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Aberdeen Examiner, July 29, 1937 - Historic Event in the Days of ‘61 -
Presentation of Silk Flag to Company
“D”, Caledonia, Miss. Rifles, Sept. 25, 1861,
with Address by Miss Annie Vaughn,
By Dr. Emmett Jamison
On this day an old-fashioned barbecue and basket dinner was served for the boys in gray (A few years after the war, Miss Vaughn married Dr. Parham). On Friday, 53 years after the close of the war at the annual reunion of the Rowan, Company D, Mrs. Annie Vaughn Parham delivered this same speech, standing under the same flag that was carried through the four years of bloody war, and standing on the same spot where the flag was originally presented to the company.
Mrs. Maggie Easter, of Caledonia, has this old flag, around which many fond, but sad memories cluster. During the siege of Vicksburg the flag was shot down, and Mrs. Gaston’s father, Capt. James L. Egger, fished up the flag, and mounting the breastworks, waving the flag, called the boys in grey to follow and shoot, which they did. But, alas, every member of this company has answered the last roll call; also Mrs. Parham, the Doctor and their three children have long since passed over the river, but their names shall live till “The stars are old, And the sun is cold.” I am glad to be able to give the readers of the Examiner a true copy of the original speech by this gifted lady, who was a neighbor of my father.
Speech of Miss Annie Vaughn, September 25, 1861 Soldiers of the Caledonia Rifles: The pleasing duty has been assigned me to present to you this day in behalf of your fair country women here assembled this beautiful banner, our new national ensign. Upon it you behold the stars representative of the galaxy of Confederate States, and its broad bars, emblematic of faith, purity and fidelity. Preserving all that was glorious of our old national flag, the Stars and Stripes, we have remodeled and improved it.
When we behold the stars, we are reminded of the standard under which our ancestors fought the battles of the Revolution of ‘76, and when upon our own new banner we see the stars in the beautiful field of blue we are inspired with faith to engage in battle and achieve the victories of the revolution of eighteen hundred and sixty-one, the second war of independence. Our fathers fought to be free from British tyranny; they could not endure taxation without representation. The issue has been forced upon us of the South and before we will submit to the unjust tyranny of an abolition despot, before we will be ground down by taxation to enrich those who have always reaped the reward of our labors, paid by taxation, we will appeal to the god of battles for justice of our cause, and never lay down our arms ‘till victory perches upon our banner and peace reigns within our borders.
Such are the feelings, soldiers, which pervade our entire Southern country. Animated by them you have organized this gallant company, composed of our fathers, brothers and neighbors to enlist in this holy struggle.
Partaking of the enthusiastic devotion, a portion of the fair daughters of Lowndes desire to present you this banner, the work of their own hands. In the name and by the authority of the ladies of this neighborhood, now before me, I present you this flag. Conscious of the justice of our cause, assured of the unwavering courage, the eternal patriotism of the Caledonia Rifles, we still feel secure in our homes and safe by our firesides when we know we are protected by such brave and gallant sons of our soil.
Soldiers, brave and true, we commit this banner to your hands, feeling well assured - aye knowing- that its beautiful folds will never be lowered or trailed in the dust so long as the warm life blood that flows through the brave hearts and strong arms of a single Caledonia Rifleman.
Now that the ruthless invaders have dared to pollute our soil with their hostile tread, we bid you go forth to meet them - go under this banner - and if it shall be necessary to strike in defense of our sacred rights and liberties, bear your ensign aloft. As you look upon it streaming in the breeze, remember those by whom it was made; be encouraged by their universal good wishes and their love; be strengthened by their prayers, then strike for your homes and your sires, your alters and your fires, God and your native land. Remember Gideon, the prophet of the Lord, who, going from the threshing floor in the field with three hundred chosen Israelites, smote and conquered the hosts of Midian, and as they smote them cried, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” So may you strike, feeling confident in the smiles of an overruling providence, who makes the cause of the oppressed and the just His cause, and in truth have for your watchword and battlecry, “The sword of the Lord and the Confederate States”.
One word in parting; When you shall have left your quiet homes in the vicinity of Caledonia, after which you have selected your name, be assured that you will bear with you wherever you go, through whatever scenes you may be called to pass, the confidence, the affection, and the prayers of those you may leave behind you.
Again, in the name of the fair daughters of this neighborhood, I present you this banner, knowing that, although it may be tattered and torn upon the fields of battle, it shall prove the winding sheet of the last Caledonia Rifleman that remains to unfurl it aloft before it is disgraced. As Saul said to David when he went forth to meet Goliath, the boasting Philistine, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
Note: The barbecue for soldiers following the flag presentation, mentioned by Dr. Jamison above, was held in the yards of the Amzi Murphy home which still stands on Wolf Road, approximately four miles south of Caledonia.
Submitted by James L. Murphy, Montgomery, AL firstname.lastname@example.org
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