HOT off the Wire
BY STEVE CLARK
The devil must be ice-skating.
Richmond is getting a statue of Abraham Lincoln.
The statue is a project of the United States Historical Society,
a private, nonprofit, Richmond-based organization that undertakes
projects to foster awareness of American history.
On the bench to Lincoln's left is a depiction of a newspaper, The Richmond Whig, dated April 5, 1865.
The statue commemorates Lincoln's visit to Richmond on that date, which was two days after Union troops captured the city and four days before the Confederate surrender. The president was accompanied by Tad, who was celebrating his 12th birthday.
"We have been thinking about doing this project a long time," said Robert Kline, the society's chairman. "Now we're going to do it."
He declined to say how much the project will cost.
A granite capsule on a wall behind the statue will be etched with
these words: "To Bind Up the Nation's Wounds."
Cynthia MacLeod, superintendent of Richmond National Battlefield Park, said the statue will be a welcome addition to the Civil War Visitor Center.
"Lincoln's visit to Richmond in April of 1865 was, and
is, nationally significant," she said. "This statue will bolster our effectiveness in telling that story."
Historian Harold Holzer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York praised the society's project.
"I applaud the decision to place a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Richmond as a historic symbol of unity and reconciliation," he said.
Maynard Crossland, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation
Agency in Springfield, Ill., called it a "great idea."
Not everyone, of course, is ready to embrace a statue of Lincoln in Richmond. Brag Bolling, commander of the Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, expressed strong opposition to it.
"I consider this to be a federal government-sponsored
and sanctioned act of insensitivity to place a statue of Lincoln in
the former capital of the Confederacy, where literally thousands of
Virginians died fighting the invasion of our state which was led by
Abraham Lincoln," Bolling wrote in an e-mail.
To raise money for the project, the historical society
is issuing a limited edition of bronze miniatures of the statue. Each
one is about 9 inches tall, weighs 11 pounds and sells for $875.
After arriving at Rockett's Landing, the president and his son, guarded by a group of Union sailors with rifles, walked up the hill to the abandoned White House of the
(LINCOLN, Continued Page 6)