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Old Blandford Church, a Confederate Shrine

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by donna, May 22, 2013.

  1. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    The Old Blandford Church is located in Petersburg, Virginia. It was built in 1735. It is next to the Blandford Cemetery, the resting place for 30,000 Confederate soldiers.

    The church was abandoned in 1806 and slipped away into major disrepair. In 1886, the City of Petersburg began major restoration of the Church.

    During the Civil War, a group of Petersburg ladies composed of sisters, daughters, mothers, wives and widows met to nurse and comfort Confederate soldiers. Their strength endured and on May 6, 1866, they met and formed the Ladies Memorial Association of Petersburg.

    They selected Old Blandford Cemetery for burial of the recovered bones of Confederate soldiers lying dead at Fort Stedman. The Association held its first Memorial Day on June 6, 1866 and dedicated the graves decorated with flags.

    By 1900, most of the original ladies of this association were gone. The newly organized Unied Daughters of the Confederacy took over their work and began to restore and convert Old Blandford Church as a Memorial Chapel to the Confederate dead. By 1904, the restoration was complete.

    The services of the renowned artist, Louis Comfort Tiffany was secured to design 15 windows for the Church. Each of the former 13 Confederate states were contacted and offered a chance to place its own window. Every state accepted the offer but Kentucky who was doing local memorial work at the time.

    In addition, Tiffany presented a gift to the Church in the form of a cross in a transom over the west door. It was called the Tiffany Cross of Jewels and bears the inscription: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will to men".

    Virginia was the first state to have its window installed in 1903 and Georgia was the last in 1912.

    At the top of each window is the State Seal and on the bottom is an inscription prepared by each state. The body of each window displays the figure of one of the Lord's disciples.

    Florida has St. Matthew, holding a book, installed 1908.
    Alabama has St. Andrew, holding an X-shaped cross known as St. Andrew's Cross, installed 1908.
    Louisiana has St. Paul, holding a sword and placed by the Washington Artillery, installed 1908.
    Mississippi has St. James the Less, holding a Bible upon which rests a Church, installed 1908.
    Tennessee has St. Philip, with his staff and an open book, installed 1908.
    North Carolina has St. Bartholomew, holding a knife symbolizing his manner of death, installed 1908.
    Texas has St. Luke, holding a parchment indicative of his gospel of a Physician, installed in 1908.
    South Carolina has St. Mark, holding a parchment symbolizing his gospel, installed 1910.
    Georgia has St. Thomas, carrying a carpenter square, he only accepts what is true, installed 1912.
    Maryland and Arkansas are under the Memorial to the Ladies Memorial Association, installed in 1908.
    Virginia has St. John, the Apostle of Love, installed 1903.
    Missouri has St. Peter, holding the keys of Heaven, installed 1908.

    These last two windows are in the chancel of the Church, with marble tables beneath them, containing the form of a cross, a Confederate flag, which is the only Confederate flag in any of Tiffany's works and an inscription.


    The fifteenth window is located in the transom over the main entrance in the West. It is a memorial to the Ladies Association of Petersburg, Va. It was installed in 1909. It has an inscription and Confederate flag.

    The Ladies Memorial Association has arranged Memorial Day services each year on June 9, as they were on June 9, 1866.

    From: United Daughters of Confederacy magazine, March, 2013, Article, "Old Blandford Church, A Confederate Shrine", by Mary Grundman Vial.

    My husband and I were fortunate to be able to visit this Church and the cemetery several years ago when we went to Petersburg, Virginia. If you are in the area these are well worth a visit.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
    CMWinkler, CSA Today and chellers like this.

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  3. Karen Lips

    Karen Lips Sergeant Major

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    sounds awesome wish I could see a picture
  4. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    I wish I could send one but don't know how to attach pictures. Many have tried to help me but I am just not getting it.
  5. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Karen google Photos of Blandford Church, Petersburg, Va. and some beautiful photos will come up. They of Church and the windows. Hope this helpful. But there is nothing like seeing it.
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  6. Bonny Blue Flag

    Bonny Blue Flag 2nd Lieutenant

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    CSA Today, chellers and donna like this.
  7. Bonny Blue Flag

    Bonny Blue Flag 2nd Lieutenant

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    CSA Today and donna like this.
  8. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Bonnie Thanks for posting pictures. I told you all that they are beautiful.
  9. chellers

    chellers 2nd Lieutenant Member of the Month

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    Beautiful, thanks to both for sharing.
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  10. kealbo54

    kealbo54 Sergeant Major

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  11. Josey_Wales

    Josey_Wales Private

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    Wow that's cool thanks for sharing!!
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  12. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Since there was current thread on Stained glass windows, thought I bring this thread up. These are very beautiful windows. We were fortunate to visit this Church a few years ago.
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