United Confederate Veterans
Prior to 1889, Confederate veterans had no national organization similar to the Grand Army
United Confederate Veterans ReunionLittle Rock (Pulaski County) hosted the twenty-first annual United Confederate Veterans
Reunion on May 16–18, 1911. The reunion drew more than 140,000 people, including
approximately 12,000 veterans, making it the largest event in Little
The United Confederate Veterans (UCV) formed in 1889 with a goal of keeping alive the memory of the men who fought for the South during the Civil War and to bring national attention to the needs of the aging veterans. The annual reunion was one of the group’s major projects, and towns across the country vied to host the event.
Judge William M. Kavanaugh chaired Little Rock’s planning committee for the event. Subcommittees arranged for lodging, food, special events, and entertainment for the veterans. The committees arranged for set rates at hotels and restaurants, created additional lodging at schools and private homes, and created special barracks and tent camps.
An estimated 6,000 veterans were expected to attend the reunion. The city erected a veterans’ camp at the City Park (now MacArthur Park). The camp was named for Mena (Polk County) native Confederate Colonel Robert Glenn “Fighting Bob” Shaver of the Seventh Arkansas Infantry, and Shaver served as commander of the camp during the reunion. Accommodations at Camp Shaver were arranged by state, division, and corps to expedite the attendees reuniting with old friends.
Events at the reunion included speeches by Little Rock Mayor Charles E. Taylor and Arkansas Governor George W. Donaghey. Various groups in Little Rock provided entertainment and special events, including receptions, arcades, dances, hot air balloon rides, plus the dedication at City Park of a statue honoring the Capital Guards. The high point of the reunion occurred at 10:00 a.m. on May 18 when the official parade began. The parade route ran from the Old State House at Markham and Center Streets to City Park and back again and took two tours to pass by any single point.
The reunion concluded that evening at the end of the Veterans’ Ball, which approximately 5,800 people attended.
Little documentary information is available about the reunion, but it was featured in newspaper articles and recorded in a series of postcards done by local photographers. These postcards, which include scenes of Camp Shaver and of the city decorated with Confederate banners and portraits of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, are very popular among collectors.
Confederate VeteransThe meeting of the Confederate Veterans in Jacksonville, Florida on May 6-8 1914 represented the twenty-fourth annual Reunion of Confederate survivors. The veterans and their friends were introduced to a city and community proud and loyal to the ideals of the Old South. Not only the hotels and boarding houses, but private homes as well, were open to the Reunion delegates and visitors to care for all that came. Jacksonville's people met the Confederate Veterans at the train depots on arrival to extend the hand of welcome and show them to their temporary homes and looked after their comfort and pleasure while guests of the city. The assurance of welcome was given by Governor Park Trammell in a proclamation stating that Florida has never been laggard in loyalty to the Southern Cause or to the Southern Veterans. At the time the state of Florida paid out more money per capita for support of dependant ex-Confederate soldiers than any other Southern state. Florida was not only caring for the living but the memory of the dead was also being kept green. In the state there were more than twenty Confederate monuments erected by public and private means; a home for ex-Confederate soldiers was maintained in Jacksonville; two Confederate monuments had been erected there, and the monument to the Women of the Confederacy was
dedicated during the next year in Confederate Park.