Pine Bluff Confederate Monument
The Pine Bluff Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1910 on the grounds of Pine Bluff High School by the David O. Dodd Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to commemorate a young spy and the area men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. It was later moved to the grounds of the Jefferson County Courthouse.
In 1907, the David O. Dodd Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy—named for a young spy hanged in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1864—decided to join other chapters around the state in sponsoring a monument to honor the local men who had fought in the Confederate army. The Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) chapter initially raised funds through teas and bazaars but, in May 1909, voted “to have printed 500 copies of a Biography of David O. Dodd by Mrs. Myra McAlmont Vaughan, which will be sold for 15 cts., the funds to be applied to a local monuments fund.” The campaign was successful, and a marble statue of a Confederate soldier was ordered from the McNeel Marble Company of Marietta, Georgia, by March 1910.
The unveiling ceremony was held on July 22, 1910, at Pine Bluff High School. A local newspaper reported that “when the hour announced had arrived the grounds around the High school [were] a seething mass of humanity, each seeming eager to see and hear and do honor to the occasion.” A parade down Laurel Street included the Cotton Belt Band and a group of young women representing each of the seceded states, including “Miss Vashti King, the young daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E.O. King, [who] was afforded the honor of representing Arkansas.” Dr. Junius Jordan “delivered a masterpiece in the way of a tribute to the brave young men who died wearing the gray.”
The sculpture represents a Confederate infantryman and with its base stands about twenty feet tall. The north side of the base is inscribed “TO THE MEMORY OF / OUR CONFEDERATE / SOLDIERS / WE CARE NOT WHENCE THEY CAME, / DEAR IN THEIR LIFELESS CLAY. / WHETHER KNOWN OR UNKNOWN TO FAME / THEIR CAUSE AND COUNTRY STILL THE SAME: / THEY DIED AND WORE THE GRAY.” Beneath that is inscribed “THIS TABLET IS INSCRIBED TO / J. ED MURRAY, COLONEL / OF THE FIFTH ARKANSAS REGIMENT. / KILLLED AT THE BATTLE OF ATLANTA / JULY 22, 1864 / AGE 21 YEARS.”
The west side of the base is inscribed “ERECTED BY THE DAVID OWEN DODD CHAPTER, / UNITED DAUGHTERS / OF THE CONFEDERACY / NOVEMBER 10, 1910 / IN LEGIONS AND LAY / OUR HEROES IN GRAY / SHALL FOREVER LIVE / OVER AGAIN FOR US.” The south side of the base is inscribed with the date range 1861–1865 over crossed flags above the word “CONFEDERATE.”
The east side is inscribed “A TRIBUTE TO DAVID OWEN DODD / OUR MARTYR HERO. / HANGED AT LITTLE ROCK / AS A SPY / JANUARY 8, 1864 / AGE SEVENTEEN YEARS. / HE WAS OFFERED LIFE AND / LIBERTY BUT PREFERRED TO / DIE RATHER THAN PROVE / FALSE TO HIS TRUST.”
Sixty-three years after the monument’s dedication, the John Allen Building that it stood in front of was slated for demolition for replacement by a new high school building. The Pine Bluff Commercial observed that “In spite of its many years on the high school campus, the monument is in good condition” despite having been painted black and gold many times by Little Rock Central High School students before games against the Pine Bluff High School Zebras and being painted with the dates of graduating senior classes. In 1974, the Pine Bluff Confederate Monument was moved to the north side of the Jefferson County Courthouse. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 1996.
In April 2019, County Judge Gerald Robinson announced that he was considering the removal of the monument from the courthouse grounds on the basis that it is an inappropriate symbol for public display. Later that month, an agreement was reached with the local UDC chapter to move the statue to the Camp White Sulphur Springs Confederate Cemetery.
For additional information:
“David O. Dodd/Statue on School Campus Soon to be Without Building to Guard.” Pine Bluff Commercial, July 22, 1973, p. 15.
Dodson, Mrs. Thomas F. “Confederate Monuments and Markers in Arkansas.” Arkansas Division UDC, 1960.
Ellis, Dale. “County Official Wants Rebel Statue Removed.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 14, 2019, pp. 1B–2B.
———. “New Site for Rebel Statue Is Decided.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 27, 2019, pp. 1B, 8B.
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 May 26, 2018).
Payton, Sanford. “Pine Bluff’s Confederate Memorial Has Deep Roots in Both the North and South.” Jefferson County Historical Quarterly 37 (December 2009): 8–16.
Slater, John. “Pine Bluff 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/JE0543s.nr.pdf (accessed May 26, 2018).
“Unveiling Ceremonies.” Pine Bluff Graphic, July 23, 1910, pp. 1, 5.
Mark K. Christ
Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Last Updated: 02/14/2020