Boston's only Confederate monument to be ripped up, put in storage somewhere

All boarded up and ready to go.

The Globe reports the Secretary of State's office, which oversees historical stuff in Massachusetts, has given its OK to remove a Georges Island memorial to the Confederate soldiers and sailors who died while prisoners there during the Civil War. DCR had boarded up the marker earlier this year.




    Free tagging: 


    I dunno

    Only thing I can find is a Nintendo museum...

    So, my solution is to move it into the Georges Island Visitor Center

    PRO: Cheap, almost no moving costs.
    It is a part of the history of the prison, the controversy can be instructive.
    If it's destroyed, future generations will have no idea what the controversy is all about.
    Historians, by their very nature, abhor the destruction of monuments.
    It is a marker to honor the dead.

    CON: It was put up in1963, so it's not contemporary to the prison's history.
    It was installed by the Daughters of the American Confederacy, probably because they realized they were the last of their line and if they didn't do it, the memorial would never exist.

    So, move it inside into the museum.


    Sounds good to me

    A lot of people died in Boston during the civil war or the revolutionary war or during other historical events. Don't know why these guys have a monument. If they were fighting for an honorable cause then maybe, but they weren't. Also, plenty of people fought and died for an honorable cause and they don't have monuments at all.


    Depends on where you are

    The town of Thomaston, Maine had a state prison built in 1820. When it was torn down, a small section of the outer wall, at a corner, was left as a memorial to the prisoners, with a plaque denoting that.

    Murderers, rapists, robbers, men doing hard time. Most buried in a poorly marked graveyard.

    Maybe it's the fact that some people have seen a lot of heartache and have compassion for their fellow man, or as in a quote I've seen, 'these poor wretched creatures.'

    I don't really care about the politics of it, but a memorial to the dead, whomever they are, deserves some contemplation before its destruction.


    Context is everything

    but a memorial to the dead, whomever they are, deserves some contemplation before its destruction.

    It would be one thing if the memorial had been erected at the end of the war, or when the fort was decommissioned, or in conjunction with some historical event. But it wasn't; it was erected in the 1960s as a direct, hostile response to the Civil RIghts Act. As such, it's not so much a memorial to the dead as a political statement about the present.


    Exactly. The people who put

    By on

    Exactly. The people who put up this so called monument didn't know the dead traitors. They had died a 100 years before. They were just trying to scare minorities in hopes that they would be too afraid to fight for equal rights. Confederate monuments are nothing more than an attempt by white supremacists to intimidate black people.



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    Well first of all like to say we do not learn from history . This country is trying to take away our weapons , our historical monuments and a right to be free thinkers and float for whoever we want to vote for and not feel ridiculed by others and look down upon as a low class person . People seem to want the government to pay for everything well nothing is free somebody has to pay for it . I think we are moving this Country towards communism

    Have a good nap?

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    I mean, you've been asleep for 50 years now.

    You might want to look up the election results from last fall and see which party controls Congress and the White House.

    And you think those people want to take away Your Precious?

    Maybe you need to go back to sleep for a few more decades.

    But move to Alabama first, I think you'll find it more to your liking.

    If, for a millisecond you feel the tiniest bit sad about this...

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    George's Island was hardly a "prison".

    There weren't really any cells since it was never designed to hold prisoners on a large scale.

    Since it was an island, the men had nowhere to go.
    All they had to do was take an oath promising not to escape.

    After that, they could have money & items sent from home.

    With that cash they would hire private chefs from Boston to prepare meals, they had gambling rings, there was even a baseball diamond in the middle of the grounds.

    But some accounts it was the nicest prison in history.

    Those men didn't suffer.
    There were no horrors of war there.

    Take the stupid thing down and crush it into a foot path for the holocaust memorial.


    I don't know

    You don't think they were suffering by being so cruelly separated from the humans they owned back home? I mean, they had to actually pay chefs instead of just beating slaves if the dinner wasn't good enough.


    Why The Holocaust Memorial?

    How about a foot path to the area where the Native American concentration camp was on Deer Island during King Phillip's War in the 1670's? That was straight out genocide.

    How about crush it for the path heading up to where religious zealots killed off "witches" up in Salem? People killed just for straying from the orthodoxy. (PS - Can we get the Bewtiched statue removed?)

