02 June 2011

Confederate Monument Effort At Antietam

Fellow history blogger Scott Manning was kind enough to send me an email informing me of Brian Schoeneman's goal to place a Confederate monument at Antietam. As Scott pointed out, Brian is a candidate for the House of Delegates here in Virginia. Scott recently "took Brian to school" following in "the steps of Robert E. Lee’s Maryland Campaign (1862) and the crucial battles at South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam."

You can read Scott's very interesting post about his and Brian's adventure here

Here's an excerpt about Brian's desire to see another Confederate monument at Antietam:

I asked Brian if he was surprised at the lack of Confederate monuments. “Actually, I am. It kinda annoys me. There are about a zillion Union monuments here. Granted, the North took more casualties at Antietam, but they had more guys to lose.” He recalled one of the informational markers he read, “The Army of Northern Virginia lost about a quarter of their strength and the Army of the Potomac lost about an eighth. It was much harder for the South to replace those casualties than it was for the North.” Brian clarified that, if elected, he planned to introduce legislation next year to place a Virginia state monument on the battlefield in commemoration of the sesquicentennial. I pointed out that such a move could backfire if not done properly and he interrupted me, “There’s nothing political about recognizing that folks in the army of the state that I’m from fought here and died here. They deserve to be remembered regardless of what side they fought on and it bothers me there is nothing here, because I know there are plenty at Gettysburg.”

Since this is a Federal, and not a State park, I'm not sure how introducing legislation in the Virginia state legislature would make this happen, other than offering an affirming resolution and offering funding. Regardless, I support Brian's efforts. According to the National Park Service, there are 96 monuments at Antietam, 6 of which are Confederate. That does seem just a bit out of balance, doesn't it?


Brian W. Schoeneman said...

Thanks for the post, Richard.

I'm still figuring out the best way to do this, but we'd have to work with the National Park Service to get the monument placed. I think what we can do in Virginia is to make sure we can support a monument monetarily. Whether that's through a straight appropriation, or whether we set up a commission that addresses monuments at all of the major battlefields Virginians fought upon, that can be discussed down the road.

At the end of the day, Virginia's war dead deserve to be acknowledged on the battlefields where they fell. I think that's a duty we owe to their memory.

13thBama said...

It took a long time before southern monuments were even ALLOWED at Gettysburg. I had the actual time frame at one point but cant find it now. It is sad. Obviously someone held a grudge for a very long time.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello Brian. You're quite welcome.

"Virginia's war dead deserve to be acknowledged on the battlefields where they fell. I think that's a duty we owe to their memory."

Agreed. And may a kind Providence smile favorably upon your campaign. ;o)


13thBama said...

This gets my attention because the 13th Alabama held the left flank of the "sunken road". I am fortunate that one of the 6 markers mentions the unit. I was able to make a nice panoramic from that left flank vantage point. I need to learn how to remove the stop sign and fence from it though :)

Jubilo said...

Dear Old Dom.,
I enjoy seeing monuments but modern monuments reflect "modern" issues and what passes for art (Longstreet statue for example ), is suspect.
How many monuments are enough? Do they represent race, creed, gender? Much of this smacks of idolatry and as such, would be anathema to earlier Americans.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


"Do they represent race, creed, gender?"

That's a rather strange question. Are you being sarcastic? Am I missing something?

In this particular case, the monument should represent the men who died there.

Jubilo said...

Dear Old Dom.,
"Race, creed, gender,?" What I meant by that refered to the contemporary trend to include those issues in all history-related matters. The oppostion to any monument will be that it only reflects a certain portion of those to be commemorated. If there is a Virginia monument then wwhy not a Georgia one? If there is an Irish Brigade monument then what about the Germans. Who's commemorating women? Blacks? Any monument will draw criticism from those who feel uncommemorated.
The original monuments were erected by those who participated in the event or were of immediate relation. Modern monuments smack of modern causes, agendas, guilt,etc.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"the contemporary trend to include those issues in all history-related matters."

That "trend" is not applicable here. We're talking about honoring dead soldiers.

"If there is a Virginia monument then why not a Georgia one?"

You'd have to ask a Georgian.

"Modern monuments smack of modern causes, agendas, guilt,etc."

In some cases, yes, but I don't think you have enough information to judge the motives of this effort.