Today many have specific views on the Confederate flag and the war itself, but beginning in the 1890’s reunions were held annually for the Confederate veterans who made it through the war and were still living. Starting 25 years after the end of the war, perhaps feelings had calmed. After all, it was Americans who fought Americans in the war. We didn’t fight another country, but ourselves. I’m sure the Union veterans had their reunions, also. Like any brotherhood, it was just good to get together and catch up on what had happened since the war. I find it amusing that in the article it talks about ‘the boys’! The youngest were probably in their late 40’s and 50’s, the oldest in their 80’s!
from The Bourbon News, Paris, Kentucky
Tuesday, July 26, 1898
The Confederate Reunion
The Bourbon veterans have returned from the national reunion of the Confederate veterans, which was held in Atlanta last week, reporting a pleasant time at the reunion, though the weather was very warm.
The Bourbon County Company – Company C., Col. W. C. P. Breckinridge, Ninth Kentucky Cavalry – was entertained during the stay at Atlanta by their comrade, John A. Miller, formerly of Millersburg. Mr. Miller now lives in Atlanta and is President of the large stock firm, the Bradley-Miller Company, and is captain of the Governor’s Horse Guards of Atlanta. The members present were Capt. Ed Taylor, Cincinnati; Hon. E. Abrams, U. S. Inspector of Hulls, Louisville; Ex-Congressman C. C. Black, of Augusta, Ga.; John W. Boulden, Maysville; Milton Wallace, Lockport; Hon. W. A. Morris, Mitchell Neal, Mt. Olivet; Judge Russell Mann, A. T. Forsyth, J. E. Kern, John T. Nesbitt, Peter Mernaugh, John D. Penn, of Paris; Charles Meng, G. T. Bradley, North Middletown; Joseph A. Miller, Jesse W. Payne, Thomas McIntyre, Millersburg. A barbecue was given by Capt. Miller to his comrades on Thursday afternoon from 4 to 7. About 100 ex-Confederates and permanent citizens of Atlanta were present. Hon. C. C. Black spoke for the company, and Hon. A. P. Candler, of Atlanta, responded for Capt. Miller. Capt. Mitchler, of Atlanta, sang his beautiful ‘Bugle Call’ and Maj. Lamar Fountaine, of Mississippi, who bears sixty-seven wounds, recited his beautiful war poem, ‘All Quiet On The Potomac Tonight.’ Buglers from the Horse Guards made the boys feel they were again living in the 60’s. Capt. Miller had made to order six large tents, all decorated with Confederate flags, and these were pitched under the large forest trees in his yard. In front of these the Company, with Mrs. Miller and her daughter, Miss Edna Miller, the sponsor of the Company, were photographed.
The reunion was the largest ever held.
The Kentucky girls were the prettiest.
There are 1,200 camps, with 40,000 members.
Hon. G. R. Keller and Horace Taylor represented Carlisle at Atlanta.
Rev. L. H. Blanton and Dr. I. M. Poyntz, of Richmond, went down with the Bourbon boys.
The veterans passed resolutions of condolence in deference to the memory of Gen. ‘Cerro Gordo’ Williams.
The Confederate choir and Glee club of Louisville, about forty strong, were present, and won great applause.
Capt. Ed Taylor’s Company, bearing the State flag of the U. C. V., led the Kentucky division in the parade.
The meetings were held in the Tabernacle at the Exposition grounds, which has a seating capacity for 15,000.
Dr. John A. Lewis, Ellezy Blackburn and W. A. Gaines, of Georgetown, with Will Lewis, of Frankfort, came in Monday night.
Maj. Austin, of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry, now living near Atlanta, greeted the boys for the first time since the surrender in 1865.
Gens. J. B. Gordon, Stephen D. Lee, Cabell, Anderson, Wade Hampton, Longstreet, Rosser, Evans and others were present.
Miss Winnie Davis, daughter of the Confederacy, Mrs. Stonewall Jackson, Mrs. B. H. Hill, were present and were introduced to the veterans.
Miss Anna Johnson, the handsome sponsor for the Mt. Sterling camp, was accompanied by her father, Col. Thomas Johnson, who is in his eighty-sixth year.
The Bourbon Veterans were greeted by many ex-Bourbons. Among them were Capt. John A. Miller, Capt. Bob Milam, Henry, Carleton and Lee Miller, Bowden Bros., Waddell Bros., Mr. Catchings, Rev. Hallam, Mrs. Adella Miller, and others, and their families.
Louisville made a strong bid for the next reunion, but it will be held at Charleston, S. C. The reunions have been held as follows: Chattanooga, Tenn., July 3, 1890; Jackson, Miss., June 1, 1891; New Orleans, La., April 8, 1892; Birmingham, Ala., April 25, 1894 (postponed from 1893); Houston, Tex., May 22, 1895; Richmond, Va., June 30, 1896; Nashville, Tenn., June 27, 1897; Atlanta, Ga., July 20, 1898.
Capt. Ed Spears, Capt. J. R. Rogers, Ed Rice, Hiram Carpenter, W. M. Lawson, W. H. Whaley, E. P. Clark, were among the Bourbon veterans who attended the reunion. Others who accompanied the Bourbon delegation were Judge W. M. Purnell, Mrs. Ev. Rogers, Mrs. Minnie Wilson and Miss Judith Carpenter, of this city; Mrs. Joseph A. Miller, Mrs. W. M. Layson and daughters, Mrs. G. W. Bryan and Miss Lula Grimes, of Millersburg. Mrs. Wilson will remain for a fortnight with her sister, Mrs. Chamberlain.