State of Virginia Monument (Gettysburg)

State of Virginia Monument

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Photo ©Michael Kendra, about 2002.


MONUMENT PROFILE
  • Also Known As: Robert E. Lee Monument
  • Battlefield: Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
  • Location: Seminary Ridge east of West Confederate Avenue
  • Map Coordinates: +39° 48' 50.76", -77° 15' 1.08"
  • Men Engaged at Gettysburg from Virginia: 19,030
  • Gettysburg Casualties from Virginia: 4,470 or 25%

MONUMENT DETAILS
  • Artist:
    • Sculptor: Frederick William Sievers
    • Founder: Tiffany and Company
    • Fabricator: Van Amringe Granite Company
  • Commissioned: March 9, 1908
  • Dedicated: June 8, 1917
  • Dimensions: Total Height: 42 ft.
    • Sculpture: H. 14 ft.
    • Pedestal: H. 28 ft.
  • Cost: $50,000.00 (June 1917)
  • Description:
A three-stepped Mt. Airy granite base supports a pedestal on which a bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee astride his favorite horse, Traveller stands. General Lee holds the horse's reins in his proper left hand and holds his hat in his proper right hand. Below Lee as he studies the distant Union lines are a bronze group of seven Confederate soldiers. In this group, the central figure is an equestrian soldier holding the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia. To the left of him are two soldiers with rifles standing guard, and one soldier aiming a pistol. To the right of him is a soldier swinging a bayonet, a soldier about to aim his rifle, and a soldier blowing a bugle. According to the marker at the base of the monument, "The group represents various types who left civil occupations to join the Confederate Army. Left to right; a professional man, a mechanic, an artist, a boy, a business man, a farmer, a youth."​
  • Remarks:
The Virginia monument was the first of the Confederate State monuments at Gettysburg. It was unveiled by Miss Virginia Carter, a niece of Robert E. Lee.​
It is also the largest of the Confederate monuments, a fitting tribute for the state that provided the largest contingent to the Army of Northern Virginia, its commander, and its name. Lee's figure, topping the monument astride his favorite horse, Traveller, was created by sculptor Frederick Sievers from photographs and life masks of the general. He even went to Lexington, Virginia to study Traveller's skeleton, preserved at Washington and Lee University.​

MONUMENT TEXT
Title
VIRGINIA TO HER SONS AT GETTYSBURG


FEATURED VIDEO TOUR


ADDITIONAL PHOTOS


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Construction of Virginia Monument, Tipton 1910.
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Monument Dedication Day, June 8, 1917.
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Statue of Robert E. Lee, ©Michael Kendra
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Lower Grouping of Statues, ©Michael Kendra
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Winter Snowfall Jan. 2002, ©Michael Kendra
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Morning Sun on Snowy Monument, Jan. 2002, ©Michael Kendra

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NPS Photo.

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NPS Photo.

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Lower Group Detail
Dec 2019 ©Michael Kendra

RELATED LINKS
citation information The following information is provided for citations.
Article Title:
State of Virginia Monument (Gettysburg)
Article Subject:
Civil War Monuments, Structures, & Other Points of Interest
Author:
Mike Kendra, @CivilWarTalk
Website Name:
CivilWarTalk.com
URL:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/state-of-virginia-monument-gettysburg.165439/
Publisher:
CivilWarTalk, LLC
Original Published Date:
March 20, 2020

