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

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
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Andersonh1

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This is an important article. I've shared it on my FaceBook Page.

I love Waddell's quote from Froude, but haven't yet learned who Froude is.

I don't know a lot about him, but I did find out that he was a British historian, and I found the apparent source of the quote:


"It often seems to me as if History was like a child’s box of letters, with which we can spell any word we please. We have only to pick out such letters as we want, arrange them as we like, and say nothing about those which do not suit our purpose."
— James Anthony Froude
Lecture delivered to the Royal Institution (5 Feb 1864), 'On the Science of History'. Collected in Notices of the Proceedings at the Meetings of the Members of the Royal Institution of Great Britain with Abstracts of the Discourses (1866), Vol. 4, 180​
 

Philip Leigh

formerly Harvey Johnson
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
I don't know a lot about him, but I did find out that he was a British historian, and I found the apparent source of the quote:


"It often seems to me as if History was like a child’s box of letters, with which we can spell any word we please. We have only to pick out such letters as we want, arrange them as we like, and say nothing about those which do not suit our purpose."
— James Anthony Froude
Lecture delivered to the Royal Institution (5 Feb 1864), 'On the Science of History'. Collected in Notices of the Proceedings at the Meetings of the Members of the Royal Institution of Great Britain with Abstracts of the Discourses (1866), Vol. 4, 180​
Great. That's helpful.
 

Andersonh1

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Address of Armistead Burwell, Esq. May 10th, 1898 : Confederate memorial services, Elmwood Cemetery Charlotte, N.C.
Burwell, Armistead, 1839-1913.
[Charlotte, N.C.? : s.n., 1898]

https://hdl.handle.net/2027/nc01.ark:/13960/t5bc59m36
This is not the first time we've seen Armistead Burwell speak. In post #35 is part of an address he gave in 1910, and you'll find details of who he was and what he did there as well. Here, 12 years earlier, he speaks at another Confederate memorial service, and after extolling the virtues of leaders on both sides of the war, he points the attention of the audience to the cemetery, even referencing Lincoln's words as he remembers the Confederate dead:

With these words, and in the spirit they evince, with charity for all, with malice towards none, we come to deck these graves with the flowers of spring, testifying thus again that we who survive have not forgotten those who "sleep in fame."​

We turn away for a while from the busy walks of life to this city of the dead, hoping that the memory of noble lives, here and now revived, may make us faithful to the true and right, as it is given to us to know it, though faithfulness to such high purpose seem to lead to defeat or to death.​
And, as is most fitting, we invoke the blessing of Him who rules the destinies of nations upon those by whose loving labor this monument was made.
May it ever stand, not less to their gracious memory than to that of the heroic dead for love of whom they placed it here.
 

Andersonh1

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ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT WILSON
ACCEPTING THE MONUMENT IN MEMORY OF THE CONFEDERATE DEAD AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
JUNE 4, 1914

https://archive.org/details/addressofpreside00wilson
This is a short speech, so I'm including it all here. Wilson clearly sees the Arlington Confederate Memorial as a symbol of a reunited nation, in which former enemies worked together to memorialize the fallen Confederates. It is to him a symbol of unity, not something divisive and hateful.

I assure you that I am profoundly aware of the solemn significance of the thing that has now taken place. The Daughters of the Confederacy have presented a memorial of their dead to the Government of the United States. I hope that you have noted the history of the conception of this idea. It was proposed by a President of the United States who had himself been a distinguished officer in the Union Army. It was authorized by an act of Congress of the United States. The corner stone of the monument was laid by a President of the United States elevated to his position by the votes of the party which had chiefly prided itself upon sustaining the war for the Union. And, now, it has fallen to my lot to accept in the name of the great Government which I am privileged for the time to represent this emblem of a reunited people. I am not so much happy as proud to participate in this capacity on such an occasion,—proud that I should represent such a people. Am I mistaken, ladies and gentlemen, in supposing that nothing of this sort could have occurred in anything but a democracy? The people of a democracy are not related to their rulers as subjects are related to a government. They are themselves the sovereign authority, and as they are neighbors of each other, quickened by the same influences and moved by the same motives, they can understand each other. They are shot through with some of the deepest and profoundest instincts of human sympathy. They choose their governments; they select their rulers; they live their own life, and they will not have that life disturbed and discolored by fraternal misunderstandings. I know that a reuniting of spirits like this can take place more quickly in our time than in any other because men are now united by an easier transmission of those influences which make up the foundations of peace and of mutual understanding, but no process can work these effects unless there is a conducting medium. The conducting medium in this instance is the united heart of a great people. I am not going to detain you by trying to repeat any of the eloquent thoughts which have moved us this afternoon, for I rejoice in the simplicity of the task which is assigned to me. My privilege is this, ladies and gentlemen: To declare this chapter in the history of the United States closed and ended, and I bid you turn with me'with your faces to the future, quickened by the memories of the past, but with nothing to do with the contests of the past, knowing, as we have shed our blood upon opposite sides, we now face and admire one another. I do not know how many years ago it was that the Century Dictionary was published, but 1 remember one day in the Century Cyclopedia of Names I had occasion to turn to the name of Robert E. Lee, and I found him there in that book published in New York City simply described as a great American general. The generosity of our judgments did not begin to-day. The generosity of our judgment was made up soon after this great struggle was over. Men came and sat together again in the Congress and united in all the efforts of peace and of government, and our solemn duty is to see that each one of us is in his own consciousness and in his own conduct a replica of this great reunited people. It is our duty and our privilege to be like the country we represent and, speaking no word of malice, no word of criticism even, stand shoulder to shoulder to lift the burdens of mankind in the future and show the paths of freedom to all the world.​
 

