Prior to this Convention of Southern Soldiers in Memphis, Tennessee, a group of organizing former Confederate officers had sent a fraternal and conciliatory message to the mass meeting of Union veterans gathered in Cleveland, Ohio. The Soldiers' and Sailors' Convention was a meeting of former federal servicemen who largely supported the conciliatory policies of President Johnson and the Democratic Party and sensing an opportunity for fraternity and a restoration of political rights for the former Confederacy, the former secessionist soldiers had made it clear that they trusted this Cleveland gathering to speak for their own future as well as the veterans of the North. In return they pledged loyalty to the United States and "security of life, person, and property, and freedom of speech and opinion to all." The reply of former Union General Gordon Granger and other signatories from Cleveland gave a guarded but general reception to these sentiments, welcoming "every effort to restore peace, prosperity, and brotherly affection throughout our entire country." In a series of resolutions adopted unanimously, the Confederate veterans responded with a confirmation of their afore-mentioned pledges. At the same time, they condemned the Northern press and politicians for the "slander" that "the life, liberty, or property of Northern men is unsafe or unprotected in the South..." The fact that Nathan Bedford Forrest, already active in what was going to become the Klu Klux Klan, was a leading figure at this gathering, must not have escaped attention in the North. (By John Osborne)
Resolutions, The Convention of Southern Soldiers, Memphis, Tennessee, September 19, 1866.
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