Removal of List of POW Dead from Cemetery

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NH Civil War Gal

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Now that I'm calmer about this, I'm with you on this John. I'm really surprised the city council can decide something like this when the bones of the soldiers are from a historical war. This isn't a statute - this is a listing of soldiers. Heck, at the lowest level, genealogists would want to have the listing at the very least left there and various historical societies. I know that across the street from me is the 1700s historical cemetery and the town would have no say on what and who they wanted to get rid of. So I'm surprised that someone(s) opposing this haven't kicked this to a higher rank within the state historical departments. It's a gravestone and it's not supposed to bring up "happy memories."
 

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Cemeteries can, indeed, be educational. In the case of 'my' cemetery what happens or doesn't happen is determined by a Commission (i.e. not the city council) and, because it is designated as a state historic cemetery (by the Legislature) there are rules about what may and may not be done. I'm a bit surprised that policy at the Madison cemetery in question is just a matter of a council vote. Republican democracy and all that aside, I think there's some things that need a little more shielding from governmental bodies that can change overnight. In a way, that's why we appoint supreme court justices for life.
I do agree, though those things were themselves established by the processes that allowed them to be set up. Anything in our Republic can be changed too with enough support. Maybe a Commission having the final say is a better choice, though to me that's up to the people there. It is the way it is due to a history behind it and people can change that if they so chose. It's easier for people to complain and do nothing though than act within our political system.

As always with these kinds of things, in the end the citizens of the town can and may do what they will with their assets but it doesn't mean we have to agree and it is a shame when these types of decisions are made. The masses can be scary sometimes and I think some assets need to perhaps be protected from what I consider knee-jerk politics. So I'm not content to just say "well, that's the system so it's fine whatever they decide to do." It's not fine.
Absolutely. I disagree with this decision myself. Though if it's done via the established process that those people haven't challenged until now then they need to get off their rears and change the process or participate within it. Maybe this will motivate them to protect the cemetery behind a slower moving Commission authority, maybe not.

I guess when you say

""well, that's the system so it's fine whatever they decide to do." It's not fine"

I agree, though it's not the fault of the system it's the fault of the people who set it up and refuse to change it when they have the power. City council is doing their job and it was a pretty big vote 16 vs 2 so I suspect theirs more behind the scenes than it seems like.

It's easy for people to attack the system than actually act within the system to either change it or pursue the paths they have. Basically it's convenient for people to suddenly care how their own system is when it comes to something they care about, but didn't care when others had issues. Often times they didn't because the flaw worked in their favor in the past. So they attack that instead of recognizing they need to do something useful.

None of this means I disagree with people having opinions. I have my own, that it shouldn't be removed and I probably agree with you that this might make sense behind a Commission authority rather than City Council. Though what is now is the collective expression of how people chose to set it up from the past until this point. Not a boogeyman like some might like to paint (not suggesting you).

When people look at it like what it is, just a system that's apparently served fine enough until now, they can just consider that maybe the system does indeed need a change. Maybe how our forefathers and ourselves have previously set up this process isn't sufficient and we need to use the power we have to alter it. In that case we'd be faced with two sides of this argument, one who wants to change the monument in the cemetery and the other that wants to change the rules deciding who has a say in that monument... both effectively vying for change in different ways.
 
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MattL

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Agreed. Decent human beings do not act this way towards the dead. They should be beyond our modern politics.
That's a dangerous ground to walk, a slippery slope.

"Decent human beings" do not act this way towards X that I think they should. It's a way to attack the people instead of the actions. Not unlike how some might say the same about slavery, decent human beings don't act this way towards other people and attacking the people who enslaved them.

These "human beings" are just people with an opinion that's different than yours and mine. They have plenty of justifications for their views just the same.

"They should be beyond our modern politics."