Andersonh1

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A souvenir book of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Association and the unveiling of the monument, Richmond, Va., June 3rd, 1907.
Arr. by Alice M. Tyler.
Jefferson Davis Monument Association.
Richmond, Whittet & Shepperson [1907]

https://hdl.handle.net/2027/coo1.ark:/13960/t1rf69x9t
"Love makes memory eternal"

After a weekend during which this monument (among others) was vandalized, I ran across the souvenir booklet for the unveiling, so it seems appropriate that we take a look at it in search of motive and rationale for the existence of the Jefferson Davis memorial. I'm only going to pull relevant portions from the booklet, but as I try to do any time that I can, I've included a link to the entire book, and I encourage everyone to read and to get the full context of any passages or remarks. And right from the first page, we get the following:

The heroism of Southern women was the inspiration of the matchless bravery of the Southern soldiers. Their hands girded the sash and their hearts fared forth their knights to the field.​
Now, the days of youth for many of these women lie buried on forgotten battle-fields. But in the twilight of their years they have builded: "Love's memorial unto valor that shall stand while time shall bide."​

There is a description of the monument after this, and then a short biography of Jefferson Davis. The book then moves on to a short history of the Jefferson Davis Monument Association. They began the work of fundraising and design and eventually turned the work over to the UDC. The monument cost over $70,000, which amazed me. The booklet then moves on to the program for dedication days (plural) and it appears to have been a massive celebration. No speeches are included in this booklet, and much of the short histories are direct and to the point, but the tone of the whole thing leaves no doubt that this is presented as a labor of love by all involved.

If I can find some of the speeches mentioned in the programme, I will go through them at some point and see what can be learned.
 

Andersonh1

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31st document I've gone through.

ADDRESS AT THE DEDICATION OF THE Monunent to the Confederate Dead
University of Virginia, June 7, 1893

BY ROBERT STILES

1893
RICHMOND, VA
TAYLOR & TAYLOR, PRINTERS

https://books.googleusercontent.com...tiVVs6pBmOE3JvEL__jOOBFB3CrJAD_gduCiSRXgKWGwQ
Robert Stiles was a Major on Robert E. Lee's staff, known for being the author of the book "Four Years With Marse Robert". So he was a veteran from very high up in the ANV and no doubt a prestigious speaker for the dedication of this monument.

https://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/stiles/stiles.html
He gave a long address that was long on sentiment and recalling his days in the army. He does have some things to say about what the monuments in question mean.

On the outskirts of the historic capital city of Virginia, between it and the great battlefields, out of the midst of 16,000 graves, rises a simple granite shaft with this inscription:​
"The epitaph of the Soldier who falls with his Country is written in the hearts of those who love the Right and honor the Brave."​
Today, in this silent camp, we unveil another sentinel stone, bearing this legend:​
"Fate denied them Victory, but clothed them with glorious Immortality."​
Both these monuments memorialize defeat, but what witness do they bear? What do they declare? Against what do they protest? What is their deepest significance?
The Oakwood Monument reminds us that the brave may fall, the right may fail. This shaft, the silent orator of this occasion, claims glory for the vanquished, immortality of glory for the brave who have fallen in a cause that is lost. The one challenges the basest and most debasing of falsehoods, "Success is the test of merit." The other denies that darkest and most depressing of creeds, "Success is the measure of fame." Both are noble protests - the very marrow of true manhood. They do honor to human nature; they nerve it with indomitable valor for the battle of life. It is much to know that the victor does not always wear the laurel, nor the vanquished the chain. It is more to feel that the chain may be more glorious than the laurel.​
Stiles had a lot to say about his fellow soldiers and about the war and the reasons it was fought. The majority of his speech is focused on these topics, and on anecdotes about Union and Confederate troops during the war, and about Lee and Jackson and their leadership qualities. He relates many personal anecdotes from his time in the Confederate army. The following quote is not about the monuments per se, but it gives an idea of why perhaps so many of them incorporate a soldier:

