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The great interest manifested by the public in the commemorative ceremonies of the 30th ultimo, the disappointment of many in not being able to attend, together with the universal desire expressed that the proceedings should appear in some durable form for preservation, have induced those having the matter in charge to publish this report.
There are many persons, officers of the Government and citizens in private life, whose generous support it would be grateful and pleasant to mention, but to do this would greatly enlarge this pamphlet and be but a poor acknowledgment of the estimate in which these tokens of sympathy are held. With but two or three exceptions, (and it were perhaps better not to allude even to these,) every request made by the several committees in perfecting the arrangements for the occasion was readily granted, and wherever comrades went the kindest sympathy and most generous aid were cheerfully bestowed. It does not fall within the scope of this report to relate the scenes and incidents, the details of the arrangements and the manner of decoration, the object being merely to give what was said, together with the order of the exercises..
N. P. CHIPMAN, Chairman Committee of Arrangements.
WASHINGTON, D. C., June 7, 1868.
At one o'clock, p. m., N. P. CHIPMAN, chairman of Committee of Arrangements, called the audience to order, and said: COMRADES AND FRIENDS:
We are assembled to commemorate, in some fitting manner, the deeds of those who lie in this national cemetery, and to offer a tribute to their deathless memory.
We are here at the call of the commander-in-chief of our Order, and to join in ceremonies which are transpiring at this hour all over the land, wherever the grave of a soldier is known or a loyal heart remembers with gratitude the noble sacrifices of our gallant dead.
The General Order to which I have alluded will be read by the Assistant Adjutant General. W. T. Collins then read the following:
HEADQUARTERS GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC,
Washington, D. C., May 5, 1868. GENERAL ORDERS
No. 11. I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes. Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment