Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Memphis - Boston Confederate Battle Flag Connection, 1898

Cheered to the Echo in a Theater in Boston--Remarkable Demonstration
(Boston Telegram to the Chicago Inter Ocean)

For the first time in the history of the State of Massachusetts the Confederate battle flag has been publicly waved in the faces of the Commonwealth's people.  Instead of greeting it with hisses and cries of derision, they cheered it to the echo, while the orchestra played "Dixie."

This remarkable even took place at the Grand Opera House, before and audience of Bostonians that filled the big theater from the orchestra stalls to the topmost tier of gallery seats.  It came as a climax to an exhibition of National colors and the playing of patriotic music, which has been in vogue at the theater during the past week.

About ten years ago, when Manager Magee was paying a visit to Memphis, Tenn., he was entertained by the Chickasaw Guards, one of the best-known military organization of the South.  Before he left Memphis one of the members made him a present of an old Confederate battle flag.

Between the first and second acts of "darkest Russia," the orchestra struck up a medley of National airs, and the great American flag swung out in front of the curtain.  It was greeted with tremendous applause.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was the first air in the medley, followed by all the old favorites, including "America," "Marching Through Georgia" and "Yankee Doodle."  Each one got its share of applause.

At last came the Strains of "Dixie."  As the music swelled through the great audience two more flags were suddenly flashed in front of the big one.  One was a smaller American banner, and the other was the old Confederate battle flag Mr. Magee brought back from Memphis ten years ago.  Between them hung a sign bearing the words:

In an instant the applause which had welcomed "Dixie" changed to a roar as the great audience cheered the sacred old flag.  Tears came to the eyes of veterans, who had seen flags like that when they were on the other side, and from half a dozen places in the house came the old "rebel yell."  For fully a minute the theater was in an uproar such as has never been seen in Boston.
Originally published in The Evening Bulletin, Maysville, KY, March 11, 1898