The people of Madison have the power to make that happen, they have had that power. We'll see if they do or not. Personally I hope they do, but people complain fast and act slow.
 

lelliott19

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Cemeteries can, indeed, be educational. In the case of 'my' cemetery what happens or doesn't happen is determined by a Commission (i.e. not the city council) and, because it is designated as a state historic cemetery (by the Legislature) there are rules about what may and may not be done. I'm a bit surprised that policy at the Madison cemetery in question is just a matter of a council vote. Republican democracy and all that aside, I think there's some things that need a little more shielding from governmental bodies that can change overnight.
Now that I'm calmer about this, I'm with you on this John. I'm really surprised the city council can decide something like this when the bones of the soldiers are from a historical war. So I'm surprised that someone(s) opposing this haven't kicked this to a higher rank within the state historical departments. It's a gravestone and it's not supposed to bring up "happy memories."
In reply, in reading the article, I believe the decision was kicked to a higher level - the Landmarks Commission ruled that the stone could not be removed. But the Council voted to remove it anyway. :nah disagree:

Council members voted 16-2 to overturn the Landmarks Commission’s ruling that barred the removal of a large, stone monument that lists the names of about 140 prisoners-of-war buried in a section of the cemetery known as Confederate Rest.
This is where I would disagree with you @MattL (or agree with you, as the case may be.) Seems they have a process in Madison WI - but this council took it upon themselves to remove the stone anyway. So it wasn't decided within the established process. The established process that "has apparently served fine enough until now" was bypassed in order to remove the stone anyway. IMHO further evidence to support @John Winn 's suggestion
some assets need to perhaps be protected from what I consider knee-jerk politics.
 
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MattL

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In reply, in reading the article, I believe the decision was kicked to a higher level - the Landmarks Commission ruled that the stone could not be removed. But the Council voted to remove it anyway. :nah disagree:

Council members voted 16-2 to overturn the Landmarks Commission’s ruling that barred the removal of a large, stone monument that lists the names of about 140 prisoners-of-war buried in a section of the cemetery known as Confederate Rest.
This is where I would disagree with you @MattL (or agree with you, as the case may be.) Seems they have a process in Madison WI - but this council took it upon themselves to remove the stone anyway. So it wasn't decided within the established process. The established process that "has apparently served fine enough until now" was bypassed in order to remove the stone anyway. IMHO further evidence to support @John Winn 's suggestion
You may be right, though the Council being able to overrule the Commission seems to be different from what Winn was talking about (not sure though). I was aware that the commission had voted and they voted differently, though I was under the impression in different places the Landmarks Commission would have the power to have the final say for historical preservation. I gathered that from

because it is designated as a state historic cemetery (by the Legislature) there are rules about what may and may not be done
Though I may have assumed incorrectly.

Like you said we might agree and/or disagree since technically this is part of the process. Most processes have multiple levels one can pursue. If it's well within the council's rights then it's within their rights and apparently no one has had a problem with that process existing until now. Which means that either people can try and change that process, change their council's opinions, or change their council itself. Different areas establish their own processes and though it might sound a bit cold I think people have to sleep in the bed the made.

Though again my personal opinion is that I disagree with this choice. Maybe the council shouldn't have the final say on a cemetery like this.

Guess I'm more of the attitude of focus on the solution and not the problem, especially if the problem is a policy a place has had plenty of time to change in the past. Even if that solution is to change the policy.

I guess to me this is no different than that CBF flag raised on private property in a Confederate memorial in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas raised in another thread. Where the Daughters of Confederate Veterans received a petition and lowered it for a year and just raised it again. The current laws, process, and policy is that it's private property in a place where it doesn't violate any rules. So that group has every right to raise or lower it however they want. Even if I think they should lower it I simply will not attack them for exerting their right and following the legitimate and established process, no matter my opinion on the matter.

