and logical sequences seems to be an unanswerable
argument in vindication of the cause of the ( 'on federate States. The reasons
which are the basis of the principles of our cause are convincing and conclu-
sive, and ii seems to lie an error, into which our people have fallen, of thinking
that the principles of free government were given up when we gave up our



189

guns. This might be a serious error, indeed, if we could not still have faith
in the doctrine of Jefferson, "that error ceases to be dangerous when reason is
left free to combat it."

The address of Mr. Black is incisive reasoning, which flashes brightly and
cuts its way through the masks of error, like the keen edge of a true Damascus
blade.

Its length precludes it from this little book, but we commend it to every
veteran and every student who feels a pride in our principles.

At the conclusion of Mr. Black's speech General Johnston was called for.
He rose and thanked the veterans for his cordial reception, closing by express-
ing the hope that all of them would meet again up yonder. As he said this he
pointed toward the sky. He was given a renewed ovation.

General Kirby Smith was then called for and said a few words in acknowl-
edgment, telling the veterans that he would carry their message back to his
family on the crest of the Cumberland.

General A. R. Lawton was also called for, and acknowledged the compli-
ment in a few words.

As the ladies of the Memorial Association and Veterans were listening to
Hon. J. C. C. Black's oration the troops were forming. And a line display
it was.

One after another the companies came upon the ground, and after march-
ing and counter-marching to the music of a half dozen bands, took position in
line.

As the audience came out of the opera house, the distinguished guests and
members of the Ladies' Memorial Association were escorted to carriages.

Promptly at four o'clock the procession, which had been formed and wait-
ing for the termination of the opera house exercises, began moving.

It was a magnificent demonstration, the battle-scarred veterans of '61 march-
ing in line with their old leaders, and the glittering uniforms and Hashing arms
of the citizen soldiery.

The procession was the largest that ever formed in Atlanta on Memorial
Day. It reached from the capitol to the cemetery, and the thousands who
crowded along the line of march were interested and impressed with the spirit
which inspired such a demonstration.

No accident or misconnection of any sort occurred to mar the beauty of
the procession, and from its formation until it dispersed at the cemetery, every-
thing moved along smoothly and without a halt or break.

The veterans and their distinguished leaders were the centers of attraction.

As the carriages bearing the venerable old warriors moved along they were
met with cheer after cheer as they passed from one crowd to another.

The place of honor, at the head of the line, was given the veterans, and as
they marched by fours, and by twos and threes, they seemed to catch the spirit
of other days, when their marches had a sterner meaning.

A direct route to the cemetery, from the opera house, on Marietta street,
was taken, down Broad to Hunter street, and straight out Hunter street to the
cemetery.

At the cemetery the veterans marched to the Confederate monument which
overlooks the graves of the soldiers who are buried there.



190

The military portion of the procession was halted at the entrance of the
cemetery, and the troops drawn up in line, extending on to Hunter street to-
ward the city.

At a present arms the military remained on the outside until the carriages
of the Memorial Association and the Confederate Generals and Veterans, and
other prominent men, passed in.

The military then passed through the gateway and took positions in differ-
ent parts of the cemetery, stacking arms and breaking ranks until the exercises
were over.

After marching around the monument the veteran line was broken, the
crowd massing round the base in waiting for the arrival of their old chieftains.

When the carriages having General Johnston arrived at the monument the
old veterans sent up the rebel yell in a volume that shook the trees.

Then another and another as General Johnston and General Kirby Smith
stepped upon the stone base of the monument in the midst of their veteran es-
cort and ladies of the Memorial Association.

After a few handshakings between the Generals and veterans, who crowded
close up the edge of the monument, Colonel Calhoun announced the order of
exercises.

During the few moments intervening, confusion reigned among the vet-
erans, who crowded about the men who had led them in many campaigns.

Rev. R. S. Barnett pronounced a short benediction, after which Colonel
Calhoun announced that the ceremony of strewing flowers on the graves of the
Confederate dead would be performed, concluding the exercises.

At the conclusion of the announcement, the veterans drowned every other
sound in their calls for General Johnston.

General Johnston was presented to them by Colonel Calhoun, who bowed
back appreciation of their enthusiastic greeting, but without attempting to ad-
dress thrill.

He had hardly stepped back when another shout went up for Gen. Smith,
and then for Genera] "Tige" Anderson.

"I don't know what to say to you, boys," said General Anderson, after the
Cheering had ceased.

