Sunday, March 28, 2010


The wearers of the gray were out in very full numbers today. There were not as many as people expected. This is due to the fact that the soldiers are not here. It is probable that not more than 700 men enlisted from this county, if so many. Whatever this number was, hundreds have passed over the "great divide." The Southerner thinks that only 400 or 500 of the heroes of '65 are with us now.

As the eastern horizon blushed at the approach of the god of day, George Williams run up the Stars and Stripes over the Edgecombe Guards Armory. Then he hung out of every window other banners. One was tattered and torn with age and service. It was a flag presented to the Mexican volunteers by the ladies of Tarboro forty years ago. Miss Sarah Howard made the presentation speech.

It is of blue; in the centre is an eagle in guilt; on a scroll above and below are "Presented by the ladies." "Go our hearts are with you." The reverse side is the same with this change in the motto: "Edgecombe Volunteers." "Go, our hearts are with you.”

Many arrived early. The promptness taught a quarter of a century ago is with the soldier yet. He will not be late at roll call. The first man the reporter beheld this morning when he made his rounds was Lieutenant Fleming, who was the first man in the county [Edgecombe] to volunteer for the war.

As a souvenir the Southerner presented each veteran with a strip of ribbon, on which was printed "1889," "Veterans Reunion," "August 15th," "Compliments of the Southerner."

In honor of the day the court adjourned after a brief session till half past three o'clock. At 10 o'clock the Edgecombe Guards who had met to do honor to the occasions with colors flying and drums beating marched for the fair grounds, then without order, but orderly, the veterans followed.

At the Fair grounds the meeting was called to order in the grand stand. Four fifths of the seats were filled. Chairman Williams called the meeting to order and introduced Col. Jno. L. Bridgers, to welcome them. He did it well. He praised the soldiers and paid a glowing tribute to the North Carolina soldiers, more of whom surrendered at Appomattox than any other State.

When he spoke of Henry L. Wyatt as being the first man killed, Lieut. Fleming corrected the speaker by informing him that the first man killed was from somewhere about Marlboro.

The Southerner when an opportunity presents itself will get the Lieutenant to go into detail about this historical discovery. The speaker felicitously lauded the soldiers of Edgecombe. He was frequently and loudly applauded.

V. H. Sharpe responded by introducing H. C. Bourne, who pleasantly reproved Mr. Bridgers for calling him a Veteran. After a little pleasantry, he then paid a glowing tribute to the Confederate soldiers. He again earned the right to be styled "the silver tongued" orator.

A letter of regret from Col. L. D. Stark and Col. T. M. Parker, of Norfolk, was read. Business engagements prevented their attendance. Col. Parker's will be published.

Gen. W. R. Cox was introduced and spoke for ten or fifteen minutes. Of course his theme was the soldier, but he was eloquent over it. It was with anecdote. It waxed a very good speech, and was much appreciated.

The crowd was much larger than anyone expected. It was estimated variously from 500 to 800. The dinner was excellent. Theophilus Pitt is the best caterer in the96 counties.

In the afternoon the Edgecombe Guards did some drilling and firing, and were much complimented by those who had seen real war. S. R. Alley was out and took a photograph of the vets drawn up in line on the race track.

The Tarboro brass band furnished music for the occasion.

[Source: Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC, August 15, 1889. Also published in The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Summer 2005 issue.]

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