Thursday, June 4, 2015

THE SOUTH'S DEFENDERS MONUMENT - HISTORY & HERITAGE

This picture shows the large crowd present for the dedication of The South's
Defenders Memorial Monument at the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse in Lake
Charles, Louisiana on June 3, 1915. (McNeese State University Archives)
THE SOUTH'S DEFENDERS MEMORIAL MONUMENT
                                 A DEFENSE

WE HAVE LISTENED
NOW LISTEN TO US

What is being said by opponents?

*"The Confederate Statue Must Go and Be Destroyed"--slogan from the anti-monument petition. COUNTERPOINT--This is a vicious assault on an honorable war memorial representing fallen soldiers. It would be a disgrace to our community and a terrible insult to the families of the fallen soldiers who still live here
*"It hurts our feelings every time we see it. Also, it represents slavery, racism, and white supremacy." COUNTERPOINT--These common criticisms are the result of complete misinterpretations and false propaganda about the meaning of the monument, which was dedicated to the themes of peace, reconciliation, and unity. All the contemporary speeches and news coverage prove this beyond question or doubt.  Both Union and Confederate veterans were present, and the Union veterans were even thanked for the emancipation of the nation. It was a healing ceremony for national unity.
*"Confederates soldiers were traitors." COUNTERPOINT--Nothing could be further from the truth. The men were called into military service by their governors and organized in their parishes and counties, including Calcasieu Parish. They were under military discipline, they were issued uniforms, and swore obedience to the Articles of War used by both the Union and Confederacy.  Confederate soldiers were also recognized by the U.S. government de facto as lawful combatants and met all the requirements for that internationally recognized status. That is why when captured, Confederate soldiers were treated as prisoners of war, not as traitors. Even foreign powers recognized Confederate soldiers de facto as lawful combatants, including Queen Victoria in her proclamation of neutrality for Great Britain between the two combating forces.

Pro-monument statements.

The South's Defenders Memorial Monument represents the five parish area of Old Imperial Calcasieu (Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, Jefferson Davis, and Beauregard parishes).
The monument is still relative today and we believe it also represents all Southern soldiers from all U.S. wars, including the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the more recent conflicts.
The monument represents a heroic vision of our past, not a negative one.
The Confederate Army was multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and one of most diverse and religious armies that have ever existed. Among its ranks were African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Jewish-Americans and many other ethnicities.

SIX reasons to keep the moment where it now stands:
  1. It has been a well-recognized part of the beautiful landscape of the 1912 Calcasieu Parish Courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, for 105 years, which brings prestige to our parish. Tearing it down would radically change an important element in that historic landscape.
  2. This monument has NEVER been connected in any way to the support of or maintenance of the oppressive institution of slavery, which was abolished 50 years before it was ever built; nor has it ever been used to promote racial injustice, segregation, white supremacy, nor resistance to the civil rights movement. Any suggestion that is was ever was is just plain false.
  3. The United Daughters of the Confederacy, a non-partisan, non-political, history, heritage, and patriotic group, erected the monument to memorialize the men who fought and died defending their homes and families. Over 1,200 Confederate graves have been identified, and there are doubtless many more that have not been found in the five-parish Imperial Calcasieu region. The UDC has been active in supporting all American soldiers in every war. The patriotic Southern ladies who erected this monument deserve to be honored and thanked for their All-American patriotism.
  4. The governor of Louisiana called the men of Calcasieu Parish into military service and the local volunteers were initially organized on the courthouse grounds, which makes it the most historically correct location for the monument. Many of these men sacrificed their lives in the over 20 battles, and some even in the Battle of Calcasieu Pass on May 8, 1864. THERE IS NO MORE APPROPRIATE PLACE FOR THIS MONUMENT.
  5. The South's Defenders Memorial Monument has been unfairly caught up in a national frenzy of destruction with all other American historic monuments, that began as a peaceful protest over the tragic killing of an African-American man in Minnesota. That justified outrage has now morphed into an insane wave of looting and attacks on and/or destruction of monuments of Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, as well as many Confederate, World War 2, Vietnam and other historic monuments. We must resist this insane assault on all American history, not join it. LET THE ASSAULT ON AMERICAN HISTORY STOP IN CALCASIEU PARISH.
  6. Many families in the five parishes of Old Imperial Calcasieu are direct descendants of Confederate veterans. Possibly as many as two-thirds of the population of Southwest Louisiana have Confederate heritage. It is not fair, right, or just their family heritage should be singled out and tarnished, their children given a falsely negative self-image of the own family heritage, all based on misrepresentations in the media and false propaganda by anti-American radical groups. PLEASE DON'T HURT OUR CHILDREN BY MOVING AN HONORABLE HISTORIC MONUMENT UNDER SUCH DISHONORABLE CIRCUMSTANCES! IT WOULD CREATE MORE DIVISION AND BITTERNESS,NOT LESS.
PLEASE CALL, WRITE OR EMAIL YOUR CALCASIEU PARISH POLICE JUROR TODAY AND VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION TO MOVING THE SOUTH'S DEFENDERS MEMORIAL MONUMENT TODAY. THE CONTACT INFORMATION IS 337-721-3500, EMAIL: administration.cppj.net AND MAILING ADDRESS 1015 Pithon St., second floor, P.O. Box 1518 PITHON, LAKE CHARLES, LA 70602.

