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Federal Funds Replace a Dismantled Confederate Statue in Ohio

Ms. Inglish has spent 30 years working in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, and aerospace education for Active USAF Civil Air Patrol.

This Confederate monument was vandalized in 2017, but replaced with U.S. federal funds in 2019.

This Confederate monument was vandalized in 2017, but replaced with U.S. federal funds in 2019.

Beheading a Confederate Figure

Shortly after May Day 2019, when we learned of violence during peaceful demonstrations in France, Ohio citizens protested a Civil War memorial that had been torn down, but reconstructed at the expense of the United States.

The statue had been vandalized and beheaded during the time of the Charlottesville What Supremacist riots in Virginia in which President Donald Trump stated that there were very fine people on both sides of the conflict.

Map of Camp Chase

My great grandfather trained for 176th and 188th Regiment Infantries in the Union Army at nearby Goodale Park (Camp Jackson) and Camp Chase at the start of the American Civil War. The camp sat on the National Road/Route 40 of the time, on which my ancestor worked from 1865 - 1870 westward into Madison County. Today, Route 40 runs out Broad Street, a parallel highway.

As of May 1, 2019 Find-a-Grave reports that the cemetery holds 2,365 bodies. We know that some of the deceased soldiers were moved into Chase Cemetery after the war from other local Columbus cemeteries.

A Rebel on the Ground

The statue of a rebel soldier that stood in a graveyard for the southern prisoners who died there in Camp Chase was knocked down and its head severed in the 2017 vandalism. The head disappeared, but its hat survived, as did the stone body.

Camp Chase was a Union Army prison camp that became a graveyard at the end of the war. It is a poor section of town, but descendants of the soldiers buried here continue to travel to the West Side of Columbus, Ohio to place flowers and flags at the grave sites of their ancestors.

Religious services are held in the cemetery to honor the dead annually on the second Sunday of June at 3:00 p.m. and to remember Jefferson Davis Day (June 3).

Memorial Day 2019

On the Memorial Day after the Confederate statue was replaced in Camp Chase, local volunteers and Civil War re-enactors cleaned the cemetery, including all of the white headstones. A small American flag was planted in front of each of these many grave markers and words of remembrance were given by descendants of these soldiers and those of the Union Army as well.

The scenes at Camp Chase were surreal and moving this day as we experienced the many American flags flying, the new statue commemorating Confederates who sacrificed their lives, and a re-enactor in the blue uniform and cap of a Union soldier as he held small American flags for distribution.

Commemorative Camp Chase Fife and Drums

Debates About Civil War Memorials Solved

For several years Americans have been arguing about the Stars and Bars flag and monuments to Civil War figures. Some voices shout for them all to be eliminated, while other contend that the statues, if not the Confederate flag, be maintained for historical purposes. A third set of voices wearily complains that Americans are fighting among themselves too much of the time.

On May 1, 2019, a Virginia Judge ruled that local Charlottesville authorities have no right to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee and of Stonewall Jackson, because state law protects those monuments. Ohio agrees.

The VA National Cemetery Association also agrees, stating on May Day that Camp Chase is an official National Historic Place and therefore, its statues are protected by federal law since 1966. The Camp Chase rebel statue is protected by the United States (the Union Army, if you will).

A Tour of Camp Chase

Legacy and Legends

Camp Chase was much larger during the war than it is today. Much of it was developed into a housing sector now called Westgate and the general area is known as the Hilltop, which descends into the poorer neighborhood of The Bottoms to the east.

Interestingly, the area along Sullivant Avenue where the cemetery is located has been home to a psychiatric hospital, an institution for the "mentally retarded", and a psychiatric forensic institute. Violent crime has increased in this area over the last two decades and some old-timers subscribe to the superstition that the violence is caused by the poor conditions at the Camp Chase P.O.W. camp and by the Civil War itself.

In addition to all this, some people maintain that they can see the ghost of a woman in a long gray gown wandering around the cemetery at night.

The toppled statue.

The toppled statue.

