Letter to the Editor

Monuments to those who never came home


Confederate Monuments are once again in the forefront of news. Some want to tear them down and some want to preserve them. In all of this I have not heard in the public arena exactly how and why the monuments were erected. Maybe a few facts, particularly concerning our Monument in downtown Jasper will help in determining the future of the Monument. 

In 1905, Elizabeth Cain Musgrove began a fundraiser to purchase and place a Memorial Monument to Confederate Veterans. She would ask for a $5.00 donation from everyone she met. It took about 3 years to raise the money, $4000.00, and the Monument we see was dedicated in 1908. It was not to argue or make a point about what the reasons for the War were. It was simply a memorial and tribute to those men who chose to fight for their independence. No politics were involved. Mrs. Musgrove's husband, Captain Francis A. Musgrove, fought for the South until the end of the War. He is buried in the Old City Cemetery along with 7 other known Confederate Veterans. He surrendered with the Confederate forces in North Carolina. He was stripped of all personal belongings and had to get home the best way he could. Which means he walked, as did thousands of surrendered soldiers. After military rule, euphemistically called Reconstruction, the South began a slow and arduous process of recovery. Monuments began to appear in the late 1800s and early 1900s because it took many years for Southerners to regain the economic ability to raise the necessary funds, and the old Veterans were dying off and the Monuments were to be a continued remembrance of their service. 

In addition, and probably most importantly, the Monuments were a memorial to those who never came home. Thousands of soldiers were buried in mass graves on far away battlefields. Many died in Yankee prisons or on the way home. They were often buried in unmarked graves. The Monuments throughout the South represent these men. That's why they all face South. So, in that sense, they are a grave marker so that relatives and descendants can remember all those who never came home and have no grave marker. Destroying or removing a Confederate Monument is tantamount to driving a bulldozer through a grave yard and knocking over all the headstones and memorials. 

Maybe we all can come to some reasonable solution to this problem and pick a more fitting way to protest. 

Barry Cook
Jasper, Ala.