Stiles-Akin Camp No. 670 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Driving through the town of Cassville today, motorists would be surprised to learn that the sparsely-populated community was once the cultural center of northwest Georgia.
Known for its rich terrain, court cases and bustling business community, Cassville's landscape was forever changed in 1864 as Gen. William T. Sherman's troops burned the town. Even though Cassville was under Union occupation since May 1864, it was not destroyed by the 5th Ohio Regiment until Nov. 5.
After the torching, only three churches and three residences remained, some of which were serving as makeshift hospitals. In addition to the town's transformation, its Confederate Cemetery still shows evidence of the impact that the Civil War had on Cassville, with its display of about 300 graves.
"There were like 20 plus [regiments] that left this county to serve in the Confederate army," said Dale Black, a member of the Stiles-Akin Camp. "A lot of the men were killed and when [the others] came back there was nothing here, no crops. All of the crops were either taken or used during the war.
"The whole town of Cassville was burned, part of Cartersville was burned. But when they came back home the Union army was occupying this part. ... [Motorists now] would never know what [Cassville] was like. There was a two-story brick courthouse that sat on the courthouse square [and] two colleges, brick-lined streets. There were four hotels at one time, two doctors, a dentist [and a] book store. There was an academy for the children and at one time there was 14 practicing attorneys in Cassville ... They had a jail, a nice brick jail. You can imagine [driving] through there [now] and just looking down and [saying] something was there, something was there."
To commemorate the town's rich Confederate history and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Stiles-Akin Camp will hold a Confederate Memorial Day observance Saturday at 10 a.m. To be held at the Cassville Confederate Cemetery, the service will feature speaker Jerry Maddox; a gun salute conducted by members of the Gilmer Light Guards, the 52nd Georgia Infantry Reenactor Unit and the Stiles-Akin Camp; and the 12th Georgia Artillery will fire a replica Civil War cannon.
"April is Confederate History Month, and we do this every year to honor the memory of the Confederate soldier and the ones who died in that war ... and also we honor all veterans," Black said. "[I believe it is important] to remember the history, and I had several great great-grandfathers that were in the war. The history -- if we don't remember it, it will be gone. And we'd like to try to get the young people involved and keep the memory going, because as fast-paced as today is we kind of forget the past."
For more information, contact Black at 678-322-6967.
Kingston Woman's History Club
On Sunday, the Kingston Woman's History Club will continue organizing the grave decoration at the Confederate Cemetery -- a tradition that began more than 145 years ago.
"Kingston had such a key role in the Civil War as everyone knows," said Linda Leachman, president of the Kingston Woman's History Club. "General Sherman was based in Kingston for a while. He gave us some difficult times, however he did respond when our predecessors -- the Soldiers Aid Society -- approached him and asked if they could decorate the graves and that was the beginning of our services. He said as long as we remembered all those who had fallen. And of course the ladies did then. They decorated the Union graves as well as ours.
"So he may have wreaked a lot of havoc but I think also we're all stronger for that. There's many [Civil War] sites in and around Kingston. We'd love for people to come by the museum. We have some brochures there on the different places in Kingston that people perhaps would like to visit. And of course our Confederate museum will be open Sunday as well as the Annex, where we hold our Confederate tea and we invite everyone to attend."
The 147th annual Confederate Memorial Day Service will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Kingston Baptist Church, 40 E. Main St. Thomas Glanton will be the keynote speaker and vocalist Ashlie Rae will perform. Afterward, children will participate in a grave decoration during the Confederate Cemetery service, directed by American Legion Carl Boyd Post 42. A Memorial Tea will follow at the Kingston Museum, Martha Mulinix Annex.
"We're extremely excited about our speaker, Mr. Thomas Glanton," Leachman said. "I'm just really intrigued by the title of the address that he gave me, which is 'The Civil War: A distant memory but closer to us every day.' So we're really looking forward to that. He's quite a historian and has a lot of experience. ... But one of the most touching things for me is the placing of the flowers by the children on the graves in the Confederate Cemetery.
"Many of us still do as they did in days of old -- go out and actually gather flowers. Some purchase them but many gather the flowers, and it just reminds us that no matter what the battle was fought about or when it was fought that people were willing to die for what they believed. We must always stand and recognize these people. So that's the important thing -- that we never forget those that fought for what they believed."
Organized in 1900, the Kingston Woman's History Club grew out of a number of prior organizations, the first being the Soldiers Aid Society. In 1861 the society formed one of the first, if not the first, Wayside Home in the nation, where Confederate soldiers would receive food and medical attention when they passed through Kingston.
Along with organizing the longest continuous running Confederate Memorial Day Service, the Kingston Woman's History Club has been instrumental in many community service efforts, some of which include the Kingston City Park, making improvements to the Kingston Confederate Cemetery, operating the Kingston Woman's History Club's Museums and erecting a veteran's monument in the city park.
To obtain more details about the Confederate Memorial Day Service, call Leachman at 770-382-1747 or Nettie Holt at 770-386-0146. Prior to the commemoration, The Governor's House in Kingston will serve lunch. Reservations, which are required, can be placed at 770-336-9149.
Gen. P.M.B. Young Chapter No. 2373 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy
The Gen. P.M.B. Young Chapter of the UDC's observance will be held April 30, 11 a.m., at Stiles Auditorium, 320 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville.
Mike Bearrow, curator for the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, will deliver an address titled "The General Locomotive and the Great Locomotive Chase." A reception will follow.
"The purpose of our meeting is to remember the lives of all the Confederate soldiers who died or were wounded during the War Between the States," said Barbara Benson, president of the Gen. P.M.B. Young Chapter. "And also we're going to honor the veterans of all wars. The importance of doing [this] is it is a testimony of our love for our country and for our appreciation of the servicemen and women who have made our freedom to assemble and have such a meeting possible -- both those that served in the Confederacy as well as those that have served throughout the years in the military."
According to chapter's Facebook page, "Membership is open to women no less than 16 years of age who are blood descendants, lineal or collateral, of men and women who served honorably in the Army, Navy or Civil Service of the Confederate States of America, or gave material aid to the cause. ... The objectives of the organization are historical, educational, benevolent, memorial and patriotic: To collect and preserve the material necessary for a truthful history of the War Between the States and to protect, preserve and mark the places made historic by Confederate valor; to assist descendants of worthy Confederates in securing a proper education; to fulfill the sacred duty of benevolence toward the survivor of the war and those dependent upon them; to honor the memory of those who served and those who fell in the service of the Confederate States of America; to record the part played during the war by Southern women, including their patient endurance of hardship, their patriotic devotion during the struggle, and their untiring efforts during the post-war reconstruction of the South; and to cherish the ties of friendship among the members of the organization."
For more information about the April 30 service, call Benson at 770-529-3602.