links to state and national monuments, and nearby landmarks Located at Gettysburg National Military Park, in Adams County, Pennsylvania (rev.6/1/21)
National Monuments
Eternal Light Peace Memorial Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial High Water Mark
Lincoln Speech Memorial Soldiers' National Monument
U.S. State Monuments
DE IN MD NY NY Auxiliary PA VT U.S. Regulars
C.S. State Monuments
AL AR DE FL GA LA MD MS NC SC TN TX VA
Union Regimentals
CT DE IL IN ME MD MA MI MN
NH NJ NY OH PA RI VT WV WI U.S. Regulars
Individual &
Commemorative
Monuments
Equestrian Monuments: Hancock Howard Lee Longstreet Meade Reynolds Sedgwick Slocum
Standing Bronze Statues:
Barlow Buford Burns Father Corby Crawford Doubleday Geary Gibbon
Greene Hays Humphreys Robinson Wadsworth Warren Webb
Wells
Other Individual Monuments:
Armistead Chapman Collis Cushing Fuller Rev. Howell Humiston Merwin
Nicholson Sickles Taylor Vincent Ward Weed & Hazlett Willard Woolson Zook
Landmarks
Black Horse Tavern Cashtown Inn Dobbin House Evergreen Cemetery Jennie Wade House Lutheran Theological Seminary
McAllister's Mill Railroad Station Sachs Covered Bridge
Thompson House David Wills House
Farms: Codori Bliss Brian
Daniel Schaefer Hummelbaugh Klingle Lady Leister McLean McPherson
Rogers Rose Rummel Sherfy Slyder Snyder Taney Trostle George Weikert Wentz
Points of Interest
New Museum & Visitor Center Benner's Hill Cemetery Hill Copse of Trees Culp's Hill
Devil's Den Peach Orchard Little Round Top
Big Round Top Sachs Covered Bridge
Spangler's Spring East Cavalry Field Soldiers' National Cemetery National Cemetery Annex

Gone But Not Forgotten: Old Museum, Visitor Center, & Electric Map Old Cyclorama National Tower
 
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A SUGGESTION TO VIRGINIA'S GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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Virginia Governor Claude A. Swanson
LOC Photo, circa 1933-39
A memorial to Virginia's troops at Gettysburg was first suggested by Virginia Governor Claude A. Swanson on January 8, 1908 in his address to the Virginia General Assembly:

"A more glorious exhibition of disciplined valor has never been witnessed than that shown by the Virginia troops at the battle' of Gettysburg. The heroic achievements of our troops in that fierce battle have given to this Commonwealth a fame that is immortal, a lustre that is imperishable."​
"I recommend that an appropriation be made to erect on this battlefield a suitable monument to commemorate the glory and heroism of the Virginia troops."​
One week later companion bills were introduced in the two Houses of the General Assembly--in the Senate by Hon. Don P. Halsey, of Lynchburg, and in the House of Delegates by Hon. Moses M. Green, of Fauquier--providing for the first steps in the erection of such a monument. The House bill was passed in both bodies by unanimous vote, and was approved by the Governor on March 9, 1908. It read as follows:
  1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia, That the sum of ten thousand dollars he, and is hereby, appropriated out of any funds in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, to be applied towards the erection of a suitable monument in the National Military Park at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to commemorate the deeds of Virginia soldiers on that field.​
  2. That the Governor of Virginia, and four others to be appointed by himself, shall constitute a committee of five to select a location, design and inscriptions for the said monument, subject to the approval of the Secretary of War and the Governor of the State of Virginia.
  3. The said committee are hereby authorized to use the whole or any part of said ten thousand dollars in securing the design and preparing the location and foundation for said monument, but shall make no contract for any purpose involving any expense in excess of said ten thousand dollars.
  4. The said committee shall report to the next General Assembly their action under this act, and shall present a design for said monument which, with the money hereby appropriated, shall not in the aggregate cost over fifty thousand dollars.
  5. The said committee may be joined by any committee of citizens, camps or other organizations, in supplementing the amount of money appropriated for the purpose aforesaid.
  6. The said committee shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be allowed and paid the actual and necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties, to be audited by the Auditor of Virginia, and paid out of any money not otherwise appropriated.
Pursuant to the provisions of this measure, Governor Swanson appointed the following Confederate veterans as members of the committee: Colonel Thomas Smith, of Fauquier; Major John Warwick Daniel, of Lynchburg, a United States Senator from Virginia; Major Henry Archer Edmondson, of Halifax, and Captain Stephen Palmer Read, of Mecklenburg. Governors Claude Augustus Swanson, William Hodges Mann and Henry Carter Stuart were successively members and chairmen ex-officio of the body having the erection and dedication of the memorial in charge. Senator Daniel, who took a deep interest in the proposition, rendered faithful and efficient service until his death in 1910, when he was succeeded by Colonel William Gordon McCabe, of Richmond. Otherwise the members as named above served throughout the entire life of the commission. Captain Read died at the very hour the monument was being unveiled.

Following preliminary discussions, the commission in 1909 visited the National Military Park at Gettysburg with a representative of the War Department, and selected a spot just off Confederate Avenue, at the point where General Lee viewed the third day's battle, as the site for the memorial The commission thereupon invited proposals from sculptors and, after examination of the various designs offered, deter mined to accept that of Mr. F. William Sievers, at a price of forty-eight thousand dollars, conditioned upon the Genera Assembly carrying the project through.

