Today in Southern History: Comrades of the Southern Cross

28 August 1863  

On this date in 1863…

Generals Patrick Cleburne and Leonidas Polk organized the Comrades of the Southern Cross as a fraternal and benevolent order in the Army of Tennessee. The organization was loosely patterned after Freemasonry of which Cleburne was a member and designed to boost morale and help discipline in the Army. After the war, the organization experienced a revival and became the foundation for the United Confederate Veterans.

Other Years:
  • 1565 – A Spanish expedition of 1,500 soldiers and colonists, led by Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed on the coast of Florida with the goal of securing the land for Spain. The settlers would soon establish St. Augustine.
  • 1830 – The first passenger-carrying train of its kind to be built in America, “The Tom Thumb” was demonstrated in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 1861 – Federal forces unsuccessfully attacked Confederate batteries at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in the Battle of Hatteras Inlet.
  • 1957 – South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond began a filibuster to prevent the Senate from voting on Civil Rights Act of 1957. He stopped speaking 24 hours and 18 minutes later, the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single Senator.
  • 1963 – More than 250,000 people joined the March on Washington and listened as Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

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