Battlefield Guide Services

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The McGowan's Brigade Monument Goes Up - 2009

During the twenty hour struggle over the Bloody Angle on May 12, 1864, five regiments from South Carolina, commanded by Brigadier General Samuel McGowan, were rushed forward to reinforce the threatened salient. Their commander was wounded in the advance to this crucial position, but his men reached their goal and helped hold the line near the west angle.
One hundred and forty-five years later, the McGowan's Camp 40 of the Son's of Confederate Veterans from Laurens County, South Carolina had raised funds ($30,000) to dedicate a monument near their position in that desperate struggle. Two months before the dedication of that monument, on Wednesday March 11, 2009 the first scoop of earth was removed for the monument's foundation. The frame, seen in the foreground of the first photograph below, is made of pressure treated lumber and steel reinforcement rod. Once placed in the ground, the frame was embedded in concrete.

The next month, on April 9, 2009, the monument itself was delivered and set in place on the foundation, as seen below.

On May 9, 2009, the monument was dedicated during a large and emotional ceremony. This photograph below was taken shortly before the unveiling. Historians Gordon C. Rhea and Mac Wyckoff were among those who spoke at the dedication.

The photograph below shows the monument on May 27, 2009. The McGowan's Brigade Monument is the eighth monument to be placed on land now within the Spotsylvania unit of the National Park. The first was the Sedgwick monument dedicated in May 1887 along the Brock Road, at the location of his death by a sharpshooter's bullet on May 8, 1864.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Not that you've asked for thoughts in this way, but I've got mixed feelings on these monuments. While I'd like to see the positions marked in some way... and (many... but not all) monuments are appealing (at least to me) on battlefields, the amount that is being thrown into these modern pieces is too much. It's also worth noting that (at least) this monument is nicer than the J.E.J. statuary piece at Bentonville. Just more appealing, overall. Then again, I think it's more thrilling to see a monument that the vets actually had a part in making than anything contemporary.

To each his own, but it just seems this money could be better spent on battlefield preservation, having a much larger impact than single monuments.

Just my thoughts.