Old Town’s iconic Appomattox statue at the intersection of Washington Street and Prince Street currently is under police protection. Someone tried scaling the statue this morning.
We talked to the cops who were on all four corners of the intersection this morning. All they knew was that someone tried climbing the statue without authorization and were there to prevent further attempts. We assume this is fallout from the jackass alt right march in Charlottesville and the resulting authorized (in Baltimore, for example) and unauthorized (in Durham) removals of Confederate statues in several states.
The ladder used by the climber was still there when we walked by (we assume that’s what it is – when we asked the cops, they said, “All I know is that it’s not ours.”)
The confederate soldier on the monument faces south, his back to the north. A stone historic marker on the southwest corner of the intersection by the Lyceum reads:
“THE CONFEDERATE STATUE
The unarmed Confederate soldier standing in the intersection of Washington and Prince Streets marks the location where units from Alexandria left to join the Confederate Army on May 24, 1861. The soldier is facing the battlefields to the South where his comrades fell during the War Between the States. The names of those Alexandrians who died in service for the Confederacy are inscribed on the base of the statue. The title of the sculpture is “Appomattox” by M. Casper Buberl.
The statue was erected in 1889 by the Robert E. Lee Camp, United Confederate Veterans.”
The north side of the statue’s base reads, “They died in the consciousness of duty faithfully performed.” The south side reads, “Erected to the memory of Confederate dead of Alexandria, Va. by their Surviving Comrades, May 24th 1889.” The east and west sides bear the names of those from Alexandria who died during the Civil War.
In the wake of other recent violent racist events south of Virginia, Alexandria’s City Council voted unanimously last year to move the statue to the Lyceum. However, a Virginia law prohibits the relocation of war memorials, rendering the vote a purely symbolic gesture.
We hope it stays, and that Alexandria’s monument to an aspect of the city’s history doesn’t become yet more collateral damage from the actions of racist morons.