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March to the grounds.

The veteran and military Display—Unveiling scene.


Immediately upon leaving the Theatre the various organizations commenced forming in line preparatory to the march to ‘Howitzer Place,’ and a large crowd assembled on Broad street to see the [296] parade start. The procession moved about half-past 3 o'clock, and followed the route as printed in the Dispatch. Despite the fact that the weather was exceedingly disagreeable and a cold, drizzling rain was falling, the streets along the entire line were crowded with spectators.

A detachment of twenty police under command of Captain E. P. Hulce headed the procession, and after them came Chief-Marshal Henry C. Carter and his staff. Major Carter wore a white sash, and presented a very soldierly appearance as he rode his spirited charger. By his side was Captain E. D. Starke, chief of staff, and behind these two rode the following aids: Hon. George L. Christian, Colonel G. Percy Hawes, Captain E. J. Bosher, and Captain Beauregard Lorraine. The chief of staff and aids wore red sashes.

Next came the First Virginia regiment, with the staff officers at the head of the organization. The popular infantrymen made an excellent showing, and all six companies turned out large numbers of men. Major W. E. Simons, the commandant, and Captain E. M. Crutchfield, the adjutant of the First battalion of artillery, followed after the infantrymen, and behind them came the Howitzer band, and then the other officers of the battalion.


Artillerymen, old and young.

The next organization in the procession was the present Howitzer battery, commanded by Captain John A. Hutcheson. Nearly every member of the company was in the line, and the handsome artillerymen, with their soldierly bearing and flashing sabres, made a magnificent display. The cannoneers wore their overcoats and paraded dismounted.

The old warriors of the Howitzer Association followed the young artillerymen and turned out an immense number of veterans. Mr. D. O. Davis commanded the organization, and Messrs. James T. Gray, Thomas Booker and Rev. Mr. Dame bore the flag. Some of the most prominent business men of the city were in this division of the column. Behind the war-time cannoneers followed two carriages containing their invited guests. In one of these sat Messrs. Leigh Robinson, Blythe Moore, and Mayor Ellyson, while the other was occupied by Colonel Shields, Colonel W. E. Cutshaw, and Mr. W. L. White. [297]

The Richmond Light Infantry Blues, commanded by Captain Sol. Cutchins and headed by their splendid band, preceded the veterans of Lee and Pickett camps. The Lee Camp veterans were headed by Colonel A. W. Archer, while Mr. H. A. Wallace commanded the old soldiers of Pickett Camp. The drum-corps of the former organization enlivened this section of the column with their inspiring music.

After the two camps came the staff of the First Virginia regiment of cavalry. The plumed officers in their full-dress uniforms presented a very martial appearance. Colonel W. F. Wickham headed them. Along with these officers rode Colonel John S. Cunningham, a member of the staff of Governor Holt, the Chief Executive of North Carolina.

Next came a platoon of cavalry, composed of the Ashby Light Horse and Stuart Horse Guards. Major H. M. Boykin commanded the troopers.


A crowd at the grounds.

The procession was a splendid one, and the superb military display attracted universal attention. Long before the column reached Howitzer Place the neighborhood was filled with people, who eagerly waited in the rain to see the veil lowered. Men, women and children lined the sidewalks of the streets bounding Howitzer Place, and the windows of all the residences facing the plat were crowded with spectators. The weather, which in the early part of the day had been exceedingly depressing, if anything became more disagreeable than ever when the column halted at the grounds and the rain began to fall quite fast, but the elements failed to dampen the enthusiasm of those who participated in the ceremonies. The members of the Association, animated once more with their old-time martial emotions, entered the enclosed section in which the monument stood, and after them came the veterans of Lee and Pickett Camps. It was a pleasing sight to note the reverential look upon the faces of those who silently gazed at the handsome memorial, which was still shrouded in its white covering. The unpropitious surroundings, the drizzling rain, the wet ground, and the leaden sky were all forgotten in that moment, and all present thought of still darker days and of times when sorrow and hardship drew them still more closely together.


[298]

The unveiling scene.

In one corner of the plat a large Confederate flag, much the worse for wear, floated against the winter sky and added to the sombre effect of its surroundings. The present battery on reaching the grounds withdrew to the field which adjoins Harrison street on the west, and awaited the signal to fire the salute. All the cavalrymen drew up their horses on the northern side of Howitzer Place, while the infantry forces halted near by. This was the panorama presented to the view of the spectators immediately before the canvas was lowered.

Just before this took place, however, Captain Carlton McCarthy attempted to send up an immense red, white and blue paper balloon. A huge Confederate flag was attached to it, and had the effort been successful the aerial ship would have created the wildest enthusiasm, but unfortunately the balloon, after getting thoroughly inflated, became wet, and could not be set afloat.

The pedestal of the monument, which was not covered, was adorned with several bouquets, and the bright garlands looked exceedingly pretty against the cold, gray stone.


