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Anderson Intelligencer

Anderson Intelligencer

May 26, 1914

Page 44


The echoes of the Last Gun of the War Had Scarcely Died Away When the Survivors Were Called Together Pleasantly


The following interesting story is copied from the Anderson Intelligencer of August 3, 1864

For the Intelligencer:

Barbecue to Palmetto Riflemen

Saturday, July 9th will ever be held in pleasant remembrance by the members of the Palmetto Riflemen and their friends, and the ____ generosity of Mr. Crawford Keys, of Anderson district, will be regarded with lasting emotions of gratitude.  To him belongs the credit of striving to dissipate the clouds of gloom and despondency which had settled down upon the people of this community, and of rendering the first tribute of ____ to some of our brave citizens, after their return from the war. True its end has been most unfavorable to our arms, most chilling to our hopes and most galling to our pride, after all, we had dared and endured; but the brave Southern men have the consciousness of knowing they acted well their parts in the struggle and deserve as much honor and gratitude as if they had come out crowned with laurels of victory to the sounds of martial music with banners floating and shouts of triumph.  Under such circumstances, which of course would have been more joy in hearts of their countrymen to prompt ovations, but their manly courage and endurance must be rewarded.  Nevertheless, though all has seemed in vain, we might learn to bear our calamities with cheerful resignation, knowing we were overwhelmed by superior numbers and appliances of warfare, and that an overruling providence, which decreed this great resolution in society, may cause us yet to see that it all has ended for the best.

            “Let us live with the hope of a better day coming

            To dark our dreams for awhile

            For there is joy in the thought of a brighter day coming

             Then welcome our fates with a smile”

But I am to describe the best ovation given to our soldiers in this immediate section of the counties, as it was the generous desire of but one individual, of course, the invitations were more limited than may yet be in future celebrations of the kind.

The Palmetto Riflemen was the first company organized in our village and vicinity and included most of the flower of our chivalry.

They were among the first to march to the rescue of Virginia and the last to leave a bloody field of victories and defeats, unnumbered, but their proud career will be given in full detail by the ____ orator of the occasion in another column.  Yet, they must ever remember that every record bore its ____ impression upon the hearts of the loved ones at home; how in each battle the list of killed and wounded thrilled the anxious waiters, and how fair citizens toiled to supply their want, and how many prayers were offered for their welfare, and how they have returned, but a scattered remnant, one half at least, of the original company buried in their long, last sleep, to respond never more to the earthly greetings.

They have inherited a far more glorious reward and await their comrades and friends in far happier scenes of peace and joy than earth can ever afford.  Let this urge us on to new hopes and new duties in the life to come.  On that bright summer morning the Palmetto boys with their ladies and friends, thronged together at the hospitable mansion of Mr. Keys, two miles from town, and assembled ‘neath the pleasant shade of poplar and maple trees and by the bright waters of his bold and beautiful spring to enjoy the social reunion, the words of eloquence and the beautiful repast incident to the occasion.  The burning sun of July which had seemed to wither all vegetation and animal life for weeks was forgotten, and the pleasant breeze and the rising clouds produced greater enjoyment.

There was no longer a martial army in suits of gray, but sober citizens clad in emblems of domestic industry and economy and with serene, ____ ____ as though they had never worn the ____ of death-dealing warriors and suffered almost as martyrs in their country’s cause.  Thank heaven that all this is over and we may rejoice in peace and security once more, however different from our anticipations.

The old and young were there united in a happy band prepared to sympathize and rejoice together in all things.  It seemed at first that there was a feeling of timid reserve among the soldiers who hesitated in attempts at gallantry, having been no long way from more refined society, and indeed, the ladies who had struggled so long for their comfort and cheer, and whose hearts had suffered most, no doubt felt themselves almost forgotten and slighted. Yet, gradually, the genial spirit of mirth crept in, and there were pleasant groups scattered over the well kept , well cleared, well seated grounds prepared to hear the orators of the occasion.

Lieut. James A. Hoyt, an officer of the company while disabled by a severe and most terrible wound, was introduced to the audience by the first captain of the company, Maj. Jas. H. Whitner, in a few quiet remarks appreciative of the occasion, then followed the clear and graphic narrative given by Mr. Hoyt of the career of the Palmetto Riflemen in the late war.  His calm, chaste effort was succeeded by calls for a brother in arms,   Lieut. Warren D. Wilkes, a member of the same regiment from the ____ ____ of participanted in the stirring scenes, with his impassioned outburst of more general interest.  The war spirit still flashed from the eyes and he alluded to the glorious days of victory in which they had ____, and the ____ at Manassas, Sharpsburg, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Seven Pines, Chicamauga and many more, caused every one present to thrill with a familiar feeling of those days when grief and anxiety, triumph and fear, swelled our hearts with contending emotions.

Though dark may be the close of our national records, yet those days must be emblazoned on living tablets in the “Temple of Fame, if not in mortal, in immortal with the names of their heroes.”

“The gallant deeds of this company countered with the famous Palmetto sharpshooters, can never be forgotten, not can the noble devotion of the southern women ever cease its influence,” was the tribute with which the eloquent speaker concluded.  After conversation had become more general and the fine improvements and pure, limpid waters of the ever flowing fountain of nature been fully noted, as different groups would refresh themselves in the cool grotto around the spring, all proceeded to partake of the generous feast spread on table nearby, provided by Mr. Keys and a few other kind citizens, glad of the opportunity to contribute their ____ to the grateful enterprise.  There was a rich and tempting variety of barbecued meats of the finest quality and plenty of nice bread, tomatoes and potatoes in abundance and ample appetites to appreciate it all.

Then followed dessert of cool and luscious melons, bright green and red or fragrant yellow fluted melons that tempted all to indulge, and the gratitude to the giver of all good things and to the providers of this ample collation.

Soon after this the crowd began to disperse, mostly at the residence thrown open for dancing and other amusements which were freely and generously participated in, without that stiffness which sometimes assumes when mixed crowds are thrown together. A string band with untiring energy lured on the dancers to trip the light fantastic measures, affording mush amusement to the spectators, while song to the piano and merry groups engaged in conversation or fortune telling, gave variety to the scene.  Thus passed the long, sunny, ever to be remembered day, until the shades of evening warned us that it, too, was ended, like all sublunary things of joy or sorrow, all united no doubt, to invoke the blessings upon the kind and generous host and hostess, with their gallant sons and daughters fair, and upon the brave survivors of the Palmetto Riflemen.

Anderson S.C., Aug. 1, 1865


[Transcribed by: Sharon Strout]


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