Thursday, April 23, 2015
To the Honorable Mayor Slay of St. Louis
1200 Market , Room 200
St. Louis, Missouri 63103
It has unfortunately come to my recent attention, that you have
contemplated the possibility of moving the Confederate monument at Forest
Park and renaming Confederate Drive. The monument, coexisting with it’s
Union counterpart, is a testament to the terrible split our state suffered
during the war. Let me be frank, this should not happen.
This would be a violation of what the great historian Shelby Foote
called “The Great Compromise” in which “Southerners [admitted] freely that
it was probably best that the Union wasn’t divided and Northerners
[admitting] rather freely that the South fought bravely for a cause in
which it believed.” That doesn’t seem to be happening much anymore.
Regardless of our individual feelings on the war, that is how the veterans
of both sides saw it in later years. A few of those alive today hold to
this way of thinking but a vast many more do not.
This would also be an insult to American veterans. According to
Public Law 85-425 (House Resolution 358), which was a pension increase for
American veterans and their widows, dated May 23rd, 1958: “The term
‘Veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of
the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term
‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such
St. Louis was indeed a (mostly) Pro-Union hotbed during the war but the whole story needs to continue being told.
The monument stands for the minority who chose to take up arms and defend their
state against what they saw as an aggressor. St. Louis German immigrants,
enlisted as Union soldiers, literally massacred twenty-eight civilians in
the streets of the city. This incited many people, throughout the city and
state, to flock to the colors of Missouri and the South to defend against
atrocity and invasion. This should not be underplayed as a motive as it
unfortunately has been. Slavery was a brutal and terrible system but, here
in Missouri especially, slaveholders occupied the ranks of BOTH sides
during the conflict. Preservation / Abolition of the institution of
slavery has been vastly overplayed at the expense of every other issue of the times. Their needs to
be more honesty on the role that slavery played in American history and the
war. Perhaps a “primary source” reading of what St. Louis Confederates were
fighting for is in order.
I request that you reconsider following through with this terrible idea.
Yours Truly and Respectfully,
Travis Archie - Commander
Campbell's Company Camp # 2252
Sons of Confederate Veterans