An Illustrated Guide to Virginia's Confederate Monuments

Overview

As America was torn apart by the horrors of the Civil War, no state bore the brunt of battle more than Virginia. Home to the Confederate capitol of Richmond and the linchpin of the eastern theater of the war, the state now bears a myriad of testaments to its harrowing past, waiting to be explored. With An Illustrated Guide to Virginia's Confederate Monuments, Timothy S. Sedore presents the first volume to enumerate Virginia's southern Civil War memorials marking the bloody battles that took place on Virginia ...

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An Illustrated Guide to Virginia's Confederate Monuments

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Overview

As America was torn apart by the horrors of the Civil War, no state bore the brunt of battle more than Virginia. Home to the Confederate capitol of Richmond and the linchpin of the eastern theater of the war, the state now bears a myriad of testaments to its harrowing past, waiting to be explored. With An Illustrated Guide to Virginia's Confederate Monuments, Timothy S. Sedore presents the first volume to enumerate Virginia's southern Civil War memorials marking the bloody battles that took place on Virginia soil. Sedore's illuminating and highly readable guide catalogs 360 of the state's most infamous and obscure commemorations, and provides not only a fascinating compilation of locations but also a compelling vision of the public sense of loss in the post-Civil War South. 

From notorious sites such as Manassas, Fredericksburg, and Appomattox to the lesser-known locations of Sinking Spring Cemetery and Rude's Hill, Sedore leads readers on a vivid journey through Virginia's Confederate history in all its tarnished glory. Tablets, monoliths, courthouses, cemeteries, town squares, battlefields, and more are cataloged in detail throughout this compendium, accompanied by photographs and meticulous commentary. Each entry also contains descriptions, historical information, and location, providing a complete portrait of each site. Designed for the expert historian and the lay reader alike, the vast scope of these locations-from Clinch Mountain near Tennessee to the Eastern Shore, from the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., to the edge of North Carolina-is organized geographically by region for ease of use. Six maps also are provided for the reader's orientation. 

Much more than a visual tapestry or a tourist's handbook, however, An Illustrated Guide to Virginia's Confederate Monuments draws on scholarly and field research to reveal these sites not only as monuments to history but also as public efforts to reconcile mourning with Southern postwar ideologies. Unveiled here are dynamic memorials that are at once intimate and aloof, written on stone, bronze, or marble but forged from the language of suffering. Sedore analyzes in depth the nature of these attempts to publicly explain Virginia's sense of grief after the war, delving deep into the psychology of a traumatized area. Insight into these evocative elegies for lost sons, fathers, spouses, and other loved ones provides yet another dimension to this captivating volume. 

The first book of its kind, An Illustrated Guide to Virginia's Confederate Monuments will appeal to the traveler, historian, and armchair enthusiast alike. Never before has such a comprehensive collection of Virginia's Southern Civil War sites been gathered and examined in one volume. From commemorations of famous generals to memories of unknown soldiers, from the Shenandoah Valley to the Chesapeake Bay, the dead speak from the pages of this sweeping companion to history.

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Editorial Reviews

Civil War News

When the Civil War’s guns fell silent in the spring of 1865, the states that comprised the former Confederacy began the process of recovering from four years of hard war — a conflict that killed or debilitated nearly one quarter of the South’s white male population between the ages of 16 and 45.

Although people did their best to recover and move forward, the survivors of the Confederacy refused to let the sacrifices of the slain go without proper recognition.

While strong sentiment existed to memorialize the Confederate dead across the former Confederacy, perhaps no state trumped the efforts of Virginia, the epicenter of the Confederacy, to appropriately memorialize the legacy of the Old Dominion’s 17,000 dead through monuments in town squares, in cemeteries and on battlefields.

That effort to memorialize Virginia’s involvement in the war provides the basis for Timothy Sedore’s invaluable guide to the commonwealth’s Confederate monuments.

Relying on the monuments as historical artifacts as well as other supporting primary materials, Sedore provides a comprehensive guide, the first such publication of its kind, to the 360 Confederate markers and monuments in Virginia.

