Recalling "the past in order to build for a brighter future," historian Michael K. Shaffer will highlight the Civil War's impact on Bartow during a pair of Confederate Memorial Day commemorations.
Speaking at two of the three local observances, the Kennesaw resident will be the featured speaker at Saturday's Gen. P.M.B. Young Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s service at 11 a.m. at Olin Tatum Agricultural Building’s Stiles Auditorium, 320 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville, and the Stiles-Akin Camp No. 670 Sons of Confederate Veterans' program 10 a.m. April 21 at the Old Cassville Cemetery.
"Beginning with the Andrews Raid — Great Locomotive Chase — in April 1862, Bartow witnessed several wartime events, especially in May 1864, when some 160,000 soldiers — 100,000 in Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s three armies and 60,000 in Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate Army of Tennessee — moved through the region," Shaffer said. "Constant skirmishing, especially among cavalry forces, dotted the landscape.
"The Battle of Allatoona Pass, fought in October 1864, marks a fascinating engagement after the fall of Atlanta. Portions of the battlefield and federal forts, well-preserved, offer residents an excellent opportunity to connect with the history in their backyard."
Still observed by local organizations, Confederate Memorial Day is no longer officially recognized by the state of Georgia. Instead of marking Confederate Memorial Day, the fourth Monday in April now is referred to as “state holiday” on Georgia’s calendar.
"[I want those in attendance to] remember the brave soldiers, blue and gray, each fighting for a cause they believed noble," Shaffer said. "A war, which claimed at least 750,000 lives — 7.7 million today if adjusted to 2018 population, wreaked havoc on families. Many of these men never returned home, leaving women and children to grieve. Absent a sense of closure, since their menfolk fell on some distant battlefield, strained situations on the home front.
"Many portions of our great nation’s history carry ugly scars. We must recall the past in order to build for a brighter future. One cannot make judgements on 19th century events based on our societal norms of today. One can pay homage to fallen soldiers without getting lost in the political agendas, which started the war."
On April 29, Bartow's observances will conclude as Kingston Woman’s History Club presents the 154th Confederate Memorial Day Service.
Starting at 2:30 p.m, the program will feature guest speaker Dr. Joseph Kitchens — retired executive director of the Reinhardt University's Funk Heritage Center in Waleska — and music provided by Jessica Kennedy at the Kingston Baptist Church, 40 E. Main St. N.W. in Kingston.
"It started back when Kingston was occupied by the Union forces," said Marty Mulinix, treasurer of the Kingston Woman’s History Club, and cochairman of its Confederate Memorial Day Service committee. "It was sort of a standard thing in the spring — what they call Decoration Day, putting flowers on the graves. So while Kingston was occupied in [the mid-1860s] the ladies of the community wanted to do their regular Decoration Day, but the Union forces and the commander did not want them to congregate and do things. So the ladies went to the commander and asked if they could decorate the graves. … It was our understanding that the Union commander said, 'Yes, you can do it, but you have to put it on Union and Confederate graves.'
"… The Kingston Woman’s History Club officially started in 1900, although it was the women of Kingston that continued and did [the Confederate Memorial Day offering] prior to 1900. But it's the history club that picked it up," she said, adding the program has been expanded over the years to honor all veterans.
Afterward, a tea will wrap up the offering at the Kingston Museums' Martha Mulinix Annex. For more information, about Kingston Woman’s History Club's Confederate Memorial Day Service, call Mulinix at 770-235-0058.
To obtain further details about the Sons of Confederate Veterans' program, contact Dale Black at 678-800-3214. Call Shirley Hamby at 770-224-8656 for additional information on the United Daughters of the Confederacy's observance.