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Stonewall Jackson's Richmond Statue

Soon after Jackson's death, a number of his admirers in England formed an association whose aim was to have a bronze statue of the great Captain made. For this purpose a sum of four thousand guineas was raised, and the order for the statue given to the distinguished Foley. It was intended to present the statue to the Confederacy, with the stipulation that it was to be placed in Richmond. Mr. Foley immediately began the work of modeling, but the further execution of the work was delayed by the interference of other orders. In the mean time, the Confederacy fell, and the statue remained in embryo for several years. It was not cast in bronze until 1874, and was later offered to the State of Virginia in the following letter to the Governor:

"Arklow House, Connaught Place,
London, March 2, 1875.

"SiR,—When the news reached England of the death of General T. J. Jackson (so well known as 'Stonewall Jackson'), a subscription was spontaneously organized in this country among persons who admired the character of that truly great man, to procure a statue of him which they mi^ht present to his native country as a tribute of English sympathy and admiration.

"The work was intrusted to a most distinguished artist (the late Mr. J. H. Foley, R.A.), and, although its progress was delayed by the ill health of the sculptor and by his conscientious desire for the accuracy of the portrait, and latterly by his death, it has been brought to a successful conclusion in the form of a standing statue of heroic size, cast in bronze. It is a very noble work of art, and, it is hoped and believed, a faithful likeness.

" As representing the subscribers, it is now my pleasurable duty to ask you whether the State of Virginia will accept this memorial of its distinguished son, and tribute of English sympathy, and would guarantee its erection in some conspicuous spot in Richmond. If the answer is favorable, I would take the necessary steps to forward the statue to its destination. It is the privilege of members of our Royal Academy of Arts that the works of a deceased Academician may be contributed to the exhibition immediately succeeding the death. It is considered due alike to the artist and the subject that the English people should have the opportunity of seeing the statue before it leaves this country forever.

" The annual exhibition of the Academy closes about the beginning of August; after which date no delay need take place in forwarding the statue to Virginia.

" I have the honor to remain, sir, your faithful and obedient servant,

"A. J. B. Beresford Hope, " M. P. for University of Cambridge."

In communicating Mr. Hope's letter to the General Assembly, the Governor said,—

" It is not doubted that the General Assembly will promptly and appropriately recognize the munificence which offers such an honor to Virginia, and will make whatever appropriation may be sufficient to receive the statue and erect it on a suitable pedestal.

" It revives no animosities of the past, it wounds the sensibilities of no good man of whatever party or section, to honor and revere the memory of Jackson. All the world knows that the earth beneath which his body lies covers the ashes of a patriot and hero whose greatness shed lustre on the age in which he lived. His example belongs to mankind, and his deeds and virtues will be cherished by all the coming generations of the great American republic as among the proudest memories of a common glory. Many others are now the objects of higher honors and louder praises. But when the accidents of fortune and success shall no longer determine the value of principles and achievements, when the names of others now more applauded shall have been swept into oblivion by the hand -of time, the memory of Stonewall Jackson, like that of his great commander, will continue to grow brighter as the centuries pass into history."

On receiving this message from the Governor, with the letter accompanying it, the General Assembly passed the following preamble and resolutions:

"The Governor having transmitted to the General Assembly a communication from A. J. B. Beresford Hope, Esq., Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge, tendering to this Commonwealth, on behalf of himself and other English subjects, a bronze statue of heroic size, by Foley, of the late General Thomas J. Jackson:

" 1. Resolved, by the Senate and House of Delegates, That Virginia, acknowledging with profound sensibility this generous manifestation of English sympathy by her people and admiration for her heroic son, very gratefully accepts the offering.

" 2. That the statue be erected on a pedestal worthy of the work, on some conspicuous spot within the grounds of the Capitol, to be preserved and cherished by the people of Virginia as a memorial of its distinguished subject and of the noble sympathies of its honored donors.

" 3. That the Governor be requested to give public notice, by proclamation, of the day on which the statue will be uncovered, so that the people may assemble to do honor to the event.

" 4. That A. J. B. Beresford Hope be invited to attend on the occasion as a guest of the State, and that he be tendered by the Governor the hospitalities of Virginia.

"5. That the Governor be requested to communicate the above resolutions to Mr. Beresford Hope, and express to him and his associates the grateful acknowledgments of the people of Virginia.

" 6. That his Excellency the Governor; Captain J. L. Eubank, Chairman of the Senate Committee; General W. B. Taliaferro, Chairman of the House Committee; and General Jubal A. Early, be, and are hereby, appointed a board of commissioners, who shall be charged with the duty of receiving the statue, disbursing such appropriation as may be made therefor, and making all arrangements and contracts necessary to carry into effect the foregoing resolutions."

On the same day the General Assembly appropriated ten thousand dollars to defray the expenses of receiving and erecting the statue.

The statue arrived in Richmond September 22, and was at once taken in charge by a detail of the First Regiment Virginia Volunteers, and guarded until the evening of the next day, September 23. It was then placed on a wagon, ready to be moved up-town to its destination. But it was not the intention either of the authorities or of the citizens that the statue should pass through the streets of the city with only a small military guard. All the volunteer companies turned out, and, followed by a procession of citizens in carriages and on foot, they moved down the streets of the city to the spot where the statue was found resting on a wagon, to which was attached a long rope. This was seized by several hundred men, and the statue of the great Captain was drawn through the streets of the city by the loving arms of his countrymen. They drew the wagon with the greatest ease, and it was gratifying to see among those who were at the rope Confederate veterans and Union officers in the late war mingled together, the animosities of the past being lost in the presence of this touching tribute to the memory of the mighty dead. The streets were thronged,—men, women, and children of all ranks being out to join in the procession. A little girl of five years old was seen moving quietly beside her father^ who marched along with the men at the rope.

When the head of the procession entered the Capitol Square, the concourse already there was found to be very great. The statue was drawn to the foot of the western steps of the Capitol. There the military were drawn up in line, and ordered to " Halt! Front face! Present arms!" Then followed a profound silence, and the officer in command of the military delivered the statue formally to the Governor, who received it with an appropriate speech."

The Life of Gen. Thomas J. Jackson, ("Stonewall" Jackson) By Sarah Nicholas Randolph, Thomas Jonathan Jackson

David Upton