An old veteran in the crowd, who had followed "Old Tige," cried out:
"Well, I know what to say."

"What's that?" asked the General.

"I guess you are about the best man on earth," came from the old veteran.

"I'll accept your apology," returned General Tige, as he turned and took
his scat.

General ('lenient A Kvans was called for, and, after he had spoken a few

words, Colonel Mcintosh Kill replied to shouts for him, saying that he never

met any of them on land, hut he had foughl for them <in water.

After this General Johnston and the others left the monument for their car-
riages, and the ladies began strewing Bowers upon'the graves of the Confeder-
ate dead.

• lust as this begun the first gun of the Atlanta Artillery salute was tired.
After the thirteen nun salute in honor of the dead heroes, a second salute of



191

twenty-one guns were fired to General Johnston, as the ranking ex-Confederate
General.

DECORATING THE GRATES.

As early as midday there were loving hands scattering rare flowers and
evergreens on the graves of the dead heroes.

At first there was only now and then a glimpse of a quiet-faced woman
moving among the white stones that mark the places where repose the bones of
those who fought and died for Dixie.

As the afternoon advanced the crowd grew greater, and women came by
twos and threes bearing in their hands garlands, which they reverently placed
at the head of the graves of those whose memory they will keep green for-
ever.

By the time the head of the procession entered the gates of the cemetery,
the crowd of sweet faced women had increased until it embraced all ages, from
the silver-haired grandmother to the tiny school girl in short dresses.

And maid and matron joined in the sacred task of decorating the graves
of those who sleep beneath the shades of Oakland. The "Unknown" were
nut neglected, and many a wreath of choicest flowers were laid on the lowly
mound wdiere sleep the heroes of the Confederacy.

To attempt to give a picture of the many touching scenes enacted there
would be useless, as there were many little incidents that should have been seen
to be appreciated.

When the procession reached the monument, and the various companies
formed around it, General Joseph E. Johnston and General Kirby Smith were
driven up to the base of the tall marble shaft.

A great yell went up that drowned the throb of the drum and the clamor
of the band.

Cries of "Johnston! Johnston!" were heard on every hand, and when
the old warrior raised up in his carriage and lifted his hat, enthusiasm went
wild.

Cries for "Kirby Smith!" brought that old hero to his feet, and in a few
words he expressed his fealty to the South and her people, and his appreciation
of the distinction conferred on him by the veterans.

A dark cloud that had been gathering low down in the west began to move
upwards in a menacing maimer, but undeterred by the threatening of the storm,
these gentle hands continued their labor of love until the last grassy mound,
known or unknown, was adorned by a nosegay of the first offerings of Spring.

At last, when the bugles sounded the .retreat, and the Atlanta Artillery
had fired the last salute over the graves of their fallen comrades, the crowd be-
gan to disperse.

But even in the brown dusk of evening those noble women could be seen
flitting hither and thither, anxious to see that not even the humblest grave
should remain undecorated. It was a scene touchingly and tenderly beauti-
ful, and one that this city will not witness the like of in many a long day.

General Joe Johnston —

And General Kirby Smith!

Their very names were household words in Georgia a quarter of a ceutury



192

ago, and their well beloved faces were greeted with the most enthusiastic marks
of heartfelt applause every time they showed themselves in the city yesterday.
Their presence among those who went to pay tribute to the heroic dead,
was most peculiarly striking, and befitting the occasion that called the old sol-
diers together once more.

THE RECEPTION AT MAJOR MIMMS' RESIDENCE.

A great number of the veterans took advantage of Major Minims' invita-
tion to meet General Joseph E. Johnston at his house.

The preparations made by Major Minims for the entertainment of the vet-
erans were on a princely scale, and although the hard rain somewhat inter-
ferred with the arrangements, those who were there enjoyed a delightful
evening.

General Johnston and General Kirby Smith were both in the reception
room, and every soldier received a cordial hand-shake.

General Johnston especially looked happy. The constant evidence of the
great love of the people for him, which he received at every point yesterday,
had evidently made a deep impression on him, and the bright twinkle of his
eyes showed that he was thoroughly enjoying himself.

Thus our Memorial Day closed, and the labors of love by our committees,
and our Veterans' Association, and the Ladies Memorial Association are crowned
with honors, and with the sacred light of holy memories.



THE VETERANS' LOVE FEAST.

