Local News

October 7, 2012

Civil War anniversary: A tribute to Gen. Joseph E. Johnston

Today, in a little park in downtown Dalton at the intersection of Crawford and Hamilton streets, a handsome bronze gentleman stands 16 feet high, quietly presiding over an active business district. He has stood this way, frozen in time, since 1912 — a full century. Busy shoppers and hurried drivers rush by, sometimes giving him a nod, sometimes barely noticing his presence.

But that is about to change.

Now, after 100 years, this veteran of the Mexican-American War, Seminole Wars and American Civil War, who served as a brigadier general in the United States Army and later as a general in the Confederate States Army, will be honored once again.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Private Drewry R. Smith Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, will sponsor a rededication of the Gen. Joseph E. Johnston monument.

 For the occasion the stately statue, which is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, is being professionally restored by Ponsford Ltd., the largest conservation group in the Southeast.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the monument on Crawford Street followed by a reception from 11 a.m. to noon at the Dalton Freight Depot. The public is invited.

In 1912, when the Johnston monument was first dedicated, 47 years had passed since the Civil War. The Girl Scouts had just been founded, the recent sinking of the Titanic still stirred strong emotions, Jim Thorpe was the hero of the Stockholm Summer Olympics and Woodrow Wilson was on the way to being elected to his first term as president. It was a new century, and a new generation, with a new spirit.

Yet the Civil War was not forgotten, nor was the desire for veterans on both sides to be remembered and honored. “The war,” declared Dalton’s newspaper The North Georgia Citizen, “with its blighting desolation is gone …. We are one people, and [along with others] we can say ‘there is no north, south, east or west,’ but it is fitting that those who made history … be remembered.”

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