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.