W. Stuart Towns


One of the major ceremonial events in the post-Civil War South was the dedication of monuments raised to the honor and memory of Confederate soldiers. Many communities underwrote fund-raising drives for statues and monuments. If a local area could not boast of an authentic hero, they dedicated their monument to the “Confederacy,” or the “Boys in Gray,” or the “Private Soldier.” Each unveiling ritual involved the same essential ingredients: a parade through the city streets to the site, several brief welcoming addresses by local dignitaries, some musical selections “appropriate to the occasion,” a poem or two by the local town laureate, and an oration. The draperies were then lifted from around the monument, which would then stand as an enduring symbol of the Lost Cause. The South today is still dotted with these ever-present reminders of the Confederate era.