I love the statues & monuments around Richmond. Monument Avenue is usually everyone’s highlight and there are so many more worth visiting. Since the sun sets so early these days, it’s tough to see these treasures in daylight. Fortunately, the City of Richmond lights up many of its monumental treasures.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee showed his skill of organization as he prepared 40,000 troops for battle. His men held him in high respect and obediently carried through his orders. On the afternoon of April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to General Grant of the Union army at Appomattox Court House, marking the end of the Civil War. Lee’s horse, Traveller, became well-known as he carried Lee throughout the war. The statue was Dedicated on May 29, 1890 and was the first statue constructed on Monument Avenue and it sits in a large, and stands in a round-about traffic circle at Allen Avenue.
Jefferson Davis was not a general, but he is a mainstay of the Monument Avenue collection and his elaborate statue is well-lit at night. Davis was the first and only president of the Confederate States of America and he resided in Richmond during his term in the White House of the Confederacy in the Court End District of downtown Richmond. The monument is located in the center of the intersection with Davis Avenue and was dedicated June 3, 1907, just days after the J.E.B. Stuart monument. By the way, Stuart’s monument was not well-lit when I took my tour that night, thus no photo.
The Civil War changed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson from a largely unknown teacher at Virginia Military Institute into one of the most famous men in the world. A fellow general inspired his own men by pointing to Confederate General Jackson and saying, “Yonder stands Jackson like a stone wall.” Jackson was shot down by his own men at the height of his greatest achievement battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, and he died eight days later at Guinea Station. The statue was dedicated October 11, 1919 and stands in the intersection with The Boulevard.
Confederate naval officer and explorer Matthew Fontaine Maury was known as the “Pathfinder of the Seas.” Although he never fought a battle and was prone to seasickness, Maury became one of the U.S. Navy’s most accomplished officers. The enigmatic nature of his statue reflects his unusual place in the pantheon of Confederate and Virginia heroes. The carefully conceived allegorical theme is a tribute to Maury’s study of the ocean, winds and currents. It was dedicated November 11, 1929 and rests in the intersection with Belmont Avenue. Maury’s grave can be found in President’s Circle at Hollywood Cemetery.
Richmond native, tennis champion and humanitarian Arthur Ashe Jr. was the first African-American male to win a Grand Slam event and was an active civil rights supporter. The bronze statue of Ashe faces west with four children facing him and shows him holding books in his left hand and a tennis racket in his right hand to illustrate how he encouraged the importance of sports and education. The monument sits in the intersection with Roseneath Avenue and was dedicated on July 10, 1996, which would have been his 53rd birthday.
And off Monument Avenue, Richmond has another general worthy of a visit. In 1891, Confederate Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill was interred at the intersection of Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road under a statue erected in Hill’s honor. Hill was shot to death near Petersburg on April 2, 1865, as his battle lines were collapsing during the last days of the war. It took three tries before he reached this final resting place, having been buried near Bosher Dam initially, then moved in 1867 to Hollywood Cemetery.