Day 1874 & Memorial Day 2005
at Hampton National Cemetery
The following History was researched by the Col. James D. Brady Camp,
Sons of Union Veterans, Petersburg Virginia. This year on our National
Memorial Day 2005, this Sons of Union Veterans Camp will hold a memorial
service honoring the veterans buried there. They have done extensive
research on the 63rd NY and so much more. The Sons of Union Veterans
contact in the Petersburg area is Bill Rose, Secretary, 9201 Oak River
Dr., Petersburg, Virginia 23803 (804) 931-6335, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill's good National Memorial Day research is
not only below. With further Virginia research of other such National
Memorial Day programs, he has brought light to the way our ancestors
honored the day, each other, North and South, and our nation as veterans.
Step back into time in 1874 to find how our ancestors honored the
dead and our heroes.
Enjoy the history:
Memorial Day 1874 Hampton National Cemetery from the Norfolk Landmark
newspaper May 30 1874:
Federal Memorial Day Annual Decoration of Union Soldier's Graves.
The Confederate Dead Remembered.
Address by Col. James D. Brady, of Portsmouth.
Fort Monroe, VA, May 30, 1874
Editor Norfolk Landmark:
The annual decoration of the graves of deceased soldiers at the United
States National Cemetery, near Hampton, took place today, with appropriate
ceremonies. This cemetery also contains the remains of nearly six
hundred Confederate dead, and heretofore their existence has been
quietly ignored by persons presenting floral offerings. We are happy
to say on this occasion, such was not the case, and each received
the kind remembrance of their friends.
are properly under the auspices of the Grand Army of the Republic,
which fixed the hour at 2 P M General William F. Barry, Commandant
of the Artillery School, was invited to participate with his command,
but owing to military duties was unable to do so at the hour designated.
But in order to pay proper respect to the memory of their deceased
comrades, General Barry formed the battalion of the Artillery School
at 7 A M; and
headed by the band. Marched to the cemetery and decorated the graves
of the soldiers there buried, both Union and Confederate- the band
meanwhile played a dirge and the troops resting on arms. In the midst
of the Union graves was placed an evergreen wreath six feet in diameter,
with the inscription "The Garrison of Fort Monroe, Va; to their
dead comrades." In the midst of THE CONFEDERATE GRAVES was placed
a similar wreath, with the inscription "The Garrison of Fort
Monroe, Va; to the Confederate Dead." The troops then reformed
and marched back to the fort where they arrived at 10 A M. The steamer
N. P. Banks, Captain McCarrick, reached the fort about 9 A M having
on board some five or six hundred colored people, part of whom were
in uniform and accompanied by a fine band of music. The military portion
formed and took up their line of
march to the cemetery, while their friends took possession of every
available means of transportation for the same point. They brought
their dinners with them and are having a picnic at the cemetery, while
awaiting the arrival of the speakers. The steamer Hampton, Captain
Schermerborn, having been chartered for the occasion,
arrived at the fort at 11 A M, having on board the New Hampshire band,
FARRAGUT (GAR) POST NO. 5
of Portsmouth, and a large number of ladies and gentlemen. She remained
but a moment to take on a few passengers, and proceeded to the National
Military Asylum wharf, where the party disembarked. Here they were
met by a battalion from the Home, who escorted them to the grounds,
where they disbanded to meet again at 2 P M. Commodore T. H. Stevens,
commandant of the Navy-yard, arrived at the Home at 1 P M.
He was met at the wharf by Colonel P. T. Woodfin, the popular governor
of the Home, and escorted to his quarters where lunch was soon after
served. In order to supply the large number of visitors a very fine
dinner was prepared by Captain Keyes, the quartermaster, which was
sold for a merely nominal sum, and was
very much enjoyed.
The following was the programme of exercises at the Cemetery: (this
is the way it is listed in the newspaper without a 1. 2. or 3.)
4. Reading of General Orders from National and Department Headquarters-
5. Song by the Beethoven Quintet Club, of Portsmouth, Prof. H. Harrington,
6. Prayer by Rev. J. M. Miller
7. Introductory remarks by Past Department Commander, Comrade S. B.
Commanding Farragut Post, No. 5
8. Address by Department Commander, Comrade William N. Katon.
9. Music by United States Naval Band, Prof. A. Schultz. leader
10. Address of P. S. V. Commander, Major General J. R. Goble
11. Singing by Beethoven Quintet Club
12. Address of Colonel James D. Brady, of 63rd New York Volunteer
13. Music by National Military Home Band
14. Address by Comrade, Captain J. T. Wilson, P. S. V. Commander
15. Singing by Beethoven Quintet Club
16. Prayer and benediction by Rev. Z. T. Barton
17. Decoration of graves
Music by United States Naval Band, of Norfolk, United States Military
Band of Fort Monroe, and National Home Band W. N. Katon, Dept. Commander
M. J. Rose A. A. G. at 2 P M the procession formed and marched to
the cemetery, Colonel Woodfin provided conveyances for Commodore Stevens,
the speakers, members of the press, and invited guests. Colonel Brady,
the orator of the occasion then delivered the following address:
COLONEL BRADY'S ADDRESS.