And what were we — what did we, in those days? Shallow-pated fools — 19th century fools — sneer at the life of the soldier. We know better. From the midst of the life about us to -day - the life of craft and guile and rottenness, of money loving and money getting — the life of push and drive and clutch and scrape for wealth, aye for bread — the hum drum, dead-level, feeble, shallow, selfish life you live today - look back upon your soldier life. Gaze upon it, in the hallowing light of the past. The look will do you good , through and through. One thing at least is clear. If there is any part or portion of your life , in which you were where you should have been and did what you should have done — it is the great Olympiad of '61 to '65 , when you followed Joe Johnston and Robert Lee.​

Stiles has nothing but praise for the endurance and fortitude of the Confederate soldier. I especially loved his story about his conversation with the wife of a soldier while on the retreat towards Appamattox. In the end, he returns to the subject of the monument:

Comrades:​
We are about to unveil a monument to “ The Confederate Dead ,” — but, one interesting feature of this occasion is its tender association with a Confederate, thank God, yet living.​
When little Sallie Baker shall draw aside yonder veil, and reveal the noble figure behind it, her act will also serve to recall the pathetic figure of the hero father to whose superb gallantry she owes her distinguished part in the ceremonies of this hour - comrade James B. Baker, a soldier who never faltered till he fell, and who has borne his wounds as bravely as he had worn his sword.​
And now, we leave this holy scene, we close this holy hour. We turn again to what we call Life - we leave these gallant brothers whom we call Dead. Yes, leave them here in silence and with God.​
God will distill the gentlest dews of heaven upon these flowers. He will direct the mildest stars of heaven upon these graves. God and his angels will guard their repose, until the roses bloom again - then we will return, renewing our flowers and our faith.​
 
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Andersonh1

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Address Delivered Before Oakwood Memorial Association
Richmond Va.
Saturday, May 7, 1910
by Henry Robinson Pollard
Private of Company “E” 24th Va, Cavalry, Gary’s Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia, Paroled at Appomattox Court House Virginia, April 10, 1865.

https://archive.org/details/addressdelivered00poll
Pollard addressed the Oakwood Memorial Association, and the association itself was part of the subject of his speech. As such, he seems to have a firm idea of what their purpose was and what motivated them. And he praises the women of the memorial association.

The thought that produced the Confederate Memorial Association was a happy one. The prompt and cheerful assumption of a self imposed obligation to honor the memory of those whose deeds of valor, we now and here revive, bespeak a devotion to duty as noble as that which characterized the men who surrendered their lives on the altar of their country. Most of the original actors in these annual occasions have passed over the river and now keep company with the noble patriot and warrior Stonewall Jackson, who was great in death, no less than in life, vanquishing the last enemy by his immortal saying “Let us pass over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”​

The women of the South, standing amid the wreck and ruin of a long and disastrously ending war, with intuitive prescience, organized a movement which has done more, than all besides, to fix the standard of virture and patriotism by which the cause of the Confederacy and its adherents must be judged.​
Pollard says that the example of the Confederate soldier provides an ideal that will help deal with the problems of the present day.
We have great and serious problems pressing upon us for solution, hardly less imperilling our freedom than those that underlaid “the irrepressible conflict.”​

Some of these are dangers of a partisan, or subsidized press, municipal mismanagement, official graft, fraud in elections, and combinations, representing either great aggregations of wealth or numbers, intended to control, or to dictate the terms on which the business, or material part of it, of this great country, shall be conducted.​

In these sacred precincts, in the presence of the ashes of the noble dead, we should dedicate ourselves to the sacred task of wisely solving these problems. In order to meet this obligation we must lift our city and state into high ideals, that our lives may illustrate the same devotion to duty that actuated the sixteen thousand dead heroes that are here entombed, to whose singleness of heart and purpose, we pay homage to-day.​

He closes with a salute to the deceased soldiers, his brothers in arms.