He starts with a cogently crafted and insightful introduction that offers a brief history of memorialization after the Civil War. Then he breaks the book into five regional chapters in which he examines the monuments by county.

Sedore employs a superb template to make sense of such a vast array of monuments spread over nearly 40,000 square miles. Each chapter includes a finely detailed map that delineates the location of each monument in its region and an introductory synopsis of the region’s experience during the conflict.

In Sedore’s discussion of each monument, he provides the precise location, a description of the monument and the material used to construct it, and a verbatim copy of the inscription.

He also includes excerpts from dedication addresses, which increase this volume’s usefulness. Historians interested in the rhetoric of the Lost Cause or the campaign for national reconciliation will find these primary documents most useful.

The selected primary materials illustrate how former Confederates made sense of their failed experiment and justified the Confederacy to future generations of Americans.

Sedore’s book also is a splendid reminder of the importance of language in historical remembrance. Analysis throughout this book informs readers that the Confederate veterans and organizations who erected Confederate monuments in Virginia, as was the case across the entire South, chose their words carefully.

These former Confederates knew that although the bronze and marble would stand still for future generations, the words inscribed on them would cut across time to teach forthcoming descendants about the conflict and the importance of human sacrifice for a cause — even a doomed one.

This volume, which is soundly researched, impeccably organized, and eloquently written, should appeal to a wide range of Civil War readers, especially those interested in Confederate history, Virginia’s place in the conflict and Civil War memory.

 

— Jonathan A. Noyalas

Civil War News - Jonathan A. Noyalas
When the Civil War’s guns fell silent in the spring of 1865, the states that comprised the former Confederacy began the process of recovering from four years of hard war — a conflict that killed or debilitated nearly one quarter of the South’s white male population between the ages of 16 and 45.

Although people did their best to recover and move forward, the survivors of the Confederacy refused to let the sacrifices of the slain go without proper recognition.

While strong sentiment existed to memorialize the Confederate dead across the former Confederacy, perhaps no state trumped the efforts of Virginia, the epicenter of the Confederacy, to appropriately memorialize the legacy of the Old Dominion’s 17,000 dead through monuments in town squares, in cemeteries and on battlefields.

That effort to memorialize Virginia’s involvement in the war provides the basis for Timothy Sedore’s invaluable guide to the commonwealth’s Confederate monuments.

Relying on the monuments as historical artifacts as well as other supporting primary materials, Sedore provides a comprehensive guide, the first such publication of its kind, to the 360 Confederate markers and monuments in Virginia.

He starts with a cogently crafted and insightful introduction that offers a brief history of memorialization after the Civil War. Then he breaks the book into five regional chapters in which he examines the monuments by county.

Sedore employs a superb template to make sense of such a vast array of monuments spread over nearly 40,000 square miles. Each chapter includes a finely detailed map that delineates the location of each monument in its region and an introductory synopsis of the region’s experience during the conflict.

In Sedore’s discussion of each monument, he provides the precise location, a description of the monument and the material used to construct it, and a verbatim copy of the inscription.

He also includes excerpts from dedication addresses, which increase this volume’s usefulness. Historians interested in the rhetoric of the Lost Cause or the campaign for national reconciliation will find these primary documents most useful.

The selected primary materials illustrate how former Confederates made sense of their failed experiment and justified the Confederacy to future generations of Americans.

Sedore’s book also is a splendid reminder of the importance of language in historical remembrance. Analysis throughout this book informs readers that the Confederate veterans and organizations who erected Confederate monuments in Virginia, as was the case across the entire South, chose their words carefully.

These former Confederates knew that although the bronze and marble would stand still for future generations, the words inscribed on them would cut across time to teach forthcoming descendants about the conflict and the importance of human sacrifice for a cause — even a doomed one.

This volume, which is soundly researched, impeccably organized, and eloquently written, should appeal to a wide range of Civil War readers, especially those interested in Confederate history, Virginia’s place in the conflict and Civil War memory.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809330324
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 4/4/2011
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 447,508
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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