April 16, 1866, a committee was formed to retrieve the dead

After the Civil War in 1866, scouts from the North were sent by the Federal Government to the South to retrieve Union soldiers’ bodies for burial in the United States National Cemetery. Confederate soldiers were left behind and to Southern women, this seemed like a lack of respect for their husbands and sons lying all over the battlefields and in mass graves far away from home. The neglect of Confederate dead fueled the fire of outrage among ex-Confederates, but most Alabamians were destitute and money was needed to bring their dead soldiers home. The women of Montgomery, Alabama responded.


Shelby Springs Confederate cemetery, Shelby Co., Alabama by Magnolia677 (Wikipedia)

Committee established to bring dead home and defray costs of decent burials

In 1866 a committee was formed by the ladies of Alabama in an effort to raise the funds needed to re-inter the bodies of their Confederate fallen in Alabama. After an emotional plea in the local paper, “the women of Montgomery, in answer to this call, filled the sacred halls of the old Court Street Methodist Church on that beautiful Monday morning on the sixteenth day of April, eighteen hundred, and sixty-six!”1

“On April 16, 1866, in Montgomery, a patriotic organization was founded as the result of an appeal of April 14, 1866, made by the Alabama historical and monumental society to the ladies of Montgomery to hold fairs, concerts, etc., in order to help in defraying the expenses necessary in the proper and decent burial of Alabama soldiers.”

A meeting was held at 10 o’clock on the morning of April 14, of that year, at the Court Street Methodist church.

“At the meeting of the ladies of Montgomery held pursuant to notice at the Methodist Episcopal Chuch on Monday, the 16th day of April, 1866, to devise ways and means for raising funds to have the remains of Alabama soldiers, now lying scattered over the various battlefields of the war, collected and deposited in public burial grounds, or elsewhere, where they may be saved from neglect, Mrs. Judge Bibb was requested to preside over the meeting and Mrs. Dr. Baldwin requested to act as Secretary.

“The object of the meeting was explained Chair, and on motion of Mrs. Dr. Baldwin, a committee of five was appointed by the Chair to consider and report some plan that might best promote the objects of the meeting, and to recommend the names of suitable persons as permanent officers of this Society. The Chair appointed on this committee Mrs. Dr. Baldwin, Chairman; Mrs. Wm. Johnston, Mrs. Judge Rice, Mrs. Dr. Holt and Mrs. Dr. James Ware, who retire and after consultation suggested the following names as permanent officers and on motion of Mrs. Wm. Pollard they were unanimously elected: Mrs. Judge Bibb, President; Mrs. Judge Phelan, Vice President; Mrs. Dr. Baldwin, Secretary; Mrs. E. C. Hannon, Treasurer.

This committee, after suggesting permanent officers, reported the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted.

Cemetery at Confederate Memorial Park, Marbury, Alabama (Library of Congress)

RESOLUTIONS

  • RESOLVED, That it is the sacred duty of the people of the South to preserve from desecration and neglect the mortal remains of the brave men who fell in her cause, to cherish a grateful recollection of their heroic sacrifices and to perpetuate their memories.
  • RESOLVED, That we earnestly request our country women to unite with us in our efforts to contribute all necessary means to provide a suitable resting place and burial for our noble and heroic dead; that we will not rest our labors until this sacred duty is performed.
  • RESOLVED, That in order to raise funds to carry out the objects expressed in the foregoing resolutions, we constituted ourselves a Society to be styled “The Ladies Society for the Burial of Deceased Alabama Soldiers,” and that we solicit voluntary contributions for the same; and that we will hold in this city on Tuesday, the first day of May next, and annually on the first day of May thereafter, and oftener if deemed expedient, exhibitions consisting of concerts, tableaux, juvenile recitations, songs, suppers, etc., to be regulated and determined by committees to be appointed for that purpose.
  • RESOLVED, That to carry out these plans, an Executive Committee shall be appointed, which shall have authority to appoint sub-committees and agents at their discretion.
  • RESOLVED, That the President of this Society, together with the present resident ministers in charge of the different churches of this city and their successors in office, shall constitute a committee for the purpose of keeping and making proper application of the funds raised by this Society.
  • RESOLVED, That any lady can become a member of this Society by registering her names and by paying into the treasury an annual assessment of one dollar.
  • RESOLVED, That all clergymen or ministers of the gospel shall be considered honorary members of this Society.