Members of the Grand Army, Soldier Friends, Ladies, and Gentlemen:
Another Memorial Day is here. Again in this charming month of May
we have assembled upon these sacred grounds to pay another and just
tribute to the heroic dead, with the bright garlands of May, lovely
flowers, "love's truest language." We have come from far
and near to decorate the graves of the fallen brave, the heroes of
the great struggle for
the maintenance of the supremacy of the American Union. Contemplating
the heroism, sacrifices, terrific struggles, victories and defeats
of the brave men who "sleep their last sleep" within the
limits of these walls, thoughts smother words, and we know not what
to say. The heart that would not be sad and the eye that
would not weep, while memory with its thousand forms cluster around
the green graves of the soldier dead, must indeed be cold and dry.
The deeds of the dead heroes of the late war proclaim their eulogy,
and they need NO WORDS OF PRAISE.
Eminently fit and proper is it that this, the loveliest month of the
year, should have been selected for the beautiful and affecting ceremony
in which we are about to engage. Thanks to our law makers for having
designated one day in the year to remind people of the soldiers of
the war, for custom has extended the celebration of this day to one
of National observance, and it contemplates in its scope the patriotism,
heroism, gallantry, endurance, pluck and bravery of the American people.
In the enterprising and prosperous North, the wealthy East, and mighty
west, to-day tens of thousands of our fellow-citizens are engaged
in offering tribute to their fallen brothers, by crowning the graves
of the illustrious dead with the choicest, sweetest, and
most fragrant of lovely May flowers. And here in the sunny South we
and our brothers who wore the Blue have not forgotten.
THE NATIONAL FESTIVAL.
Let no words fall from our lips, or thoughts enter our hearts, the
utterance of which might tend to arouse the animosity engendered by
the late war between the sections. Let us forget the bitterness of
the past. The Blue and the Gray quietly, sweetly repose side by side
around us, and those who survive them should, can, and let us earnestly
hope and desire, will be friends. The brave sympathize with the brave.
We can not approve of the cause for which the Southern soldier fought
so long, so valiantly, and so desperately, but their heroic deeds
are recorded upon the pages of history, and we can not if we would,
and would not if we could, blot them out. After all it was a struggle
of brothers against brothers, fathers against sons, and the credit
of all that was noble and
good in this contest belongs to our common country. Let us extend
the right hand of fellowship and good will one to the other, and unite
together for the advancement and benefit of the Republic.
is the opportune time to put into practice these sentiments. Surely
there is glory enough in Bunker Hill, Lexington, Saratoga and Yorktown
in the War of Independence, and Lake Erie and New Orleans in the War
of 1812, Buena Vista and Vera Cruz in the Mexican War, for the people
of this great and prosperous country, without brooding over the misfortunes
of our late unfortunate war. Demosthenes, the celebrated orator, it
is related, swore by the memory of the nation's dead. We can swear
by ours, and we can and do ask our countrymen to remain true to the
cause for which our soldiers laid down their lives- a determination
that the Union should be preserved.
The motive that actuated the Union soldier during the war is not understood
by our Southern friends. A distinguished Union General has thus appropriately
and eloquently expressed it;
"The American people were called upon by the President to suppress
the rebellion. The response came, prompt and enthusiastic, from all
parties outside the insurrectionary States. Republicans, Douglas Democrats,
Bell and Everett men, Breckenridge Democrats, filled the ranks of
our armies, and fought side by side till the authority of the nation
"What broke the ties that bound us to parties, and gathered such
diverse elements in one mass, moved by one sentiment and purpose?
Love of war? No; we were more engrossed in
THE PURSUITS OF PEACE,
and thought less of arms than almost any nation on the earth. Hatred
of the Southern people? No; they were our blood, and tongue, and land;
born to one inheritance with us, of liberty, and power and glory.
