Lawsuit seeks return of Confederate Rest monument

Did not glorify the South’s Lost Cause. 

A Madison attorney is contesting the City of Madison’s removal of the memorial stone at Confederate Rest cemetery on 04-10-2018 (and reaffirmed on 05-11-2018) as a “desecration.” It was one of the city’s first me-too cancel culture victories, taken in the aftermath of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which exploded after the removal of monuments celebrating secession.

Madison attorney Todd Hunter names then-mayor Paul Soglin and all 20 members of the Common Council in his civil lawsuit filed 12-30-2021 in Dane County Circuit Court.

The complainant seeks the return of the monument to Confederate Rest, located on the eastern boundary of Forest Hill Cemetery on Madison’s near west side. He also seeks $25,000 for unauthorized disturbance of a gravesite, desecration of a cemetery, and “discriminating against the dead buried at Confederate Rest because of their ancestry.” The awards would be dedicate for the preservation of the cemetery.

Confederates Rest monument gravestone

Union veterans dedicated it

Hunter is also seeking to restore what he terms a grave marker — the bronze plaque at ground level at the entrance. That’s the one that referenced “unsung heroes” and “fought valiantly” and was removed earlier. The suit also wants to overturn the ban on flying the Confederate battle flag over the cemetery, which is the northernmost burial of Confederate casualties, the final resting place of some 140 who perished as prisoners of war at Madison’s Camp Randall after the capture of Island #10 on the Mississippi River in 1862.

The stone was dedicated with brass bands and speeches on June 1906, led by the local unit of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans advocacy organization for soldiers who fought on the Union side. Two years later, Congress authorized the placement of the individual stone grave markers that remain today. Notably, the stone glorifies no victorious general. It bears only the names of the dead and the inscription:

Erected in loving memory by United Daughters of Confederacy
to Alice Whiting Waterman and her boys

She is the Madison woman and former hotelier who tended the neglected gravesite, eventually attracting the patronage of Gov. Cadwallader Washburn, a Union general who served under Grant at Vicksburg, Later, Gov. Lucius Fairchild took up the cause; he lost an arm at Gettysburg and later became national commandant of the G.A.R. Fairchild remained a staunch supporter of Reconstruction and criticized fellow Republican Rutherford Hayes for ending the effort in 1877.

Mrs. Waterman’s dream

… was to replace the weathered wooden boards that served as grave markers with a permanent stone. After she died at the home of Union Captain Frank Oakley on Carroll Street in 1897, where she was housekeeper, the captain — then a U.S. marshal — enlisted the help of Major Hugh Lewis to solicit funds from Confederate veterans and family members of the deceased. Major Lewis was then sergeant at arms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Lewis lost his arm at Gettysburg, as well. The money raised was sent to Oakley in Madison, who contracted with a local stone mason.

Hunter’s complaint details that history and much more in his 90-page complaint. Himself a former candidate for mayor, Hunter claims the defendant city officials used “malicious rhetoric” that falsely tied the large gravestone to the “nefarious Lost Cause” wherein some in the south attempted to justify the rebellion and slavery. More history here.

Blaska’s Bottom LineThe stone was hauled away on 01-11-2019, over the objections of the city Landmarks Commission. Two years later, a glacial boulder known as the Chamberlin Rock was hauled away because a newspaper story referenced a racial slang and NAACP champion Fredric March’s name expunged from his alma mater.

How do YOU think a Dane County judge will rule?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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13 Responses to Lawsuit seeks return of Confederate Rest monument

  1. One eye says:

    Perhaps the extremely skilled crew that moved the Chamberlin Rock could take a crack at our Mayor next.


    • Attila says:

      One eye; Good luck with that. Caterpillar may not make the equipment.

      (However, that post made my day!)


    • AdamC says:

      Good one!

      The newspaper photo of the young SJW’s standing by and watching glumly as the WORKMEN literally did the heavy lifting and moving will always speak volumes about this twisted society we live in.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Madtownforsure says:

    this should have by popular vote only. They had no right to tear these down, these were men who had to fight for their part of this country they loved too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bill Cleary says:

    If we truly understood history as it was, we wouldn’t want to erase it. Instead we would want to learn from it and see how the good and bad parts of history are reflected in our own lives. We would then reflect upon that and see how we could improve our own lives to benefit the whole of humanity.

    The problem with the politically correct is that they do not reflect upon any of the past when they judge their own lives. They only see themselves as the paragons of virtue in this modern age.

    Just like the Nazis, the Communists and other groups, they think they have the all the answers to the problems of today.

    They don’t.

    I have a great deal of respect for those men who fought on both the union and confederate side of the civil war. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the men in your unit facing volley fire from the other side must have been terrifying for men on either side.

    The courage that it must of took is beyond my understanding.

    I say this while still believing that Almighty God created all of us of all races creeds and colors and each and every one of us is a child of our Creator. That to imprison or enslave any person just because of the color of their skin is an offense to our Creator.

    Liked by 3 people

    • One eye says:

      Well said Bill.

      The progressives have the belief that they would have behaved differently if they had been in the Confederates shoes. It is the height of arrogance and arrogance is a very dangerous thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One eye says:

        I’d also invite the progressives to throw away their smart phones, manufactured in a country with major human rights violations. Nope that would be too inconvenient.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Mark+Lemberger says:

    Every young Confederate on that memorial stone was a Democrat. Just like Paul Soglin.
    Want reparations? Go see the brigade flags in the Historical Society Museum and note the many flag staffs shattered by Confederate bullets. See the attached notations of the many young that mustered at Camp Randall and died down south. Find out who Hans Christian Heg was and why his statue was placed at the capitol square.
    That bill has been paid in full.
    That memorial plaque was not and is not subject to any mayor of Madison.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. georgessson says:

    Just after the Civil War, and for decades further, the US was all about restoration, reconstruction and generally providing honor and dignity to all, whether losers or winners, Black or white. Once again, Progressives rear their ugly preference for racism however, and make a travesty of all those old & honorable remembrances.

    It must be horrid to have Lefty thoughts living in one’s brain, tho suicide rates do not reflect that. Yet…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    A rare moment of lucidity in a city known for its blind devotion to progressive virtue signaling. The only reason the grave marker was removed is because Madison saw all those other cities tearing down Confederate statues and felt compelled to add its puny efforts to the cause (no one seemed to care that for several years the city played host to a brutal and inhumane POW camp). Todd Hunter, Esq. deserves his own monument for daring to expose the petty hypocrisy that’s second nature to the ‘leaders’ of this city.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark+Lemberger says:

      It was not a brutal or inhumane POW Camp. There were no facilities to imprison the many POW’s brought north from Island Number 10. They were taken in by local families with great efforts made to nurse them back to health.


  7. Alan Potkin says:

    Looks like Word Press auto-deletes postings containing a URL. The link above/below to our primary website will bring will open a homepage where you can scroll down to “Excavating and Archiving Orwellian Memory Holes”.


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