From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Confederate Memorial Day|
|Also called||Confederate Heroes Day|
|First time||April 26, 1866|
Confederate Memorial Day (also called Confederate Heroes Day in Texas), is a public holiday observed by the U.S. states of Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas since the 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 combat while fighting against the United States. The day is also marked by observances in many other states. It is observed in late April in some southern states to recall the surrender of the last major Confederate field army at Bennett Place on that date in 1865.
In the spring of 1866 the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia, passed a resolution to set aside one day annually to memorialize the Confederate war dead. Mary Ann Williams, the association secretary, was directed to pen a letter inviting ladies associations in every former Confederate state to join them in the observance.
Their invitation was written in March 1866 and sent to all of the principal cities in the former Confederacy, including Atlanta, Macon, Montgomery, Memphis, Richmond, St. Louis, Alexandria, Columbia, and New Orleans, as well as smaller towns like Staunton, VA, Anderson, SC, and Wilmington, NC. The actual date for the holiday was selected by Elizabeth Rutherford Ellis. She chose April 26, the first anniversary of Confederate General Johnston's surrender to Union Major General Sherman at Bennett Place. For many in the Confederacy, that date in 1865 marked the end of the civil war.
In their book, The Genesis of the Memorial Day Holiday in America, Bellware and Gardiner determine that the national Memorial Day holiday is a direct offshoot of the observance begun by the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia in 1866. In a few places, most notably Columbus, Mississippi and Macon, Georgia, Union graves were decorated during the first observance. The day was even referred to as Memorial Day by the Baltimore Sun on May 8, 1866 after the ladies organization that started it. The name Confederate Memorial Day was not used until the northern observance was initiated in 1868.
While initially cool to the idea of a northern version of the holiday, General John A. Logan was eventually won over as evidenced by his General Order No. 11 of May 5, 1868 wherein he commanded the posts of Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) to likewise strew flowers on the graves of Union soldiers. The GAR eventually adopted the name Memorial Day at their national encampment in 1882.
Many theories have been offered as to how Logan became aware of the former Confederate tradition he imitated in 1868. In her autobiography, his wife claims she told him about it after a trip to Virginia in the spring of that year. His secretary and his adjutant also claim they told him about it. John Murray of Waterloo, New York claims it was he who inspired Logan in 1868. Bellware and Gardiner, however, offer proof that Logan was aware of the southern tributes long before any of them had a chance to mention it to him. In a speech to veterans in Salem, Illinois on July 4, 1866, Logan referred to the various dates of observance adopted in the south for the practice saying “…traitors in the South have their gatherings day after day, to strew garlands of flowers upon the graves of Rebel soldiers...”
In Alabama, Confederate Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in April. It is a public holiday and state offices are closed.
In Florida, Confederate Memorial Day is observed on April 26. When it falls upon a Sunday, the public holiday will be observed on the following Monday.
In Georgia, the holiday celebrated on April 26 and known as Confederate Memorial Day was observed on the Monday prior to or on April 26, as proclaimed by the Governor. The state capitol and state agencies are closed, as on all state holidays. In 2016, the name Confederate Memorial Day was dropped and April 26 was observed on Monday April 25 and simply designated "State Holiday."
Kentucky observes June 3 as both Confederate Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis' birthday, along with Robert E. Lee's birthday on January 19. State offices may close, but usually do not.
In Mississippi, Confederate Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in April. It is a public holiday and state executives may close their respective offices. 
In South Carolina, Confederate Memorial Day is observed on May 10. If on a Saturday, it shifts to Friday. If Sunday, it will be observed the following Monday.
In Louisiana, Confederate Memorial Day is observed on June 3rd.
In Texas, Confederate Heroes Day (also called Confederate Memorial Day) is observed on January 19. It is a public holiday and some state agencies may operate on reduced staff.
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- "Confederate Memorial Day parade on Main Street" [Wauchula, Florida] (Black & white photoprint). Tallahassee, Fla.: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. 1912. RC21281. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
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