Confederate Memorial Day

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Confederate Memorial Day observance.jpg

Confederate Memorial Day, also known as Confederate Decoration Day (Tennessee) and Confederate Heroes Day (Texas), is an official holiday and/or observance day in a number of states in the Southern United States as a day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.


In the spring of 1866 the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia passed a resolution to set aside one day annually to memorialize the Confederate dead. Additionally, the secretary of the association, Mrs. Charles J. (Mary Ann) Williams was directed to author a letter inviting the ladies in every Southern state to join them in the observance.[1] The letter was written in March 1866 and sent to all of the principal cities in the South, including Atlanta, Macon, Montgomery, Memphis, Richmond, St. Louis, Alexandria, Columbia, New Orleans, et al.

The date for the holiday was selected by Mrs. Elizabeth "Lizzie" Rutherford Ellis.[2] She chose April 26, the first anniversary of Confederate General Johnston's final surrender to Union General Sherman at Bennett Place, NC. For many in the South, that marked the official end of the Civil War.[1]

Relationship to current national Memorial Day[edit]

In 1868, General John A. Logan, who was the commander in chief of the Union Civil War Veterans Fraternity called the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), launched the Memorial Day holiday that is currently observed in the entire United States. According to General Logan's wife, he emulated the practices of Confederate Memorial Day. She wrote that Logan "said it was not too late for the Union men of the nation to follow the example of the people of the South in perpetuating the memory of their friends who had died for the cause they thought just and right."[3]

States and dates observed[edit]

State Date Variable? Remarks 2015 2016 2017
Florida April 26 [4][5] N When April 26 is a Sunday, it is recognized the following Monday. [6] April 26 2015 April 26 2016 April 26 2017
Georgia Last Monday in April [7] Y April 27 2015 April 25 2016 April 24 2017
Kentucky June 3 [8] N Jefferson Davis' birthday. June 3 2015 June 3 2016 June 3 2017
Louisiana June 3 [9][10] N Jefferson Davis' birthday. Set by state law, Louisiana Revised Statutes 1:55 June 3 2015 June 3 2016 June 3 2017
Mississippi Last Monday in April [11] Y April 27 2015 April 25 2016 April 24 2017
North Carolina May 10 [9] N The death of Confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson in 1863 and the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1865. May 10 2015 May 10 2016 May 10 2017
South Carolina May 10 [12] N See remarks at North Carolina. (Like most other holidays, the observed date shifts to Friday if it falls on Saturday, and to Monday if it falls on Sunday.)[13] May 10 2015 May 10 2016 May 10 2017
Tennessee June 3 [9] N Jefferson Davis' birthday. June 3 2015 June 3 2016 June 3 2017
Texas January 19 [9] N Confederate Heroes Day. In 1973, the Texas legislature combined the previously official state holidays of Robert E. Lee's and Jefferson Davis' birthdays into a single "Confederate Heroes Day" to honor all who had served the Southern Cause. In some years, this date may coincide with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. State offices are partially staffed in recognition of this day. January 19 2015 January 19 2016 January 19 2017