Letter to the editor

To the majority of families native to Tazewell County, the monument dedicated to “The Confederate Soldier of Tazewell” is a reminder of the souls of over 2000 men who left their homes in a county of less than 10,000 people to fight in the bloodiest war in American history. Over 85 percent of them were poor Appalachian mountain farmers. To some, the monument represents slavery. 

However, less than 3 percent of the county population owned slaves and the removal advocates have yet to produce a list of slave owner soldiers, despite the fact that rosters with the names of almost 1,500 of them have been on file with the county administrator since June.

Those soldiers left wives and children behind to bear the burden of tilling, planting and harvesting the fields, caring for livestock, and preparing food and fuel for winter. All of them, civilians and soldiers alike, endured tremendous hardships.

Soldiers not only volunteered, but were also drafted to serve against their will. Many died in Union prisons, were killed in action or succumbed to disease. Of the soldiers who survived, many returned home with missing arms and legs.

Over 3,000 people attended the dedication of the monument in 1903 and it has stood on the courthouse grounds for 117 years as a reminder of these hardships and sacrifices. The monument should remain in its present location. VOTE NO on the question of its removal!

Eric Whitesell, 

Tazewell, Va.

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