General Orders No.11
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868
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 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 and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of
her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going
of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the
coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If our eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the
light and warmth of life remain to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them
with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn
presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude,
the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.
II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from
year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the
public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous
III. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.
By order of
JOHN A. LOGAN,
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.