Monument to the Confederate Soldiers of Monroe County
This Confederate monument is located in a town named Union and within a state that was created as a rejection of secession. The monument features a Confederate infantryman on a white Italian granite base and was funded by area members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. At the dedication ceremony in 1901, speakers who lauded the fortitude of Confederate soldiers who fought to uphold "Anglo-Saxon" ways of life.
Backstory and Context
Similar to many Confederate monuments that were dedicated in the Border States, most of the remarks at the dedication indicate that the driving force behind the monument was the desire to honor the former soldiers while many were still alive. At the same time, the dedication ceremony revealed a defensive posture with many of the speakers offering their assurance that the cause of the Confederacy "had been just." This part of the dedication speeches were typically vague, with praise to the valor of soldiers on both sides of the conflict.
Given the high number of Confederate supporters in this section of West Virginia, the growth of Confederate reunions in the South and the Border States led to several encampments of former Confederates meeting in this area each year throughout the 1890s. These reunions included speeches and resolutions calling for the creation of a monument to honor Confederate veterans along with speeches that reflected the "Lost Cause" ideology that lauded the antebellum South. Dedication speeches made no mention of slavery but contained many subtle references to the Lost Cause and the nobility of the Old South. Perhaps most surprising given the unique political situation that led to the creation of West Virginia, none of the speakers at the dedication mentioned the issue of secession or West Virginia statehood in their remarks.