That body was much pleased with the report made by the commission, and with the design, and by an act approved by Governor Mann on March 9, 1910, continued the unexpended balance of the appropriation of $10,000 in force, and appropriated $40,000 in addition, to cover the entire estimate of $50,000, allowing $2,000 for the expenses of the commission. Thereafter the unexpended balance of the sum of $50,000 was re-appropriated for the same purpose in 1912, 1914 and 1916. In 1914 the General Assembly set aside $8,000 for the expenses of dedication, but, since this had not been used in 1916, it was then re-appropriated.

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Sculptor Frederick William Sievers
Acting under the approval of the Legislature, the Gettysburg Monument Commission, on March 15, 1910, closed a contract with Mr. Sievers covering the entire cost of the memorial. The specifications provided that the total height should be forty-two feet; the total height of the equestrian statue from the bottom of the bronze plinth to the top of the rider's hat, fourteen feet; total height of pedestal, twenty-eight feet; total expanse of bottommost base, not less than twenty-eight by twenty-eight feet. It was further provided that the sculpture was to be of United States government standard bronze, the pedestal of Southern granite of the best quality, and the foundation of concrete of best material, with the inscriptions in polished raised letters. All this was faithfully observed.

Mr. Sievers discovered the difficulties of an artist as he proceeded in his work. With full realization of the meaning of the work in which he was engaged, intended to immortalize in bronze the valor of Virginia's soldiers, and to stand forever as visible evidence that the Old Dominion had not forgotten to honor her heroes, he toiled day after day for six years, building up and tearing down. In 1914 the group of figures about the base was complete in plaster, put on public exhibition for a day, and sent to the foundry, whence the bronze east was soon forthcoming and was placed in position on the base prepared to receive it. The equestrian statue of General Robert Edward Lee mounted on Traveler, which surmounts the memorial, was completed in the spring of 1916. Delays in transportation of the plaster cast made its completion so late in the year, that the commission deemed it best for the comfort and safety of the veterans in attendance to postpone the dedication until 1917, and on June 8th of that year the unveiling took place in the presence of a large audience of veterans from Virginia and other States.

Invocation
Invocation
at the
Dedication of the Virginia Memorial at Gettysburg, Friday, June 8, 1917
By Rev. James Power Smith, D.D.
(Captain and A. D. C., Staff of Gen. T. J. Jackson, Army of Northern Virginia.)

Almighty and ever gracious God--our God and our Fathers' God--"Who doesth Thy will in the armies of Heaven and among the inhabitants of earth," grant us Thy grace that in this hour of deep and far-reaching interest, all may be done acceptably to Thee, to the good of every section of our land and to the glory of Thy great name.

We are assembled in a place of great historic event and of memories most sacred and tender; and with uncovered heads in Thy holy presence we hallow these memories. We have here built a monument to the memory of an army of patriot soldiers and their great Captain--who here fought a great battle--bravely, conscientiously, looking to God for help--and yet went back with banner furled, with brows clear and uplifted, believing that God was on the field. Many of us have come up from the far, broad fields of the South, and here we are met by a great company from every section of the land--and now we stand under one flag, united again, and filled with a like spirit of patriotic brotherhood. For this we thank Thee O God of Peace and Giver of all our blessings!--surely "Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God of Hosts just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the Ages."

Once there was written across this field a great story of warlike power and skill, of unselfish devotion of life and every sacrifice to great ideals of rights and liberties--and these things--the history and the ideals, the rights and the liberties will never perish from the earth. And now we come again with a loftier, sweeter lesson of "Peace on earth, and good will to men"--with a witness to the personal character and spirit of men that led and men that followed, men that fought and men that fell, loftier, more valuable and fruitful and more enduring. In years and ages to come, our sons and all "men of good will" will come from all sections and from all lands to remember them and their unblemished fame, and with one consent will do them honor!

For our country and all the States in this day of cloud and deep concern we implore Thy favor. Let Thy grace be upon the President of the United States, and all in council with him, with the vast responsibility now resting upon them, and upon the Governors of these great States, States so fair to see, so strong in their unity, so richly blessed with a great prosperity; and upon the people of every section, that all may learn "to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with their God!"