“The Old Guards” of Napoleon had a regulation which required the names of all their members killed in battle, to be retained on the muster roll and when the names of such were called, at the daily roll-call, some comrade advanced two paces to the front and answered, “Killed on the field of battle.” The roll of our dead is too long to be called, but their names are registered in the book of everlasting remembrance of a loyal and patriotic people.​

Confederate veterans! Dead or alive, in the name of the Ladies of the Oakwood Memorial Association. I salute you! If dead, peace to your ashes! If alive, may you be true to principle, till you have “fallen on sleep.”​
 

Andersonh1

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I'm not familiar with this blogger, but he has transcribed the dedication speeches for the Lee Memorial in Richmond, as printed in the Richmond Dispatch, 30 May 1890. I'll copy these over several posts so this does not become a wall of text.

https://jonwhitesrepublicanism.blog...xLn7M8gH-vJh1csDblfVOd5Hdj0CggDAchb77LdsUMjlQ
Speech of Governor Phillip McKinney​
“Unveiled,” Richmond Dispatch, May 30, 1890, p. 2.​
As Chairman of the Lee Monument Association it becomes my duty to call this meeting to order, and on the behalf of the organization to express its gratification at this vast assemblage of fair women and brave men who have come to witness the consummation of its labors, to do honor to the memory of Robert Edward Lee, and give to them a cordial welcome.​
With no disloyalty in our hearts to the government under which we live in with no desire to awaken or perpetuate old animosities, we come with sacred memory for our cause which is lost, with a love and admiration for our dear ones who have fallen which is unconquerable and eternal. This is the feeling of the southern people. Some will condemn us – they may as well find fault with nature’s God because He kisses Confederate graves with showers and smiles upon them with his sunshine and garlands them with flowers. It’s evidence for this great gathering from every state of the Confederacy.​
Texas, the most remote, is represented by her gallant soldiers who fought under Lee and Jackson, commanded by one who was loyal to the Confederacy while it lived and who loves its memory still – a member of its cabinet then, and United States senator now.​
Louisiana is here represented by the Washington Artillery, which came so early to the aid of Virginia, and did such good service upon many hard-fought fields, and alas has left so many of its gallant hearts to rest forever upon her soil.​
And with them is Longstreet – that “old war horse” who led the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.​
Many of his old soldiers are here today and will greet him with unspeakable pleasure.​
Georgia is here with many of her double sons, and with them comes Gordon, whose name is as familiar to the veterans of the grand old army as those of Jackson and Lee.​
Florida and Alabama are here with their gallant sons bringing fresh garlands of flowers from their beautiful lands to crown the soldier who statue we will this day unveil.​
North and South Carolina are here. Virginia’s eldest sisters with hearts as brave in 1861 as in 1776, led by Hampton and Hoke and others, as loyal to liberty as we are the fathers in the Revolution.​
Old Virginia, God bless her! Is here. From the Ohio to the ocean her children are gathered. Every home, every heart is represented here; not in sorrow, not in anger. As proud as conquering heroes they come to do honor to their older brother, and to challenge the world and all its ages to pronounce a grander man then Robert Edward Lee.​

Arkansas is here with her gallant sons, among whom is her distinguished Senator Berry, who lost a limb in our service.​
Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia are here, represented by distinguished officers, true old veterans, and splendid young troops to honor the memory of their leader.​
Mississippi must not be forgot – she is here with many representatives. There is one who is absent; a patriotic mother, a lone window – she wears no rude scars of water, but she is suffered for us as none has suffered since Gethsemane. Crushed by sorrow by care she is too infirm to attempt the long journey, but in heart she is with us. Could she have come these brave men would have welcomed her with filial affection, and this vast assembly would be complete.​
There is one other of whom a word must be spoken, the oldest of our generals now living – the classmate of Lee. They graduated together; together began the soldiers proud and perilous life; together fought the battles of their country before the birth of the Confederacy; together they followed the fortunes of their native state; together they obtain the highest military rank in our army; one has been taken to whom the honor will be granted of lifting the veil and introducing to the world the heroic statue of his lifelong friend. We welcome General Joseph E. Johnston today, and are united in prayer that his life may yet be spared for years to come in the land he loves and has served so faithfully.​
I do not mention all. I am surrounded by the representatives from every State in this Union, we have come with the loyal hearts to do honor to the memory of him who is honored by the civilized world for his great genius and the purity of his character, and of whom all true Americans should be proud.​
It is not my purpose nor my duty to make a speech, but I am simply to introduce to you the presiding officer. He is fitly chosen, one of the friends and companions of Lee, and one of his most distinguished generals – one who has never been false to friend or foe, and whose heart has never had a throb disloyal to Virginia or the South.​
It gives me pleasure to introduce to you General Jubal A. Early, Virginia.​
 

Andersonh1

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Lee dedication speeches continued:

