Memorial day originally started as Decoration day in the 1867 but was officially proclaimed in 1868 by Gen. John A. Logan.
Here's a link with a brief history Memorial Day History
Google Books also has a viewable document of "The National Memorial Day" ©1870 that gives a detail of the services for Memorial Day
Memorial Day was originally to recognize Union troops who fought in the Civil War. It wasn't until 1898 and President McKinley delivered a speech in GA that urged the US government to take care of Confederate graves. In 1900 Arlington National Cemetery began this process, a much needed event in the reconciliation of the North & South.
Today is actually Armistice Day but that didn't happen until Nov. 11, 1918.