Restricted "In their own words", contemporary documents on the creation and dedication of Confederate Memorials

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Andersonh1

Major
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Address and Poem
DELIVERED AT THE UNVEILING OF THE MONUMENT ERECTED
TO THE MEMORY OF THE CONFEDERATE DEAD OF
WARREN COUNTY, N. C.,
AUGUST 27, 1903

Raleigh, NC
Edwards and Broughton Printing Co. 1906

Address of Hon. Walter A. Montgomery, in which he remembers the fallen as family to those still living, whose final resting places are largely unknown. The monument is their tombstone.

If in our power, we would gather the sacred ashes of each of these cherished ones from his shallow grave, and deposit them with loving hands around this stone. The native visitor would then, at this spot, as he looked upon this marble, typical of the form and characteristics of the dead whose virtues it is erected to commemorate, experience an increased sensation of reverence, for he would be standing among the sepulchres of soldiers who were patriots, and who gave their lives for their country, for their love of the same, and who were “ bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.”​
The Association, whose spokesman I am, was organized to build, on some suitable ground, an appropriate monument in memory of the Confederate dead of Warren. This spot already the last resting place of departed friends, and overlooking the historic old town, was most aptly selected for its site. The foundation was laid two years ago.​
It has been completed, and this day is unveiled amidst a cloud of witnesses. Behold it in its symmetry and beauty, emblematic both of the virtues and the deeds it is intended to commemorate, and of the gratitude of those who have erected it.​
Let us hope that it will for ages withstand the ravages of time, a reminder to coming generations of honored worth and noble ancestry.​

The monument is not meant to stir up sectional animosity, he tells the listener, but to evoke the love and admiration the living have for the fallen soldiers, and to inspire like devotion to home and duty from those who see the memorial. He praises the women who raised the memorial, and speaks of the military history of the county and state, and some history of the war itself. Though he defended secession, he refers to it here as a dead issue.
 

Andersonh1

Major
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
An Address Delivered at the Unveiling of the
Henry County Confederate Monument

Paris, Tennessee
Saturday, October 13, 1900
by Ex-Governor James D. Porter

Paris, Tenn
Post-Intelligencer Job Print


And I thank you, ladies, in the name of my comrades, living and dead, for providing this memorial. Without your aid and earnestness, without your patriotism and loving devotion this work, so long projected, would have remained undone. Your love and devotion to the cause and to the men who fought the battles of the South has found expression in the erection of this monument. You have followed the example of all civilized people — Assyrian, Indian, Greek or Roman — in this expression of gratitude and admiration. You speak to posterity through this marble in a language commemorative of the heroism of the soldiers of Henry County at the same time you illustrate your own admiration for devotion to duty under circumstances of the greatest trial.​

-----------------​
Ladies of the Monumental Association, I have recited to you the names of some of my comrades whose actions you perpetuate by the erection of this monument No knightlier soldiers ever went out to battle for their country, no soldier ever had a cause worthier of the supreme effort they made, no cause ever promoted greater enthusiasm, no cause ever demanded greater sacrifices, no cause was ever so loyally sustained. We cannot forget them, we cannot forget the sacrifices or the devotion of the women of the South, they accepted poverty that they might promote the cause for which their fathers, husbands and sons fought and died.​
 

Viper21

Brigadier General
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Location
Rockbridge County, Virginia
I can't stress enough, how much I love this thread Anderson. There is just no substitution for period info, & documents, stating the motivations behind the erection of these monuments. I've heard many times over the years, "Why don't we just take their word for it", or something to that effect. I couldn't agree more ...
 
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Andersonh1

Major
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Address at the unveiling of the Confederate monument, at Raleigh,
N.C., May 20th, 1895 / by Alfred Moore Waddell.
Wilmington, N.C. : LeGwin Bros., 1895.


Alfred Moore Waddell was a North Carolina lawyer and politician before and after the Civil War. During the war Waddell was in the Confederate cavalry until his health forced him to resign. See the link below for more information about his life. It's typical to find a former Confederate officer from the area asked to speak at the dedication of a monument.


Waddell praises the women who had worked so long and hard to make the monument a reality. Earlier the cornerstone had been laid, also with great ceremony, and in May of 1895 the memorial was finished and unveiled. Waddell praises the beauty of the monument, which he says will be for their children "a perpetual appeal to their pride and patriotism." His job at the dedication is to trace the history. And then he quotes "a distinguished scholar and statesman of the South" who he does not name.