Hasten the coming of peace to this troubled and suffering world, and the time promised when men shall learn war no more, and Thy kingdom of righteousness and love shall be established in every land.

Almighty God, whose well beloved Son counted not His life clear unto Himself, that He might win our peace and our redemption, guard and preserve our sons now going out to serve in the army and navy of their country. Let their hearts be right before Thee, and their purposes unselfish, just and strong. Mercifully grant that by their valor and sacrifice, peace with righteousness and mercy may prevail in all lands, great and small. Bring back our loved ones in safety and in the better and heightened manhood, which springs from all unselfish patriotism, and whole-hearted service of our fellowmen.

All of which we ask in the name of the great Captain of our salvation, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Source: Southern Historical Society Papers. Richmond, Va., Sept., 1917. New Series, Vol. 4, Old Series, Vol. XLII.
 
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Virginia Governor's Address
Address
at the
Dedication of the Virginia Memorial at Gettysburg, Friday, June 8, 1917
By His Excellency Henry Carter Stuart, Governor of Virginia.

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For the third time the Blue and the Gray are assembled upon this field of fame; once as mortal foes, half a century later as friends, and now, while the war drum beats around the world, we gather here to dedicate a memorial to the constancy and valour of the brave Virginians who fought and died on this historic ground.

Torn asunder by divergent views of the Constitution of the United States, fifty-six years ago this land was plunged into fratricidal strife. We are not here to consider the reasons for that conflict; they have been well defined in these words: "Whether in the United States the citizen owed allegiance to the Federal Government as against his State Government was a question upon which men had divided since the birth of the Republic. The men of the North responded to the call of the sovereign to whose allegiance they acknowledged fealty--the men of the South did the same. It was a battle between rival conceptions of sovereignty rather than one between a sovereign and its acknowledged citizens."

The issues involved were submitted to the sword, and by this bloody arbitrament the questions at issue were forever settled. Destiny decreed that one unbroken republic under one flag should reach from Canada to the Rio Grande, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. For many reasons we would not blot out of American history one page of the epic which recounts the rise and fall of the Confederacy, for though dim with tears and tragic in its grief, it is none the less fruitful in its lessons. Out of the memories of this heroic struggle, out of the fiery ordeal which tested to the uttermost the mettle of the men North and South--aye, even out of the blood that was shed on this and many other fields, has come our life and strength as a nation; our unity in heart and purpose, our supreme devotion to the flag of a reunited country, which today floats above us.

We treasure the valour which history records on both sides--the splendid magnanimity of Ulysses S. Grant, who, without objection, acceded to the honorable terms of surrender at Appomattox, which provided that, "The officers are to retain their side arms, private horses and baggage," and "Each officer and man is to be allowed to return to his home" and "Not to be disturbed by United States authority as long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they reside."

We treasure the words spoken here by Abraham Lincoln when the smoke yet lingered on the battle field--words of sublime eloquence, mingled with infinite kindliness, when he said:

"We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory stretching from every battle field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land will yet swell the chorus of the union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."​
We treasure the heroic deeds and inspiring example of all the brave soldiers living and dead who gave to us and to the world a new standard of American manhood.

Out of all this we have learned the double lesson of the generosity of a chivalrous foe in the hour of victory and the fulfillment of the noble utterance of our own great leader, that "Human fortitude should be equal to human adversity."

With the fine perception and real genius of the true artist, the sculptor chosen by the Commonwealth to express visibly and permanently the thought of the people, has placed about the base of this memorial the express presentments of the type of men who followed Lee. Here we see represented all arms of the service, and all the differing classes essentially typical of Southern life and manhood which combined to make the "Army of Northern Virginia" for so long a time invincible. The life, the ideals and the principles of these men as they stand cannot be exalted by human tongue or human hand, and yet we surmount this noble group by the inspiring figure of the one man, who, by the majesty of his character, the perfection of his manhood, and the glory of his genius, represents and embodies all that Virginia and her sister Southern States can or need vouchsafe to the country and to the world as the supreme example of their convictions and principles. He was the scion paramount of a long line of soldiers and statesmen, the consummate flower of a unique civilization which had gradually developed amid the stern experiences and vexed problems of a new land--the heir direct of the principles of English liberty consecrated by centuries of heroic struggle and ennobled by unswerving devotion to the lofty ideals that had their germ at Runnymede.

