A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

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Confederate Monument

Dallas Confederate MonumentThis imposing monument, originally erected in City Park, stands today in Pioneer Cemetery, beside the Dallas Convention Center. It was commissioned by the Dallas chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which began raising funds for it in 1894. Sculptor Frank Teich of San Antonio, who began work on the $17,000 monument in 1896, designed it. It was completed in 1897.

Unlike most such monuments found in Texas, generally a lone soldier atop a short pedestal, the Dallas monument is quite elaborate. Located atop the 25 feet tall shaft stands an 8 feet tall statue of a Confederate soldier, facing south. It is said to be a likeness of Lt. Robert Hickman Gaston, brother of Dallas banker and civic leader Capt. William Henry Gaston. The lieutenant was killed in action at the Battle of Sharpsburg, carrying a Lone Star flag supposedly made in part of silk from the wedding gown of Mrs. Jefferson Davis.

At the monument's base are four more statues, one at each corner. They are life-sized representations of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and Albert Sidney Johnston. Inscriptions on the four sides of the plinth pay tribute to the Confederate infantry, cavalry, and navy, as well as the Daughters who commissioned the monument. The monument is made almost entirely of native Texas granite from Teich's quarries near Llano, except for the statues, which were sculpted out of Carrara marble imported from Italy. Affixed to the south side of the plinth is a head and shoulders likeness of General William L. Cabell. Known affectionately as "Old Tige," General Cabell was not only a Civil War hero but also four times mayor of Dallas and a founder of the Sterling Price camp of the United Confederate Veterans.

On the day of the monument's dedication, April 27, 1897, between 40,000 and 50,000 people were in attendance at City Park. Old soldiers and their families made up a large part of the crowd and there were many dignitaries present. Perhaps the most notable was former Confederate Postmaster General John H. Reagan of Anderson County, who had also served his state as a U.S. Congressman and Senator. Guests of honor included the widow of Stonewall Jackson and the daughter of Jefferson Davis, Mrs. Margaret Hayes, who attended with her two children, Lucy Hayes and Jefferson Davis Hayes. On the eve of the unveiling, a grand ball was held, as well as a "Love Feast" at City Hall and a downtown parade.

Following much oratory, Mrs. Katie Cabell Currie, president of the Dallas chapter of the UDC, and a "bevy of beautiful girls representing the thirteen states and territories of the Confederacy" were called upon to unveil the statue of the soldier on top. A reporter on the scene recalled that the ladies joined hands and pulled a cord that removed a large veil. "As it slowly dropped, a band played "Dixie" and the voice of nearly every individual in that vast multitude of people joined in round after round of applause."

The monument stood in the northwestern portion of City Park until 1961, when construction of the R. L. Thornton Freeway required the removal of several acres of land. At that time the monument was moved to its present location.

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