United Confederate Veterans


Reunions held in Memphis - 1901, 1909, 1924

 
 

The United Confederate Veterans was an organization for former Confederate soldiers of the American Civil War, and was equivalent to the Grand Army of the Republic, which was the organization for the Union Veterans.   The UCV was founded in 1889 as a "benevolent, historical, social and literary Association", and was active well into the 1940s, with it's final reunion being held in Norfolk, Virginia in 1951. 

The primary functions of the organization were to provide for widows and orphans of former Confederate soldiers, preserve relics and mementos, care for disabled former soldiers, preserve a record of the service of its members, and organize reunions and fraternal gatherings.  At its height, membership was approximately 160,000 former Confederate soldiers organized into 1,885 local camps.  They held 3 of their annual reunions in Memphis - the first in 1901 and 20,000 veterans attended.

       

  Please wait a couple of minutes for all photos to load  before clicking on the small photos...

       

During the Reunions, there were many festivities associated with the Veterans...

       
       

Birmingham 1916 Washington 1903 Little Rock 1911 Atlanta
       
       

From 'The Center for Civil War Research':  "Almost immediately after the end of the Civil War, veterans sought out occasions to gather together, to relive their shared experiences, find solace in their battle-forged bonds, to celebrate their heroic deeds, and commemorate the sacrifices of their fallen comrades. These reunions of regiments, corps, armies, and fraternal organizations - so important to the soldiers and their families - came eventually to serve as symbol of a wider national reunification, despite the vast majority of reunions remaining purely separate former Union or Confederate affairs. By contrast, at infrequent “Blue and Gray” reunions, veterans of both sides made conciliatory overtures, enjoyed the hospitality of former enemies and celebrated their collective American identity.  Attended by the hundreds and thousands, reunions of all kinds evoked powerful sentiments and became fertile ground for the construction of Civil War memory.  The location, frequency, attendance, and content of these reunions not only demonstrates the popularity of this form of remembrance, but also the national imperative to commemorate the Civil War in a way that honored its veterans and gave meaning to their sacrifices".

 
 

Thanks  to the Memphis Public Library and the University of Memphis Library for many of the  photos on this page

 

 

 UCV Reunion - Memphis 1901

 

 

In 1901, Memphis hosted the eleventh Annual National Reunion of the United Confederate Veterans.  The citizens of Memphis raised an astonishing $80,000 to construct an 18,000 seat Confederate Hall on the site of Confederate Park - the building to be demolished at the end of the reunion.  One of the largest single donations ($1,000) came from the first black millionaire Robert Reed Church.  The three-day reunion celebration culminated in a parade of 15,000 veterans through city streets draped in bunting and flags.  The Commercial Appeal called it "the most imposing spectacle ever witnessed in the South."  As part of those festivities, 12,000 people attended the Confederate Ball hosted by the Forrest Camp in Confederate Hall.

 

Confederate Hall

It was the largest Reunion ever held.  The city was decorated with over 15,000 Confederate flags and all 15,000 of the Civil War survivors marched in the grand parade led by their generals.  At any given spot, the parade took over two and a half hours to pass.  Many Memphians opened their homes to the Veterans after all the hotel space was taken.   President McKinley had been invited but had a conflict of dates, prevented his attendance, so he came a few days early.

 

 

Main Street parade

Memphis Main Street 1901

Memphis Veterans - 1901

UCV - Headquarters

   

 

 

 

 

Confederate Hall - 1901

Confederate Hall

       
A Word for Colored Veterans   (From The Holly Springs South (Mississippi), April 25, 1901)

"There are among the colored people, not a few who rendered faithful service during the War, and they are certainly entitled to recognition and to share in the enjoyment of the great reunion. One of our citizens has already made up his mind to take his faithful man, Jack, to Memphis when the veterans meet, and no doubt others will do likewise. Some provision should be made there for taking care of them. They will never have the opportunity to look in the eyes of their old wartime friends and we want all to go who desire and can. Some of them have friends there of their own race, who will provide for them as best they can, and we hope provisions will be made for all who go, for they were true and faithful in the day and hour of trial". 

       

Veterans on Front St

1901 UCV Committee

1901 UCV Cover and Memphis Map (BIG file)

The very interesting complete program is posted below.  They are very BIG files.  Be patient while they load.

