Friday, November 6, 2009

Clarke County Confederate Memorial, Athens, Georgia



The Clarke Clarke County Confederate  Monument stands in a very prominent place in the center of Broad Street, Athens, Georgia, in front of the entrance to the University of Georgia.  Unveiled in June, 1872, it was the first of the large general county Confederate memorials in the state.  The monument is of unusual design - a marble shaft totaling 32 feet in height and resembling a church spire with a finial on a stepped base of granite from nearby Elbert County.

On the front panel is a raised relief sculpture depicting crossed rifles with crossed flags artistically draped over them.  Above these is a wreath encircling the words "Faith in God."  The panel on one side lists the "Confederate Dead of Clarke County, Georgia," and on the other side, "The Confederate Dead of Athens, Georgia."  No doubt many of these who died for the Cause of Southern Independence had been students at the University of Georgia.

The UG campus, which is the oldest state university in the United States, was temporarily closed during the latter part of the War Between the States because most of the male students joined the Confederate army, fighting to defend their homes and families from the invading Yankees.

I found the fourth panel of the monument to be of particular interest.  It bears an eloquent tribute to the Confederate Dead from the pen of the late Andrew A. Lipscomb, Chancellor of the University of Georgia from 1860 - 1874.  Lipscomb wrote:

True to the Soil
That gave them Birth and reared them Men.
True to their Ancestors of High Renown
And Hallowed Words.
Cherishing the Sentiments of Home and Country
And the Allegiance there unto Due
As One and Inseparable.
These Heroes, Ours in the Unity of Blood,
Ours in the Unity of Patriotism,
Struggled for the Rights of States
As held by the Fathers of the Republic
And by the Fathers as a sacred trust
Unto them, Bequeathed
The measure of their years suddenly completed,
In the fatal issues of battle,
Reached the consummation of Earthly Glory
By their Death.
Last and Holiest Office of Human Fidelity
Possible to Brave Men.
Attesting their Sincerity, Proving their Honor
And Sealing their Integrity.
They won their Title to an Immortality
Of Love and Reverence.




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