Archive for May 23rd, 2009

110 Years Ago: Memorial Day 1899

May 23, 2009
Image from the "Gettysburg Compiler," May 30, 1899

Image from the "Gettysburg Compiler," May 30, 1899

Click image for larger/clearer image.

MEMORIAL DAY. [excerpt]


Addresses at the National Cemetery by D.D. Woodmansee, of Cincinnati, General Sickles, General Daniel Butterfield and Others — The Blue and the Gray Represented.

Memorial Day was observed last Tuesday at Gettysburg, the place of all other with which the memories of war are most closely associated, with fitting and impressive ceremonies.

At least 6000 people from Washington, Baltimore, Harrisburg and the neighborhood attended the exercises and witnessed the strewing of flowers on the graves of the dead.

The one disappointment of the day was the absence of General Longstreet…

The oration was delivered by D.D. Woodmansee, of Cincinnati, O., who said in part:

“Many are the lessons we have learned from the examples of the heroic dead who offered up their lives on this, the most historic battlefield of the Republic.

“New-made graves in various parts of this fair land revive in us a desire to keep fresh the memories of those who have dared to die for our country. the active, busy men of the Republic who lived in the early sixties have passed away, and it is a new generation, unfamiliar with the conflicts of the Civil War, that must solve the problem of our future. It is possible that the battles and the sacrifices and the victories of the last year have been made necessary that we may work out our greater destiny.

“The question as to whether the Philippines shall be ours is not the most important question before the American people. It is of a far greater concern to us to know whether this native land between the seas, which is already ours — this land which has been beautified and developed, and made the abode of the highest order of civilization — shall be preserved inviolate for generations to come.

“We must learn the lesson of protection, that saves us from ourselves, as well as from a foreign foe. Law and order must prevail. We will open our doors wide to the best civilization of both hemispheres, but we must keep them forever barred against all elements of society that do not measure up to our standards of manhood and womanhood.”

Gettysburg Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 06,  1899


Memorial Day in Manila

Manila, May 31. — Memorial Day was celebrated at Battery Knoll, where Scott’s guns were planted against the Filipino trenches in the first day’s fighting at Manila. Nearly 300 soldiers lie buried there on a bleak mound, surrounded by rice fields, rough boards marking the graves, which are arranged in five unbroken rows. Beyond these are Spanish block houses and bamboo hedges, which were torn by shells from the American guns.

The few soldiers who could be spared from the trenches came to Battery Knoll, dusty and bronzed, bearing flowers with which to strew their comrades’ graves. A silk flag was placed over each mound. The day was as mild as a New England spring day. Just before sunset a few hundred Americans gathered in a circle around Battery Knoll in blue and brown uniforms. Among the soldiers were groups of American women, while brown-faced natives peered curiously at the unwonted spectacle from points near by.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jun 01, 1899