Old Times not forgotten in Dixie

Calvin Johnson
April 19, 2011

Tennessee Senator Edward Ward Carmack said in 1903, "These Confederate soldiers were our kinfolk and our heroes." He also said, "The people of the South have the right to teach their children the true history of the War Between the States, the causes that led to it and the principles involved."

Black, White, Jewish, American-Indian and Hispanic Americans who served the Confederacy during the War Between the States are indeed worthy of our emulation.

The original Constitution of the Confederate States of America will be on display, Tuesday, April 26, 2011, Confederate Memorial Day, in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library {on the 3rd floor of the Main Library} at the University of Georgia, in Athens. See details at: http://www.libs.uga.edu/hargrett/index.shtml

The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Ladies Memorial Association and Sons of Confederate Veterans still remember the Confederate soldier and proudly fly his blood stained flag of many hard fought battles.

The first Memorial Day took place in the South where Northern and Southern soldiers were remembered.

Ideal Memorial Day for Atlanta Confederates. Thin lines of Gray-Clad soldiers of the sixties were met with enthusiastic applause all along the route of the parade.—April 27, 1909, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

The State of Georgia has officially recognized April 26th as Confederate Memorial Day since 1874….And proclamations have been signed by Southern governors, commemorating April as Confederate History and Heritage Month since 1995. For additional information see: http://confederateheritagemonth.com

Southern newspapers once reported Confederate soldiers marching in Confederate Memorial Day parades and sounding off with a husky Rebel Yell of "Yip, yip, yip, which turned the tides of many battles.

Businesses and schools once closed on Confederate Memorial Day as thousands of people congregated at the Confederate cemetery for the day´s events that included: a parade, memorial speeches, military salute and children laying flowers on the soldiers’ graves.

Efforts to mark Confederate graves, erect monuments and hold memorial services were the idea of Mrs. Charles J. Williams. She was an educated and kind lady. Her husband served as Colonel of the 1st Georgia Regiment during the War Between the States. He died of disease in 1862, and was buried in his home town of Columbus, Georgia.

Mrs. Williams and her daughter visited his grave often and cleared the weeds, leaves and twigs from it, then placed flowers on it. Her daughter also pulled the weeds from other Confederate graves near her Father.

It saddened the little girl that their graves were unmarked. With tears of pride she said to her Mother, "These are my soldiers’ graves." The daughter soon became ill and passed away in her childhood.

On a visit to the graves of her husband and daughter, Mrs. Williams looked at the unkept soldiers’ graves and remembered her daughter as she cleaned the graves and what the little girl had said.

Mrs. Williams wrote a letter that was published in Southern newspapers asking the women of the South for their help. She asked that memorial organizations be established to take care of the thousands of Confederate graves from the Potomac River to the Rio Grande. She also asked the state legislatures to set aside a day in April to remember the men who wore the gray. With her leadership April 26 was officially adopted in many states. She died in 1874, but not before her native state of Georgia adopted it as a legal holiday.

The Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans joins the nation in commemorating the Sesquicentennial–150th Anniversary of the War Between the States now through 2015. See additional information at: http://www.150wbts.org/

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