The Veterans' Camp, at Grant Park, was one of the fine features for joy
in the efforts of our Association. It is worthy of and well deserves a place in
our history. It was a part of the plan of our memorial exercises, and nothing
in the plan gave more of genuine joy as a memorial event. The committee
had arranged to have two hundred tents placed in the order of a camp in the
grove on the northern side of Grant Park. The camp was in charge of our
comrade, Dr. C. S. P. D'Alvigny, as a member of the general committee. A
number of veterans went into the camp to spend three days — Friday, Saturday,
and Sunday, April 25th, 26th, and 27th.

Sunday was the closing day, and a camp service for religious exercise was
arranged by our Chaplain, Rev. T. P. Cleveland. It was the most inspiring
service ever beheld by many who witnessed it.

Mr. Cleveland had arranged so as to have the attendance of several distin-
guished ministers of the various churches and denominations to assist him in
the services for Sunday afternoon. It was an occasion grand in its inception,

and glorious in ils conclusion.

Since Lee's weary hosts turned their faces toward their desolated hearth-
stones from Appomattox, such a scene has not been written in the aftermath of
the South's great struggle.

The scarred, war beaten old veterans lived over again out of the peaceful,
happy days I hey knew in the stoiniv scenes of 'til and '65,



193

A bright, joyful Sabbath, fragrant with the breath of Spring, made more
glorious by the old camp service, such as was once an epoch in the soldier's
life.

The veteran camp, with its rows of white tents, smiling beneath trees just
budding into fresh foliage, seeming whiter in their setting of waving green
grass, made a picture inspiring to the eye of the old heroes, and picturesque to
every beholder.

Saturday night the blaze of the camp-fire shot merrily upward from among
the white tents, and the reminiscent voices of old comrades, living over again
the stirring events of bygone times, could be heard almost till dawn rippling
musically beneath the trees.

The tales recounted in the veterans' camp that night would furnish enthus-
ing themes for a volume.

Early Sunday morning. the old soldiers were astir and rambling through
the woods, or refreshing themselves at the cool springs of the park.

When afternoon came reinforcements were added to the veterans of the
camp, and thousands of citizens, ladies and gentlemen, swelled the crowd.

During the day some planks and logs were converted into a rude platform,
near one side of the camp, in the shade of the overhanging trees. Round this
the veterans gathered, and when the camp service began, the woods for acres
about were a mass of people, all imbued with the spirit of the occasion.

Above the great throng, the sun shone down in approving splendor, and
the breeze that wafted in its embrace the fresh fragrance of Spring, seemed in
harmonious sympathy with the holy day.

A solemn hush fell upon the throng, as from the rude stand the first lines
of the dear, familiar hymn —

"Come, thou fount of every blessing,"

sung by the deep voices of men who had charged the cannon's mouth, were
begun.

"Tune my heart to sing thy grace "

All along the line it was taken up, the whole woods reverberating in the
sounds of the many brave voices.

"Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise."

Old battle-worn soldiers — it was a familiar tune to them, and unto the last
lines it was sung through as only such a throng could sing it.

Such scenes are but seldom witnessed. In the notes of the old hymns, and
the sight of the scattering white tents, the old veterans caught the inspiration
of other days. They joined their voices as they had joined them in other days
when they praised God in the battle camp.

When the last notes of the hymn died out, Dr A. G. Thomas offered up
prayer. Then another hymn was sung —

"Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb ?
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His name."
13



194

At the conclusion of this inspiring hymn, General Clement A. Evans, the
warrior preacher, rose in the stand.

GENERAL EVANS ADDRESS.

General Evans read from the New Testament, appropriate to the life of
the Christian soldier. Eph. v: 11-18; I Tim. vi: 13-16, and II Tim. iv: 6-8.
lie then spoke as follows:

Comrades — We are fellow-soldiers still. We were comrades in camp, in
march, in battle; comrades through all that we have suffered since; comrades
to-day in our common faith, and I trust we shall be comrades forever. Twenty-
five years have passed since we met in scenes like the impressive service that
we are now enjoying. These woods and tents, these songs and this simple,
heartfelt worship, recall the Confederate days when we went from prayer and
hymns to fields of blood.

I would speak to you at length, but I feel that the privileges of the hour
belong to our old Chaplains who are here. I did not enjoy the honor of being
a minister of the gospel during our war, but from my youth until now I have
given my heart and life to the pure religion of Jesus Christ. I recall with
grateful emotions the supports of that faith in the perils of battles and the pri-
vations of campaigns, and I join you to-day in praise to God, who has crowned
us with the countless blessings of our present peace. We have a glorious land.
Fought for, bled for, died for, it was worthy of all our devotion. By the
blessing of God it is attracting the world's attention, and we shall yet live to
witness its wonderful prosperity.

