Battle of June 9, 1864

Ladies' Memorial Association

Grand Army of the Republic

Mrs. Logan Inspired by Memorial Observances in Petersburg

General Order Number 11




Summary and Conclusion.

Summary. As of this writing, Memorial Day is observed on the last weekend in May. The pages you have just read show the logical chain of events leading up to the establishment of the National Memorial Day. This chain of events illustrates clearly the cause and effect relationship of these specific historic occurrences resulting in the National Memorial Day. It all started with the Battle of June 9, 1864, at Petersburg, Virginia. This battle caused the Ladies Memorial Association of Petersburg to be formed with the purpose of memorializing the City's militiamen who had been killed in battle. Concurrently, the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union Army veterans' organization, was being formed. The formation of the Grand Army of the Republic and the election of General John A. Logan to be its Commander in Chief caused Mrs. John A. Logan to visit Petersburg where she saw the flags and flowers on the graves of the dead heroes of the Battle of June 9, 1864. The memorial observances by the Ladies Memorial Association of Petersburg caused Mrs. Logan to tell General Logan of her inspiration for doing the same for the dead Union heroes. Mrs. Logan's inspiration caused General Logan to issue Grand Army of the Republic General Order Number 11 which established the practice of decorating veterans' graves all over the United States. The practices instituted by General Order Number 11 caused the National Memorial Day to be May 30th. Cities and towns all over the country, many of which already had their own Memorial Day, adopted May 30th as their own day of observance.

Conclusion. From the foregoing cause and effect relationship, we can see that the city of Petersburg, Virginia, is the inspiration for and origin of the National Memorial Day.


Copyright © 2002 James H. Ryan, Ph.D
All Rights Reserved