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Lee & Jackson Monument in Charles Village

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Art Museum Drive & Wyman Park Drive (Street View)

GPS: 39° 19′ 27.48″ N 76° 37′ 11.65″ W

History

Dedicated on May 1st, 1948, this monument is by artist Laura Gardin Fraser and was paid for by the $100,000 left in J. Henry Ferguson’s will, who idolized the Confederate generals as a youth. Ferguson died in 1928, a design contest was held in 1935 and Fraser won the commission. Architect John Russell Pope created the base and the dedication took place on the anniversary of the eve of the Battle of Chancellorsville (1863).

On April 18th of 1861, as Civil War hostilities heated up, Lee turned down an offer to become a major general in the US Army, resigned two days later and took up leadership of the Virginia state forces on April 23. General Lee was appointed general-in-chief to the Confederate army on January 31st, 1865. He was quickly named one of the five full generals of the Confederate States of America, but refused to wear the insignia of general, instead wearing the stars of a confederate colonel, equivalent to his last rank in the US Army.

Lee is depicted in this double equestrian monument astride his famed horse, Traveller. Stonewall Jackson (depicted astride “Little Sorrel”) is considered by some to be “one of the most gifted tactical commanders in United States history.” Jackson was accidentally shot by Confederate pickets during the Battle of Chancellorsville. His left arm was amputated but he survived for eight days, at which point he died due to complications of pneumonia. Upon hearing the news, Lee is said to have pronounced, “He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right.” Completion of this monument was held up by the onset of WWII, and there is a note inscribed on the base thanking the business partners for honoring pre-war contracts and pricing of materials.

Notes

This statue rests at a beautiful high-traffic geographic location within the Remington/Charles Village neighborhoods. The land slopes southward dramatically behind the figures down to the valley of Wyman Park. According to the sculptor, the geography itself mimics the conditions at Chancellorsville. The Baltimore Museum of Art is visible just up the street.

This monument is extremely well-kept and one may often find memorial wreaths and other artifacts laid around its base. Each year, Civil War reenactors meet to commemorate the birthdays of Lee and Jackson on January 19, 1807 and January 21, 1824 respectively. Until recently, the Clipper Room at Shriver Hall on Johns Hopkins campus was rented out for post-celebration festivities. But the annual rental has been disallowed by Hopkins’ new president. A writer for the Maryland Record has even called for this extraordinary historical statue to be razed on account of the Confederate ideals which it commemorates.

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Written by monumentcity

April 17th, 2009 at 7:55 pm