- By Chris Stewart Staff Writer
New Orleans is removing public monuments and statues once erected to honor a Confederate heritage that many – including a majority of its city council – now reject as emblems that perpetuate racism and discrimination.
The Confederate memorial debate is flaring in other states as well, including Maryland, Texas and Virginia.
It’s hardly surprising that Ohio is full of monuments dedicated to those who fought on the Union side to end slavery and preserve the country. The Buckeye State was forged from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 as a free state and furnished more than 300,000 troops to winning the Civil War that ended in 1865.
Lesser-known, however, are a handful of Confederate memorials erected in Ohio.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group that blanketed the South with memorials, also had a hand in seeding monuments to Confederate soldiers in Union states after the war.
The group has placed at least five Confederate-related memorials in Ohio, the last as recently as 2003. Most are located in a cemetery where Confederate soldiers who perished in a prisoner-of-war camp are buried.
Confederate Stockade Cemetery, Sandusky
Four memorials are located at the Confederate Stockade Cemetery on Johnson's Island in Sandusky Bay. Between 1862 and 1865, more than 10,000 mostly Confederate officers were imprisoned at the camp. More than 200 are buried at the site where a 19-foot statue of a Confederate soldier looks over the graves – facing north because posing south would symbolize retreat.
Two 1925 Daughters of the Confederacy markers commemorate three individuals instrumental in the purchase and preservation of the cemetery site. In 2003, the group installed a pair of granite memorials to Confederate POWs at a rededication ceremony after ground penetrating radar detected 267 individual remains in the cemetery, according to the National Park Service.
Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery, Columbus
Two monuments to the Confederacy stand in Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery in Columbus. One is a bronze soldier holding a rifle atop a 17-foot granite arch; the other is a 3-foot inscribed boulder. During the war, more than 2,000 POWs died at the camp of smallpox and other causes, according to Ohio History Connection. An annual memorial service has been held at the cemetery each year since 1896 with the United Daughters of the Confederacy organizing the event from 1912 to 1994. The 2017 service will be June 11 at 3 p.m., according to the Friends of Camp Chase Trail Facebook page.
Robert E. Lee / Dixie Highway monument, Franklin
The commander of the Confederate armies sits upon his horse on a memorial plaque at the intersection Old Dixie Highway and Hamilton-Middletown Road. Attached to a large rock, the plaque dedicated in 1927 is inscribed: “Erected and Dedicated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and friends in loving memory of Robert E. Lee and to mark the route of the Dixie Highway.”
The removals of the monuments in New Orleans and the threat of doing the same in Virginia disturbed some, including a torch-carrying group that included a well-known white nationalist protesting a planned removal in Charlottesville.
The Charlottesville City Council voted earlier this year to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park. Later, a judge issued a temporary order blocking the city from taking action for six months.
But in New Orleans, throughout the night Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, a statue of Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard was removed. The workers donned helmets, shields and ballistic vests to shield their identities and protect their bodies from any violence.
Lawmakers across the South stepped up action over Confederate symbols following the June 2015 killings of nine black worshippers at a Charleston, S.C. church by a self-described white supremacist.