The Appomattox Statue
"The laudable idea, conceived a year or two ago, of erecting a suitable monument to perpetuate to the memory of those of the historic Seventeenth Virginia regiment who yielded up their lives during the four years' civil war, and which soon evolved into a fixed purpose, culminated to-day in the unveiling at the intersection of Prince and Washington streets of a memorial in their honor which would do credit to any city."
The Robert E. Lee Camp was organized in 1884, and consisted of veterans of the Seventeenth Virginia Infantry with the object of keeping the memory of their fallen comrades alive, and to attend to those who were disabled in the War. "It is proposed not to prolong the animosities engendered by the war, but to extend to their late adversaries, on every fitting occasion, courtesies which are always proper between soldiers, and which in their case a common citizenship demands at their hands."
A committee to raise funds for a monument to the Confederate dead was formed in 1885. The members of the committee consisted of of W.A. Smoot, Edgar Warfield, John R. Zimmerman, R.M. Latham, and Theodore Chase.
The committee recommended that plans submitted by Mr. John Elder of Richmond, Virginia be adopted. Mr. Elder's submission was based on his painting, "Appomattox" which is representative of "a Confederate soldier as if viewing the field of strife after the surrender. He stands dressed in the old familiar uniform of the Confederate private, with folded arms, and head bowed forward as if in deep contemplation over the scenes, privation and hard fought battles through which he had passed, all for a principle which he deemed sacred and righteous, and yet all apparently for naught. "
The statue was executed in bronze by sculptor Casper Burberl, of New York and cast by the Henry Bennard Bronze Company. The base of the statue is Georgia granite, produced by William Leal, of Richmond, Virginia.
The dedication ceremony was held on May 24, 1889. The ceremony was attended by a large crowd of people "from every part of the compass", making the streets around the statue at the corner of Prince and Washington Streets impassable.
Following remarks by several orators, Virginia Corse, daughter of General M.D. Corse, drew the cords and unveiled the statue, to the delight and applause of the crowd, and the playing of music by the bands in attendance.
Virginia's Governor, Fitzhugh Lee, delivered an address following the unveiling and said, "...may every section of what is now a common country, remembering the valor and heroism of the soldiers who fought upon either side from 1861 to 1865, be able to exclaim 'they were American soldiers and were splendid illustrations of American prowess.'"
~~Quotes from the Alexandria Gazette, May 24, 1889