Tennessee Monument at Shiloh

In the last post, I mentioned how important Southern women have been in memorializing the Southern soldiers on the battlefields. I would like to continue with that thought, but take it to the 21st century. Yes, even today those wonderful Southern women are still honoring their past. In 2005, Shiloh National Military Park held dedication ceremonies for its most recent monument-the Tennessee State Monument.  Despite the battlefield being in the state of Tennessee, the State had never erected a state monument to honor her sons.  The 2nd Tennessee monument was erected to that regiment, by its survivors. So the rest of the Tennesseans who fought in the battle lacked a memorial. One small, but devoted Southern woman began the work toward erecting a monument at Shiloh. Mrs. Bettye Stanley, a member of the Shiloh Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, followed in the footsteps of the Southern women before her in raising funds and getting memorial erected.  In much the same matter as women of her UDC chapter had done almost one hundred years before.

In 1992, Stanley began working with the Shiloh Chapter of the UDC to raise funds for a Tennessee monument at the park. The women contacted Tennessee Governor Ned McWhorter about funding for a monument. This was to no avail.  Small, but determined to honor Tennessee’s Civil War soldiers, Stanley began soliciting help from other UDC chapters and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. She also gave presentations to any group that was willing to listen to her impassioned appeal for funding a monument. By  the early 2000s, she had the support of state representative Randy Rinks and state senator Steve McDaniel.  Sympathetic to history and the need to honor Tennessee’s past, these two men had secured funding for a monument at Gettysburg to Tennesseans.  The two politicians secured $125,000 for  a Shiloh monument. Excited about honoring past Tennesseans, the Sons of Confederate Veterans joined Stanley and the women in getting donations and soliciting designs.

Soldier on the Tennessee State Monument at Shiloh NMP.  Artist Gerald L. Sanders. Photo courtesy of Jane D. Beal

Soldier on the Tennessee State Monument at Shiloh NMP. Artist Gerald L. Sanders. Photo courtesy of Jane D. Beal

SCV member Jerry Lessenberry suggested Texas sculptor Gerald Sanders to create a monument. Sander’s created a design that focused on the color bearers.  Not only would it recognize the brave Tennessee soldiers, but it would honor the color bearers of the Sixth Tennessee who were killed at the battle.  The monument, Passing of Honor,featured three soldiers, all accurate in accouterments and uniform. June 3, 2005 that state of Tennessee and Shiloh National Military Park dedicated a monument in honor of all Tennesseans who fought at Shiloh April 6-7, 1862.


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