The establishment of truth is never wrong. History, as written, if accepted in future years will consign the South to infamy. If she were guilty of rebellion or treason, if she adopted and clung to barbarisms, essential sins and immoralities, then her people will be clothed, as it were, with the fabled shirt of Nessus, fatal to honor, to noble development, to true life.​

Waddell says the "accepted" history has been written by Northern men, and has essentially been created out of "cherry picked" facts:

Now the accepted history of the late war, like the previous history of the United States, has been written by Northern men, and a Southerner, reading it, cannot help recalling what Froude said about history generally: namely, that it seemed to him "like a child's box of letters with which we can spell any word we please. We have only to select such letters as we want, arrange them as we like, and say nothing about those which do not suit our purpose."​
Waddell intends to set the record straight and speak of history "with candor and fearlessness - the plain unvarnished truth". He is not interested in reviving sectionalism, but he feels he and his fellow Southerners have been wrongly accused , and he wants to push back against the accusations. He goes through some of the history of North Carolina from the Revolutionary War forward to his day and gives some of the political and constitutional views that established state sovereignty that we've seen from other Southern spokesmen of the era. I won't go into all of that in detail since this thread is mainly concerned with the reasons these men and women gave for the existence of Confederate monuments, but Waddell's choice to go over the history indicates that the monument is, to him, meant to be a reminder of that history. I will say that there is some good information here for those looking for the Southern view of the war and the reasons for it, and Waddell plainly had a good working knowledge of United States history.

He goes on after reciting some of the history to sing the praises of the Confederate soldier, and then narrows his focus to the men from North Carolina. And he again praises the women who raised the monument, which he turns his attention back towards:

You have not erected this monument exclusively to the Confederate Dead of our own State, nor do we confine our loving tributes to them alone.​
We embrace in the wide sweep of our affectionate remembrance all who laid down their lives in defence of the rights and liberties of the Southern States and people.​
From the cold blue lakes upon the Canadian border to where the warm waves lap softly upon the yellow sands of the Gulf, on a thousand hill-sides and in a thousand valleys they sleep - some beneath monuments like this, some in private cemeteries, thousands, alas! in unknown graves. We love and honor the memory of all alike. They deserve such tribute if mortal men ever did, and never was it paid more sincerely than now and here.​
Stand then, bronze image of him who wore the gray! Thou canst not meet with calmer mien than did he the sunshine and the storm. Not more enduring is thy granite base than the love on which he rests. Thou art a triumph of Art; he was God's gift to his country. Thou shalt perish, but he shall live forever in the hearts of his people.​
 
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Andersonh1

Major
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Address of Hon. T.W. Mason before the Ladies' Memorial Association
at the laying of the corner-stone of the Confederate monument
,
Raleigh, N.C., May 20, 1895.
Mason, Thomas Williams, 1839-1921.
Raleigh, N.C. : E.M. Uzzell, Printer, 1898.


The opening of this speech shows the value of having a former Confederate speak at one of these ceremonies as he praises his fallen comrades in very moving terms. Thomas Williams Mason served with a North Carolina Confederate unit during the war, rising to the rank of Captain by the time the war ended. NCPedia describes him as "planter, judge, railroad commissioner, and orator" and his skill with words can be seen in this address.


The day invites us. It is our Independence Day. It is our day of glorious memories. Now, and through all the years to come, it is our Confederate Monument Day. For this day our mountains have given their fairest treasure into the hands of woman, and she has brought this treasure reverently into our midst. Our brothers have taken it gratefully from her hands and laid the stone in its place. We watch and wait with swelling hearts. Voices fall upon the ear again that have been still since our camp-fires went out. We feel the touch of elbows again ; our lines are forming; our ensigns stream above us; our bugles are calling. The stone which you have laid in its place to-day, my brothers, shall be lifted up ; and, by its side and from its summit, he shall look into our faces again, our comrade, our brother; "bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh " ; brave as he who followed the Eagles of Rome, or the Lilies of France, our Confederate brother: he who was first at Bethel; he who was nearest the foe at Gettysburg; he whose rifle gave the last salute to the flag which was folded with immortal honor.​
We have waited long enough to consecrate this stone. History approves and demands it. They who were our foes, but who are now our friends, ask that it be done. The passing years have laid their hands, in blessing, upon the head of our comrade, and deepened the halo about his name.​

Mason goes on to extol the virtues of the Confederate soldier at length. He talked about the history of North Carolina and the Union, and how the men of NC understood both. He praised the women and their conduct during the war. He went over the history of many North Carolina units during the war. In the end, he returns to the cornerstone and future monument, and given that all he's talked about during this address is the Confederate soldier from North Carolina, it's clear that he believes the future monument will represent their memory.

