My Georgia History

The Confederate Monument

The Civil War  in America was fought over several reasons.  The most important was slavery, the right to own slaves, but the other reason was states rights.  The United States had won its freedom from England less than a hundred years before.  The South looked at the Civil War as a way for them to leave the Union and start their own country.

When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, in 1861, he ran on the platform of states that were slave states would remain slave states, and states that were free would remain free, but any new state coming into the Union would be a free state.  When Lincoln was elected, the Southern States said they wanted there own country, The Confederate States of America.  So, the war came about.  President Lincoln did not want different countries inAmerica, just different states under one government.

When the South seceded, it forced the Union to war.  The Civil War was a deadly and bloody war, family against family, and friend against friend.  The Civil War lasted over four long years, with hundreds of thousands of casualties.  After the surrender, in April 1865, reconstruction began in the southern states.  The southern population had to take an oath to one country, the United States.  When Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, was captured in South Georgia, he was marched through Augusta, on his way north; he was in chains.  Men took off their hats and women cried.  The South was efeated.  The Confederate Monument, in Augusta, was brought alive in 1868, when the “Ladies Memorial Association” was organized to care for the graves of the Confederate dead and create a Monument to their memory.

Mrs. John Carter was president of the “Ladies Memorial Association” in 1868.  Five years later, the Ladies Association re-organized under the presidency of Mrs. M. E. Walton.  They advertised for designs for the Monument. The model selected was done by Van Gunden and Young of  Philadelphia.  T.  Markwalter of Augusta, who had a shop on Broad Street, was chosen to execute the design.  The statues were carved in Italy out of  Carrara Marble.  By the way, the statues on the Monument are life size.  The Italian carver, Antonio Fontana, came to America.  In his travels, he came to Augusta, was looking at the monument, when he recognized his work.  He had worked, from pictures of the men.

The “Ladies Memorial Association” decided to place the Monument on Broad Street between Macintosh and Jackson Streets, that’s 7th and8th Streets today.  The cornerstone was laid on Memorial Day, April 26, 1875.  General Clement Evans speech that day, was telegraphed all over the country.  The Monument took Markwalter three years to build.  The association raised $20,934 dollars to pay for it.

The date was October 31, 1878.  An estimated crowd of 10,000 people were standing on Broad Street.  Mrs. Thomas J. Jackson, “Stonewalls” widow, was guest of honor.  Charles C. Jones gave a great speech.  The Monument has four Confederate Generals, Robert E. Lee, represents the Confederacy.  Stonewall Jackson represents the State of Virginia.  Thomas R. R. Cobb, the State of Georgia, and William H. T. Walker, the City of Augusta.  The place of honor, at the top of the monument, is an anonymous enlisted solider.  On the Monument, it’s written, “No nation rose, so white and fair, None fell so pure of crime.”

Written by Mark Woodard

Research sources:

  • The Story of Augusta. Cashin, Edward J. Spartanburg, SC. The Reprint Company Publishing. (1996)
  • Augusta, A Pictorial History. Callahan, Helen. Richmond County Historical Society Publisher. (1980)
  • Memorial History of Augusta, Georgia. Jones, Charles C. Spartanburg, SC. The Reprint Publishers. (1890)
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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this informative essay about Augustan history. Antonio Fontana, the sculpture of Augusta’s Confederate Memorial is my great, great grandfather. Presently, I am writing a book about him and our family history. Your research is very interesting and important to me and my family. I have many unanswered questions about the history of this momument and it’s carver Antonio Fontana.
    I would appreciate any assistance you could provide in this endeavor. In return, I promise to make note and credit you in my book.
    Sincerely yours,
    Dr. M. K. Perkins
    Washington, DC.
    DrMPerkins@gmail.com

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