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Recalling Deeds Immortal: Florida Monuments to the Civil War

Posted on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 2:29 pm

This book is a complete guide to every Civil War monument in Florida from Reconstruction to the present.  The first was erected in 1866 at the Olustee Battlefield by Union troops in 1866.  The first Confederate monument was erected in 1871 in Walton County by the Walton County Female Memorial Society at the Euchee Valley Presbyterian Church and named 94 Confederate soldiers from the county who died during the war.  The vast majority of Florida’s two hundred monuments honor the Confederacy, but there about a dozen for the Union, including two for the United States Colored Troops.  In 1996 a monument was dedicated to the memory of the former slaves of Madison Co.  In addition to the traditional stone monuments there are buildings, schools, etc. named for Civil War heroes.  The book chronologically tells the story of the memorials by giving and describing its location, history, type and color of stone, every word on it, who made it, sponsored it, the cost, date of dedication and who spoke there, and more.  Most of the monuments were erected and paid for through donations by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Ladies Memorial Associations, Grand Army of the Republic and the United Confederate Veterans.  There are several monuments to Florida Confederate soldiers in other Southern states that are mentioned.
The book contains a considerable amount of local history concerning the individual monuments along with a clear and concise explanation of the impact of radical Reconstruction.  Almost all of the monuments sponsored by the women’s organizations have the message of the Lost Cause and vindication of the South.  The debate over how to commemorate the Civil War is still with us today.  Though this book may not appeal to many Civil War readers it is very well written and researched, and an excellent example of what could be written up for all the states.

Title: Recalling Deeds Immortal: Florida Monuments to the Civil War
Author: William B. Lees & Frederick P. Gaske
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Pages: 371
Price: $44.95
Hard Cover

-Courier book review by Duane Benell

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