Confederate Heroes Day

Confederate Memorial Day, also known as Confederate Decoration Day (Tennessee) and Confederate Heroes Day (Texas), is an official holiday and/or observance day in parts of the U.S. South as a day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Nine states officially observe Confederate Memorial Day: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.[1]

History

In the spring of 1866 the Ladies Memorial Association of New Orleans, et al.

The date for the holiday was selected by Mrs.

On April 26, 1866, tens of thousands of Southern women commemorated the first Confederate Memorial Day. Some, however, in the northernmost portions of the South did not participate because their flowers were not yet in bloom. Consequently, they selected dates later in the spring to hold their first Confederate Memorial Days. For example, parts of Virginia chose May 10, commemorating Stonewall Jackson's death. Near Petersburg, VA, they chose June 9, the anniversary of a significant battle there. Others opted for Jefferson Davis' birthday, June 3.

To the present, Southern states continue to have Confederate Memorial days. Though most are still on April 26, others continue to be later in the year.

Relationship to current national Memorial Day

In 1868, General John A. Logan, who was the commander in chief of the Union Civil War Veterans Fraternity called the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), launched the Memorial Day holiday that is currently observed in the entire United States. According to General Logan's wife, he emulated the practices of Confederate Memorial Day. She wrote that Logan "said it was not too late for the Union men of the nation to follow the example of the people of the South in perpetuating the memory of their friends who had died for the cause they thought just and right."[4]

States and dates observed

State Date Remarks
Alabama Fourth Monday in April[5] The surrender of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston to Union General William Sherman on April 26, 1865.
Arkansas Third Monday in January[6] Robert E. Lee's birthday (state holiday combined with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day).
Florida April 26[7][8] See remarks at Alabama.
Georgia April 26[9] See remarks at Alabama.
Kentucky June 3[10] Jefferson Davis's birthday.
Louisiana June 3[9][11] Jefferson Davis's birthday. Set by state law, Louisiana Revised Statues 1:55
Maryland First Saturday of June
Mississippi Last Monday in April[12] See remarks at Alabama.
North Carolina May 10[9] The death of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in 1863 and the capture of Confederate president Jefferson Davis in 1865.
Pennsylvania Second Saturday in May Observed by the Pennsylvania Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
South Carolina May 10[13] See remarks at North Carolina.
Tennessee June 3[9] Jefferson Davis's birthday.
Texas January 19[9] Confederate Heroes Day. In 1973, the Texas legislature combined the previously official state holidays of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis' birthdays into a single "Confederate Heroes Day" to honor all who had served the Southern Cause. In some years, this date may coincide with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. State offices are partially staffed in recognition of this day.
Texas April 26[9] Confederate Memorial Day. Texas' official holiday is named Confederate Heroes Day and is celebrated on January 19. However, many local communities and Southern historical organizations within the state also observe a separate "Confederate Memorial Day" on April 26.
Virginia Last Monday in May[9] Memorial Day.

References

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