To the Editor:
An open letter to the public regarding the Appomattox Statue from the Mary Custis Lee-17th Virginia Regiment Chapter #7 United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Located at the intersection of Prince and Washington streets, the Appomattox Statue is the property of the Mary Custis Lee-17th Virginia Regiment Chapter #7 United Daughters of the Confederacy. We are the local chapter of the general organization United Daughters of the Confederacy. The monument is owned by our chapter and not, as has been erroneously reported, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which would indicate the general organization. Since the Alexandria City Council’s vote on Sept. 17 to request permission from the legislature to relocate Appomattox, we have been waiting for some formal communication (i.e. in writing) from the city before responding. To date, none has been received, so we resort to this forum to express our chapter’s vehement opposition to the relocation of Appomattox to the Lyceum or anywhere else.
It would be disingenuous to say that there has been no communication with the city. Mayor Silberberg did call our chapter president immediately after the City Council meeting in September. Contrary to what was reported, members of our chapter attended that meeting on Sept. 17. The mayor and our chapter president met privately the following week. At that meeting, the mayor was informed that the members of our chapter will work vigorously to ensure that Appomattox remains in its current location.
Moving the monument was proposed in 1988. Suggestions were a cemetery, the waterfront park, or the Lyceum. Those proposals were rejected by our chapter. We remain steadfast in our position that Appomattox remain at Prince and Washington streets. The members of the Mary Custis Lee-17th Virginia Regiment Chapter #7 United Daughters of the Confederacy are the stewards of the property of the R.E. Lee Camp #2 Confederate Veterans. The site at Prince and Washington streets was selected by the veterans in 1888. They sought and were granted approval by the City Council to have the monument placed there. This marks the site from which the Alexandria militia companies departed the city on the morning of May 24, 1861. The location had special meaning for the men who conceived, paid for, and dedicated the monument. As Mayor Silberberg was informed, we will honor the wishes of the veterans.
We thank all those who have contacted us with words of support and encouragement. The members of the Mary Custis Lee-17th Virginia Regiment Chapter #7 United Daughters of the Confederacy will endeavor to keep Appomattox where it is.
Deborah A. Mullins
Mary Custis Lee-17th Virginia Regiment Chapter #7
United Daughters of the Confederacy