After an invocation by SCV Camp Chaplain Henry DeRamus, SCV Camp Commander Robert Crowe addressed the crowd. "This is a tribute to our heroes," he said. "No man can exactly define the cause for which the Confederate soldier fought. The Confederate soldier was purely patriotic. He fought for principles and needed neither driving nor urging, but was eager and determined to fight."
Ann Jones, a member of the Gen. P.M.B. Young Chapter No. 2373 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, spoke about the efforts of previous UDC members to get headstones installed in the cemetery. "In less than one year the ladies of the UDC had raised enough money to place them, and instead of inscribing 'unknown' on these stones, each stone reads 'CSA 1861-1865,'" she said.
The stones were placed on March 12, 1899. A small monument in the middle of the Confederate section of the cemetery was placed two years later in May 1901.
Local author Joe Head was the guest speaker. His topic was Uriah Stephens and the Great Locomotive Chase through Bartow County. Head discussed the chase's importance to Bartow County and noted how it occurred exactly one year after the Civil War started with the bombardment of Fort Sumter.
"But one year later, coincidentally, one year later the Great Locomotive Chase occurred right here in Bartow County," he said. "And that was when the Civil War came to Georgia, particularly Bartow County."
Head continued, describing the actions and mistakes of the Union raiders intent on burning bridges between Atlanta and Chattanooga. He also discussed the actions of Uriah Stephens -- now Kingston's favorite son and "voice of resistance" -- that eventually led to the raiders' defeat. Stephens repeatedly questioned raid leader James Andrews and refused to switch the track, which severely delayed Andrews and the stolen locomotive The General.
Reenactors from the 52nd Georgia Infantry Reenactor Unit, the Gilmer Light Guards Camp of Ellijay and the Stiles-Akin Camp formed an honor guard that stood at attention throughout the ceremony. During the laying of wreaths ceremony, the honor guard fired three salutes using black powder and muskets. Robert Johnson played taps.
Mike Bryson, who acted as the event's master of ceremony, saw the Memorial Day celebration as a way to remember history while keeping an eye to the future.
"Just as any event that we have, if we don't remember our history it might reoccur, " he said. "Say we didn't take care of this cemetery. You wouldn't remember your history. If you take care of it, take care of what you've got left here in the town of Cassville, then you've got some memories to share with your kids and grandkids."