    How about one down by Union Park Street and Washington Street in the South End where Quakers were murdered by the ancestors of a lot of people in this area for just being different. Actually the Quakers may have been hung on the Common, nevertheless, people were killed for their beliefs in this city for years.

    You don't need to look across the sea for evil done by people. It is all around you.


    Relax, John

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    It was a joke.

    And it went 3 miles over your head.

    You're kidding, right?

    "There weren't really any cells since it was never designed to hold prisoners on a large scale."

    Absolutely not true. in "the Islands of Boston Harbor', Edward Rowe Snow uses a quote from a contemporary description of the fort (by James Lloyd Homer) that describes, in 1845, the stairs to the 'prisonhouse' that could hold over a thousand men.

    "Since it was an island, the men had nowhere to go.
    All they had to do was take an oath promising not to escape."

    Again, simply not true.
    "Many attempts at escape were made there, none of which, as far as is known, were completely successful." --Snow.

    "After that, they could have money & items sent from home.
    With that cash they would hire private chefs from Boston to prepare meals, they had gambling rings, there was even a baseball diamond in the middle of the grounds."

    Sounds great. Book my flight. Considering how wrong you have been so far, I'd need a little in the way of citation. Without citations, much of what you say is, well, interesting but very speculative. Not many, this is Uhub after all, but something.
    Baseball I can see, it helps to pass the time and was a new game in the US at that time. Gambling rings exist everywhere. Private chefs? Hmmmnnn...

    "But some accounts it was the nicest prison in history."

    Look up 'Swedish prisons' someday.

    "Those men didn't suffer.
    There were no horrors of war there."

    Oh, look up the fireman (coaler on a ship) named Cracker. Not an officer, no rank, just a guy working on a ship that was commandeered by the Confederacy to be a blockade runner.
    They got caught by the US Navy and he wound up in Warren. Just an ordinary man swept up in the bigger events of history.

    "Take the stupid thing down and crush it into a foot path for the holocaust memorial."

    Excellent idea...???

    Well, I'm outta here, got to go get a sticker on my car. I'm told the system is working flawlessly today.


    Oy vey.

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    I won't waste much time arguing with an obtuse idiot.

    In a previous life, I dated a ranger who's job literally was to know the history of George's Island.

    Go back to infowars, numbnuts.

    Fort Warren Party Times

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    Edward Rowe Snow had a taste for the dramatic; his favorite tale was a made-up yarn about a confederate ghost lady wandering the walls. Good fun to tell and hear, but not true in the least. I'd take most of his other assertions with a grain or ten of salt.

    Fort Warren was certainly a wee bit higher up the list of "Prisons I'd Want to Live In" than Andersonville was down south; it was the 19th century, and neither the garrison nor the prisoners were living in perfect comfort.

    The "Prisonhouse" you describe *could* hold over a thousand men, but it was designed as quarters for a defending garrison, not indeed a prison. Prisoners were not confined to quarters during the day, and were not put to work by their captors. They drank, had Christmas parties, and held a mock trial and execution for the Union Secretary of State (Seward) just for fun. And yes, they could receive care packages from home (Georgia peaches!), and if they had the means hired other prisoners as servants.

    Sounds like a blast to me, compared to fighting on the front lines.

    Edward Rowe Snow was a bit of a Confederate apologist who liked to run a "but they were all Americans, fighting for what they believed in!" line.

    New location

    Put it on the lawn of the family of Mary C. Chesley who was apparently the leader of the Boston chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy back in the 60s, If they aren't interested in their family history, why should we be?


    More info on the ringleader behind this memorial

    There's not much info but from what I did find, she was a Cambridge resident and the VP of the group was someone named Mrs EE Synge of Brookline, MA.

    It appears her full name was Mary Caithers Chesley and her father was from GA and she was a DAR (of course). There's a few people with v. similar names but I think this one was born in 1871 putting her over 90 when this all went down. Imagine getting to be 90 years old and so consumed with fear / hatred that you spend your time ensuring there's a memorial to traitors in a Union state. Bizarre.

    What About Brighton Marine Hospital?