On motion of Mrs. Dr. Baldwin, the Chair was authorized to appoint and Executive Committee consisting of ten, whereupon the Chair appointed the following ladies: Mrs. Dr. Rambo, Chairman; Mrs. Jno. Elmore, Mrs. Wm. Pollard, Mrs. Dr. Wilson, Mrs. W. J. Bibb, Mrs. Hausman, Mrs. Mount, Mrs. Bugbee, Mrs. W. B. Bell, Mrs. Fort Hargrove, and Mrs. James Ware.

On motion, the Society adjourned to meet whenever requested by the President.

The association in 1866 appointed Dr. Samuel K. Cox as agent to visit different battlefields and ascertain the condition. Dr. Cox faithfully discharged these duties and in this way, the money was most judiciously spent in reburying and marking the graves of the Alabama soldiers at various places.

In 1868 the accumulations of the association were spent on headstones costing $5,600 and a monument and chapel costing $3,000, in the Montgomery cemetery. It was not until 1876 that it was decided to do away with the May day offering always held on the first day of May. This original custom had been preserved through the ten long years of reconstruction.

Confederate Memorial Monument, Montgomery, Alabama 2010 (Photographer Carol Highsmith, Library of Congress)

On April 26, 1886, by invitation of the Monumental association and the Ladies’ memorial association, President Davis (President of the Confederacy) visited Montgomery and laid the foundation stone of the Confederate monument, on the Capitol grounds. Later the Monumental association withdrew and deposited the amount of $6,777 with the Ladies’ memorial association for the completion of this work. It was not until December 7, 1898, that the work was completed and the monument to the Confederate soldiers and sailors of Alabama was unveiled.

The Ladies Memorial Associations uniformly commemorated April 26 as Confederate Memorial Day in Alabama. Today, April 26th, “Confederate Memorial Day, also called Confederate Heroes Day in Texas, is a public holiday observed by the U.S. states of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas since end of the American Civil War to remember the estimated 258,000 members of the Confederate States Army, Navy, Marines, and militia who died in the line of duty.”2

CHARTER MEMBERS

Officers: Mrs. Judge B. S. Bibb, president; Mrs. Judge J. D. Phelan, vice president; Mrs. Dr. W. O. Baldwin, secretary; Rev. Dr. S. D. Cox, assistant secretary; Mrs. E. C. Hannon, treasurer.

Executive Committee: Mesdames Dr. Samuel Rambo, John Elmore, William Pollard, Dr. Wilson, W. J. Bibb, G. L. Mount, C. J. Hausman, Judge F. Bugbee, W. B. Bell, Fort Hargrove, James Ware.

Other Members: Mesdames Gov. Benjamin Fitzpatrick, Gov. T. H. Watts, Gen. W. W. Allen, Gen. J. Clanton, Gen. Hotlzclaw, Col. John Gindrat, Col. Jack Thornington, Col. J. B. Bibb, Col. Warren Reese, Col. T. Lomax, Col.. Virgil Murphy, Col. W. C. Bibb, Judge George Goldthwaite, Judge Samuel Rice, Judge T. J. Judge, F. M. Gilmer, Samuel Jones, Dr. Carnot Bellinger, Dr. W. C. Jackson, Dr. S. Holt, Dr. G. W. Petrie, Dr. E. A. Semple, Dr. Keyes, Dr. Hill, Dr. Thomas Taylor, Eliza Moore, Eliza Ponder, Leon Wyman, William Johnston, John Whiting, Benjamin Micou, Amanda Snodgrass, Eliza Brown, J. Cox, Daniel Cram, S. E. Hutcheson, J. Dubose Bibb, A. Gerald, Samuel Reid, Lou McCants, James Terry, Henry Weil, Sarah Herron, Henry Lee, Gallatin McGehee, Sam Marks, Virginia Hilliard, Wm. L. Yancey, George R. Doran, S. P. Hardaway, James Stewart, P. H. Gayle, Richard Goldthwaite, Tucker Sayre, William Ray, A. Strassburger, John Cobbs, William Ware, Misses Louisa S. Bibb, Mary Phelan, Priscilla Phelan, Bettie Bell, Ida E. Rice, Sallie Baldwin, Annie Goldthwaite.

Officers – 1921: Mrs. Mary Phelan Watt, president; Mrs. J. B. Allen, first vice-president; Mrs. J. T. Mapes, second vice-president; Mrs. C. A. Allen, recording secretary; Mrs. Edward R. Holt, treasurer; Mrs. Stephen Mitchell, historian; Mrs. A. H. McNeel, chaplain.

