Stonewall Jackson and Robert E Lee Monument
“Today, with our nation beset by subversive groups and propaganda which seeks to destroy our national unity, we an look for inspiration to the lives of Lee and Jackson to remind us to be resolute and determined in preserving our sacred institutions” uttered Baltimore’s Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro on May 2, 1948 as he spoke at the dedication of this one of a kind double equestrian monument. He added, “… in these days of uncertainty and turmoil, Americans must emulate Jackson’s example and stand like a stone wall against aggression in any form that would seek to destroy the liberty of the world.”
Maryland Governor William P. Lane followed and added, “[the monument] is symbolic of our unity of purpose, as a nation, to preserve those things for which our forefathers and those of our generations have fought, and in the attainment of them, raised us men of the stature of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson …”
Among the 3,000 present for the dedication was the Mayor’s daughter, Nancy. In 1963, she would marry Paul Pelosi and eventually become the first female speaker of the United State House of Representatives.
Laura Gardin Fraser was the sculptor. She was chosen out of five other men to create the monument. Mrs. Fraser was a member of the National Academy of Design and was known for designing the Grant Memorial half dollar in 1925. She was a graduate of the Horace Mann School in New York
John Russell Pope was commissioned to design the base of the monument. He was a notable architect having designed the National Archives building, the Jefferson Memorial, the Frick mansion extension that is now an art museum of the same name in New York and the West Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Pope inscribed these words onto the monument base:
SO GREAT IS MY CONFIDENCE IN/GENERAL LEE THAT I AM WILLING TO/FOLLOW HIM BLINDFOLDED/STRAIGHT AS THE NEEDLE TO THE POLE/JACKSON ADVANCED TO THE EXECUTION/OF MY PURPOSE/THEY WERE GREAT GENERALS AND/ CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS AND WAGED/WAR LIKE GENTLEMEN
The cadets of VMI, members of the 175th Infantry, the Maryland National Guard and the Army Ground Forces Band led a parade from Charles and 22nd Street to Art Street and what would become Wyman Park where the monument once stood. At 3 pm, the ceremony began and famed historian Douglas Southall Freeman made the keynote address
Before dawn on August 16, 2017, the monument was removed. Then Mayor Catherine Pugh commented, “We didn’t need those kinds of symbols.”