Archive - Historical - Memorial/Monument - Outdoor Sculpture
2505 Conservatory Dr., Indianapolis, IN, 46203
The Confederate Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was first erected in 1912 by the United States government to honor the 1,616 Confederate soldiers who died as prisoners of war at Camp Morton in Indianapolis. It is one of only four memorials to Confederates sponsored by the Federal government. The monument was originally placed in the old Greenlawn Cemetery, where the soldiers had been buried. In 1928, when the cemetery closed, the remains of the soldiers were moved to Crown Hill Cemetery. At the request of the Southern Club of Indianapolis, the monument was moved to a site in Garfield Park near the Southern Avenue entrance, making it more visible to the public. Names of the dead are inscribed on bronze plaques, including those of 24 African-American soldiers. On the north side of the monument, the following inscription is engraved: “Erected by the United States to mark the burial place of 1,616 Confederate soldiers and sailors who died here while prisoners of war and whose graves cannot now be identified.”
The monument became publicly controversial in 2017 after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, made the public more aware of the racism inherent in Confederate monuments wherever they appeared. Although there had been plans for years to eventually remove it to Crown Hill Cemetery and place it with the soldiers’ remains, nothing had been done because of the conflict between people who believed it should remain in place to remember Southern history (and who sought to refurbish it), and those who felt it glorified slavery and should be removed. A third faction believed a public interpretive project should contextualize the monument and its meaning, allowing all voices to be heard. 2017’s urgent public calls to remove the sculpture, including one incident of an individual attacking it with a hammer, resulted in more practical discussions about how it could be moved, but no action was taken until the summer of 2020. In the middle of nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and increased public support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the hurtful symbolism of Confederate monuments was again brought to the forefront and the City of Indianapolis dismantled the monument. It is currently in storage.
Medium type: Bronze - Granite - Stone/Marble
Date created: 1908
Dimensions: 26 ft. H x 26 ft. W x 10.0 ft. D (base)