Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Honors on Confederate Memorial Day
April 26 is officially Confederate Memorial Day. However, since the mode now is to take the Monday nearest the date as a holiday, April 24 this year was officially noted for those who closed businesses and had a day off from work, making a long weekend from April 21 through Monday, April 24 as a time to remember our Confederate Dead.
April 26 marks the official end
of the War
Between the States for
Already, General Robert E. Lee
surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in
Supporters of the Southern cause can feel pride in the way General Lee conducted himself at that meeting. It is reported that Lee maintained dignity to the end. He appeared at Appomattox Courthouse in a brand new uniform, wearing an embroidered red sash, and polished boots with spurs. Standing tall, with his gray hair and beard in place and his dress uniform impeccable, he met General Grant whose boots were muddy and his old slouch hat askew.
The Generals, nevertheless, were
to each other. Grant said to Lee, "I met you once before, General Lee,
while we were serving in
Lee had evaluated the hard
The Confederates were to lay down their arms, which they did. Lee suggested that his men would need their horses for spring planting. Grant agreed to this request and also promised to provide rations to the emaciated Confederate Army.
Astride his horse, Traveller, General Lee rode among the ranks of his faithful soldiers. His words to them were: "Men, we have fought this war together. I have done the best I could for you. My heart is too full to say more." (p. 167, "Almanac of American History.") General Grant expressed his feelings with these words: "I feel like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who has fought so long and valiantly." (p. 167, "Almanac of American History.")
Much lay ahead before the War
States was officially over. Because news traveled slowly in April of
there were more skirmishes in various places before complete cessation
fighting. That's why the treaty between Johnson and Sherman was not
And then remained the long road to Reconstruction. In his second inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln expressed his hope for reconciliation: "With malice toward none, with charity for all...let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds."
assassination shot hit
him at Ford's Theater in
As we observe Confederate History Month this April, we remember the sacrifices of soldiers, many of them our ancestors, who fought for what they believed.
Without the war, slavery may not
out soon. The South's economy may have lingered for many more decades
agrarian pursuits with production hinging on slave labor. The Civil War
period of Reconstruction were tragedies in
An anonymous poet has written these striking lines for "Confederate Memorial Day":
The marching armies of the past
Along our southern plains,
Are sleeping now in quiet rest
Beneath the Southern rains.
We bow our heads in solemn prayer
For those who wore the gray,
And clasp again their unseen hands
On our Memorial Day.
Jones; published Apr. 27, 2006 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Updated October 6, 2009