Prayer by the chaplain.

The unveiling ceremonies, though exceedingly simple, were of the most impressive nature. After all the military and veteran organizations had been assigned to their places, Mr. J. B. Moore commanded silence, and Rev. W. W. Landrum, the chaplain of the present battery, ascended the steps of the pedestal, and in a moment, despite the rain, all heads were uncovered, and all faces bowed in prayer. The minister, in a clear voice, made still more audible by the silence of the assembly said:

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we desire to recognize Thy authority in all our ways. Standing here in the great temple of nature, we, the veterans of the Confederate army and the citizen-soldiers of Virginia, lift up our praises to Thee as the God of nations and the Arbiter of Battles. We cheerfully submit to Thy righteous will in bringing into unsuccessful issue the great struggle for Southern independence, begun so bravely, continued so heroically, and ended with the loss of all save honor. Command Thy blessing upon our [299] united country, and grant that the States of this Union, North and South, may be hereafter one and inseparable in bonds of indissoluble and perpetual union.

And now, O Lord, we thank Thee for the nobler past of the States lately forming the Southern Confederacy, for their courage, self-sacrifice, devotion to duty, and all those national characteristics which commanded the admiration of the civilized world. We bless Thee for the precious heritage of glory bequeathed by the South to succeeding generations. And we beseech Thee to cause our beloved section to advance in all just and righteous prosperity. Above all, give unto us loyalty to Thee and to the institutions of sound morality and true religion.

Accept, most merciful God, this statue, we pray Thee, which we have erected as a memorial of Southern valor and as an object-lesson to inspire our youth with love of country and patriotic deeds. Grant that it may long withstand the war of the elements and the crumbling tooth of time. Grant that generations yet unborn in looking upon this embodiment in bronze of the most exhalted manhood and soldiership may emulate and even surpass the character and conduct of their sires. Bless our aged veterans and all the volunteers. Bless us all. And, finally, when we have fought the fight and won the victory admit us, through the riches of Thy grace, into the eternal home of the soul, there to meet again those who have gone before. “And Thine shall be the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” Amen.


The cord drawn.

Immediately after the prayer Colonel J. C. Shields stepped forward and, removing his hat, took the cord fastened to the veil and slowly drew it until the covering slipped off the beautiful figure. Almost before the spectators realized it the bronze gunner, in all his soldierly dignity, was revealed to the crowd. The calm yet distinguished face of the artilleryman in silence looked towards the east, and seemed almost by his martial air to appeal to every noble emotion of those who looked upon it. A tremendous cry of applause arose, and then the band played “Dixie,” while a moment later the roar of the cannon fired by the young artillerymen was heard in the field near by. The ecstacy of the veterans for the next few minutes can hardly be described, and their happiness was supreme.

The battery fired thirteen guns, and then the parade was disbanded. [300] Hundreds of persons inspected the monument, and as the crowd who witnessed the unveiling numbered several thousand it was nearly dark ere the place was deserted.


Description of the memorial.

The memorial consists of a pedestal surmounted by a bronze figure of an artilleryman eight feet in height, and the site is the triangular plat bounded by Grove avenue, Park avenue and Harrison street, which has been dedicated to this use by the City Council and designated as “Howitzer place.” The statue represents the figure of a young man of about twenty years, “No. I” at the piece.

The face is not of the conventional classic form, but was modelled from a typical face characteristic of our own people. The pedestal is in the classic style, but varies notably from any other work of the kind in the city. It consists of a base, die (bearing the inscription: ‘To Commemorate the Deeds and Services of the Richmond Howitzers of the Period 1861-1865’), triglyph course, and cap, and is elevated on a mound about three feet high. The whole structure is nine and one-half feet in height, and, including the statue, seventeen and a half feet. On either side of the die there is a bronze medallion eighteen inches in diameter. One reproduces on an enlarged scale the Howitzer badge, with cross cannon and the motto: “Cila Mors Aut Victoria Lcla,Zzz 1859. The other bears the cross, saltire, of a Confederate battle-flag, and is encircled by the legend: ‘From Bethel to Appomattox.’”

These medallions were modelled entired by Mr. William L. Sheppard, formerly an officer in the Second company of Richmond Howitzers, and who is well known in the artistic world particularly as an illustrator of books. He also designed and made the drawings for the pedestal. The eight foot bronze is a reproduction by Buberl, a New York sculptor, who modelled the Hill statue, of a statuette modelled by Mr. Sheppard. The upper part of the revetement of an embrasure indicates that the soldier stands on a breastwork, which he has mounted to gaze upon the retiring foe. At his feet the fragments of a shell embedded in the earth speak of a recent engagement and indicate good practice by the enemy.

At night the Howitzers and guests enjoyed a sumptuous banquet at at Belvidere hall, and speeches and anecdotes added to the zest of the occasion.

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