January 6, 2009

Recognizing the Women Who Memorialized their Men

This monument in the Winchester's Confederate Cemetery strikes me as being unusual. Although surrounded by grave markers, it does not mark a grave or recognize those fallen in battle, but honors the Confederate Women of Winchester. It recognizes the work done by women to memorialize those they had lost in the Civil War.

However, it was not erected until 1999. Read the text below.
In Honor of the Women of Winchester
The Ladies Confederate Memorial Association Organized in 1865 And Turner Ashby Chapter #184 United Daughters of the Confederacy Chartered 1867
For Five Generations They Have Cherished The Memory of the Soldiers Who Lie in the Stonewall Cemetery
"Love Makes Memory Eternal"
Dedicated June 6th 1999
Throughout the South (and in some other places), Confederate Women formed memorial societies to honor and even mythologize fallen soldiers. The phrase "Love makes memory eternal" is a clue to why they did this, trying to hold on in some way to those they had lost to an unsuccessful war.

The insignia at the top of the monument says "Daughters of the Confederacy 1861-65." The Confederate officers pictured appear to be Turner Ashby and Robert E. Lee.
In a Winchester Star article, Professor Jonathan Noyalas of LFCC is quoted as saying “This whole cemetery is a monument to the legacy of Winchester’s Confederate women,” he said.

By creating the area as a last resting place for some 3,000 Confederate soldiers, the city’s women “started the ball rolling” across the South to establish similar cemeteries, including monuments to unknown soldiers.

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