Confederate dead of Florida.
The ceremonies attending unveiling of the monument to, at Jacksonville, Florida, June 16, 1898. [extract from account of unveiling by Florida Times Union and Citizen.]Presented by Charles C. Hemming, of Gainesville, Texas, formerly of Jacksonville, Florida, and member of 3d Florida infantry, C. S. A.
Should the captious critics of American institutions or the observer of Republican principles require evidence of their stability, more than the story that one hundred and twenty years have given, they would have found convincing proof in the scene which Jacksonville witnessed yesterday. A thousand young men, the flower of the Seventh corps of the United States Army, escorted Confederate Veterans of thirty-five years ago through the streets of the city to the dedication of a monument erected by the generosity of one of Florida's sons, to the memory of Florida heroes who fell in the war which estranged for four years those who had been before and have since then been brothers. Greater contrasts in the whirl of time have rarely, if ever, been seen in any land, and such as that would hardly be deemed possible in any but America. To the sounds of martial strains they marched, the blue uniform of a reunited nation leading its grizzled veterans of the gray of former years. The Starry Cross and the Star Spangled Banner mingled in the same procession, and no one murmured. Splendid tributes of praise to Confederate heroes fell from eloquent lips to shouts welcomed by approval, which rose from the throats of the North and the South alike. Illinois and Virginia, Iowa and North Carolina, Wisconsin and New Jersey, through their soldiers, joined with Florida in honor to those who fought and bled and died for the Lost Cause, the cause which in the words of one speaker, “went down in defeat, but not in dishonor.”
Enthusiasm not effected.The sun dawned yesterday on another day of heat and discomfort, but it effected not the enthusiasm of those who had looked forward for months to the occasion, which was to see the erection and dedication of the Hemming Monument. At an early hour the streets were filled with the throngs of those who had come from other parts of the State to mingle with Jacksonville's citizens in the ceremonies. The line of march made known through the press was lined with crowds who were anxious to see the pageant. At St. James Park a stand had been erected, south of the monument, from which the speakers were to be heard, the songs to be sung, and on it were reserved places for the members of Camps of Veterans who had come to the celebration of the day, for the Daughters of the Confederacy, and for distinguished guests, including the chief officers of troops encamped here, and for the members of their staffs. As the head of the long procession came to the stand, the applications for space on it were innumerable, and even with the most careful management of the committee, the greatest difficulty was experienced in allowing within the railing only those for whom places had been reserved. On every side the crowd extended to the limits of the buildings which surround the park. Thousands were in sight, the light colors of women's and children's costumes alternating with the blue of the Volunteers' uniforms. The luxuriant semi-tropical growth of the park shrubbery made a strong background for the sea of faces that was turned to the stand or upward to the monument, its summit shrouded in the canvas of secrecy.
Those on the stand.‘Among those who were accorded places on the stand were the speakers of the day, the chorus, which rendered several patriotic songs, the sponsers and their maids of honor, the young ladies representing the different States, many of the Daughters of the Confederacy, delegations from the various camps of Confederate Veterans, a delegation from O. M. Mitchel Post, G. A. R., and several relatives of Mr. Hemming, the donor of the monument. The distinguished guests of honor were General Lee and his staff, beside General Arnold and General Burt and their staffs, and other and prominent military officers now in command of the soldiers at Camp Cuba Libre; Governor Bloxham and his staff were also present.’