One-tank road trips: Arlington National Cemetery – Part 2
Early in the 20th Century, the United Daughters of the Confederacy raised money for a suitable memorial to their fallen soldiers for placement in Arlington National Cemetery. In 1900, the remains of dead Confederates has been gathered from multiple cemeteries scattered throughout the Washington region and re-interred in Arlington as part of a general movement started by President William McKinley to have the Federal government take on the responsibility of caring for Confederate graves. His efforts were not without some controversy, especially in pockets of the North where some people objected to using Federal money to maintain the grave sites of rebels against the Union.
Located in section 16 of Arlington National Cemetery, the impressive Confederate monument dominates that part of the cemetery. CSA veteran Moses Ezekiel sculpted the 32.5-foot-high monument, which features an appropriate Bible verse from the book of Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” Thirty-two small statues line the frieze, depicting the soldiers home returning from war.
Marcus J. Wright, an ex-Confederate general, prepared a bill which, on motion of Senator Hawley, of Connecticut, an ex-Union soldier, became a law June 6, 1900, under which the bodies of 267 Confederate soldiers were gathered from around Washington’s cemeteries. They were re-buried in equidistant circles surrounding the memorial, and over the next few years, other former Rebels were interred around the monument, including Richmond-born sculptor Moses Ezekiel and General Wright.
The cornerstone was laid in 1912 after President William Howard Taft welcomed the UDC representatives to Washington, D.C. His successor, President Woodrow Wilson, formally dedicated the Confederate Memorial on June 4, 1914, in a ceremony that featured dignitaries and former soldiers from the reunited North and South.
The agenda for the dedication ceremonies:
Musical Program given by the Fifth Cavalry Band, William J. Cain, Band Master
1. Grand Selection — “Southern Airs”
2. Invocation — Dr. Randolph H. McKim (Washington preacher and former Confederate officer)
3. Address — General Bennett H. Young, Commander-in-Chief, U. C. V.
4. Address — General Washington Gardner, Commander-in-Chief , G. A. R.
5. Cornet Solo “The Holy City”
6. Address — Col. Robert E. Lee (a former Confederate artilleryman at Antietam and the son of the late General Robert E. Lee)
7. Address — Col. Hilary A. Herbert
8. Unveiling of Monument — Paul Micou, Grandson of Col. Hilary A. Herbert
9. Salute — 21 guns Battery of Artillery
10. Introduction of the Sculptor Sir Moses Ezekiel
11. Presentation of Monument to the United States — Mrs. Daisy McLaurin Stevens, President-General, United Daughters of the Confederacy
12. Address of The President of the United States
13. “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” and “Star Spangled Banner — Fifth Cavalry Band
14. Placing of Floral Tributes
15. Benediction — Rev. Andrew R. Bird
16. Decoration of the Tomb of Unknown Union Dead, Mr. Wallace Streater.