Let us preserve amidst that material prosperity our old-time integrity, sim-
plicity, chivalry, and Faith.

We fought a good tight. Holding this Bible in my hand, beneath this
blue sky, encompassed by the gnat crowd of witnesses, I do not hesitate to
stand in mv place and say we fought a good light. Our cannon and rifles
mingled with our songs, our sabres and bayonets kept company with our
prayers.

The war did not end just as we expected, but the God of battles has been
willi us, and He is turning upon us a present wealth of blessing in peace that
shall fulfill our mosl patriotic hope. Let us "keep the faith" of the old time.
We have yet some years of service for our country, let us spend them in doing
good; let us transmit to our children one simple, honest chivalry and fidelity to
truth, and above all, let us hand down to them the religion of this Bible.

My heart is with you to-day. 1 feel the impressions of this sacred hour,
and I fervently pray thai such a victory may be ours in our spiritual warfare
that we shall hold some day our grand reunion in heaven. As my prayers go
up constantly for you, let me ask that yours shall ascend for me. God bless
you and your families forever.

"There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins,"

was sung by the veterans and others who were there with them, and then Rev.
J. N. Craig, whose very voice told thai lie was a veteran, was introduced by



195

Dr. Cleveland. Dr. Craig was Chaplain of the Fifth South Carolina Regiment.
He said :

Fellow-Soldiers — Sometime ago I read a splendid article upon "Growing
Old." Its first point was that this must come to all. Time passes; we are
borne onward, and the youngster in his turn must be numbered with the old.
Another point was this: That so long as a man's eyes were in the front part of
his head, so long as he works for the future, he is a useful man; it matters not
whether he be ten or one hundred and ten years old. But no man can work
for the past, for the harvest of last year; and when one's eyes go to the back
part of his head, and he begins to live in the past, he is no longer the man for
the times. Others ought to and will step in before ljini, and work for the fu-
ture. I do not propose to put our eyes into the back part of our heads, but a
good harvest grows from a good soil, and for a few moments let us dwell amid
the memories of the past, that we may draw courage and inspiration for our
future.

He then referred to the impending crisis of 1860, when all felt that it was
only a question of time until all Southern rights and interests would be over-
thrown; of the differences of opinion as to whether the battle should be fought
in or out of the "Union" until the die was cast, and how then there were no
mercenaries in the Confederate army, which was composed of men who stepped
forth from every public position, and from the threshold of every home, men
and boys who went forth to make an army, which if not superior to all, was
certainly second to none which ever trod the earth.

He referred to the things which soldiers present remembered, to the march,
the double-quick, "the bloody angle" charge, the noble fellows who fell on
every side, the widows, the fatherless, some of whom, after five and twenty
years, are present here to-day, to the surrender, to the example of our "great
commander, Lee, who becoming the president of the speaker's alma mater,
Washington College, thenceforward Washington-Lee University, set the ex-
ample, doing good;" to the fact that the soldiers went from the surrender to the
farms and fields, to the schools and colleges, st -res and shops, and offices, to
legislative halls and gubernatorial chairs, and, as Mr. Grady said, "have been
sowing cities," and from wreck and ruin have been wresting success, until this
day, when "the Confederate soldier" is the world's greatest hero. Your name
and mine will be forgotten, but "the Confederate soldier, the representative of
the class, the bravest and best in battle and in defeat, will live in poetry and
prose, in fiction and in history, in song and story, so long as these shall be
written or men be left to read them.

"Nothing, fellow-soldiers, to regret on our part."

He referred to the Scriptures read by General Evans representing the
Christian as a soldier, his life as a warfare; to the messages sent by our ascended
Lord through the Apostle John when nearly one hundred years old, to the
seven churches of Asia Minor (Revelation, chapters ii and iii), in which mes-
sages "the crown of life," "the hidden manna, ' "the tree of life," the prom-
ise that one shall be a piilar in the "Temple of God," "shall not be hurt by
the second death," are all made "to him that cometh," or as the Greek word
means, to him who has come out of the conflict a victor.



196

He referred also to the sufferings through which Christ was made complete


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Online LibraryGeorgia Confederate Veterans' Association of Fulton CountyHistory, Confederate Veterans' Association, of Fulton County, Georgia (Volume 2) → online text (page 24 of 25)