Early said, “Silence, gentlemen, Rev. Dr. Mennigerode will now lead us in prayer.”​
Rev. Dr. Mennigerode’s invocation:​
O Lord, our Heavenly Father, the high and mighty ruler of the universe, who dost from the throne behold all the dwellers upon earth, we are gathered together before Thee to attest in all humility our love and admiration for our great and noble leader. It is right and proper to cherish and perpetuate to late generations the memory of the good and great, whose labor is all through life and through the great trials of our common country have been to us a blessing and a glory. Most gracious God, whose mercy is over all thy works, thou hast blessed our efforts (begun in loyalty and love by a few in our midst, but whose appeals were responded to by the universal and enthusiastic approval of our people) so that now there stands before us the consummation of a people’s gratitude, the monument to this grand and noble and heroic Christian. And as we now unveil his statue and show it forth to the world and the gaze of future generations, we would humbly pray for Thy blessing upon it; we would consecrate it in Thy name and offer it as a people’s thank-offering to Thee, our Heavenly Father; yes, we thank Thee and blessed Thy holy name not only for the favor which has watched over our work of love, but above all that Thou the giver of every good and perfect gift in the precious gracious providence hast bestowed upon us the greatest of human gifts in raising among us and for us a man so true, so noble, so unselfish, so gifted, and of such self-sacrificing heroism. All honor and glory be unto thee, O Lord, that thou hast honored our land in the gift of Robert E Lee! And we would present this monument to the whole world to preserve in the hearts of all good man and for all time the memory of one who even his enemies honor and to whom we can look up as a shining light in all things that make men good and great, and who in his noble deeds and Christian spirit has proved himself faithful and true to God and man. But, oh! Father of Mercies, we most humbly and prayerfully beseech thee to bless that noble example to those among whom he lived and labored and suffered, a household blessing in every home in Virginia and the South! May his memory be hallowed to what we may call his people! May it be and remain and grow more and more an influence for good and all that is true and honest and just and pure and lovely and of good report, every virtue, every praise, as indeed it was the great prayer and effort of his heart to his dying day, in token of which with the sword was shaved he consecrated the last year’s of his life to the noble work of using all his God-given power and influence to the training, education, and elevation of the young who are the hope of the country – the noblest work for the noblest of men. Oh! May his name, his example, his teaching be the heirloom of his glorious life, and his influence in all our hearts give undying value to the monument which we now unveil in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whose is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.​
General Jubal Early spoke:​
Friends, fellow citizens and Comrades, – it has been twenty years since a meeting of Confederate soldiers was held in the city of Richmond, which was presided over by the illustrious President of the Confederacy, at which steps were taken for the purpose of erecting a monument to the memory of our great commander. It was not that such a monument was necessary to perpetuate his fame, but to show the men who had followed him how worthy have been the followers of Robert E. Lee.​
That illustrious president is not here on this occasion to witness tribute to the memory of his friend.​
It is not my purpose to make a speech. I want to assure you now that I am glad to meet the survivors and my old comrades. Amongst them I greet most heartily the private soldiers, who did their duty during the war, never deserted during the war, and have been doing their duty and remained faithful since the war.​
That man who is a private soldier is equal to the highest in rank, and I can take him by the hand most cordially, and greet him as my comrade and a soldier.​
I am glad to find so many of them here. But, gentlemen, I did not rise for the purpose of making a speech. A wise man of old has said, “speech is silvan, silence is golden,” and I feel like this occasion like investing in gold, as language is too inadequate to do justice to the subject. I shall therefore close by introducing to you, Colonel Archer Anderson, the orator of the occasion, who will address you.​
 

Andersonh1

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Keynote speech of the day. I won't post it all because it's quite long, but it's worth reading in it's entirety.

https://jonwhitesrepublicanism.blogspot.com/2020/06/archer-andersons-speech-at-dedication.html

Address of Colonel Archer Anderson Delivered Yesterday.​
LEE THE SOLDIER AND CITIZEN​
A fine contribution to history; an eloquent tribute; a graceful and scholarly production.​

The following is the full address of Colonel Archer Anderson, delivered yesterday at the Lee monument unveiling ceremonies.​

Fellow citizens,—A people carves its own image in the monuments of its great men. Not Virginians only, not only those who dwell in the fair land stretching from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, but all who bear the American name probably concerned that posterity should judge them by the structure which we are here to dedicate and crown with a heroic figure. Or as the Latin poet said that wherever the Roman name and sway extended there should be the sepulcher of Pompey, so today, in every part of America, the character and fame of Robert Edward Lee are treasured as a “possession for all time.”​

--------------​
All this, and more, will be the testimony of the solid fabric we hear complete. It will recall the generous initiative and the unflagging zeal of those noble women of the south to whom in large measure we owe this auspicious day; it will bear its lasting witness as the voluntary offering of the people, not the governments of the southern states; and, standing as a perpetual memorial of our great leader, it will stand not less as an enduring record of what his fellow citizens deemed most worthy to be honored.

