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Dinner to celebrate Confederate generals
Lee, Jackson, Longstreet to be honored
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Lee-Jackson-Longstreet Dinner
What:
An annual event commemorating the three Civil War generals
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, with a 5-6 p.m. social hour
Where: Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Community House, North Park Street, Dahlonega
Admission: $10 per person. Reservations need to be made by Wednesday.
Contact: E-mail Tim Ragland at timragland@windstream.net

Sons of Confederate Veterans camps and Daughters of the Confederacy chapters typically hold a dinner in January remembering the Confederacy’s best known generals, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Since 2000, or just after its inception, the Dahlonega-based Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1860, Blue Ridge Rifles, has held its dinner in February to include Gen. James Longstreet, who settled in Gainesville after the Civil War and lived his remaining years there.

“We threw Longstreet into the mix because of obvious reasons — he’s right down the road from us,” said the camp’s commander, Tim Ragland.

This year’s dinner is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Community House on North Park Street in Dahlonega. The event will feature a 5-6 p.m. social hour and a fried chicken dinner.

Richard Pilcher, president of the Longstreet Society in Gainesville, is the scheduled speaker. The Longstreet  Society, which aims to educate the public about Longstreet’s often-controversial life, is based in the restored remnants of the Piedmont Hotel between Maple and Main streets.

The annual dinners are held in January to coincide with the generals’ birthdays — Lee’s is on Jan. 19 and Jackson’s, Jan. 21.  Longstreet’s birthday is Jan. 8.

The Dahlonega camp usually spends January preparing for and holding its annual memorial service for Longstreet at his grave site in the Alta Vista Cemetery off Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville. Longstreet died on Jan. 2, 1904.

So, the group aims to hold its annual Lee-Jackson-Longstreet dinner within the first few weeks of February.

Every year, the speaker talks about one or all of the men and their military careers.

“Lee was by far the most renowned military commander this country has ever seen,” Ragland said. “His men worshipped him. He was highly thought of, as was Jackson.

“Some of the things they did during the war are still taught in military colleges today.”

Longstreet also was a strong military commander, often referred to as Lee’s “Old War Horse.” He won numerous battles, including at Chickamauga in Northwest Georgia. Controversy surrounded him at Gettysbury and Pickett’s Charge.
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fter the war, he was derided in the South as he later became a Republican and advocated equal rights for blacks.

“These people are important to us because they are our history, our heritage and our past,” Ragland said. “We do all that we can to keep them remembered, put them in front of people’s faces and to keep their memories alive.”

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