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Confederate Memorial (Wilmington, North Carolina)

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Confederate Memorial
Confederate Memorial in Wilmington, NC.jpg
For Altar and Home
Confederate Memorial (Wilmington, North Carolina) is located in North Carolina
Confederate Memorial (Wilmington, North Carolina)
Location in North Carolina
Coordinates 34°14′03.44″N 77°56′45.2″W / 34.2342889°N 77.945889°W / 34.2342889; -77.945889
Location Wilmington, North Carolina
Material Bronze & Granite
Completion date 1924
Dedicated to To The Soldiers Of The Confederacy

Located at the plaza of South Third and Dock Street in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, the bronze and granite Confederate Memorial stands honoring soldiers who fought for The Confederacy.[1]

Description

The monument consists of an eleven-ton granite backdrop, granite base, and a bronze sculpture of one fallen and one standing soldier atop the base. The two soldiers represent the Confederacy, 11 slave-holding states which fought from 1861 - 1865 for independence from the United States during the American Civil War. The Confederacy relied heavily on a slave based economy and a deeply conservative social hierarchy based on both race and sex.[2][3]

Four of the eleven Confederate States directly cited slavery or white supremacy as a reason for their secession. After 1 year, 8 months and 20 days of war, on January 1, 1863, US President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in rebelling states. As such, the war aim for the Union was shifted from preserving the Union through Federal power, to also ending slavery.[4]

The war was the bloodiest in American History; and with contemporary estimates totaling over 620,000 dead; the war is believed to have killed more than every other American war, before or since.[5][6]

History

The United Daughters of the Confederacy, an organization of female descendants of Confederate soldiers, had the Confederate Memorial erected in 1924 with a donation from Gabriel James Boney, whose name appears on the bottom of the statue. It has been argued that, instead of honoring the fallen exclusively, the erection of the monument functioned both as a form of protest against northerners who had moved to the region, as well as a way to intimidate African Americans in the Jim Crow era, although both of these interpretations remain controversial.[7]

Henry Bacon who designed the Lincoln Memorial, George Davis Monument, and the Donald McRae House, is the architect responsible for the design of the Confederate Memorial. Frank H. Packer who was the sculptor for the George Davis Monument, also sculpted the two bronze figures on the Confederate Memorial.[8] The creation and purpose of this monument was to honor Confederate beliefs.

An inscription along the top portion of the statue reads:

1861-1865

To the soldiers of the confederacy

The bottom portion of the statue reads:

Confederates blend your recollections
Let memory weave its bright reflections
Let love revive life's ashen embers
For love is life since love remembers
PRO ARIS ET FOCIS
This monument is a legacy of Gabriel James Boney
Born Wallace, NC 1846-Died Wilmington, NC 1915
A Confederate soldier[9]

The Latin words ‘Pro Aris Et Focis’ translates ‘For Altar and Home.’ This phrase was used by Southerners during and after the war to rationalize the contest as one upon which the survival of their nation was directly contingent.

The back side of the memorial

Contemporary southern attitude following the war claimed that Confederate soldiers had fought to defend their homes and families from invading Union armies. These attitudes were especially strong in the Reconstruction period and deepened through the social changes that came from the abolition of slavery.[10]

Since being placed at the busy downtown intersection, the monument has had to undergo many repairs due to being hit by cars and cranes. In 1954, a car first knocked the statue down. In 1999, it was again hit by a car and knocked from its foundation and into the street. This caused a cracked foundation and the backdrop to be knocked over. While trying to reconstruct the monument, a crane carrying the backdrop slammed into a wall, cars, and power lines.[11] After an absence of almost a year and a half, the monument was repaired, restored, and replaced in 2000, only to be damaged again as it was being put back into place. The mishap was quickly fixed and remains complete today.

References

  1. ^ Hutteman, Hewlett Ann. Postcard History Series: Wilmington, North Carolina. Arcadia Publishing 2000. 58.
  2. ^ McPherson, James M. (2003). Battle cry of freedom : the Civil War era ([New ed.]. ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195168952. 
  3. ^ Potter, David M. (1996). The impending crisis : 1848-1861 ([Nachdr.]. ed.). New York [u.a.]: Harper & Row. ISBN 978-0061319297. 
  4. ^ McPherson, James M. (1995). What they fought for, 1861-1865 (1st Anchor Books ed.). New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 978-0385476348. 
  5. ^ McPherson, James M. (2003). Battle cry of freedom : the Civil War era ([New ed.]. ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195168952. 
  6. ^ McPherson, James M. (1995). What they fought for, 1861-1865 (1st Anchor Books ed.). New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 978-0385476348. 
  7. ^ Hardy, Michael C. (2006). Remembering North Carolina's Confederates. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Pub. ISBN 978-0738542973. 
  8. ^ Barbour, Clay. "Fallen Warrior." Wilmington Star News. 1999/03/01.
  9. ^ Hutteman, Hewlett Ann. Postcard History Series: Wilmington, North Carolina. Arcadia Publishing 2000.
  10. ^ Foner, Eric (2007). Reconstruction : America's unfinished revolution; 1863-1877 (1. Perennial classics ed., [Nachdr.]. ed.). New York [u.a.]: Perennial Classics. ISBN 978-0060937164. 
  11. ^ Reiss, Cory. "Monumental Repairs." Wilmington Star News. 1999/11/04. 1A.