Lincoln Statue To Be Put Up In Richmond
Feb./March 2003 Civil War News
RICHMOND, Va. - A bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln
and his youngest child, Tad, commemorating their only visit
to the city in April 1865, hours after the Confederacy abandoned
Richmond, will be dedicated on April 5, the anniversary of their
The United States Historical Society of Richmond commissioned
sculptor David Frech of Newburgh, N.Y., to create the life-size
bronze of Lincoln and Tad. They are seated on a bench against
a plain granite wall. The words "To Bind Up The Nation's
Wounds" will be cut
into a granite capstone.
Beside the President is a copy of the Richmond Whig, dated April
5, 1865. The sculptor has provided space at both ends of the
bench for visitors to be photographed aside the two bronze figures.
The society is donating the statue to the Richmond National
Battlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center at the former Tredegar
Iron Works. It will be placed outdoors on a hillside in sight
of the James River and the Richmond skyline.
The project is not without controversy. Among those expressing
displeasure to newspaper reporters was Brag Bowling, commander
of the Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, who
called the work "a slap in the face of a lot of brave men
and women who went through four years of unbelievable hell fighting
an invasion of Virginia led by President Lincoln."
According to a press release, the society is generating funds
for the project by issuing a limited edition of solid bronze
miniature statues and bronzed resin copies.
On April 4 President Lincoln journeyed to Richmond from City
Point, where for more than a week, he had been visiting federal
military headquarters. His son Tad was celebrating his 12th
birthday. When Lincoln arrived, the city was still smoldering
from fires set by fleeing Confederates.
The Lincolns walked to Jefferson Davis's White House of the
Confederacy. Four weeks earlier, Lincoln had delivered his second
inaugural address, promising "malice toward none; charity
Ten days later, he died from an assassin's bullet.
Lincoln historian Harold Holzer, Co-Chairman of the U.S. Lincoln
Bicentennial Commission, applauds placing the statue in Richmond
"as an historic symbol of unity and reconciliation."
He said, "In my Lincoln writings, I have quoted a journalist
who recalled Lincoln's visit to Richmond: 'He came not as a
conqueror, not with bitterness in his heart, but with kindness.
He came as a friend, to alleviate sorrow and suffering - to
rebuild what has been destroyed.'"
Richmond National Battlefield Park Superintendent Cynthia MacLeod,
said, "Lincoln's visit to Richmond in April 1865 was, and
is, nationally significant and this statue will bolster our
effectiveness in telling that story."
The United States Historical Society is a non-profit organization
that works on behalf of museums, educational institutions, foundations,
and other organizations to authorize projects that have historic
significance, artistic value, and authenticity. Its Web site
features works of art commissioned, reproduction weapons, books
and dolls for sites as diverse as Monticello, Winterthur and
the National Audubon Society.
For more information, consult www.lincolninrichmond.org
or call 1-804-648-4736.