By Deborah A. Mullins, Chapter president, Mary Custis Lee-17th Virginia Regiment Chapter No. 7, United Daughters of the Confederacy
To the editor:
Located at the intersection of Prince and South Washington streets, the “Appomattox” statue is the property of the Mary Custis Lee-17th Virginia Regiment Chapter No. 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 Alexandria city council’s vote last month to request permission from the Virginia General Assembly to relocate “Appomattox,” we have been waiting for some formal communication — 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 the statue to the Lyceum or anywhere else.
It would be disingenuous to say that there has been no communication with the city. Mayor Allison Silberberg did call our chapter president immediately after the city council decision in September.
Contrary to what was reported in The Washington Post, members of our chapter attended that meeting on September 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” must remain at Prince and Washington streets.
The members of the Mary Custis Lee-17th Virginia Regiment Chapter No. 7 United Daughters of the Confederacy are the stewards of the property of the R.E. Lee Camp No. 2 Confederate Veterans.
The statue’s location at the intersection of Prince and South Washington streets was selected by those 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 Silberberg was informed, we will honor the wishes of those 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 No. 7 United Daughters of the Confederacy will endeavor to keep “Appomattox” where it is.