To me it's the same here. I don't understand why some would criticize these people (the Council and those that supported them) for exerting their rights and following the legitimate process to achieve whats important to them. Disagree with what they are doing, sure, but it's a bit petty to attack them beyond that when they are following the rules and expressing their freedoms within the system. To me it's just a way for people to try and de-legitimatize the "other side" of an issue by attacking the people instead of just challenging the issue itself on the grounds you have. It's backhanded IMHO and it's sad when I see it go either direction.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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You would be correct.

https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/madison-residents-weigh-in-on-confederate-monuments-at-forest-hill/article_8ea3be1b-04d6-5cd1-87af-2e31eb41fa36.html

A majority of speakers at a joint meeting of three Madison commissions expressed some support for keeping the memorials at the Confederate Rest section of the public cemetery, while others advocated for putting the monuments, the Civil War and the decades that followed in better context for visitors by adding signage.

Several people supported leaving a larger, stone cenotaph installed in 1906 that lists the names of the 140 soldiers buried at the cemetery at 1 Speedway Road, while a theme among those speakers was that the city should “respect the dead.”

“I worry what we’re using these Confederate dead for is to make a statement about our present values,” said Madison resident Paul Sherman.​

What would be incredible ( think about, it would really bring this awful war home ) would be a bio, however brief, on who exactly these men were, how they died , where was that door each walked out of one day when they went to war and who missed them badly when they did not come home. Yes, tough because it'd be impossible to do for all war graves but the thing is, it'd turn them back into soldiers, not footballs.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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My thoughts from late last night: these 140 soldiers were prisoners who were there very early in the war. They died in our care. We now owe them the sacred trust to take care of their bones and honor their names (whenever possible) and not let them be forgotten.

What are they going to do with the rest of the section of the cemetery named "Confederate Rest?" What are they going to do with the stone? Has that been decided?
 
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John Winn

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To be clear @lelliott19 and @MattL - in Oregon a cemetery can be given special designation as an "Historic Cemetery" by the Legislature which provides certain protections as to what may be done and also imposes some requirements and restrictions. So, if the city wanted to keep the designation then the council couldn't just vote to overturn the commission and remove an historic monument and they'd have to somehow first undo the state's designation (not sure how that would happen; never been done). Losing the designation would be a loss that would cost the city and, in our case, the county since the town is a tourist destination that brings in a lot of money to the county as well as the town. It just seemed to me that maybe there'd have been a bit more protection in Madison too. I somehow missed that a commission existed and had voted against removal; my bad.

I still contend that some things need a measure of protection against short-sighted politics such that these types of decisions are more difficult to make. We do this in a number of ways in other cases (i.e. requiring lengthy processes as in amending a constitution, requiring a supermajority vote).

Out here there are often recall votes to get rid of city councils - or at least one or more members - when they vote to do things people don't approve of. So, if a council can just get a notion and do something like this yes, they can be voted out one way or another but the damage is done or is at best difficult to undo. It's my personal opinion that some process needs to be in place to minimize the potential for what I do think is knee-jerk politics reflecting a certain current social trend also being played out in university and college campuses.

Removing something truly offensive is one thing but I really don't see how a simple, historic monument to the dead in a cemetery can be considered offensive just because it's for Confederate dead. As I previously stated, if that's the policy in Madison then they should study the lives of those buried in the cemetery and remove the monuments of those who led "offensive" lives - I bet they'd find quite a few. It's not our job or place to judge the dead.

To those who don't see it my way, well, we just disagree. Government is often messy and fails us and, in my opinion, this is an example. I don't live in Madison so I leave it to the citizens of Madison to work it out but I'm not going to support them. Should I ever venture to Wisconsin Madison won't be on the itinerary.
 
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archieclement

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The fitting thing to do if Wisc doesn't want to honor or remember CW dead, would be to simply remove every Wisc monument from every battlefield or cemetery in the country...…..Then we all could sleep well knowing no Wisconsinan is offended...… I know it wont happen, but just think how much better we all could sleep
 
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archieclement

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My thoughts from late last night: these 140 soldiers were prisoners who were there very early in the war. They died in our care. We now owe them the sacred trust to take care of their bones and honor their names (whenever possible) and not let them be forgotten.

