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Returned Confederate States' flags. [special to the times-dispatch, October 28, 1905.]

Intensely interesting exercises that closed the Eighteenth Annual reunion of the Grand camp of the Confederate Veterans of Virginia.

Address of Hon. John Lamb.

The ‘custody of unidentified flags’ to be ‘the Confederate Memorial literary Society, Richmond, Va.

Petersburg, Va., October 27, 1905.—The crowning event of the Eighteenth Annual Reunion of the Grand Camp, Confederate Veterans of Virginia, was the closing scene to-night—the ceremony of receiving from the Commonwealth the captured Virginia flags that by Act of Congress had been returned to the State by the United States Government. The ceremony was purely sentimental and figurative, but it was glorious. It was the act of turning over to the keeping of the men who fought under them, the battle flags of Virginia's brave companies, battalions and regiments.

The committee appointed by the camp at the morning session to go to Richmond by trolley car to bring over the battered banners, returned at once, carried the flags to the Academy of Music, where many of them were placed prominently upon the stage, and the long box containing the others was placed just in front of the Grand Commander's table.

Beauty and chivalry.

The Academy of Music was early filled from the outer door to the stage with the beauty and the chivalry of old Virginia. Hundreds of people who came late could not get in the building.

On the stage were seated the officers and many members of the camp, prominent guests and the fair sponsors and maids of honor.

When GovernorMontague and Mrs. Montague walked upon the stage the vast audience rose and cheered itself almost hoarse. Ex-Governor Cameron was also received with cheers.

The exercises were opened with prayer by the Chaplain General and Adjutant C. R. Bishop, of A. P. Hill Camp, in a short and [298] eloquent speech, introduced Congressman John Lamb, the author of the bill in Congress by which the flags came back.

The author of the bill.

Captain Lamb, in figuratively presenting the flags to the Governor of Virginia, made a stirring speech, in which he gave a history of the legislation by which the banners were returned. While he modestly explained that the bill was first introduced in Congress by ‘a Virginia member.’ he gave credit to Representative Capron, of Rhode Island, a Grand Army man, for the successful passage of the bill. His tribute to the men who fought under the flags was earnest and eloquent.

Hon. H. B. Davis, of Petersburg, introduced Governor Montague, but before so doing he took occasion to explain that the ‘Virginia member’ so modestly referred to by the speaker who had just taken his seat, the author of the flag returning bill, was Hon. John Lamb, of the Third District.

Governor's speech.

Governor Montague was received with tremendous applause.

The Governor explained briefly how the flags were entrusted to the temporary care of the Chief Executive of the State. He had thus to assume a great responsibility and he sought the aid and co-operation of the Grand Camp, the organization which represents the men who fought under and made the flags glorious. The Governor said he had received many appeals for a different disposition of them for a distribution, etc., but he could not and did not resist the conclusion that the flags should be kept together, and that the Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans should be the custodians until the Legislature shall provide an everlasting abiding place for them. He recommended that they be put away in a fire-proof vault until the Legislature shall act at the request of the camp.

The Governor's tribute to the brave men who fought under the flags was eloquent and touching.

Colonel Tom Smith, of Fauquier, introduced ex-Governor William E. Cameron, who on behalf of the Grand Camp, received the flags.

Governor Cameron's speech.

Colonel Cameron's speech was a finished composition, couched in beautiful English. Using the return from Persian captivity of [299] the Jews and their heroic sacrifices to rebuild the Temple of the Lord as an illustration, he paid a glowing tribute to the valor of the Southern soldier as displayed after the war in the work of rebuilding the waste places of his desolated country. In conclusion, Colonel Cameron, with eloquent tribute to the women of the Confederacy and admirable words of good — will to those of the former enemies who ‘came out and fought us like men,’ received the flags for the Grand Camp and closed his speech amid the enthusiastic plaudits of the great audience, which rose en-masse and cheered while the band played ‘Dixie.’ The ceremonies closed with prayer by Dr. Myde. Many people lingered to exchange greetings with visiting veterans and other friends. Governor Montague was forced to hold an informal reception, being greeted by large numbers of friends.

[Attention may be called to the article in the last volume (Xxxii) of this serial reprinted under the caption of ‘Confederate States' Battle Flags’ as to the effective agency in their return by the War Department to their proper custody.

There can be no question as to the potent effect of this action toward re-cementing, in common tie of pride and affection, the sections of our re-united country.

The patriotic zeal of the veteran, Captain John Lamb, waxes in its felicitous results.

He writes of date February 6, 1906, that the joint resolution, introduced by him authorizing the Secretary of War to deliver certain unidentified battle flags, had been reported on favorably and unanimously by the Committee on Military Affairs, the custody being changed (at my suggestion) to ‘The Confederate Memorial Literary Society, Richmond, Virginia,’ in which our noble women of the South have provided proper cases for their display and safe keeping, and in whose historic building are also preserved the treasures of the Southern Historical Society.

The address which follows, is with the modest title and the diffidence so characteristic of our efficient representative of the Third District in Congress.—editor.]

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