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[387]

The statue exposed to view.

Little Miss Meems Pulls the Cord—Salutes and Cheers—The lunch.


General Walker occupied about forty-five minutes in delivering his speech. At its conclusion the Maryland Band played a short air, and Master Lewis Walke Brander, son of Major Thomas A. Brander, picked little Virginia Preston Meems up in his arms and carried her from the grand-stand to the unveiling-stand.

It was a pretty picture as he threaded his way through the mass of veterans with the dainty, dark-haired little one clinging to him, her arms around his neck and her soft eyes full of wonder.

Litttle Virginia is a granddaughter of Colonel William H. Palmer, General Hill's chief of staff. On the unveiling-stand had gathered the flag-bearers of the various veteran organizations, and the child in her fluttering white dress was a striking centre-piece to this group.


The great scene.

At 2 o'clock a bugle gave the signal to commence firing. This was answered by a gun loaded and fired by a detail from the Pegram Battalion Association and little Miss Meems pulling the red cords that laced together the canvass. It dropped, exposing the statue to view. For a second there was a dead silence; then cheer after cheer burst from the vast throng, which rang out clear above the guns of the Howitzers on the right and the crash of musketry on the left. The infantry fire opened with a skirmish rattle, but soon came down to steady, well-delivered volleys.

It was not long after the salute had been fired before the order came to fall in, and the return march to the Exposition building was commenced.

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