Cover - Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4

Story of the Program

         

 

 

 

 

Artifacts and Memorabilia from the UCV Reunions are highly collectible

UCV Souvenir scroll with N.B. Forrest's photo

Staff Ribbons

Special Editions:  Commercial Appeal 1901

1901 Sheet Music

Delegates-Soldiers Badge

Delegates-Soldiers Badge

Button

Medal

 
 

Lapel Pin

Stick Pin

Ribbon

Commemorative Photo

Official Envelope

 
 

 1901 Program  

1901 Minutes

1901 UCV Ad

Spoon

1901 UCV Souvenir

 
 

1901 Souvenir Program

1901 Souvenir Program Back

1901 Stick Pin

 NY Times 3-2-1901

       
       

1901 UCV Flag

1901 UCV Medal

< Leslie's Weekly article about UCV Reunion-June 1, 1901 >

       
       

1901Railroad Timetables to Memphis UCV Reunion

Lost Cause 1901

1901 UCV Sash

 
 

Knights of Pythias ... 1901Badge 1901 Delegates Badge 1901 UCV  scroll

1901 UCV Paper Weight

 
 

<            1901 Camp Ribbon Prototype ... and ribbons from various camps         > 1901 Invitation
 
 
   
1901 Medal

1901 Delegate

1901 Guest

   
 
 
 

 UCV Reunion - Memphis 1909

 

 
 



In 1909, Memphis again hosted the UCV Reunion, this time at the Bijou Theater on S. Main. 
The festivities included a Grand Ball, the Great Parade of Veterans, a Regatta on the Mississippi, auto races and fireworks at the Tri State Fairgrounds, steamboat excursions, magic lantern shows, and theatrical productions.  All elements of Memphis outdid themselves vying to entertain the veterans.  This was the 19th UCV National Reunion and included 18,000 veterans.  The city was beautifully decorated with bunting and flags waving in all directions. 

From 'Confederate Veterans Magazine' July 1909:    "Memphis en fete was a city beautiful.  Main Street ...  was a mass of brilliant bunting and fluttering flags.  The resident district also was in gala attire,  nearly every house showing the stars and bars with masses of Chinese lanterns and bunting... Beautiful as the gala city was by day, by night it was a scene of fairylike enchantment for myriads of electric lights lent their glow.   Seldom have so elaborate preparations been made for any Reunion as were made for this... Aside from the decorations of the city, which were as elaborate as an unlimited expenditure of money and beautiful taste could make them, the general arrangements were well conceived and thoroughly carried out.  The entire city seemed resolved...every third man or woman...wore the little silken badge, "I live here, ask me," and the slightest show of bewilderment...on the part of a visitor would bring one of these courteous guides to his assistance".


"Possibly Memphis realized that in the nature of things this probably would be the last Reunion held in that city, so made every effort to make it the Ultima Thule of perfect success.  The management is to be congratulated on the wonderful smoothness with which all arrangements were carried out, and especially complimented upon the handling of the enormous and unexpected crowds".

 

The Decorated Bijou     

The Great Parade

1909 Main-Court Square

Southern Mothers

       

"The Bijou Theater, which was used as the Convention Hall, was most beautifully and elaborately decorated in the red and white, interspersed with palms and ferns". 

"Besides the grand ball, with its many "dancers dancing in tune," and the great parade of veterans, who kept time to the martial music as if their feet were as young as in the sixties, there were many special features - a regatta on the Mississippi, automobile races and fireworks at the Tri-State Fair Grounds, a steamboat excursion, magic lantern shows, theaters, etc.   The floral parade was one of the finest features of the Reunion.  Hundreds of automobiles, carriages, victorias, and floats gayly decorated were in line, and the rarest skill had been employed to make each more beautiful than the other.  It was a riot of color...  Beautiful as were the carriages, still more beautiful were the inmates, for here rode the sponsors, maids of honor and chaperons of the different organizations".

       

1909 Parade 1909 Parade 1909 Parade 1909 Parade
       
See the 1909 Parade down Main Street in 60 rare photos - Click here
       

1909 Parade - Gov Patterson

Some of the Boys

Confederate Park

South greets North

       

 

The 'Lexington Progress' newspaper saw it differently:  "The great annual meeting of the United Confederate Veterans, held in Memphis ... will probably be remembered by all as the most largely attended in the entire history of the organization. No other point is so centrally located, so accessible by rail and river and no other place will work so hard as does Memphis to drum up a crowd, for Memphis has an eye to business and can see the advantage of bringing to that city a crowd of more than a hundred thousand people" ... "...Memphis let as many veterans go un-housed as had ever happened in any city.  Hundreds of old soldiers slept in the parks, on the benches and ground, as did thousands of the COMMON VISITORS who could not find a place to sleep or would not pay the robber prices exacted. Such hotels as the Peabody more than doubled the price of rooms and on cots worth but little if any more than a dollar, a man was asked $1.50 to sleep one night.  In the matter of eating there was no reasonable complaint, for houses which fed well held to regular prices, but on lodging the robbery was notorious-an imposition which should never be submitted to in any city, and Mobile should be given fair warning as that city has been selected for the next Reunion.  Memphis papers are boasting that the Reunion brought to that city more than a million dollars in cash--and there you have the burning patriotism which prompted the city to entertain the veterans who came-and were found.  The Memphis Street Car Company is said to have done $50,000 business last week and did it honestly, charging the regular price, 5c per ride. We wish the company could have made a hundred thousand".

 

Highly Collectible Artifacts and Memorabila from the 1909 UCV Reunion...