For more information on  the history of The South's Defenders Memorial Monument, go to https://southsdefendersmemorial.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-souths-defenders-monument-history.html

This advertisement was written and placed by Captain James W. Bryan Camp 1390, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Lake Charles, Louisiana. We are a multi-racial, multi-cultural, non-partisan, non-political, and international history, and heritage organization and we have completely condemned hate-groups and don't allow their members in our organization. For more information about the Sons of Confederate Veterans, please check us out fast www.scv.orgThank you for your consideration of our viewpoint.

HISTORY OF THE SOUTH'S DEFENDERS

      The green Confederate soldier on top of the ornate marble pedestal on the front lawn of the Old Calcasieu Parish Courthouse in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has been a part of the local landscape for over a century now. It is a dignified, stately symbol of the area's history and heritage of defending home and family in the most perilous of times.
      The statue and monument honor the soldiers from Southwest Louisiana who marched off to war in 1861 and died in bloody battle, or of camp diseases, in defense of home and family. Those who survived returned home in 1865 beaten, but determined to rebuild their lives and the prosperity of their community.
       Modern estimates of the dead in that most tragic of all American wars are between 700,000 and 800,000. Louisiana alone lost 12,000 native sons in that conflict, more than all other wars combined in U.S. History. There are appoximately 1,000 Confederate veterans buried in cemeteries throughout Southwest Louisiana.
       Those young Confederate soldiers of 1861 who survived, became the farmers, businessmen and political leaders who worked hard to make Southwest Louisiana the thriving, growing region it had become by the end of the 19th Century. Their wives, children and grateful members of the population of the area raised the funds for the monument and dedicated it to those old veterans in 1915, who they really saw as "The South's Defenders."
       The marker was dedicated in the 50th anniversary year of the end of the War Between the States, the theme of which was reconciliation of the North and the South.
       The monument consists of three integral parts - the bronze statue, an ornate marble column and a five-tiered marble column and a five-tiered marble base adorned with decorative cannon balls.
       On the back are listed the officers and members of the organization that donated the monument to the parish June 3, 1915, United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) Chapter 305. They were Mrs. D.C. Powell, president; Mrs. Samuel Levy, vice president; Mrs. F.W. Wilcox, secretary & treasurer; Mrs. A.R. Mitchell, historian; members Mrs. J.A. Landry, Mrs. J.G. Fournet, Mrs. F.W. Perkins, Mrs. R. Krause, Mrs. E.L. Clements and Mrs. Rufus Green.
       The effort to obtain a monument for Calcasieu Parish was announced by the UDC in 1914 when they asked the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury to donate $500 of the total $3,500 cost, the rest being raised by private donations.
       Although the sculptor of the statue is unknown, the manufacturer was the W.H. Mullins Co. of Salem, Ohio. On Monday, May 17, 1915, the American Press announced that on June 3 of that year, "All will join in showing honor to the memory of Calcasieu's Confederate dead." The beautiful marble base was built in Columbus, Mississippi.
       The story also noted it was a monument to the common soldier and not the leaders. "This will be an occasion on which we will all be glad and proud, to show our appreciation to the private soldier heroes who suffer and die, usually with but scant recognition."
        Speakers lined up for the occasion included Lake Charles Mayor George Riling, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President H.G. Chalkley, Hardy C. Gill, Clerk of Court and a Confederate veterans, and Mrs. D.C. Powell, who gave the principle dedication address.
        Mrs. Powell, the former Alphida Richard, was also the president of the Ladies Altar Society of the Catholic church in Lake Charles. She was born Feb. 22, 1871, died in Lake Charles April 2, 1924 and is buried in Orange Grove Cemetery. Her husband, DeWitt Clinton Powell, was a pioneer Southwest Louisiana lumberman.
        The day of the unveiling, June 3, 1915, school was dismissed for the day and businesses were asked to close their doors and put up appropriate decorations during the ceremony from 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Some 2,000 school children took part in a short parade and entertained with songs.

