Celebrated Decoration Day yesterday down at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Cleveland. Nice ceremony. I am really glad we went. And yes, we went in period attire. I wore the dress I made for the Lincoln Repose in Columbus that got cancelled last year.
The generally accepted first Decoration day was actually held in South Carolina.
When Confederate authorities evacuated Andersonville prison they moved many of the prisoners to a camp set up on a race course near Charleston, where several hundred of them died and were buried in a mass grave.
After Sherman came through, local freedman and black churches dug up the grave and gave each soldier a dignified buried in proper graves.
In May of 1865 they organized a holiday dedicated to decorating the graves, led by 3000 children from the new Freedmens schools carrying arms full of flowers, black church groups, freed slaves, local unionists and Union soldiers including, reportedly,, the 54th Massachusetts, 10,000 people in all,, who paraded to the cemetery and laid flowers on all the graves.