It was the sentiment of nationality- determination that the Union
should be perpetual- and that the Constitution which made the Union,
and its bond, should be preserved and acknowledged throughout every
State, and throughout
all time inviolate.
"That was the only purpose of the war known to, or recognized
by the Army and Navy of the United States. All else was, to that,
auxiliary. Every soldier and sailor recognized that purpose: none
avowed another. That sentiment raised all our armies; it was soul
of all. It glowed in every camp fire; and thundered from every gun.
It was our cloud by day, our pillar of fire by night. It was under
God, the POWER of the war- and bore aloft in our flag after every
defeat, and won us our victories."
Love and reverence for the renowned dead brings us today within these
sacred precincts, and as we offer our grateful tribute to the heroes,
our dearly beloved Boys in Blue, we will not neglect nor forget to
strew some of the choicest flowers over the brave men who wore the
Grey. We are indeed in the midst of precious dust. These little graves
around us, humble though they be, enclose within their dark portals
the form of
It is almost impossible to express the emotions of the occasion. Bull
Run and its unexpected result; the siege of Yorktown, the battle of
Williamsburg and the dashing charge of the intrepid, accomplished
and soldierly Hancock; Fair Oaks, where persecuted Howard lost his
arm, under the brave and able Sumner, whose foresight saved us the
day; the Seven Days retreat, fighting all day and marching all night
winding up fighting
with Fitz John Porter's gallantry and superb generalship at Gaines's
Mills; the second battle of Manassas, the unlooked for defeat of Pope
and the killing of that gallant soldier Phil Carney, at Chantilly;
South Mountain and the death of Reno, Commander of the Ninth Corps;
Fredericksburg and the famous charge of the Irish Brigade upon Mayre's
Heights, under their beloved commander, the dashing Meagher- generous,
noble, chivalrous Meagher, would you have died on the battlefield
in the thickest of the fight, wherever found, whether in the charge
or repulse, Chancellorsville and the death of that
GREAT SOLDIER, STONEWALL JACKSON
which event cast gloom over the then discouraged Army of the Potomac,
Gettysburg, its long and weary marches; the fight on Round Top and
the mortal wounding of my old commander general Zook; the famous charge
of Pickett's Division on Cemetery Ridge, where were engaged and fell
many of the best and brave men from this section of Virginia; the
battles of the Wilderness, the death of Sedgewick and Wadsworth;
Spotsylvania, our charges and captures there, the battle of Cold Harbor
and the impression it left on me (He was seriously wounded at this
one), Petersburg, the Mine fiasco; Five Forks and the surrender of
Lee, each and all pass before me as if a dream; and within these sacred
grounds doubtless repose the heroes of one or more of the battles
I have mentioned; and perhaps we shall find one or more who climbed
the gory heights of Lookout Mountain; or fought with Grant at Donaldson
or Vicksburg, or with Sherman in his
BOLD MARCH TO THE SEA.
or perchance fell under dashing, daring Phil Sheridan in the Valley,
or under Terry at Fort Fisher, and search on and I doubt not but that
we shall find the names of many and many a gallant sailor, who served
under Farragut, Porter, Rowan, Dahlgreen, or Dupont in some one of
the memorable exploits of our gallant Navy. These are the men who
saved the country, and we should be, as we are, proud of them.
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes bless'd!
When Spring, with dews fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
Then fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
There honor comes, a pilgrim gray:
To bless the turf that wrap their clay;
And Freedom shale awhile repair.
To dwell a weeping hermit there!
We commemorate today the memory of these noble men who died that the
Republic might live; and does it not make one shudder to contemplate
the torrents of blood spilled, the dreadful carnage, and sacrifice
made to secure final victory?
Republics, it is said, are ungrateful, but, it seems impossible to
believe that the people of this country will ever forget the debt
they owe to the men who abandoned homes, friends, and all else near
and dear, and periled their lives in its defense. The war on our part
was a desperate struggle for the
VERY EXISTENCE OF THE NATION
and the disruption of the Union would have been a blow struck at freedom
throughout the civilized world, from the shock of which it would not
have recovered in a century. Every man who wore the Blue and bore
our country's flag in battle, should be inscribed upon the roll of
the nation's heroes, and he is entitled to the affection and regard
of the Republic in its present hour of prosperity.
Let the loving duty of the day be preformed. Veterans of the war,
crippled and maimed soldiers, young maidens and fair women, little
children and stout men, one and all, strew the graves of the brave
with the choice, fragrant flowers of Spring. Forget not, neglect not,
one single mound. All are worthy, all deserving, of the touching tribute
to their memory.