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The devil must be ice-skating.

Richmond is getting a statue of Abraham Lincoln.
Many Virginians and other die-hard Southerners may be flabbergasted by this news. After all, it has been widely held for generations that Richmond would have a statue of Lincoln when hell froze over.

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.
The society commissioned sculptor David Frech, of Newburgh, N.Y., to create a life-size bronze statue of Lincoln sitting on a bench beside his young son, Tad.

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.
The statue will stand outdoors on a hillside at the National Park Service's Richmond National Bat- tlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center on the grounds of the old Tredegar Iron Works. Tredegar was a major supplier of munitions to the Confederate army.

A granite capsule on a wall behind the statue will be etched with these words: "To Bind Up the Nation's Wounds."
The statue will be unveiled April 5, the 138th anniversary of the day Lincoln stepped off a boat at Rockett's Landing to begin a tour of the burned-out Confederate capital.

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."
"I'm sure there are still some very deep wounds [in Richmond] in regard to Lincoln," Crossland said. "But the more people learn about Lincoln, they realize he wanted to heal the wounds."
The historical society's Kline said a statue of Lincoln in Richmond would be a symbol of the power of reconciliation.
"Here is a national hero, a small boy and a beautiful city by the James River, all united again," Kline said. "This time Lincoln is in Richmond for all time."

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.
"It is an unnecessary slight to our state with a not-so-subtle reminder of who won the war and who will dictate our monuments, history, heroes, education and culture, no matter how it affects Virginia or any other Southern state. . . . I'm sure it's a nice statue, but why here?"

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.
Lincoln's visit to Richmond was well-documented, thanks to a large contingent of newspaper reporters who accompanied the president.

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)