-----------------​

Let this monument, then, teach to generations yet unborn these lessons of his life! Let it stand, not as a record of civil strife, but as a perpetual protest against whatever is low and sordid in our private and public objects! Let it stand as a memorial of personal honor that never brooked a stain, of knightly valor without thought of self, of far-reaching military genius unsoiled by ambition, of heroic constancy from which no cloud of misfortune could ever hide the path of duty! Let it stand for reproof and censure if our people shall ever sink below the standards of their fathers! Let it stand for patriotic hope and cheer if a day of national gloom and disaster shall ever dawn upon our country! Let it stand as the embodiment of a brave and virtuous people’s ideal leader! Let it stand as a great public act of thanksgiving and praise for that it please Almighty God to bestow upon these southern states a man so formed to reflect his attributes of power, majesty and goodness!​

“Oration of the Day,” Richmond Dispatch, 30 May 1890, p. 2.​
 

Andersonh1

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34th memorial examined.

MEMORIAL CEREMONIES IN HONOR OF GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE
Held in the St. Charles Theatre, Tuesday October 18, 1870
Published by the Committee of Arrangements
New Orleans
Printed at the Bulletin Job Office 133 Gravier Street, 1870

https://archive.org/details/memorialceremoni00newo
Lee had only died a week before, and the war was only five years in the past. Most of the booklet is a series of speeches given at a memorial service for Lee, and one of the things that came out of that was a proposal to raise a monument to Lee in New Orleans.

Ladies and Gentlemen—It has devolved upon me to call to order and organize this vast concourse of people, who, in this their hour of bereavement have assembled together, thus spontaneously as it were, and in this grand, eloquent and impressive manner, to pay homage to him, who, in patriotism and goodness, was the equal of Washington and his superior in military genius and in intellectual attainments. And, although the manly form of the heroic soldier, statesman and christian has passed away from earth, and his noble, God-like spirit returned to its creator yet, the name of Robert E. Lee will live in the annals of history and in the hearts of a grateful, loving people, down "to the last syllable of recorded time."​

If you read through the main address of the day, you will probably never find a more glowing eulogy to anyone. I have to admit, the practically make a saint out of Lee, but that's how the people of that day felt about him. And then the speaker reaches a paragraph which I think sums up what a lot of these early memorials stood for at one point when he speaks about what Lee's death brought out in people.

He has earned the admiration of the North by the scrupulous honor with which he has kept the parole obligations as a soldier and a citizen. Both sections owe obligations to this brave and truthful man. Both silently approach his grave, and cast into its solemn portals some emblem of an animosity which can no longer harm any except him who may cherish it. From this day, and from these scenes, will arise a calmer, a more generous feeling, among those who were but lately in deadly enmity. It becomes us all to acknowledge ourselves not exempt from the weakness and errors of humanity. Mourning the madness which has divided and distracted the country, and threatened the extinction of the only ray of freedom now alight in the world, we may, in the presence of the grave, and the spirit of him who fills it, unite in a sincere wish for peace, and a regret for all the sorrow, and all the wrong which have been endured or inflicted by other sections. Like the scriptural example, we may cover ourselves with the mantle of oblivion, and, walking reverently backward, cast it over and conceal the infirmities which have caused us so much sorrow.​

Near the end of the proceeding a series of resolutions are given, among which are the following, which tell us a lot about why they raised a monument to Lee in New Orleans:

Whereas. Like orphans at the grave of a parent untimely snatched away, our hearts have lingered and brooded, with a grief that no cunning of speech could interpret, over the thought that Robert E Lee exists no more, in bodily life, in a sensible form, in visible presence, for our love and veneration, for our edification and guidance, for our comfort and solace; and​
Whereas, we have invoked all funeral emblems to aid us with their utmost eloquence of woe, and we cannot sate ourselves with contemplating, from the depth and the gloom of our bereavement, the exalted and radiant virtues of the dead -​
Resolved, That we, the people of New Orleans, have come together, under one common impulse, to render united homage to the memory which holds mastery in our minds, whether we turn with bitter regret to the past, or with prayerful and chastened aspirations to the future.​
Resolved, That as Louisianians, as Southerners, as Americans, we proudly claim our share in the fame of Lee as an inheritance rightfully belonging to us, and endowed with which, we shall piously cherish, though all calamities should rain upon us, true poverty—the poverty, indeed, that abases and starves the spirit—can never approach us with its noisome breath or withering look.​