The front porch of the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse was festooned in
Confederate and U.S. flags for the ceremony a century ago. Seen here
are well-wishers and some the veterans and school children who took
part in the ceremonies. (McNeese State University Archives)
        With both Union and Confederate veterans in the audience, Mrs. Powell said in her dedication speech, ". . . I rejoice to think that we are here assembled together and have the pleasure of being present with those whom this country has learned to appreciate and in who honor we have given this day."
        She went on to praise the Union veterans for their contribution to the nation when she said, ". . . that the members of the organization whom I this day represent have learned to love with all sincereity those [Union veterans] who have served this country and have been instrumental in the emancipation of the United States.
        "As I look about me and see those who are gathering the robe of age about them and whom served as guardians of this nation, I thank God that we are gifted with an age of civilization which gives us a leader at Washington (President Wilson) who declares the principles of civil and religious liberty and keeps sweet on earth the savor of piety and patriotism that we will have no more wars of brute force between men, but will dwell in harmony under one flag as a peaceful nation."
        Pulling the cord to unveil the monument was Miss Dorothy Mitchell. The school children there sang the song "Dixie" on the front steps of the courthouse and some young ladies wore a badge for each state of the Confederacy. Confederate and American flags decorated the front porch of the courthouse for the event.
        The United Daughters of the Confederacy gave a reception following the unveiling.The evening after the ladies  entertained their friends with a dance at the Elks home.

The South's Defender Monument in
1957. (McNeese State University Monument)

       The monument has survived a number of storms over the years. In 1918 it was knocked off its pedestal by a hurricane on August 6. It was reported that the statue, when struck by the hurricane force winds, was knocked off, did a flip in the air and landed on its feet. A photograph taken at the time of the bronze soldier standing on the ground next to the monument, gives credence to the story.
        In 1945, it was noticed the monument was leaning over, so it was taken down, repaired and remounted. Then 50 years later, January 13, 1995, a wind storm nearly toppled the statue on top of the monument, which was leaning over sideways. The state was taken down and it was found that the repair done in 1945, a galvanized pipe threaded into the inner copper foundation, was rusted out.

The monument statue was damaged Jan. 13, 1995
when a wind storm blew it over sideways.
(M.D. Jones collection)
         The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury hired local sculptor Tim Winterbottom to repair and restore the statue. He replaced the foundation and provided more support for the statue. Winterbottom said at the time, "The soldier's boots were completely separated at the seams around the upper toe, tongue, and down the back of the heels. The heels and the ankles were both crushed. The triangular point on the top of the flag staff was also broken off."
        The sculptor reshaped with pressure clamps the toes, tongue, ankle and heels so it wouldn't be necessary to apply heat to the most damaged area. Winterbottom noted at the time a heat block and soaked towels were wrapped around both ankles when heat was applied to that area. "Strategic strength points were 'silver soldered' to provide strength and vertical support. Cosmetic work was accomplished with regular solder and finished with grinders and buffers.
       "A final patina was added to restore its greenish black surface," he said. The inner foundation, or armature, was completely redesigned and rebuilt using stainless steel and brass. Winterbottom noted the foundation base is made of stainless steel with neoprene gaskets between the stainless steel armature and the copper base to prevent any electrolysis.
      The sculptor said the statue was a finely crafted piece of sculpture. He said the technique uysed to craft it in 1915 involved shaping sheets of copper by hammering them into wooden molds. The separate pieces were then soldered together to create the finished sculpture.
      Parish workers replaced old rusty iron support rods on the marble pedestal base with new, stronger brass rods.
      While the restoration was going on, a political candidate attempted to have the police jury remove the state from the courthouse grounds. The police jury rejected the request, but added a separate marker behind the monument to explain the context of the work of art. Both Union and Confederate veterans took part in the 1915 ceremony emphasizing healing and reconciliation between North and South.
      The statue was remounted on the pedestal and on June 3, 1995, the 80th anniversary of the original dedication, the monument was rededicated before a large crowd of well-wishers. There was a small, peaceful, demonstration by opponents of the historic landmark.

Sculptor Tim Winterbottom seen here next to the
Confederate soldier statue he had just beautifully
restored, shortly before it was lifted back up on
the pedestal and securely fastened on in May,
1995. (M.D. Jones Collection)