My brothers, the memory of your comrade will not fade. In the twilight of the years to come it will be as the luminous star which led the Eastern worshippers, where a new Life had come to abide among men long enough to teach them how to live like heroes and die like martyrs. The daughters of North Carolina will point our children and our children's children to that star. They will never turn their faces from the Confederate soldier. They gave you your battle flags wet with the dew of their tears, and in that sign and with their prayers yon made the name of North Carolina noble. With each returning spring-time the grave of your comrade blooms out afresh as they lay their hands upon it- To-day they have embalmed his memory in stone. They have given you this token of their love, that shall not fail. Let us lift up this token of their love, my brothers! The light of the morning will bless it, the glory of the evening will hallow it, the patient stars will watch over it, and the calm face of our comrade will teach us courage for to-day and hope for the morrow.​
 

Andersonh1

Major
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Address Delivered at the Opening of the Building of the
Confederate Memorial Institute

at Richmond, Virginia on May 3, 1921
by H. Snowden Marshall

Published by the Board of Managers of the Institute
Richmond, VA
Whittet & Shepperson, Printers, 1921

Hudson Snowden Marshall was the son of Charles Marshall, an aide to Robert E. Lee, which Hudson Marshall notes is the reason he was asked to speak at the opening of the Memorial Institute. Marshall briefly discusses what the country had lived through in regard to the war and Reconstruction, and states that an outsider would never believe just how much the country had healed since that time.

The Confederate Memorial Institute: https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/search/commonwealth:9k41zh174

What did Mr. Marshall have to say about this building, which was essentially a museum of Confederate history?

We are consecrating this building today as a memorial to the generation which bore these trials, and as a lesson to the descendants of the men and women of our Southern country who lived in those dark and terrible times. We are asking, all of their posterity to understand and believe the same thing that we know about them.​

-------------------​
We still are derelict in this respect, and the repetition of falsehood, unchallenged by Weary listeners, sometimes produces an accepted fact.​
It is said that We learn from history that no one ever learns anything from history.​
We surely can learn nothing from false history.​
If our people fought for the preservation of slavery, we ought to tear down this building and wreck the statues that beautify this historic city.​
If they were rebels, or traitors to any government that was entitled to their allegiance, we ought to teach the next generation to despise their memory.​

It was about preserving the history and countering what Marshall saw as false history, which characterized the South in ways that Marshall felt were wrong. The Memorial Institute was not like the typical monument to the dead that we've seen so far in this thread, it had a much more expansive purpose: to tell the Southern side of the story.
 
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Andersonh1

Major
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Oration pronounced by Col. Charles C. Jones, Jr. : on the 31st October
1878, upon the occasion of the unveiling and dedication of the Confederate
monument, erected by the Ladies Memorial Association of Augusta, Georgia.

Jones, Charles Colcock, 1831-1893.
Augusta, Ga. : [s.n., 1878?]

"A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time And rasure of oblivion."

A re-print from the Augusta "Evening Sentinel" of October 31, 1878


The reverberations of the thunders of contending armies had scarcely been hushed within our borders, and the blood of our precious dead ceased to incarnadine the land for whose retention they had wrestled so bravely but in vain, when it entered into the hearts of noble women in our city to erect a monument in honor of the Lost Cause, in memory of the gallant soldiers from this county who had perished during the Confederate struggle for independence.​
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With rapturous joy do we hail the dedication of this goodly monument. With kindling hearts do we respond to the inspirations and the memories which its presence bespeaks. We glory in the rectitude of the cause, and exult in the valor of the men symbolized by its towering form and martial outlines.​
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This occasion recalls the virtues, and consecrates in enduring marble the images of our slain warriors. It crystalizes in towering and symmetrical form the memories of the Confederate struggle for independence. Meet it is that such characters and recollections should be perpetuated by the costliest and the most durable expressions of art. Most seemly is it that this gift should be bestowed by the hand of pure woman....​
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Monuments are connecting links between the present and the past. They symbolize the noblenesses which have gone before, and betoken a happy recognition of them by those who come after. They denote a "just and grateful appreciation of the virtues and services they are designed to commemmorate, and stand as silent yet impressive teachers of the noblest lessons." About them gather the recollections of former achievements and brave endeavors, and in them dwells a consciousness of the dignity and manhood of the race whose history has been enriched by such exhibitions of worth and excellence. They stimulate children to a generous emulation of the meritorious deeds of their ancestors, and incite to action. They foster martial spirit and engender courageous aspirations. By portraying the images of the great, they keep ever before our eyes deathless examples. The looks and thoughts of sympathy begotten by their heroic presence give birth to heroism. Within the charmed sphere of their influence the living learn to value and to imitate the true, the beautiful and the sublime, and insensibly acquire the virtues they symbolize.​
 
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