Batesville Confederate Monument
The Batesville Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1907 by the Sidney Johnson Camp No. 863 of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) and Sidney Johnson Chapter No. 135 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to commemorate local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War, as well as the women who supported them.
Independence County fielded ten companies of cavalry and thirteen of infantry for the Confederate army during the Civil War. In 1906, the Sidney Johnson Camp No. 863 of the UCV and Sidney Johnson Chapter No. 135 of the UDC, based in Batesville (Independence County), decided to do what several other Arkansas organizations had done and erect a monument in their memory. By the end of August, they had a contract with Otto Pfeiffer, who operated a quarry in the town of Pfeiffer (Independence County) that mined the limestone known as “Batesville marble.” The monument and site preparation at the Independence County Courthouse in Batesville were completed by January 1907 for a total cost of $831.40.
Pfeiffer’s design is unique among Arkansas’s Confederate monuments. Instead of the usual marble soldier statue atop a tall column, the Batesville Confederate Monument is a massive, three-tiered monolith decorated with castellated embellishments at the top of the second and third sections. It is inscribed on the north side “IN MEMORY OF / THE SONS OF INDEPENDENCE COUNTY / WHO SERVED IN THE / CONFEDERATE ARMY, / THEIR MOTHERS, WIVES, SISTERS AND DAUGHTERS, / WHO, WITH PATRIOTIC DEVOTION / REMAINED STEADFAST TO THEIR CAUSE / DURING THE/WAR PERIOD. / 1861–1865.” It is signed: “Designed & Executed / by / Otto Pfeiffer / Pfeiffer Ark.”
The south face is inscribed “ERECTED BY / SIDNEY JOHNSTON CAMP, NO. 863 / UNITED CONFEDERATE VETERANS / SIDNEY JOHNSTON CHAPTER, NO. 135 / UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY, / AND MANY FRIENDS / 1907.” The west face features the names of the infantry companies from Independence County, while the east face holds the name of the cavalry companies.
The monument was dedicated on May 1, 1907, with elaborate ceremonies honoring the more than 1,800 Independence County men who served in the Confederate army. The monument was “beautifully decorated with flags, bunting and flowers by ladies from the Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, assisted by several young gentlemen,” according to the Batesville Guard. The keynote speaker was Senator James Berry, who had lost a leg in service to the Confederacy, and his address “was such a speech as one might expect from such a man on such an occasion,” the Guard reported. “It was full of the pathos of the days gone by and of the hope and patriotism of the future. It was the speech of a Confederate soldier who does his duty at all times and under all circumstances, as God gives them to him, sincerely and honestly, to see his duty.” Robert G. Shaver, who had served as colonel of two Confederate infantry regiments, also spoke, and the Queen City Orchestra provided music.
The Batesville Confederate Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 3, 1996.
For additional information:
“The Confederate Monument.” Batesville Guard, May 3, 1907, p. 1.
Dodson, Mrs. Thomas F. “Confederate Monuments and Markers in Arkansas.” Arkansas Division UDC, 1960.
Logan, Charles Russell. “Something So Dim It Must Be Holy”: Civil War Commemorative Sculpture in Arkansas, 1886–1934. Little Rock: Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, 1996. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/News-and-Events/publications (accessed November 15, 2018).
Slater, John. “Batesville Confederate Monument.” National Register of Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/IN0579S.nr.pdf (accessed November 15, 2018).
Mark K. Christ
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
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