“1861-1865 In honor and memory of the Confederate soldiers of Jefferson County, who served in the War Between the States. Erected by the Leetown Chapter #231 United Daughters of the Confederacy.”
In 1861, fourteen senators were expelled for support of the Confederate rebellion during the Civil War, according to Senate historians. The crime of the senators was taking up arms against the government they had sworn to support, and disloyalty during the course of war.
The Confederation was established by several Southern slave states, that seceded from the Union. It comprised 11 states: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Kentucky and Missouri were both claimed by the Confederacy but never officially declared secession. The Confederation was never officially recognized as a nation.
West Virginia was not one of these states.
You can find our history all around us. We fought against the Confederacy, even though we, admittedly, had West Virginians fight on both sides of the war. Our Civil War is well documented right here in Jefferson County—all you have to do is take a trip to Bolivar, Harpers Ferry, and into Charles Town. Plaques and markers take you through the Civil War—marking timelines and the people that fought in the war. They mention all soldiers.
So my questions to all of you are: Why would we have a plaque honoring Confederate soldiers, when West Virginia was not even one of the original Confederate states, nor was the Confederacy ever a legal nation? Why would we have a plaque that seems to be utterly without value? Most West Virginians did not want to be Confederate soldiers.
Why would a compromise not be a good solution—a plaque that can be moved and have a perfect home in a new location. No one has asked for it to be destroyed. Why can we not support our elected Mayor Rogers’ suggestion and have a plaque that honors all soldiers who fought in the war?
Three out of the five commissioners entered the room on on October 26 already knowing how they would vote. They had written statements they presented. Their statements didn’t have an original thought, as it was written by a PAC. There was no democracy that day. The majority voices in that room did not count. There would not be a compromise. They sat there listening to one person after another and it did not matter. To make things worse, one of the commissioners helped fuel hatred against another commissioner online.
Sadly, at this point and time, there is no recourse for US THE PEOPLE to recall a commissioner, but this can change as we move forward.
One thing is for sure; a non-living object has caused harm to our society. The crime here is disloyalty to the constituents of Charles Town by the commissioners that did not take the time to discuss this further and be willing to compromise.
I support Major Rogers’ solution. If you put it to a vote, I vote for moving the plaque.
— Susan Pipes, Charles Town