Confederate Cemetery Memorial
Backstory and Context
Erected on June 6, 1900 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in conjunction with the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) Camp Garnett Chapter, this monument was originally topped with the bronze statue of a Confederate soldier. It was placed within the Confederate graveyard in Spring Hill Cemetery. The UCV had both purchased these lots, and paid to have the remains of Confederate veterans removed from various locations across the country to be reinterred at this location. Throughout America, and especially in the southern states, chapters of these two groups often worked together to raise funds to erect memorials or support the families of Confederate veterans.
On July 9, 1965, the monument was damaged when a tree limb, struck by lightning in a storm, fell upon the memorial and toppled the statue from its base. The UCV and UDC were unable to raise the necessary funds to replace the statue, and so the memorial was eventually topped with a small pyramid-like structure, as seen today.
In 2000, on the 100-year anniversary of the monument’s erection, it was rededicated by the UDC. Although they had originally wanted to commission a replacement statue for the memorial, the cost of this was prohibitive, and the UDC elected to instead erect a historical marker outside the cemetery informing visitors of its significance as the resting place of two Civil War generals, as well as the location of 200 veteran’s graves. The number of Civil War graves in Spring Hill Cemetery is now over 300.
The historical marker refers to the “War Between the States” rather than
the “War of the Rebellion.” The UDC promoted the “War Between the States”
terminology as a way to vindicate the South and the men who fought and died for
it. To call them “Rebels” would infer that they had been in the wrong, and had
acted unlawfully against the United States. The Official Records of the Civil
War, however, use the term “War of the Rebellion.”
The UDC, founded on September 10, 1894, played a large role in the way that Confederate soldiers were portrayed after the Civil War. They also controlled how the South was remembered in both society and in the United States educational system through the erection of Confederate memorials and the promotion of pro-southern textbooks in schools. They helped to spread the idea of the “Lost Cause,” which held that the Confederacy fought the Civil War in order to defend states’ rights, and organized observances of Confederate Memorial Day.
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“Confederate Memorial is Storm Casualty.” Huntington Advertiser, July 12, 1965.
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Cunningham, S. A., ed. “The Monument in Huntington, W. Va.,” Confederate Veteran, Vol. 8, No. 9, (September 1900): 403.
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Lavender, Dave. “Historical Marker Set at Cemetery.” Herald Dispatch, June 4, 2000.
“Lightning Wrecks Landmark Confederate Memorial Here.” Herald Dispatch, July 12, 1965.
Southern Poverty Law Center. “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.” Southern Poverty Law Center Publications. Last modified April 21, 2016. Accessed November 17, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/20160421/whose-heritage-public-symbols-confederacy
Thompson, C. L. “To the Members and Friends of ‘Camp Garnett’.” Huntington Advertiser, May 21, 1900.UCV Camp #902, Camp Garnet. Minute Book 1: 1890-1903. Special Collections, Morrow Library, Marshall University, Huntington, WV.