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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 visit.

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 for all."

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.

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