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Rutherford County Confederate Soldiers Monument.  Image courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. Photograph by Tom Vincent.
 
Rutherford County Confederate Soldiers Monument
Rutherfordton
View complete article and references at Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina at: https://docsouth.unc.edu/commland/monument/262
 
Description: Rising nearly twenty-five feet, this monument depicts a granite sculpture of the Confederate Common Soldier, mounted atop a tall tapered column. The uniformed soldier stands at parade rest, holding the barrel of his rifle with both hands. The tall shaft is composed of three tiers of granite resting atop a wide base of three steps. The shaft of the column just below the sculpture is of rough cut granite with sharply chiseled corners. This narrow column rests atop a tall pedestal with a smooth face bearing the inscription on the front, a bas-relief image of two crossed Confederate flags on one side, and the bas-relief image of two crossed muskets on the other. This base is capped on all four sides with an ornate top bearing the initials of the Confederate States of America in raised lettering on the front and rear and the dates of the Confederacy on the sides. The inscription is simple, with the word "DEVOTION" expressing the sentiment of the commemoration.
Image: Postcard image of the Rutherford County Courthouse and Confederate Monument

 
Inscription:
Front: TO THE MEN / AND WOMEN OF / THE CONFEDERACY / "DEVOTION"
Rear: Erected by the Davis-Dickerson-Mills Chapter / United Daughters of The Confederacy. / October 1910
Front and rear, above inscripton: CSA
Sides, above figure: 1861-1865

 
Dedication date: 11/12/1910
 
Materials & Techniques: Granite
 
Sponsor: United Daughters of the Confederacy, Davis-Dickerson-Mills Chapter
 
Cost: $2500
 
Unveiling & Dedication: The monument was installed in October of 1910 and dedicated on November 12, 1910.
 
Subject notes: Rutherford County sent some 1,734 men to fight in the Civil War. The county also experienced some destruction, particularly in Rutherfordton, during the Union campaign known as Stoneman's Raid.
 
Location: The statue sits facing east in front of the Rutherford County Courthouse on North Main Street between East Second and Third Streets.
 
Landscape: The statue sits in the semi-circular lawn in front of the courthouse. It is surrounded by mature shade trees.
 
City: Rutherfordton
 
County: Rutherford
 
Subjects: Civil War
 

Latitude: 
35.36896
Longitude: 
-81.95712
Subjects: 
Origin - location: 

Comments

The idea that the courthouse memorial is a monument to slavery or “white supremacy” ignores numerous facts surrounding the war and especially the truth about those men who fought it. No rational American today believes human slavery is OK. The attitude in America was different 160 years ago. At the same time the vast majority of southerners owned no slaves and had no interest whatever in the vile institution of slavery. They believed that the states of the north were invading the states of the south and that it was their duty to defend their state.
Prior to the institution of the 14th Amendment in 1868, there was no such thing as an “American citizen.” Before that time people considered themselves citizens of their state, not the United States of America. The regiments and armies north and south were state designated, such as the 18th North Carolina Regiment of Volunteers in which my great-grandfather fought. Lee’s army was known as the Army of Northern Virginia. These are facts are easily researched.
The statue on the pediment is a granite carving of a common foot soldier, not some slave owning grandee. He represents over 1,700 men from Rutherford County who fought for the state, the overwhelming majority of whom never owned a slave. Many were killed or maimed or otherwise returned from war with mental and emotional wounds that would last a lifetime.
A memorial to honor the valor of men, seventy to eighty percent or more of whom never owned a single slave, should not be displaced or destroyed because it may cause discomfort to some, which is apparently only recently felt. Memorials that have stood for 110 years should not be removed at the whim of anyone or any group.
Those who seek to destroy this statue have been caught up in the current wave of hysteria over the death of a black man at the hands of a rogue police officer, who has rightly been charged with murder. The entire movement has been amplified and coopted by radical left-wing elements. Rational discussions of issues have been steamrolled.
Across the nation government officials have stood by and watched memorials to even abolitionists torn down by mobs of radicals. I would not be surprised to learn that many of those seeking to remove our monument are not even connected to Rutherford County. It is my firm belief that the decision to take any action on the monument should be left to the citizens of Rutherford County in a referendum. It should not be influenced by the strident voices of pressure groups inside or outside the county. The people of the county should decide.
The Daughters of the Confederacy who raised the $2,500 (over $67,000 in today’s dollars) in the year 1910 to erect the memorial wanted to honor those who served so sacrificially. It is a war memorial and should remain.
It is cheap and easy to tear down. It costs commitment, effort, and money to build up. Let the people of the county make the decision as to the memorial’s future.

When a monument, placed in the center of our town and in front of our judicial courthouse, celebrates a war whose outcome was primarily the elimination of the slavery of a people, the slaves and descendants of those slaves should rightly have the biggest voice as to whether it stays or goes. This voice was not given to slaves and the descendants of slaves, nor has it been given in the century since that time. Their voice was instead crowded out by the voices of white people. Every Black man and woman who has to do anything legal in the courthouse, walk in the town, and drive by the monument are exposed to this celebration of a war fought to keep them enslaved. Move it. Put it in a position of less prominence or a museum . Add a historical context description as to when and why it was put up. And let’s together hold hands and move into a future we can be proud of, one where we move closer to all men and women are created equal.

It’s not unclear any longer as to what the Confederacy was about. Millions of people in the United States were enslaved, over 600,000 people died in the Civil War, and the monuments were placed to falsely glorify bravery. The monuments are part and parcel of the confederate interpretation of the war, which is commonly known as the Lost Cause. War heroes were seen as brave men of battle and promoters of states' rights rather than proliferators of slavery. The monuments were built during segregation in the Jim Crowe era and ensured that black Americans would stay supplanted and without a level playing field, with few chances to live as free men. The fact that the monuments are still in our environment in 2020 is proof that racism lingers, which means that the community is missing out on significant resources, ideas, and possibilities of advancement as a local government. It really needs to be removed. History won't be written. Taking the monument down is the more important part of history.

This monument is better suited for the cemetary. The history and what was being fought for has no place at a courthouse where justice is meeted out. The claim that this monument has nothing to do with HATE or INJUSTICE is completly wrong and the County Commissioners should work to remove it. It is a part of our history better suited for a museum.

This statue is not a symbol of racism or hate, but rather a monument to the men who lost their lives in the civil war. It has been a part of Rutherford county since 1910 and should stay. Our history, good or bad, needs to be remembered.

You are leaving out a huge chunk of history. To preserve "domestic institutions" and "persons held to labor or service."... also known as slavery. If you are going to stand for something, stand for all of it... the good and the bad. The statue is not only a symbol of racism and hate but one of rape, human trafficking, white supremacy, and traitors to the United States of America. Bring it down.

By the way: the "two crossed Confederate flags" do not appear Confederate, but actually have stripes like the U.S. flag. (I have examined this monument closely). I believe the pedestal was made generic. This might make the pedestal more suitable for my suggestion.

Suggestion for the fate of the monument: Leave the base; add the inscription:" In acknowledgment of the grievous wrong done to Africans enslaved in America and to their descendants. We pray for God's forgiveness."

No, the whole thing has to go. Even better suggestion. Nothing should go in its place for a while. As Americans, we need to really reflect and have healthy discussions about who we decide to monumentalize in the future before tossing something up in the town square.

This monument is an intentional symbol of hate. Here is a petition calling on Governor Roy Cooper to remove it from the courthouse lawn.

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