The exact date of the change of the name of the Society to “The Ladies’ Memorial Association” is not known. The first use of the new name was in an article by Dr. Samuel K. Cox, in “The Mail” of December 22, 1866. This article was headed “Ladies Memorial Association,” but no change in the name is found in the secretary’s book until 1874. The ladies of this association met at the cemetery of April 26, 1866, for the purpose of decorating the graves of the soldiers, and on May 1 and 2 a festival was held at Concert and Estelle halls and the theatre, $3,000 being realized from this, the first venture of the association. Thus it will be seen that the Ladies memorial association was the outcome of the Alabama historical and monumental society.

Confederate Memorial Day

April 26th, “Confederate Memorial Day, also called Confederate Heroes Day in Texas, is a public holiday observed by the U.S. states of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas since end of the American Civil War to remember the estimated 258,000 members of the Confederate States Army, Navy, Marines, and militia who died in the line of duty.”3

 

SOURCES

  1. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume II.
  2. Wikipedia

1 Cory, The Ladies’ Memorial Association of Montgomery, Alabama, pp. 25–47; quote on p. 47.

2Wikipedia

3Wikipedia

Note of event on April 28th & 29th, 2017

Confederate Park Civil War Military & Civilian Life Living History – Friday & Saturday, April 28 & 29, Confederate Memorial Park, 437 County Road 63, Marbury AL. Friday’s activities include a living history of the War Between the States for both schools and the public. Saturday features living history plus a Civil War skirmish. The state of the art museum interprets Alabama’s role in the war as well as Alabama’s only home for Confederate veterans. FREE admission to the grounds and a self-guided tour of the Soldiers’ Home site. Admission charged to the museum. Friday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. 205-755-1990, http://preserveala.org/confederatepark

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  • Daily life as an Alabama pioneer   
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Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

28 Responses to April 16, 1866, a committee was formed to retrieve the dead

  1. Too many Confederate Soldiers ended up in unmarked or mass burial graves.

  2. Hopefully Gov. Ivey will restore the Flags to the Memorial to the War dead in Montgomery.

  3. Colin Nelson – This is a great page for Alabama history.

  4. Never have heard of this till now …

  5. That was so interesting….a reminder of the hardships Southerners endured after THE war!

  6. They were traitors. Did we bury Japanese, Viet Cong, Isis casualties with honor?

    • David CostDavid Cost says:

      That was a very ignorant statement to make

    • Not really. The fought against the United States of America.

    • As the Constitution instructed.

    • What constitution? Point me to the part that says this.

    • Joel PopeJoel Pope says:

      States voluntarily joined the union, and it was every state’s right to secede. Lincoln and his minions, drunk with rich tax revenues from the Southern states, had no problem forfeiting the lives of over 600,000 human beings to satiate his greed. These Lincoln worshippers, of whom you are so proud, were murderers, and even the Supreme Court would not vindicate them. You, my pitiful David Elder, believe “might makes right”, and are most pathetic! On one thing we agree, I have no need for the federal government to bury nor honor my Confederate ancestors. Honorable men & women venerate the Southern dead. You and the Lincolnists are devoid of any honor to bestow!

    • What century do you live in? The Civil War was fought to maintain slavery for the landed aristocracy not honor. Where is it written that States have the right to secede. The flag of the Confederacy is not only a symbol for traitors to the US but for racists. The South fired first if you remember

    • David CostDavid Cost says:

      David Elder you better keep quiet. The more you talk the more you prove how ignorant you are. Read the bill of rights.

    • I have. You suffer from cognitive dissonance, the denial of facts because they disprove your false beliefs. I am not ignorant. You have no facts to support what you say so you sink to name-calling, the last resort of the uneducated.

    • I don’t see where they say states may secede

      Amendment I

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      Amendment II

      A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

      Amendment III

      No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

      Amendment IV

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      Amendment V

      No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

      Amendment VI

      In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

      Amendment VII

      In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

      Amendment VIII

      Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

      Amendment IX

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      Amendment X

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    • It is not name-calling if it is factual. Show me what is not factual in my comments.

