Returning Confederate flags.
On April 30th, 1887, R. C. Drum, Adjutant General, addressed a letter to Hon. William C. Endicott, then Secretary of War, calling attention to the fact that a number of Confederate flags, which the fortunes of war had placed in the hands of the government at Washington, were stored in the War Department. He suggested in an able letter the propriety of returning to the regular constituted authorities of the respective States the flags that were borne by the organizations formed in their territory. On June 7th, 1887, the Adjutant General having been instructed by the Secretary of War, through the President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, made a tender of these flags to the Governors of the respective States. On June 16th, 1887, before sufficient time had elapsed for carrying out the order, the President revoked his approval of the suggestion of the Adjutant General, and directed that no further action be taken until the Congress should make final disposition of these flags. No further steps were taken until February, 1905, when a Virginia member of Congress offered a joint resolution to return these flags. He secured a hearing from the Committee on Military Affairs and presented the matter in a short address, at the conclusion of which Mr. Capron, of Rhode Island, a Grand Army man, offered a resolution that the Committee report the resolution favorably. It was passed without a dissenting vote and Mr. Capron was directed to make a report to the House. The Speaker was seen and consented at once to recognize a member with a view to calling up the measure. When he did so the Virginia member happened to be absent and Mr. Capron was recognized. He asked that the resolution be passed and there was not a dissenting vote. The work had been quietly done by sounding the views of the members and the few objectors had been silenced by the overwhelming sentiment in its favor. In a day or two the resolution went through the Senate without objection, thus becoming a law as soon