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The Location of the battle Abbey decided. From the News leader, January 1, 1909.

Mrs. Anne S. Green, of Culpeper, who has returned from Georgia, where she attended the United Daughters of the Confederacy convention, put before that body the following correspondence, showing how the movement to have the Confederate Battle Abbey placed in Virginia first took form, twelve years ago:

Editor of the Times: The Battle Abbey of the Confederacy should be upon Virginia soil, not necessarily in Richmond, for want of space. God's acres of Confederate blood and bones, which lie under the soil along the Chickahominy, at Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, and innumerable other points, all speak eloquently for Virginia to be chosen-this State, where the seven days fight in McClellan's ‘On to Richmond’ occurred; where the flower of Southern chivalry made their pyres' of mortal remains, blood spilled then which has now become with the soil indigenous—the most fitting place to choose to make this Battle Abbey. No need to choose towns or cities, upon which to place this great corporation, which is to be the Mecca for future generations to reverentially journey to. Virginia has an inalienable right to be selected. Her appeal is the just, high, holy sentiment of patriotism, which must be invoked, before the decision can be righteously and justly made. The selection of this site should not be a matter of dollars and cents—of course, such will be needed to perform their legitimate functions at the proper time. But first, we should be careful to make the proper selection, from the right motives, and then we can the better invite and invoke aid from those who will give of their substance only—upon the broad appeal of justice. All Confederates now living should have their say in this matter. The subject should be put before them intelligently. They came with [157] their commands from North, South, East and West; many of them fell for this Lost Cause on Virginia battlefields, many dear ones now living, were nursed to health and returned home, they can testify whether Virginia bore her part heroically; they cay testify how she loved and suffered for this cause. The soldiers from Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina, Maryland and all other States, who were gathered in Virginia—they can speak and tell how Virginia knew in this cause no locality, but only as Confederate soldiers, fighting in defense of a common cause, they were met and cared for. In Virginia they were fed and nursed; they can testify how her fields were green and forests full and how, after the war was over, she stood among the States naked, barren and scarred, deprived of her means, despoiled by the invader, for she was the great battlefield for the States, the camping-ground for both armies. Not one battle gave Virginia a claim to this abbey, but hundreds. It is these claims which makes for Virginia the greater plea. Let some of those veterans tell the story.

The proprietors of the land adjacent to these battlefields will give the land for this Battle Abbey. They who own the ground where the seven days fight was fought, when the whole Confederate army in battle array, before the paid soldiers of a Federal invader, met, and where the fatal heroism fought to death the youth and flower of our hearts and homes. That vista of retrospective suffering appeals to those living and dead. That period when Virginia was mantled in the dark garb of sorrow, when every other house was a hospital, when Virginia matrons and maids vied with their faithful sisters from all sections, to alleviate the suffering of these dying sons, her own and those who came to Virginia to do their duty. Virginia was the home and birthplace of Robert E. Lee—another great and just appeal. Confederate veterans! do not let the want of a golden bid from Virginia wrest from her the right claim, to have this abbey built upon her soil, and as near to Richmond as reasonable space for those Confederate God sacres can be procured. There will be a great mistake if any State than Virginia is selected. Truth and justice are the underlying strength of continued successs. Stifle them, and [158] sooner or later your cause will weaken. We should build this Battle Abbey upon a safe foundation, if we would preserve it as an object lesson to teach our children the principles for which these heroes, of whose lives and death this abbey is a memorial, would we make it; of imperishable interest and reverence for future generations?

A Confederate matron. Culpeper, Va., July 3, 1896.

My Dear Mrs. Green; Thanks for the copies of your appeal to the people in the matter of the Battle Abbey. For myself, I cannot see the reason why the Confederate executive mansion is not the most fitting place for the memorials of our struggle. It is quite large enough for the purpose, and if not, there is ample ground around the house for an annex. It seems to me but preposterous to think of Washington city as a site for such a museum.

Your article is very well considered and should have a good deal of weight, coming as it does from the daughter of a gallant soldier, whose name was the synonym of honor and patriotism.

Believe me, very sincerely yours,

V. Jefferson Davis. New York, Aug. 17, 1896. The Buckingham.

My Dear Mrs. Green; Yours came safely and read with much interest.

As I have written you already, I am with you in the Richmond view, and will help in any way I am able. But it is not possible for me to write for it. I am forging my way to the front slowly, I hope. But I must not impede that progress by work of any sort.

My correspondence is large, and all that I can do is to respond to my friends briefly in a few words. [159]

But I will keep your views and wishes in mind and do what I can to make them prevail.

Charley Rouss wrote to me, in the beginning of his then pro posed donation of the $100,000, as he had done in all his benefactions. I replied, that I had nothing to say of his gift. It was exceeding beneficent, and I begged him to have nothing to do with its location and construction. He had already worn out his sight in building up an enterprise. He ought to risk no more in another.

He replied he would take my advice—he would give the money and leave to others its establishment. He has told me frequently that this he had consistently done. He was in town on the 4th of July and called to see me. In our conversation the Battle Abbey, of course, was talked of, and I told him I thought Richmond was its proper site.

I am unable to write more.

Most kindly yours,

Mrs. Green, whose effective agency in having the Battle Abbey placed in Virginia is justly established, in a communication published in the News-Leader of January 22d, 1908, urged that ‘the proper site for the Southern Mecca should be adjacent to the Confederate Museum, the home of the president of the Confederacy.’ However, after prolonged debate and voting down several substitutes, R. E. Lee Camp, Confederate Veterans, held the same night, adopted by a vote of 27 to 15, the resolution of Adjutant J. Taylor Stratton, recommending that the Confederate Memorial building or ‘Battle Abbey,’ be located at the intersection of Monument Avenue and the Boulevard, or at some point along the Boulevard in that general locality. A suggestion of Attorney General William A. Anderson, that the next legislature be petitioned for a part of the grounds of Lee Camp Soldiers' Home, as a Confederate Memorial Park, with the Abbey in the centre, brought down prolonged applause. [160]

Mr. St. George T. C. Bryan spoke of the difficulty of securing a foundation on the lot offered by the Memorial Literary Society, stating that ‘It is on a hillside overlooking the railroad and manufacturing hollow of the city. All of these hills have a tendency to slide, and it would require the most careful engineering and expensive work to insure permanent foundations, even were the building located on the central school lot.’

Lieutenant-Governor J. Taylor Ellyson, president of the Confederate Memorial Association Trustees of the Battle Abbey fund, told of the formation and work of that association, and reported the fund for the erection of the building as now in hand. He reminded the camp that it was the women of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society who had pushed to conclusion the move to insure the erection of the Abbey by making a municipal appropriation of $50,000.

Judge Geo. L. Christian and Lieutenant-Governor Ellyson, as members of the Battle Abbey Board of Trustees, were upon their request, excused from voting.—Ed.

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