Reunion of the Virginia division army of Northern Virginia Association
The annual gathering of this Association in the State
capitol at Richmond
took place on the evening of October the 23d, 1884, and was an occasion of more than ordinary interest.
A large number of distinguished Confederates were present—a notable feature of the occasion being that about twenty-five veterans of the ‘Maryland Line
,’ under command of General Geo. H. Steuart
, came as an escort to the orator, and were enthusiastically welcomed by their Virginia
comrades—and the hall was packed with a brilliant audience.
General W. H. F. Lee
of the Association, called the meeting to order, Chaplain J. Wm. Jones
led in prayer, and General Lee
(in graceful, appropriate and very complimentary phrase) then introduced, as orator of the evening, General Bradley T. Johnson
, of Baltimore
was greeted with hearty cheers, and was frequently interrupted with warm applause as he delivered the following
Address on the First Maryland campaign.
Within five years after the surrender and dispersion of the Con-. federate armies, it was considered necessary by some of those who had borne arms in the defence of the Confederate States
that an organization should be formed for the purpose of perpetuating the comradeship and preserving the esprit
of those four years of ordeal, and of collecting material for history; whereby the honor of our dead should be protected, and justice done by posterity to the aspirations, the motives, and the deeds of those who had fought and failed.
A plan of such an organization was submitted to General Lee
, but he did not think the time had arrived for such an action.
But when, in October, 1870, all Christendom stood uncovered before that open grave, at Lexington
, when the South
bent over the bier of her great chief, and the heart of Virginia
was wrung at her bereavement, a great concourse of citizens, and patriots, and veterans came together here, in Richmond
, to do honor to his memory, and to give expression to the feelings that stirred the whole people.
Then and there it was determined to carry out the intention which had been formulated the year before, and the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia was formed.
In the fourteen years that have succeeded, the largest portion of its work has been assumed,