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Among Savannah's numerous monuments and memorials are three war memorials that pay tribute to those who fought in the Civil War, the Spanish American War, and the Vietnam War.
As a major port of embarkation for the Spanish-American War, it is particularly fitting that the United Spanish War Veterans and related auxiliaries chose to erect a monument in Savannah’s Forsyth Park in 1931. A large bronze statue mounted on a stone pedestal at Bull Street and Park Avenue honors the Georgia soldiers who served their country in the War of 1812.
A number of Georgia men volunteered for this war, but the Third Georgia Regiment was the only one to go to Cuba as a distinctively Georgia organization. Company K, composed of about fifty Savannahians, was commanded by Henry Kolshort of the German Volunteers, an old Savannah militia company.
The statue is a stock item used in over 50 memorials across the land honoring the veterans of the Spanish-American War, but still inspires. The lone soldier faces south in his continuous vigil to guard against the Spanish.
Just north of the Spanish American War Memorial is the Confederate War Memorial.
One of the largest Confederate monuments stands in Savannah’s Forsyth Park, where her soldiers drilled before marching off to war. This impressive monument honored local Civil War veterans as well as those who had lost their lives in the bloody conflict.
A bronze soldier in Confederate uniform stands atop a sandstone base, facing north, following the long-standing tradition of placing a statue to face his enemy. The base made of Nova Scotia sandstone and designed by Canadian David Reid, was brought to Savannah by ship. It features a raised relief carving depicting a grieving widow sitting under a weeping willow tree and is surrounded by 4 winged angels.
There are two busts of Savannah Civil War heroes within the iron fence, which surrounds the monument. One is a tribute to Major General Lafayette McLaws, a division commander in the 1st Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. The second memorializes Brigadier General Francis S. Bartow, who was killed at the first Battle of Bull Run, leading the first Savannah company of 106 men who responded to Jefferson Davis’s call for troops in May 1861.
The Savannah’s Ladies Memorial Association began collecting money for a Confederate war memorial in 1868. By 1874, they had raised $10,000 and began making plans. They left much of the design to the sculptor, but had very definite ideas about its construction. The monument could not be made of any Northern materials, could not be built by Northern workmen and when complete, could not travel through any Northern state.
The tall bronze soldier was not the original monument. Unveiled in 1875, the first Victorian styled monument featured two statues – “Judgment” and “Silence.” The unveiling was a grand event, but the statue met with such unfavorable response, that a local citizen, George Wimberly Jones De Renne, offered to pay the cost of having it “fixed” if the Association would give him free reign. All the Victorian trim was removed and Silence and Judgment were moved to new locations. Silence was placed at the Laurel Grove cemetery in the section for Savannah soldiers killed at Gettysburg. Judgment was sent to a cemetery in Thomasville, Georgia.
DeRenne secured the services of New York sculptor David Richards to create the bronze soldier. Some controversy exists over the model for the soldier. Some say it was H. M Branch, but others claim A. S. Bacon. Both were ex-soldiers who worked on the project.
The new monument with the Confederate soldier was unveiled in 1879 to more favorable reviews. In 1897 the UDC deeded the monument over to the city of Savannah to provide for the upkeep of the monument.
A monument to Georgians who died in the War of 1812 lies to the south of the Confederate monument.
River Street and East Broad Street Ramp
Dedicated on June 29, 1991, the City of Savannah and Chatham County Vietnam Veterans Memorial it s a tribute to the local men and women who served in that war. The Vietnam War Memorial consists of a large reflecting pool surrounded by steps and a marble block inscribed with the names of the Chatham County Vietnam soldiers killed in the war. A marble replica of Vietnam lies in the center of the pool. Mounted on top of the marble is a bronze grave marker, a M-16 rife and bayonet, combat boots and helmet.
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