    Does anyone know if the Black Prince of Darkness, a/k/a Secretary of State; Bill Galvin, has resolved the dispute on Warren Street in Brighton regarding two houses, officers quarters, that he stopped being knocked to keep new housing from being built on the Brighton Marine Hospital site near Brighton High?

    I know there were being offered free to anyone who could relocate them, but like a mini Robert Moses using obscure powers given to him or exploited by him for political gain, Galvin has been using the Secretary of State's power to hold up some new housing in Brighton.

    eeeeh, i don't agree with

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    eeeeh, i don't agree with this.. I mean they died on the island, this isn't something that was erected in the 20s... that's my two cents.



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    I wonder what was going on in the early 1960s that would have made the United Daughters of Traitors want to put up a marker to honor the defenders of slavery?


    DOC was dying off...

    ...and they knew it. Get it done before it's too late.

    I guess Brown v Board did send a message, as well as President Eisenhower's strong response to the Little Rock school problem.

    Dustbin of history and all.

    So? Its only a marker providing

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    Historical context to something that transpired on this site. It's not a monument.

    People travel here because of the cities history, now future visitors will never know about this.

    Oh please

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    As I mentioned, there's an entire museum literally 15 feet behind the memorial that explains the story of the traitors who were housed there (along with the rest of the island's history). If you have trouble walking 15 feet up the slight incline, I'm sure a park ranger can help you.


    Plenty of Union soldiers died

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    Plenty of Union soldiers died on George's (of smallpox, among other things), but we don't have a monument to them; only the Confederate cruds they were guarding.


    To that warehouse...

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    from Indiana Jones? Probably 40 rows down from the Ark of the Covenant?


    Will they put up something in it's place?

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    Humans died here. It would be nice to let people know how this land was once used, without "honoring" what the men were fighting for. If this goes away and nothing explaining the history of the island replaces it, then that is bad.


    Going to need a bigger monument

    A monument to superior living conditions, healthy rations, and quality medical care. Humans died at a much higher rate in the surrounding city than they did on George's Island.

    Good living conditions, the fact that most were officers who had been in good health since childhood, and collaboration by high ranking confederate medical officers with Union physicians led to exceptional levels of sanitary practice and medical care for all who were stationed or held there meant that the mortality rate was exceptionally low for the time. Union officers stationed there even brought their families to live with them on the island.

    Good camp commander.

    Rank does have its privilege. The actual lucky ones were the ordinary men, of no rank, that managed to be held there.

    The only Confederate that was hung after the Civil War was the camp commander of Andersonville.

    You see that wall behind it?

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    That's the Georges Island Visitor Center, which has a nice little museum inside that explains the island's history, including the story of the Confederate soldiers and sailors who were housed there. No need to commemorate them with a separate memorial.


    What a joke by Secretary of State, DCR

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    I'm not a Civil War buff but seriously? It's great that the same DCR that can't maintain a road, park, parkway or trails (all disastrous) can find talented carpenters to erect a vertical wooden coffin over an ancient memorial, then hire specialized monument removal artists and archivists to remove and store this. What does the Department of Education say about this removal of history? What's next to be removed, "racist" Plimoth Plantation? Shall we burn the newly restored Mayflower to the waterline and hang the Captain from the highest yardarm? Enough!

    Although I disagree with their cause, the Confederate soldiers named on the monument didn't die in vain. They served to expose identity politics and further weaken the Democrat Party of 2017. The Democrats were the party of slavery. Their understandable desire to revise and remove history leaves them naked and exposed in the present day. Good!



    Plimoth Plantation?

    Were you in the Intelligence Department during your career being the law? Perhaps not. Apparently you don't get down to the near south of our state.

    Plimoth Plantation has a fairly sized chunk of its sized dedicated to the stories of the Native Americans who lived there when the Pilgrims showed up. They tell the story of the settlers and the people that were there and they don't whitewash it (Pun intended). The Native American players are mostly from around Quebec City.

    By the way Plimoth Plantation is a private organization on private land. This marker on George's Island is on public property. See the difference?

    You were a public servant, right? You know the difference between "public" and "private", right?