Share Your Opinion

Cost of Statue Restoration

How much did it cost in federal dollars to fix the dismantled and scarred Confederate statue, including fashioning a new head of bronze? The cost was approximately $41,000.00. At least the hat was saved.

The cost in hard feelings among detractors is likely to cost much more, at least in emotional distress, resentment, and lost time in arguing instead of working together for a better government as Abraham Lincoln would have liked.

The president of the NAACP in Columbus was very upset over the restoration. feeling that the memorial is one to slavery, not to history.

Is that a good use of our federal funds? I could think of a lot of things we can request funding for in our community.

— Nana Watson, President of the Columbus Chapter, NAACP

Opinions in the community differ. Many people to whom I listened felt that history is best served by maintaining Confederate statues according to state and federal laws and teaching visitors to these places the real stories behind the Civil War, including slavery.

Other folks were incensed that rebel monuments were protected by the United States.

Some harsh sentiments from 1861 - 1865 descended in the sons and daughters of the Confederacy and the Union, and onward through the first two decades of the 21st century.

Sources

  • Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.
  • Family histories and diaries of Hugh McCaskey Inglish, Hugh McCaskey Inglish II and Hugh McCaskey Inglish III.
  • Touring Ohio, the Heart of America: Camp Chase
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: National Cemetery Administration

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Patty Inglish MS

Comments

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 16, 2019:

People are taking today's values, culture, and civil rights laws and mistakenly looking at 19th century history through that lens. Slavery was abominable, indefensive. Sadly, however, removing statues designed as war memorials doesn't undo the injustice. It's better to leave them in place as historical markers and engage in thoughtful, open conversation of what we have learned from this period in history. For example, what does it mean to be on the right or wrong side of history and what are the implications for leaders today? (I think of Trump and immigrants in cages here.)

I have thought deeply about the subject, as I live in metro Richmond with the politically contentious but historically significant Monument Avenue statues of Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and others. Even if one tore down such statues (which are protected by Virginia law as war memorials), then what happens to all the streets, bridges, city and town names, etc. with names that are derived from these famous Confederates? It's a slippery slope.

Interesting article.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 10, 2019:

Patty

The problem with history books is people forget conflicts are real, with real people on both sides.

The beauty of monuments is they take the past and make it personal!

I think monuments should be maintained for that reason, so that we today, can see that real people were involved on both sides, and each had their reasons.

This same debate goes on here with the New Zealand wars (the wars of colonization) with the Maori wanting the monuments preserved.

Dianna Mendez on May 11, 2019:

I vote to keep the monuments. It is so much a part of our History.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 04, 2019:

@Virginia Allain -- Thanks for your ideas; honest, museum-quality explanations would be great. Slavery of any kind is immoral and should be illuminated in that way.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 04, 2019:

@Mary Norton -- I hope statues on both sides of the Civil War and the issues involved are explained well to the public.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 04, 2019:

@mckbirdbks .. Hi Mike -- At one time I would have felt all the Confederate statues should be destroyed, but then I realized how history is distorted when parts of it are lost. I side with total disclosure now.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on May 03, 2019:

I think if the statues are in a museum with appropriate historical explanation next to it or in a cemetery where there are other stones commemorating people, OK. I do not like the glorification of the South's goals in the Civil War which was to keep a race of people enslaved for economic reasons.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 03, 2019:

I am a History major and I strongly support to leave monuments to history. It is part of us especially for people who have loved ones who died for it.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 02, 2019:

Hi Patty - Good has won out against the Confederates and their war against a race of people. Good has won out against a German regime which chose to exterminate a race of people. A bunch of tin, lead, bronze or iron statues just reminds me that the people have won each time they rose up against the forces of evil. That was true then, it is true now. I struggled with a response to your article.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 02, 2019:

Eric, I agree - you are indeed historical and must be preserved!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 02, 2019:

How very interesting. I reckon some folks could be offended about just who I am. I am historical. My half century plus of life entails some not so good things. Well when the come to get me I hope they leave my Stetson.