Dardanelle Confederate Monument
The Dardanelle Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1921 by the Joe Wheeler Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to commemorate local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War.
The Joe Wheeler Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s effort to raise a Confederate monument was one of the last in the state, but by 1921 its members had raised $1,760 to purchase a statue to honor Yell County’s Confederates. A local newspaper reported on it as follows: “The site for the monument being the street-end between the Dardanelle and Farmers banks. We understand this street-end, which extends only from Front Street, will be permanently closed and sodded with Bermuda grass. Borders of flowers and shrubbery will also be set out.”
The Dardanelle Confederate Monument was dedicated on June 3, 1921, in a ceremony that began with prayers, music, and speeches at the Presbyterian Church in Dardanelle (Yell County) before a parade of UDC members, young women representing each of the seceded states, and thirty-three Confederate veterans who were in town attending a reunion. The Dardanelle Post Dispatch reported that “the magnificent memorial statue is an honor to the town and County, and a credit to the splendid ladies whose earnest efforts made it possible. It is a splendid six foot marble figure of a Confederate private soldier mounted on a 9 foot ornamental marble base in which is cleverly arranged a public drinking fountain.” The state UDC president, noting that the monument was dedicated on Jefferson Davis’s birthday, wrote, “Perhaps this was the most elaborate observance on the natal day of President Davis….In the list of veterans [attending the ceremony] the ages given were more often that of 80 or 90 years than 70 or less. Dardanelle was honored to have them as guests, and they were made happy and comfortable.”
The monument depicts a young Confederate infantryman standing atop a tall column. It is inscribed on its east face “1861 1865 / CSA / TO THE / CONFEDERATE / SOLDIERS / OF / YELL COUNTY / IN APPRECIATION OF / THEIR SPLENDID VALOR / AND LOYALTY, THIS / MONUMENT IS ERECTED. / BY / JOE WHEELER / CHAPTER NO. 247 / U.D.C.”
The Dardanelle Confederate Monument was moved from its original location to its present site on the Yell County Courthouse lawn in 1930 when a new bridge was built across the Arkansas River, with the UDC explaining that “the idea was that all who crossed the bridge would find themselves face to face with the image in marble of the greatest soldier in the world—the Confederate soldier.” The monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 1996.
For additional information:
Dodson, Mrs. Thomas F. “Confederate Monuments and Markers in Arkansas.” Arkansas Division UDC, 1960.
“Friday, June 3, Is Date Set for the Unveiling.” Dardanelle Post Dispatch, May 19, 1921, p. 1.
“Hunereds [sic] Witness the Impressive Ceremony of U.D.C. Unveiling.” Dardanelle Post Dispatch, June 9, 1921, p. 1.
“Letter to the U.D.C.” Arkansas Gazette, June 26, 1921, p. 39.
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 December 20, 2019).
Slater, John. “Dardanelle 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/YE0064S.nr.pdf (accessed December 20, 2019).
Mark K. Christ
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
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