    Plimoth Plantation, Native Americans off to the side

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    Mr. Costello, I enjoy Plimoth Plantation this time of year but even as a young student on a field trip, I noticed that the Native Americans (Indians at that time) were marginalized and placed off to the side at the tourist site. The "main street" if you will, was all white, 1620's settlers from England. If a guest wanted to see "native life" they had to walk down a significant distance to a separate, poorly funded exhibit of Indians around a simple camp fire. Most tourists didn't. Correct me if that has changed in PC years?

    I realize the difference between DCR being state, PP being semi-private. The question remains regardless of funding. If we are going to destroy historical sites, where do we stop? Swirly, to call Baker a Republican is like calling Snoopy a cat. Any credible Democrat will get most of the Republican votes.

    Keep your pants on, Fish

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    All they did was take up arms against the army of the United States, it's not like they did something bad like kneel silently during the National Anthem


    Would also be good ...

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    To compare the relatively benign treatment given to the traitors on Georges Island with the conditions in the death camp at Andersonville.

    The Governor wants it taken down

    That's why the Secretary is having the DCR take it down.

    This is what's left of the real GOP still stands for - the traditional values represented by Lincoln and Eisenhower.


    Funny how things change

    The Democrats [of 1860] were the party of slavery.

    Yup. And the Republicans of 1860 were the progressive, liberal party of Abraham Lincoln.

    And this has what-all to do with the parties operating today under the names 'Democratic' and 'Republican' party?

    In related historical news, England is a hateful colonialist monarchy, Germany is run by Nazis, and Russia is our ally.


    Lemme guess.....

    What does the Department of Education say about this removal of history?

    Lemme guess, if this were 1948 and we were all in Germany, you'd be the one arguing against chiseling the swastikas off of government buildings.


    We know you aren't a "civil

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    We know you aren't a "civil war buff". You prefer to be called a "war of northern aggression buff".

    Again, move to a red state. You can hang out with your fellow republicans like Dylan Roof. He loves confederate crap almost as much as he loves killing black people.

    They served the political ends of 2017?

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    Fish: Are you being sarcastic in your second paragraph? If not it's a disrespectful way to refer to the deaths of the men who died. If you are serious then let me suggest that you take a class in time travel. You would learn it does not exist. No one in the 19th century knew anything about the politics of 2017.

    Mentioning the term identify politics provides a good teaching moment.

    Identity politics is a term developed by what I call rightist anarchists; the folks who want to gut democracy. The gutting of democracy is another discussion (although I suggest Democracy in Chains for background). These are the folks that cry judicial activism when judges rule in ways they don't like and call decisions the like just rulings.

    Identity politics goes back at least to the early 20th century when Republicans could not dirty their hands by commingling with the great unwashed masses arriving on the shores of the US. That is one of the reasons that Democrats wound up being the party of European ethnics groups during the period. Democratic clubs and the party saw immigrants as a way to grow their party.

    Yet that is not the first instance of identity politics. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was not just high rhetoric; it was an attempt to weaken the Confederacy by a political proclamation aimed at people of a very specific identity. By the way, President Lincoln, besides using identity politics was, as I'm sure you'll agree, a Republican. In other words a Republican practicing identity politics. We should also not forget that the British used the promise of freedom from slavery to weaken the American position and strengthen their own in the Revolutionary War.

    So-called identity politics is as old as the nation.

    The statement that Democrats were the party of slavery does suggest either your education concerning politics and culture of the 19th century is terribly deficient or you practice the best form of making false statements. Use a kernel of truth to tell a big fat lie. So what if 19th century Democrats supported slavery? That has nothing to do with today. If you want to focus on where political parties have their sights try to be a little more current. Such as Republicans electing a man who uses phrase such as, "“If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds that died . . . 16 people [in Puerto Rico] versus in the thousands [in Louisiana], you can be very proud of all your people, all our people..." I read that phrase and felt embarrassed that the person, for better or worse (much worse) speaks as a 6th grader. For Pete's sake can't the man at least hire a speech writer?

    Isn't there a Confederate cemetery at Devens?

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    I want to say I saw somewhere that there were prisoners who died on George's Island or some other prison in Massachusetts during the war and back in the 1930s they were disinterred and reburied at Devens. If that is true, it would seem that the best place to put this monument is where those remains are buried. I mean, it's where the Confederate dead in Massachusetts are, so what could be a more appropriate place?

