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
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
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
at the base of the Confederate Memorial.
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