Resolved - That it is infinitely better to have to mourn the loss of our Lee, than not to have learned to prize him as the noblest gift which could have been allotted to a people and an epoch; a grand man, rounded to the symmetry of equal moral and intellectual powers, graces, and accomplishments; a man whose masterly and heroic energy left nothing undone in defending a just cause, while there was a possibility of striking for it a rational and hopeful blow, and whose sublime resignation, when the last blow was struck in vain, and when human virtue was challenged to match itself with the consummation​
of human adversity, taught wiser, more convincing, more reassuring, more soul-sustaining lessons than were to be found in all the philosophies of all the books.​

Resolved That worthily to show our veneration for this majestic and beautiful character, we must revolve it habitually in our thoughts, and try to appropriate it to the purification and elevation of our lives, and so educate our children that they shall, if possible, grow up into its likeness.​

Resolved, That while it is honorable for a people to deeply lament the death of such a man, it would be glorious for a generation to mould itself after his model; for it would be a generation fraught with all high manly qualities, tempered with all gentle and christian virtues; for truth, love, goodness, health, strength would he with it, and consequently victory, liberty, majesty and beauty.​

Resolved, That we would hail the erection of the proposed monument as well adapted to the purpose of preserving this admirable and most precious memory, as a vital and beneficent influence for all time to come, and we will therefore cordially aid in promoting the Lee monument, which has just been inaugurated.​

In other words, Lee is no longer with us, and a physical reminder of him and his virtues that we can see will remind us to emulate his example. That was the impulse behind the New Orleans monument to Robert E. Lee.
On motion, it was Resolved, That three thousand copies of a pamphlet containing the proceedings of the meeting, together with the addresses of the Hon. Wm M BurwelL Hon. Thos J. Semmes and the Rev. Dr. Palmer, be printed and placed on sale, the proceeds thereof to be applied towards the erection in this city of a suitable monument to General Robert E. Lee.​
 
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Andersonh1

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From the dedication of "Silent Sam", June 2, 1913. Remarks by the chairman of the monument committee, Mrs. Henry Armand London

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Andersonh1

Brigadier General
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I have found part of Governor Locke Craig's Silent Sam dedication speech, published in the Asheville Citizen-Times June 3, 1913 page 7. I found it as a clipping at Newspapers.com, but I do not have access to the full site. If anyone can send me page 1 of that date's paper so I can see the rest of the speech, I'd appreciate it. I normally access Newspapers.com at the library, which is of course still closed due to Covid.

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Governor Locke Craig Speaks at Unveiling
(Continued from Page One)

... made this campus ring with shouts of boyish sports had gone. The university mourned in silent desolation. Her children had been slain. But she was splendid in that day of tribulation; for wherever armies had marched and wherever the conclusion of fierce battles had been tried, her sons had fought and fallen at the front. Many fell on the bloody fields of Virginia and Pennsylvania. Upon the faces of those who returned, the scar stamps heroism where God had impressed nobility.

"That was the offering made by the university to the Confederacy.

"Go tell at Lachedaemon that they died in obedience to her law."

"When in the Roman Forum, there yawned a chasm that could not be closed, and that poisoned the city with its pestilence the gods demanded as an appeasing sacrifice whatever was most precious in Rome. Mettus Curtius, the most beautiful youth, clothed and armed as a soldier leaped in. Answering the Supreme requisition the university held upon the altar of Dixie the fairest and bravest of the world.

Memorial Is Raised.

"This statue is a memorial to their chivalry and devotion. It is an epic poem in bronze. Its beauty and its grandeur are not limited by the genius of the sculptor. The soul of the beholder will determine the revelation of its meaning. It will remind you, and those who come after you of the boys who left these peaceful, classic shades for the hardships of armies at the front, for the fierce carnage of titanic battles for suffering and for death. We unveil and dedicate this monument today, as a covenant that we too will do our task with fidelity and courage.

Boys Not Drafted.

"These boys were not drafted. The authorities of the university tried to keep them here. They came from homes of plenty and culture. They enjoyed comforts. They knew the danger of war, but they turned their back upon the ???st, and renounced the place of ease. Trained in the curriculum of one of the first universities, they went to the ranks and drilled and toiled and fought with the lowly. They were eager for a soldier's part. The latent daring fo the race was aroused. Cavalry galloped in the storm, parks of artillery were driven along the highways, invading armies were coming fathers and brothers had already gone to meet the foe. They had heard the clarions of the battle call.

"I do not mean that they were better than other boys, who gave themselves to the Confederacy. They were not. In that great day there was the democracy of manhood. Every good soldier was an artistocrat and every brave man was enlisted in the order of royal knighthood. They were all thrilled by the pulsation of heroic youth. By their devotion to a cause, by the duties and the honor of a soldier, they were all lifted to a finer manhood. In 1864 Vance wrote to a friend that the Confederate victories had been won by the enthusiasm of her young men.

Wore to the Front.