    • David CostDavid Cost says:

      David Elder back to your statement that Confederate soldiers were traitors. I refer you to the Congressional Appropriations act of 1901 that had money set aside for 128 Confederate soldiers to be reburied in Arlington national cemetery and headstones be placed for them and 138 Confederates already buried there. Also Congressional act of 9 March 1906 that authorized federal headstones be granted Confederate soldiers as US veterans. To call a Confederate veteran a traitor is as ignorant and racist as you can get. I had 16 relatives fight for the Confederacy and NONE of them owned slaves. Most of these were from the great state of Alabama and they were protecting their homes and families from invading armies and could care less one way or another about slaves or slavery. So you need to go display your bigotry some where else

    • These actions for burial were long after the war ended. Lincoln, whom you malign, chose not to punish these traitors as an act of reconciliation. Many northerners wanted to hang Jefferson Davis and other prominent leaders of the south. I know that the majority of the southern soldiers were not slave holders but, as is often the case, bought into the lies of the rich elite, and that has not changed even today. Others were coerced by force or theat of death or imprisonment. But even if they fought without coersion they committed treason by definition. Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.

      How am I a racist? I believe in the Declaration of Independence which states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Every human on earth is descended fom someone who came from Africa. I voted for Obama twice. I am a white veteran who was born in East Tennessee. If my daughter married a black man and had children I would give her my blessing and love my grandchildren. No, your ancesters supported slavery by their particpation in upholding it. I am not saying they weren’t brave but they were still traitors.

      To deny that the war was for anything but slavery is simply not true. Most southern states wrote declarations of reasons for secession, and near the beginning of each document, sometimes the first sentence, declares the negro is inferior and they have a right to own and to enslave him.

      The beginning of Mississippi’s declaration:

      A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union

      In the momentous step, which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

      Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

      South Carolina:

      On Dec. 24, 1860, delegates at South Carolina’s secession convention adopted a “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.” It noted “an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery” and protested that Northern states had failed to “fulfill their constitutional obligations” by interfering with the return of fugitive slaves to bondage. Slavery, not states’ rights, birthed the Civil War.

    • Furthermore, to call me a “dumbass” is not accurate. If you mean I am not educated, that is not true. If you mean I am stupid, that is not true. For example, I don’t think you are stupid, just uneducated. If you mean I can’t speak or that I am a non-speaking donkey, that is not true. If you mean I have non-speaking buttocks, that is true if you exclude flatulence.

    • I politely say, Go to hell David Elder.

    • That proves my point. Goodbye

      • Daryl E. Ratterree says:

        David- You are miseducated The Confederate Soldier was NOT a Traitor. He was simply defending his home land. The South or The Confederacy never waged war against the Union. We only wanted to go in peace, I will give you a direct quote from Abraham Lincoln. He was ask “Mr. Lincoln, why don’t you just let the South go?” His response “Then who would pay for all of my government programs?” Question: If the South was wrong, then why are so many U.S. Army Bases named after Confederate Generals? Remember U.S. Grant was a drunk (consumed up to a quart of liquior a day) He also along with the Lincoln family owned Slaves until June 1865, almost three months after the War was over, when the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment prohibited ownership. General Robert E. Lee freed his Slaves in 1858, three years prior to the begining of the War Between the States. William T. Sherman was a War Criminal. He brought his wrath down upon the Women and Children of the South. Raping, Robing and pillaging on his march to the sea. So go study true and accurate history.

    • Betty Cumbie-Horn says:

      I had many an ancestor who fought in the Civil War for the south. That is an insult to my family name. My great great grandfather was elected Representative for the state of Georgia when we seceded from the Union. Most folks, such as yourself, think the war was fought to free the slaves. No true. Lincoln did not sign the bill adding the freeing of the slaves until after the war had started. The war was over the taxes added to the cost of cotton.

  7. David CostDavid Cost says:

    A lady and her friends here in Spring Hill , TN in 1866 went and moved 39 Confederate soldiers from battlefield graves and had them reburied in the old city cemetery. She published the names and units of these men in the Nashville paper. We found this article and were able to mark these graves with proper markers. Our SCV camp raised funds and put VA markers on the graves. There were soldiers from Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. We honor these and all 66 other Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery with a Confederate Memorial Day service every June.

    • Daryl E. Ratterree says:

      David- Which S.C.V. Camp do you belong to? My original Camp, which I am Camp Commander is #2086 “The Dixie Defenders” . We are based in Dixie County, Fl. I am also the Central Region Lieutenant Commander of the Florida Division. If I can ever be of assistance, please advise. You may visit us on the web at: http://www.dixiedefenders2086.com. Deo Vindice.

  8. Very interesting article.

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