Same Pose, Same Point

On our trip to the Homestead earlier this year, we saw the memorial to Confederate soldiers on the courthouse lawn in Warm Springs, Virginia.  Yesterday, in Blue Hill, Maine, we saw a strikingly similar memorial to his Union counterpart located near the entrance to the Seaside Cemetery.  Soldiers from Maine played a crucial role in the eventual Union victory, as any student of the Battle of Gettysburg will recall.

Interesting, isn’t it, how the statues of the Yankee and the Rebel feature nearly identical poses, with stolid soldiers standing erect, the butts of their rifles on the ground and the soldiers’ hands resting on the muzzle?  No depictions of shooting or bayoneting or heroic charges; just silent soldiers standing guard.  It’s as if, with the Civil War ended, neither side wanted a stone reminder of the violent reality of the bloodiest conflict in American history.

In Confederate Territory

Yesterday Kish and I went exploring the area around the Homestead and ended up at the Bath County Courthouse in Warm Springs, Virginia.

I guess I should have expected to see a monument to Confederate soldiers on courthouse square, just as you see monuments to Union soldiers on courthouse lawns in Ohio. Still, it was a bit jarring for a lifelong Northerner like me to see the statue, with the inscription “Lest We Forget” — erected in 1922, more than 60 years after the Civil War began. What was it, I wonder, that the people of Bath County of that day wanted to remember about that terrible conflict?