June 25, 2019

Trouble on Chestnut Ridge

Last week I made a brief stop at the Turner Ashby Monument in Harrisonburg to see if it had been cleaned up after being vandalized. It had. It's in a beautiful spot on top of a hill, where Ashby was killed in battle 157 years ago.

On the anniversary of his death, someone threw eggs and other substances on the monument, and also left a page of quotations. I feel sad about the vandalism, although the quotations are historically accurate.

The news article I saw did not type out the quotations but published a photo of the note. The quotations are easily found elsewhere. Here's one from Jeff Davis, president of the Confederate States, but spoken about slaves before the war:
"We recognize the fact of the inferiority stamped upon that race of men by the Creator, and from the cradle to the grave, our Government, as a civil institution, marks that inferiority."
Another quote is from his Vice President, Alexander Stephens, stating that the new Confederate government'a "foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition."

I believe history is important. These quotations are relevant because there are still people teaching that the Civil War was not about slavery. While there were other causes, it was the issue of slavery and particularly its spread to the new territories that led to the war.

The issue of war monuments is a sticky one. I think when they are in a historically relevant place, it is usually best to leave them there and provide accurate interpretation. I don't like the ones that stand in places that are unrelated to actual history but are simply intended as hero worship.


  1. I also think history is so important, we should always remember the past, cos it is a great lesson to learn. Have a lovely day!

  2. ...I will never understand vandalizm, but it happen everywhere. Thanks Linda for sharing this piece of history.

  3. Hello, I do not understand the vandalism. People must have too much time on their hands. Wishing you a happy day!

  4. I have no issue with Confederate monuments at battlefields, places like that. It's the multitude that were put up in town squares, courthouses, and other spots in the decades following the collapse of Reconstruction that are more of an issue. And while there were a number of causes behind that war, slavery was the dominant one, and the fuel for the other causes. Take slavery out of the equation by abolishing it in 1776, and there would have never been a Civil War. No one would have seceded over economics or industrial imbalances.

  5. Living in the south, I frequently see monuments and statues of ancestors, who were living at times of war. Many fought against their own relatives, on each side of several wars. It makes me sad that a monument can't just be left alone, as reminders of times that we hope are past. Unfortunately these days there is a resurgence of racism. Another thing that makes me sad, but also angry.

  6. interesting place to visit

  7. Always sad to see vandalism happen.

  8. nice article my friend..
    please visit my blog too

  9. My continued hope is that we will learn from the past and not make the same mistakes that were made by those before us.

  10. It's always sad to see vandalism.

    All the best Jan


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