Restricted Confederate Soldier’s/Sterling Price Monument Springfield, Missouri

Jan 28, 2021
Confederate Soldier’s/Sterling Price Monument

Springfield, Missouri

By Norman Dasinger, Jr

Located in the Springfield, Missouri National Cemetery is a monument with the following inscription:

“To the Memory of the Missouri Soldier in the Army of the Confederate States of America”

Under that statement is a large bronze bas relief of Confederate Major General and former Missouri Governor Sterling Price.

Why would such a monument stand in a United States National Cemetery?

In 1867, the Federal government established a place to initially inter Union soldiers, many of whom died at the nearby battle of Wilson’s Creek. In 1871, a six acre section was deeded to the government for the burial of Confederate soldiers. In 1911, an act of Congress authorized the US Secretary of War to accept the Confederate portion of the cemetery as a part of the Springfield National Cemetery. In 1984, to symbolize a change in policy and allow for the burial of soldiers from all of America’s wars to rest in the once restricted Confederate section, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) dedicated a plaque stating that the area’s “use by all veterans and their dependents serves as a symbol of unification of purpose for memorializing those who have honorably served this great nation …”

Commissioned by the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) in 1901, Italian sculptor Chevalier Trentanove created a bronze figure of a Confederate soldier to honor both the Confederate soldiers of Missouri and the Confederate commander at the nearby battle of Wilson’s Creek. After it was dedicated, on August 10, 1901, the Memphis Appeal wrote a story that mentioned the difficulty in which the UCV and UDC and other organizations had in raising the needed funds. It wrote, “The struggles of the Confederate Cemetery Association to get money … form a part of that great tragedy. Jefferson Davis gave the monument his personal aid and General Robert E Lee sent a lock of his hair to be sold as a souvenir to raise funds for the cemetery.” Upon the monument’s completion and anticipated dedication, the Memphis Appeal added it was the “aim of the various ex-Confederate associations to bring every survivor of the battle of Wilson’s Creek who is able to travel to Springfield … and the Governors of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas are expected to be present.”

In June 11 2020, KY3 report Missouri State Historian Jeremy Neely said, “Confederate monuments, such as the one in the Springfield National Cemetery on Seminole Street, need to be removed. Because whenever you have a monument in a big important place, that monument reflects the values and priorities of that community.”

Jared Cantrell, the administrator of an online petition, in a June 12, 2020 STL News story stated, “The fact that this is a federal cemetery means the monument should be removed even more.”