The Commonwealth of Virginia gave Lee his birth, his training, and the traditions and impulses that controlled his course; Lee gave to the Commonwealth and to the South his noble ambitions, his fortunes and all his strength; the Commonwealth gave to humanity the noble story of a life lived to its ending on the very highest plane, and in the rarest and most exalted atmosphere of thought and motive to which humanity may attain. He marches across the distant and sombre scene panoplied in light, a soul serene in victory, sublime in defeat. In every relation of life his character is revealed in flawless beauty. The tongue of calumny is palsied in the futile effort to detract from his greatness or impugn his motives. Obedient to his conviction of the paramount right of his native State, he expressed that conviction in these noble words:

"If the Union is dissolved, and the Government is disrupted, I shall return to my native State, and share the miseries of my people, and, save in defense, will draw my sword on none."​
It is fitting that we erect here this noble effigy of our great Captain surrounded by the memorials of men who fought and fell fifty-four years ago. The imperishable bronze shall out live our own and other generations. We who stand here today shall pass into the beyond, leaving what legacies we may of duty done or ideals sustained; moon and stars shall shine upon this face of incomparable majesty; the dawn shall gild it with the splendor of sunrise; the evening shadows shall enfold it in their gentle embrace; and until the eternal morning of the final re-union of quick and dead, the life of Robert Edward Lee shall be a message to thrill and uplift the heart of all mankind. May a double portion of his spirit rest upon and abide with the brave men who today are rallying to the defense of our liberty against the aggression of a foreign foe. Many of them doubtless go forth never to return; others shall gladden our eyes when we welcome them home from glorious victory, but all, whether "the unreturning brave" or the gallant legions baptized with fire may look to this martial figure, riding serene and fearless as of old, as the noblest and knightliest type of American manhood.

And now, sir, as Chief Executive of the ancient Commonwealth of Virginia, the mother of Washington and Lee, I give into the keeping of the United States, of which you are the honored representative on this auspicious occasion, this noble monument, which shall stand not only as the undying expression of the high ideals in which we of the South would this day sanctify our memories, but as a fresh and abiding inspiration to all men North and South who in this trying hour of our National existence would stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of our common country.

Source: Southern Historical Society Papers. Richmond, Va., Sept., 1917. New Series, Vol. 4, Old Series, Vol. XLII.


Address of the Assistant Secretary of War
Address
at the
Dedication of the Virginia Memorial at Gettysburg, Friday, June 8, 1917
By Hon. William M. Ingraham, Assistant Secretary of War.

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Your Excellency, Confederate Veterans, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It gives me great pleasure to be present on this occasion and to perform a most pleasant duty in behalf of the War Department. This beautiful memorial is placed on this historic ground by the State of Virginia in honor of those who sacrificed their lives in behalf of the ideals for which they fought. We gather around this impressive monument with a reverence due to an occasion of this kind in order that the memory of those who represented the State of Virginia in the greatest battle of the Civil War shall be kept green. We are not here to discuss the causes of the War or to comment on its results. We are here, however, to pay a loving tribute to those who fell for a cause which they believed was just and right. No one can deny their sincere belief and honest convictions of the justice of their cause, and they died fighting as bravely as any men ever fought in battle.

We are now meeting at a critical time in the history of our country. War has once more come upon us, and all our manhood, wealth, and energy must be summoned to support the Government and bring to a successful termination the great struggle in which we are now involved. The lessons that we gather from the battlefield on which we stand, the inspiration that this monument gives us, all go toward helping us solve the difficulties of the present hour. The Civil War up to the time of the outbreak of the present conflict was the greatest struggle the world had ever seen, but now it sinks into insignificance compared with the war going on in Europe. The battle of Gettysburg, the greatest of the Civil War, was a small one compared with the gigantic and terrific battles of the present war. But those who took part in the Civil War and especially in the battle of Gettysburg realize what war means and can best interpret the full significance of the present struggle.

As we look over this beautiful field with its monuments, markers and cannon, a peaceful atmosphere pervades the scene. The mountains in the distance seem to embody the very idea of strength and manhood, and under those heights this peaceful field, once the scene of carnage, is now a beautiful park, a reservation set aside and preserved by the United States as a meeting place for those who once bitterly fought on its soil. It is a field that is famous all over the world, and it is most fitting that those who once contested every inch of its surface should come here to honor those who fell. It is a delightful thought that those who actually took part in the Civil War and those who know it only as history can come here as brothers and all stand for a reunited country and a common cause.

