FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE IN MIDWAY
The following is a news item published in the Savannah Morning News, April 27, 1915, telling of the large crowd that attended the unveiling of the General Steward and Screven monument.
BIG CROWD WELL HANDLED
Scattered over an area of several acres, there were fully five thousand people on the grounds surrounding old Midway Church at noon yesterday when a recess of an hour was taken between the two ceremonies for a basket picnic. Newly 3,500 of that number traveled to Midway by automobiles from Liberty, Bryan, Tattnall, and other South Georgia Counties. Many more came from that section and from South Carolina and Florida by rail. The seaboard Air Line Railroad operated two special trains from Savannah in the morning, carrying 1,300 from this city to the event, and handled the crowds well.
In spite of the numbers, however, the crowd was in every way orderly and regardful of the sacred respect in which the spot is held by those to whom it is most dear. Not a case of intoxication or disorderly act was observed or reported to the marshal of the day, Col.A. Gordon Cassels, who probable was the busiest man of any who had anything to do with the arrangements, Troop B, First Georgia Cavalry, better known as Liberty Independent Troop of Liberty, under the direct command of Maj. W.P. Waite, did special police duty but had no calls for exercising their authority.
Here and there mingling with the crowds of grey uniforms and whiskers of veterans of the Confederacy were to be seen, proudly bearing their scars and years. Everywhere they accorded respectful attention, for the numerous flags of the Confederacy which decorated graves in the cemetery could not fail to remind one that the occasions was also Memorial Day.
Old Midway church was the center of interest before the ceremonies began. Thousands climbed the winding stairs into the old fashioned balcony and looked down upon the colonial pulpit from which so many ministers of the Gospel of National fame have in by gone days propounded the Presbyterian doctrine. Notably among these was Rev.I.S.K. Axson, the great-grandfather of the late Mrs. Woodrow Wilson, wife of the president. More than 2,000 people entered their names on the pages of the book placed in the church yesterday for that purpose.
MILITARY START HOME
Probably for the first time in the history of commercial telegraphy, a telegraph station was operated yesterday within the walls of such an historic cemetery. All day long the Western union Telegraph Company sent out messages over the special Midway wire direct to friends of the senders as souvenirs of the event. Two messages to President Wilson went over the wires direct from Midway to Washington.
Scores of automobiles and other conveyances met the special trains from Savannah at Dorchester in the morning, but few were on hand to transport passengers back to the station after the ceremonies. Hundreds tramped the distance of one and one-half miles behind the troops on foot. In numerous spots along the road the sand lay four inches deep and it was a hot and fatiguing walk. The returning “specials” reached the city at 6:30 o’clock at night.
Troop A, First Georgia Cavalry, which rode to Midway last Saturday, broke camp late in the afternoon and started on the home march under the command of Capt. Frank P. McIntire. Adj. Gen. J. Van Holt Nash is with them. They are due to reach the city early this morning. The other troops returned by train, (A report of the unveiling ceremonies was contained in another article.)