 

Medal 1909

Medal 1909

Medal 1909

Medal 1909

Medal 1909

         
         

Reunion Badge

Stick Pin

Badge

Reunion Program

Medal

   

 

   
         

Souvenir 1909

Poster 1909

   Welcome...

      Souvenir

Official Postcard

       
       

Miscellaneous items

Camp 315 Letter Opener

Compact with Mirror

Compact - back

 

 

   
       

1909 Souvenir          

1909 Letter Opener

1909 Pin

1909 Poster

...The Next Reunion

         
         

Railroad Fares

1909 Flag - Street Decoration

1909 Review

 Winnie Davis

1909 Postcard

       
       

1909 Minutes

Stonewall Jackson Souvenirs

1909 Coffee Pot

1909 Sheet Music

1909 Souvenir      

 

 

 

 
 

Generals - Card

1909 Missouri Pin

1909 Robert E. Lee Medal

1909 Lee Medal

 
 

4 very rare postcards of Generals

1909 Souvenir

Battlefield Routes

1909 Registration

 
 

<   Complete official program of the 1909 Reunion    >

 
 

Staff Camp Camp 1909 Heart <        1909 Social Program      >
 
 
 
 
 UCV Reunion - Memphis 1924
 

In 1924, Memphis hosted the UCV for the third time.  The city had just built the Auditorium and it had not yet officially opened.  But the Veterans got to use it for all their activities.  This was the 34th Reunion.

The 'Confederate Veteran' Magazine in 1924 wrote:  "Memphis has kept the faith," was the feeling expression of Commander in Chief Haldeman in reference to the entertainment provided for the heroes in gray by the great Bluff City, and this appreciation was echoed in the hearts of all veterans there.  The hospitality of the city was not limited, and only compliments have been expressed by those who enjoyed it.  Even the weather man was considerate and provided weather that was ideal for the occasion.  Memphians can rest satisfied that all were pleased."

   

The Grand Veterans' Parade down Main Street ...

       

       

The convention opened June 4 and thousands had gathered in the magnificent new auditorium, capable of seating some 12,000 people.  There was some confusion in getting the delegates seated; also, the unfinished condition of the auditorium made it difficult to hear a short distance from the stage.

The reunion parade is always the crowning feature with the veterans, and Memphis gave them two parades, veterans taking part in both.  The Civic Flower parade on Wednesday afternoon was a vivid spectacle, highly enjoyed by participants and spectators.  The Veterans' parade on Friday morning brought them out in force, many marching in line, though the larger part seemed well content to ride with the pretty girls and share with them the enthusiastic cheers of the thousands looking on.

       

Thanks to University Libraries, University of Memphis, for the photos of the 1924 parade.

       

The Grand Veterans' Parade continues ...  These photos have rarely been seen since 1924.

       

       
       

The Memphis Commercial Appeal printed a special eight-page commemorative edition during the UCV Reunion.  This very rare newspaper, in the collection of Dave French, is posted below in its entirety.  
 

They are VERY BIG files.  Please be patient while they load.
       

Page 1 Page 2 Page 2 Page 3
       

Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
 
       
       

Highly Collectible Artifacts and Memorabila from the 1924 UCV Reunion...

       

Medal 1924           Medal 1924 Medal 1924 Medal 1924 Medal - Engraving of Ellis
         
         

Delegate 1924

Souvenir     

Calendar   

1924 Broken Medal               Medal - Back
       
 

Souvenir Medal

Souvenir

1924 Invitation

  1924 Ribbon

  Delegate Badge

       
       

1924 Scrapbook Souvenir

1924 Commercial Appeal

1924 Reunion Letter

       
       

1924 Railroad "plans"

1924 Confederate Veteran Magazine...Reunion edition

Peabody Construction -  1924

 
 

<                    1924 Reunion Program                       >

1924 Oak Hall Float

 
 
 

 

 
Some of the local UCV Camps at the State and National Reunions-Conventions
       
       

Alabama - 1890

Arkansas - 1911

North Carolina 1903

Atlanta - 1929

       
       

Austin - 1905

Decatur Camp

Florida 1927

Tennessee

       
       

Franklin - 1905

Murfreesboro - 1929

Dyersberg

Birmingham -1916

       
       

Nashville - 1897              Nashville Tennessean Nashville

1923 Rosser-Gibbons Camp

 
 

   
Sardis, Mississippi - 1900's Sardis, Mississippi - 1900's    
 

 
 

The complete program for the first UCV Reunion at Chattanooga in 1890 ...

We are looking for the complete program for the 1901 UCV in Memphis - to replace this program.

 

Cover 2 3 4 5 6
           

7 8 9 10 11 12
           

13 14 15 16 17 18
           

19 20 21 22 23 24
           

25 26 27 28 29 30
           

31 32 33 34 35 36
           

   

37 38      
           
...and The Final Reunion...1951, Norfolk VA
 











 



 

 

UCV Hat with Emblem

1951 Final:  Norfolk, VA

 
 
 

 

 
 

Credits

 

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