I read with interest the letter written by Brian Bloedel regarding the removal of the Confederate Memorial in Eastville. I would like to offer a rebuttal.
This memorial, which was erected in 1913, was not intended to honor the political or military leaders of the Confederacy. Rather, it is a memorial to the valor and sacrifice of “…the soldiers of the Confederacy from Northampton and Accomack Counties.” Many of those soldiers died on the battlefield and were never buried or buried in mass, unmarked graves. This caused their families much grief and the memorial was, in essence, a grave marker for them.
Second, the significance of the date of the building of the memorial needs to be understood. The late 1800s and early 1900s was a time of reconciliation between the North and the South. From June 29 to July 4, 1913, there was a reunion of over 53,000 former Union and Confederate soldiers at the Gettysburg Battlefield, the largest Civil War veteran reunion to ever take place.
President Woodrow Wilson addressed that reunion, and gave the following words. “We have found one another again as brothers and comrades in arms, enemies no longer, generous friends rather, our battles long past, the quarrel forgotten — except that we shall not forget the splendid valor.”
That is the spirit and motive for the erection of the Eastville Memorial, and the fact that it was removed is a dishonor to previous generations of Americans.
Richard Peach, Horntown