May 16-18, 1911 Confederate Veterans Reunion in Little Rock Pictures and story (Part 5)

Ken Burns discusses his Emmy winning series The Civil War – EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG

I really enjoyed the article “REBEL GRAY’S GOLDEN DAYS: In 1911, LR filled to the brim with Confederate veterans,” by Jake Sandlin that ran in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on May 15, 2011. It took 81 years before more people to gather in Little Rock for another event (Bill Clinton’s election to president)  I will be sharing portions of it the next few days and here is the fifth part: 

The veterans were well taken care of at what was called Camp Shaver at City Park. The camp was named for its commander, Robert G. “Fighting Bob” Shaver, 81, who led the Confederacy’s 7th Arkansas Infantry.

The camp fed the veterans for free in two large dining tents. Dozens of cooks, waiters and dishwashers were hired. Provisions included 16,000 loaves of bread, 8,000 pounds of steak, 3,000 pounds of roast beef, 110 cases of eggs, 1,700 pounds of coffee for three 60-gallon coffee urns, 350 bushels of Irish potatoes, 400 pounds of rice and 300 pounds of tapioca pudding, according to the museum exhibits. Camp Shaver is said to have served 54,000 meals.

The only blacks reported to be present were “body servants,” who had been Confederate officers’ personal slaves. An Arkansas Gazette article said about 20 of the former servants arrived in Little Rock to hold their own reunion. Among them was 86-year-old Jefferson Shields of Virginia, said by the Arkansas Gazette to have been the servant of Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

The reunion’s highlight was the parade on the final day. “At an early hour,” the Arkansas Democrat reported, “the streets were well lined with spectators along almost the entire line of march” awaiting the 10 a.m. start. People also crowded in windows and along rooftops, or climbed poles.

The parade route covered 20 blocks. It stretched along Markham Street from State Street to Main Street, continuing to 10th Street eastward to Camp Shaver. The parade took 1 hour and 47 minutes, according to the Gazette, then its participants turned around and marched back to where it began.

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