What are they going to do with the rest of the section of the cemetery named "Confederate Rest?" What are they going to do with the stone? Has that been decided?
From a story on the landmarks commission vote

"If the monument is removed, the commission suggests that it be given to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum or the State Historical Society. According to Levitan, the commission would also like to install a sign in Confederate Rest that explains the historical context of the site."

However the city council is apparently against any sign as well, they prefer to pretend the 140 POW dead don't exist......
 
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WJC

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The fitting thing to do if Wisc doesn't want to honor or remember CW dead, would be to simply remove every Wisc monument from every battlefield or cemetery in the country...…..Then we all could sleep well knowing no Wisconsinan is offended...… I know it wont happen, but just think how much better we all could sleep
Before indicting every Wisconsin resident, recall this action was in one city- Madison. And though I am saddened at what I consider unwarranted defiling of the final resting place of fellow humans, it was authorized by the City Council, the legitimate governing body. If their decision does not reflect those of their constituents, those constituents- not outsiders like me- must correct this.
 
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archieclement

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Before indicting every Wisconsin resident, recall this action was in one city- Madison. And though I am saddened at what I consider unwarranted defiling of the final resting place of fellow humans, it was authorized by the City Council, the legitimate governing body. If their decision does not reflect those of their constituents, those constituents- not outsiders like me- must correct this.
So the rest of the country shouldn't be concerned about monuments that may offend Madisonians? Would think the compassionate thing to do would be remove anything that may shock their CW sensibilities.....would hate for a Madisonian to go to Gettysburg and be confronted with yes Virginia the CW touched Wisc too...….they might be scarred for life....

Know I'm being a bit silly, but no more then they are IMO...…..
 

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What would be incredible ( think about, it would really bring this awful war home ) would be a bio, however brief, on who exactly these men were, how they died
ANDREWS, J. W.
Given name probably "John." Listed on a roster of men from Pike County who served in the civil war Company E, 1st AL Infantry as "Andress, John--Died in Prison." Enlisted at Pike County, AL as a Private into the "Rough and Ready Pioneers" which became Company E of the 1st Alabama Infantry. Born 1844. Captured April 7, 1862 at Island No. 10 and imprisoned at Camp Randall, Madison, Wisconsin April 24, 1862. Died June 9, 1862 at Camp Randall, Madison, WI. age 18 years. Buried in Madison, WI - 951 miles from his home in Pike County, AL. Enumerated on the 1850 US Census for Pike County, AL as John Andrews, age 6, born in Alabama 1844.
Andrews index.JPG
Andrews POW died.JPG
Andrews Muster Roll died.JPG
Andrews Camp Randall died.JPG

John Andrews b1844.JPG
 
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WJC

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So the rest of the country shouldn't be concerned
Thanks for your response.
No, we can be concerned and should be if we see it as attacking our core values. At the same time, we have to recognize that the issue has to be resolved by the primary stakeholders- the members of the local community.
 
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WJC

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I believe the decision was kicked to a higher level - the Landmarks Commission ruled that the stone could not be removed. But the Council voted to remove it anyway.
Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I read the article as describing the Landmarks Commission as subordinate to the City Council. The City Council initially approved removal contingent on the Landmarks Commission's approval. Instead, the Landmarks Commission decided the memorial should remain. That decision was appealed to the City Council, which after voting again to remove the memorial, had it removed.
 

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ALBRITTON, HENRY
Enlisted at Barbour County, AL into the "Eufaula Rifles" which became Company B, 1st Alabama Infantry. Captured at Island No. 10 April 8, 1862 and imprisoned at Camp Randall, Madison, Wisconsin. Died May 7, 1862 and buried at Madison, Wisconsin, 982 miles from Barbour County, AL. <Not found on the 1850 or 1860 US Census for Barbour County, AL.>
.
Albritton Henry CSR.JPG
 
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