This statue means much not only to Virginia, but to the United States as well. The State that this monument represents is one of our oldest, being one of the thirteen original States of the Union. She has given to this country the greatest names in our history.

Washington, "the Father of his Country;" Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and John Marshall, the greatest expounder of the law. It is truly wonderful to read the list of Presidents and other distinguished men that Virginia has produced. And today she is doing her full part in sharing the great burdens that this country is called upon to shoulder. No wonder, then, that I take a special pride in coming here as the representative of the War Department to accept in its behalf this magnificent work of art placed here by the great State of Virginia, exemplifying the love of her people for those who fought and died in her behalf. This monument will always stand here and it will tell future generations of valorous deeds and devotion to ideals and principles that the passage of time cannot erase.

This battlefield is consecrated with the blood of both the North and the South. We stand around this monument to write in large letters the story of the heroism of the sons of the Old Dominion who took part in the battle of Gettysburg. Different States, regiments and associations have erected here monuments to their heroes, that the part they took in this great battle may not be forgotten. Although the armies of the North and South vied with each other for supremacy, and it was here that the greatest carnage occurred, yet the memory of this great battle awakens no feelings of anger within the heart of any one. This field was contested inch by inch, stand after stand was made first by one side and then by the other, shot and shell poured forth from the mouths of hundreds of cannon, and yet it is today in this reunited nation a field on which both sides meet as one great family. Nowhere in the civilized world can you find a similar case. It is truly characteristic of the American people, a people who can adjust themselves to new conditions, a people who can forget past differences and stand as one before the world. This battlefield represents the true spirit of the people of our great country, for here we can all assemble and share in each other's joys and sorrows and in each other's victories and defeats. Virginia knows how to honor those she loved and who fought and died for her ideals. It is only natural and proper for those who survive to honor those who fell. It matters not whether they be the victors or the vanquished as long as their part was honorable and they fought like men.

This monument, then, has been erected in honor of the memory of all of the sons of Virginia who took part in the battle of Gettysburg. The General Assembly of that State made a generous appropriation that a fitting memorial should stand on the very ground on which they fought. I desire to compliment all those who have labored to produce this memorial. The commission having this matter in charge has certainly been faithful to its trust. The sculptor who has wrought the figures representing the different arms of the Confederate service and who has produced this beautiful equestrian statue of that great and gallant soldier, General Robert E. Lee, should be specially commended on the excellence of his work. Indeed, Virginia should be pleased and has occasion to feel justly proud of this memorial.

In behalf of the War Department, I extend its congratulations to the Commonwealth of Virginia in placing here such a beautiful statue to her sons. It is right and proper that Virginia should be thus represented on this field. It goes without saying that the War Department is glad to add this beautiful statue to the number already under its care, and as long as granite and bronze endure, it shall stand as a great and loving tribute to those brave men who fought and died for their State and for a cause that they sincerely believed was just and right.

Source: Southern Historical Society Papers. Richmond, Va., Sept., 1917. New Series, Vol. 4, Old Series, Vol. XLII.


Keynote Address
Keynote Address
at the
Dedication of the Virginia Memorial at Gettysburg, Friday, June 8, 1917
By Leigh Robinson

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Benediction
Benediction
at the
Dedication of the Virginia Memorial at Gettysburg, Friday, June 8, 1917
By Right Rev. Robert A. Gibson, D. D.
(Private, Rockbridge Battery, Army of Northern Virginia.)

The Lord bless us and keep us a country reunited and indivisible. The Lord make His face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us as individuals and as a people. The Lord lift up His countenance upon us and give us victory, wisdom to help the weak to freedom and then peace--peace like the river's gentle flow, peace like the morning's silent glow--progressive peace.

May the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen.
 
