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Decoration Day, 1868

Article from The Register of Shepherdstown, W. Va., July 11, 1868


Floral Decoration – A correspondent over the signature of “Sweet Sixteen” to the Martinsburg New Era, gives the following description of a Floral Decoration, at Romney, Hampshire County, on the 6th of June:

“I wish to testify my due appreciation by giving you an account of the annual floral decorations of the grave of the Confederate dead, by the ladies of Romney Memorial Association. The ladies, robed in spotless white with evergreen trimmings, and each bearing a single bu den of loveliest flowers, assembled at the Presbyterian Church on the morning of the 7th of June. A large concourse of people from town and country, were present, including many ex-rebel soldiers, the latter of whom acted as Marshals. Several touching anthems were sung by the choir, and prayers offered by Dr. W. H. Foote and Reverend James Beatty. An introductory speech was made by Mr. J. Armstrong, he was followed by Lieut. Vandivere, a veteran of the Laurel Brigade, who made a pertinent speech, giving honor and glory to whom it was due, and reverently mentioned a few of those “immortal names, born not to die;” he reminded us of the gallant Captain G. Sheetz, and the heroic and daring Ashby, and the great Soldier, devoted Christian and patriot, Jackson. At the close of the services a procession was formed, and the line of march taken up for “Indian Mound Cemetery.” The marshal's kept good order, and we halted and formed a circle around the splendid monument erected to the memory of the Fallen Braves of Old Hampshire. Here a young lady recited a very suitable selection of poetry, amid the most respectful silence. We then moved on to the graves of Valley soldiers, and forming a circle around them another poem relative to the Confederate dead was given by a lady, meanwhile four ladies, appointed for the work of love, strewed the ground with flowers, and placed on each grave a laurel wreath. The procession then moved on to the graves of the Georgians. Here rests the bones of Woolsey Pressly*, of the 1st Georgian Regiment, Company K., only 21 years old when he gave up his life for his country - he died when Jackson occupied Romney. Here another poem was repeated by a young lady, and the graves handsomely decorated. The poems were recited with much feeling and emotion by these daughters of Hampshire, who know so well how to honor bravery and patriotism.

"Many small children were engaged in strewing the graves. I saw one little boy only two years old, bearing his tiny wreath while his bright eyes sparkled with childish glee. Don't you think the rising generation up here are likely to be very 'disloyal.'"


 

Timeline:

  • June 20, 1863, West Virginia becomes the thirty-fifth state with Hampshire County included in it.
  • April 9, 1865 Gen. Lee surrenders at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
  • 1866 1st Decoration Day in Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney.
  • September, 1867 the Monument to Confederate dead is dedicated in Indian Mound Cemetery.
  • July 11, 1868 article appears in the Shepherdstown Register describing the decorating of graves in Indian Mound Cemetery on June 6th.


Footnote:
* service records note: Wesley Pressley served as a private in Co. H, 1st (Ramsey's) Georgia Infantry CSA. He enlisted 24 July, 1861 at Dahlonega, Georgia, and died at Romney, Va. 31 Jan., 1862.
 

This newspaper may be found at:
       https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026824/1868-07-11/ed-1/seq-2/