"These boys endured with patience; they doggedly withstood the impact of rushing squadrons; they were foremost in the onset.

"On the third day at Gettysburg, Pettigrew looked upon the decimated ranks of his youthful soldiers, still dauntless amid the crush of doom. He uncovered and bowed to them and said: "Boys, for the honor of North Carolina, forward." He wept when he saw them with fixed bayonets charging the stone wall at the bloody angle - forward with unfaltering step while they were torn by grape and canister. The sons of the university led this charge. Nothing more heroic was ever done in war. They were equal to the Spartans at Thermopylae; to the Thebans at Chaeronia; to the English at Balaklava; to the Old Guard at Waterloo. They are in the band of the Immortals. With these there is no second place. They are all sublime. This has been called Pickett's charge. History should write Pettigrew and Pickett's charge. They both led it. North Carolina was farthest and foremost.

General Makes Talk.

"General Pender looked upon those boys of the Confederacy, footsore and weary, on the northern bank of the Potomac, while the guns of Sharpsburg roared in the distance. "Boys," said he, "If there be a single one that does not wish to go with me to Sharpsburg, let him step out of the ranks and he shall be put back across the river in safety." With a victorious shout they rushed forward to Sharpsburg.

"George Pettigrew Bryan was the youngest in his class, who received the first distinction. He fell while leading a charge on the enemy's works east of Richmond. Mortally wounded in the breast, he said: "Boys, I am killed, but I wish I could live to see you take those works." In a few moments the works were carried. Like Wolf on the heights of Abraham, like the soldier of Marathon, he died with "victory" on his lips.

"In strange lands, wounded and neglected, they suffered without complaint, and bequeathed a message for home, they died without a murmur.

"Hail to thee, our alma mater, that nurtured them! Sacred to all generations be the institution that gave to us this splendid inheritance.

Great Sacrifice Made.

"Was this devotion lost? Was this sacrifice in vain?

"The earth is hallowed because it is the sepulcher of brave men. Not the men whose victories have been inscribed upon triumphal columns, but the men whose memorial is that in courage and loyalty for conviction they were steadfast even unto death. The men who have been stoned and scourged and quailed not before the mighty. Their heroic sufferings rise up melodiously together to heaven out of all lands and out of all times, as a sacred miserere; their heroic actions as a boundless everlasting psalm of triumph." They are the apostles. They are the conquerors.

"It is for this reason that the world always has and always will admire the soldier. Around his monument the songs of patriotism will be sung, and fair hands will scatter the flowers of spring. There is something to him that is dearer than his own life. He has a cause that he will live for and fight for and die for. He bids defiance to danger and pain and death. He subjects himself to the highest and severest test. He is tried by fire. He is weighed in the scales of the Absolute. Is is this that ennobles war, that shines in the horror of battlefields, and garments rolled in blood. It is incarnated in the life of every true soldier. It is this that cannot be in vain. It can never be lost. It is more enduring than bronze and marble. It is brighter than all the order of the stars.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
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Thanks to @lelliott19 for not one, but two very early dedication speeches. The first is a June 1, 1869 Confederate monument dedication in Harrisburg, Kentucky while the second is in Elmwood Cemetery, June 5, 1869. I'm not going to transcribe them all, please visit the link for the full text. But I will put a few samples here.

https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/...xt=&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=12
The Confederate Dead!​
An Eloquent Address!​
On the first day of June, the citizens of Harrison county, Ky, dedicated a monument to the memory of the Confederate Dead, in Battle Grove Cemetery, near Cynthiana. - The orator on the occasion, was Col. W. P. C. Breckenridge, and his address one of the most eloquent delivered during the present season....​
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Not only is this monument in memory of the gallant dead, but it also commemorates the virtues of the States, who gave their lives to the cause; States now dead, but for whom there is a resurrection morn. Ireland, Poland, Crete and Hungary, cannot find permanent counterparts in this land consecrated to liberty.​
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This monument is in honor of every Kentucky soldier whose life was given to the cause, Your son, your husband, your father, your brother.to him we have reared this memorial. To him who fell as ho fought with Desha at Drainsville; to those who remained at Donelson. prisoners to death ; to the sleepers around the little church of Shiloh, where Johnson and Monroe led across the dark river; to those who accompanied Hanson at Murfreesboro, or rode into the spirit land with Morgan ; the devoted who followed Breckinridge at Chickamauga, or fell by the wayside on the long retreat from Dalton ; the buried victims of hospitals and prisons; the martyrs that died heroic deaths on the scaffold, or fell before the bloody orders of those whose very names are not fit to be uttered here; to each and every one of them who sealed his devotion with his life; we here reverently do honor.​
 
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