    Most of them were moved

    "Because of post closings, Johnston's remains were moved from Fort Warren to Deer Island, then to Governor's Island, both in Boston Harbor, and then in 1939 to Fort Devens in Ayer, Mass., a town northwest of Boston."

    There are some indications that he was the 'last Confederate prisoner of war buried in New England'

    So, monument either belongs at Ft. Warren as a part of its history or moved to the south to go in a Confederate cemetery there.

    As a life-long Northerner

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    I still have to say this is a classless move on the part of the state.

    With malice toward none, with charity for all, ...let us strive on to finish the work we are in, do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

    worked well enough for 150 years. But now it doesn't because social media?

    "As a life-long Northerner"

    "With malice toward none, with charity for all, ...let us strive on to finish the work we are in, do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

    John Wilkes Booth had more influence on this country than almost any other American.

    Roman, you have a perspective that allows you to see the past as well as the present. But, there is so much hate here...

    "A landfill. That is where
    By Kinopio on Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:25am

    A landfill. That is where garbage belongs."

    Pathetic, kip. You are a pathetic human being.

    I don't get it

    This memorial was literally thought up in the 1960s as a reaction to the civil rights movement. We're now locked into accommodating the DoC because it's now 50 years old?

    How old was the Fontaine's sign on the VFW? I bet that went back to the 60s too- can I insist that get restored as part of our rich and varied history?


    About the period when the monument was erected

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    Do you think that between the years 1961 and 1965 there might have been another reason why Civil War markers were being put up? No other reason than the Civil Rights movement?

    Sure, things might have dovetailed with resistance to integration and full rights regardless of race, and yes, that might have affected those descended from the Confederacy's approach to history, but it does amaze me that people cannot think of a single reason why, in the period 1961 to 1965, the D.O.C. went around putting up monuments.

    Not necessarily opposed to the Commonwealth's move, but still, it does get me that people think the Civil Rights movement was the only reason.


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    Massachusetts was not exactly a battleground state that needed markers. If anything, it needed markers for the role it played in fighting slavery. Putting up a memorial to treason in Boston Harbor seems kind of an odd thing.


    I think you're missing my point

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    Which is that to say that these memorials were purely a reaction to the Civil Rights movement is to show one's ignorance to history by ignoring the centennial of the war for which these memorials were created.

    From what I've gathered, the various D.o.C. chapters across the nation, north and south, east and west, were all caught up in memorializing the sacrifices that their grandfathers (or great grandfathers) made for the Confederacy. Might some have been motivated my racism? Look, this is where it gets personal for me. My mother-in-law (or the woman who would have had that role except she died before the wedding) was a Daughter of the Confederacy. I cannot say I heard her say anything bad about black people or any races. Then again, she lived in the Pacific Northwest, so we didn't have a lot of conversations about race. She was proud of her grandfather's service (as my very liberal brothers-in-law and various in-law relatives) yet didn't seem too broken up with the result of the war. And if someone was obsessed with racism, it probably would have come up.

    Again, not saying the monument should be kept on George's Island, just that given the literal time period, there might have been an historical reason for putting it up.

    Oh, boy

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    I should change that to “by racism”, but even I agree that the typo is too awesome. Perhaps I’ll pull a Zack and change it tomorrow.

    Need a new login?

    There's this other guy who posts here as "Roman" sometimes who says he immigrated here from Eastern Europe.

    You're thinking too small

    it's finally time to rename the town of Amherst. Seeing as Umass is the most important institution in that town, I propose we rename the town Umass or Norwottuck

    It worked out fine

    A priv institution can also name a college after John C. Calhoun. How did that work out for Yale?

    It worked out fine. The college carried the name for a while; various constituencies argued for and against renaming it, Yale acted ham-fistedly for a while, and, ultimately dropped the name. For Harvard, Brown, Yale, and other institutions, examining and coming to terms with the institution's historical entanglement with slavery is ultimately a good thing, that's bizarrely overdue. I think, in the 70 years since WWII, Germany has done a better job of coming to terms with its historical Naziism (and France with its own collaborationism) than the US has managed to do with its history as a slave-owning nation 150 years after the end of slavery.


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    Move it to storage? It was already in storage! Ignored for half a century on a tiny island almost nobody cares about.