Throwback Thursday – One Country, One Flag Monument

Confederate monuments have been in the news in recent months. For Throwback Thursday this week, a memorial in Morgantown brings both sides of the Civil War together. The Confederate-Union Veterans’ monument was dedicated in 1907. 

The Civil War soldier on top might appear to be a southern rebel because the gray zinc matches the color of the Confederate uniforms, but upon further inspection, he’s wearing the U.S. emblem of the Union Army. Local veterans who fought on both sides of the war are remembered on the pedestal here, some of whom were still alive when the monument was built.

Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant are portrayed in relief on the sides. The Confederate general shown is not much remembered, but may have been a symbol of unity after the war. General Joseph Wheeler commanded Confederate cavalry troops in the Kentucky campaign and fought in the battle at Perryville. Yet it was most likely his military service after the Civil War that put him on this monument.  

The Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 and helped heal some divisions caused during the war 30 years earlier.  Joseph Wheeler volunteered again, this time for the United States Army, commanding a cavalry division that included Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. Other Spanish-American War veterans are also inscribed on the Morgantown monument.

At the 100th anniversary of West Point, General Wheeler, dressed in his U.S. Army uniform, met former Confederate General James Longstreet, who shouted to him: “I hope God takes me before you; I want to be within the gates of hell to hear Jubal Early cuss you in that blue uniform.” 

Joseph Wheeler died in 1906, a year before the monument was dedicated, but he may represent the spirit behind its installation: one country, one flag.