Statues of Stonewall

UDC Jackson dedication 2017
Each year, the United Daughters of the Confederacy rededicates the Stonewall Jackson statue at Manassas National Battlefield. (2017)

It’s probably no surprise that “Confederate statues” has shown up as a frequent term in the ECW search engine this week. In particular, people have been searching for “Stonewall Jackson statues.” Back in 2011, I put together a series, “Statues of Stonewall,” that provided some history about various Stonewall Jackson monuments in Lexington, Richmond, Manassas.

Three notable statues not covered in the series were subsequently profiled in The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson, which I co-authored with Kris White. 

In Baltimore last night, the city removed its Lee-Jackson statue. You can find a photo of the statue in the first installment of the blog series. Here’s what Last Days has to say about the statue:

Jackson and Lee never made it to Baltimore, but this statue of them together—reportedly the world’s first double-equestrian statue cast as a single piece—sits near the art museum in Wyman Park. Sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser and erected on May 1, 1948, it depicts the “Last Meeting.” Work began in 1938 but was held up by WWII; an inscription on the statue thanks businesses for honoring pre-war contracts and prices. A quote along the base from Jackson says, “So great is my confidence in General Lee that I would follow him anywhere.” Another comes from Lee: “Straight as the needle to the pole Jackson advanced to the execution of my purpose.” Because the quotes wrap around the statue’s base, from the front, visitors see the last word of the second quote followed by the first two words of the first quote: “Purpose so great.”

In Charlottesville, the most recent controversy has swirled around Robert E. Lee’s statue, but the city also has a statue of Stonewall Jackson. From Last Days:

Charlottesville philanthropist Paul Goodloe McIntire commissioned New York sculptor Charles Keck to create the statue for a new city park, which would eventually be named Jackson Park. Keck agreed to complete the sculpture by August 1921, at a total cost of $35,000, and McIntire presented it to the City of Charlottesville on October 19, 1921, during a Confederate reunion. A replica of the statue, purchased by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, went up in the plaza of the Harrison County Courthouse in Clarksburg on May 10, 1953, on the ninetieth anniversary of Jackson’s death.

Finally, in New Orleans, “Stonewall Jackson stands tall over the Crescent City, where he watches over more than 100 Confederates interred in New Orleans’ Metairie Cemetery,” says Last Days:

A statue of Jackson tops the 38-foot granite column that makes up the centerpiece of the Army of Northern Virginia Monument, sculpted by Achille Perelli and dedicated on May 10, 1881. One veteran present at the ceremony said the statue recalled memories of Jackson “through the weary hours of the night [who] stood ‘lone sentinel of that band of sleeping heroes’—so now let that granite figure stand to guard ‘the bivouac of the dead,’ and the dust of heroes who sleep beneath that mound.” Confederate President Jefferson Davis was first laid to rest there when he died in New Orleans in 1889, although he was later moved to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. The Army of Tennessee has a similar monument, topped by an equestrian statue of that other martyr of the Lost Cause, General Albert Sydney Johnston. Jackson’s bust also appears on the Confederate monument in the city’s Greenwood Cemetery.

17 Responses to Statues of Stonewall

  1. Will they all soon be destroyed? Is there any hope for our past and honor to remembered? PC has won we are done finished over

  2. I fear for the statues and monuments of the Confederacy.Is anyone else as concerned as I am after seeing what has been happening in Charlottesville and other southern cities?

    1. History is coming to an end as we know it .Remember battle fields are on public land so those statues are not safe either

  3. I hope some of the statues survive for posterity. We should allow posterity the privilege to see some of the statues in their original context. There is a lot to be learned from Lost Cause monuments.

    Personally, I think we are passing through a political moment where attacking the statues is politically useful. As public memorialization a lot of statues will be taken down by their local communities or states. For the time being, it looks like the Feds will protect Confederate monuments on federal property. What irony. Hopefully the hysteria passes.

  4. Here in North Carolina at least 50 of the 100 county courthouses have a commemorative Confederate statue or marker. All were put up after Redemption (1876) and most during the period of reconciliation 1890 to 1920. We also have counties named for Lee, Vance, Pender and Hoke. I am a lawyer and visit these courthouses routinely. The markers are ignored. In 40 years I have never seen anyone read them (except me), They are not offensive to me. However, the recent spate of statue removals and the events of last weekend have made me re-examine the issue. It is not appropriate to commemorate on PUBLIC land maintained by taxpayer dollars a cause that took up arms against the United States. Leaving aside the argument over causation, what would the present status of black citizens be if the Confederacy had prevailed? As a matter of common courtesy we should not tax our fellow black citizens to commemorate a cause which, if it had prevailed, would have left them in slavery.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head. I’m in Virginia, where civil war markers and statues are as common as road signs….almost. It’s part of what I like about the state. It remembers its history, even if that public memory is hazy on the specifics and may embrace more myths than facts. That said, at its heart, the Confederacy did basically commit treason for the right to own slaves. It was unacceptable then. So, we had a war. Commemorating the cause (or the myths built around it after the war) rather than the history strikes me as an insult to the victors and the causes for which they fought: union, loyalty, and, eventually, abolition.

      Today’s fight is a cultural one and therefore a political one. Appeals to history, arguments for adding context, or attempts to find a middle ground are wasted. It has gone past that. Since fascists, racists, and their ilk have picked sides, it seems the rest of us are morally obligated to choose the other side. There are portraits of Stonewall Jackson hanging in my house. They’ll stay there. But, General George Thomas and Admiral Samuel Lee–Virginians in blue–are my new heroes.

      1. It is not treason to fight for your nativeland. In 1860 you were a Virginian first then an american.

      2. Is is not treason to resist the invader. Whatever the cause, those 750,000 Confederates resisted the invader. Politicizing military service, …. not a good thing.
        Tom Crane

  5. This is reminiscent of the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland that are commemorated every year.Those wounds have not yet healed either.

  6. Pingback: Emerging Civil War

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