Confederate Memorial

In June of 1900, the U.S. Congress authorized a section of Arlington National Cemetery to be set aside for the burial of Confederate soldiers. Cemetery officials gathered 482 known Confederate casualties from the grounds of Arlington and had the bodies re-interred in the approved section.

Among the buried were: 46 officers, 351 soldiers, 58 wives, 15 southern civilians, and 12 unknowns. The graves form concentric circles around the Confederate Memorial. The headstones are unique because they are all pointed. It is Confederate legend that the headstones were created in such a way so that northerners could not sit on them.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy petitioned the War Department for the construction of the Confederate Memorial. On March 3, 1906, President Taft granted their request. The cornerstone was laid on November 12, 1912 and the monument was finally dedicated on June 4, 1914. The date of the opening ceremony marked the 106th anniversary of President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis's birthday. President Woodrow Wilson gave the principal address to an audience that
included veterans from both the Union and the Confederacy.

The bronze 32-foot monument was sculpted by Confederate veteran Moses Ezekial. He served as Sergeant of Company C of the Cadets at Virginia Military Institute. Throughout his successful career, Moses Ezekial created more than 50 bronze and marble statues in Europe and the United States. He was knighted by Emperor William I of Germany, King Humbert I of Italy, and King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy for outstanding achievements in sculpture for those countries.

Moses always considered the Confederate Memorial his greatest piece ever sculpted and his dying wish was to be buried at its base. Because he died in Italy during WWI on March 27, 1917, his body could not be immediately sent to the United States. Finally, in 1921, Moses Ezekial received the first ever funeral service to be held at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery and he was laid to rest
at the base of the Confederate Memorial.

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