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Gettysburg Guide #154

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MONUMENT PROFILE
  • Also Known As: Robert E. Lee Monument
  • Battlefield: Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
  • Location: Seminary Ridge east of West Confederate Avenue
  • Map Coordinates: +39° 48' 50.76", -77° 15' 1.08"
  • Men Engaged at Gettysburg from Virginia: 19,030
  • Gettysburg Casualties from Virginia: 4,470 or 25%

MONUMENT DETAILS
  • Artist:
    • Sculptor: Sievers, Frederick William
    • Founder: Tiffany and Company
    • Fabricator: Van Amringe Granite Company
  • Commissioned: March 9, 1908
  • Dedicated: June 8, 1917
  • Dimensions: Sculpture: H. 14 ft.; Pedestal: H. 28 ft.; Total Height: 42 ft.
  • Description: A three-stepped Mt. Airy granite base supports a pedestal on which a bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee astride his favorite horse, Traveller stands. General Lee holds the horse's reins in his proper left hand and holds his hat in his proper right hand. Below Lee as he studies the distant Union lines are a bronze group of seven Confederate soldiers. In this group, the central figure is an equestrian soldier holding a Confederate flag. To the left of him are two soldiers with rifles standing guard, and one soldier aiming a pistol. To the right of him is a soldier swinging a bayonet, a soldier about to aim his rifle, and a soldier blowing a bugle. According to the marker at the base of the monument, "The group represents various types who left civil occupations to join the Confederate Army. Left to right; a professional man, a mechanic, an artist, a boy, a business man, a farmer, a youth."
  • Cost: $50,000.00 (June 1917)
  • Remarks:
The Virginia monument was the first of the Confederate State monuments at Gettysburg. It was unveiled by Miss Virginia Carter, a niece of Robert E. Lee.​
It is also the largest of the Confederate monuments, a fitting tribute for the state that provided the largest contingent to the Army of Northern Virginia, its commander, and its name. Lee's figure, topping the monument astride his favorite horse, Traveller, was created by sculptor Frederick Sievers from photographs and life masks of the general. He even went to Lexington, Virginia to study Traveller's skeleton, preserved at Washington and Lee University.​

MONUMENT TEXT
Title
VIRGINIA TO HER SONS AT GETTYSBURG



LOCATION MAP




FEATURED VIDEO TOUR


ADDITIONAL PHOTOS


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Construction of Virginia Monument, Tipton 1910.
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Monument Dedication Day, June 8, 1917.
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Statue of Robert E. Lee, ©Michael Kendra
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Lower Grouping of Statues, ©Michael Kendra
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Winter Snowfall Jan. 2002, ©Michael Kendra
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Morning Sun on Snowy Monument, Jan. 2002, ©Michael Kendra

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Lower Group Detail
Dec 2019 ©Michael Kendra

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Please note that there is one misstatement in the information about this truly fine monument. There is no "Confederate Flag" on the monument. The flag held by the mounted soldier (the boy) is, quite appropriately, the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Take a look at the last of the photos, and you will see the flag just behind the soldier pointing the pistol (the mechanic).
Although some disagree, the traditional belief is that Lee was in the vicinity of the monument to observe the afternoon assault on July 3. It would certainly have been a perfect spot, as it is between the two wings of the attack. Pickett's Division was assembled south of the monument, and Pettigrew's Division, supported by Trimble's demi-division to the north.
 

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
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Apr 1, 1999
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Martinsburg, WV
Please note that there is one misstatement in the information about this truly fine monument. There is no "Confederate Flag" on the monument. The flag held by the mounted soldier (the boy) is, quite appropriately, the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Take a look at the last of the photos, and you will see the flag just behind the soldier pointing the pistol (the mechanic).
You are absolutely right, I should have spotted that mistake. I believe I got that description either from the Park Service or a newspaper clipping from the dedication, I don't remember which, I'll have to look when I get home. Either way, I will fix the description above!
 

111thNYSV

Corporal
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Location
Rochester NY
I like that monument a lot. Im not a Virginian or a Southerner, but I think it does a great job honoring General Lee and the brave southern soldiers from Virginia.
 

JerseyBart

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Moderator
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Jul 19, 2006
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New Jersey
I love standing with Meade or Lee and watching the monuments look out over each other and wonder...did they for real?
 

infomanpa

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
I am always amazed that a Robert E. Lee statue still exists in a northern state at all. Is it the only one? With all the monument controversy and Lee statues being taken down such as the one in New Orleans, I am glad that there have been no problems with this one.
 

Yankee Brooke

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Jun 8, 2018
Location
PA
I've been out there at night. It's eerie(not because of the statue). It's a beautiful monument during the day however.
 
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