Arkansas Historic Preservation Program
Pine Bluff Confederate Monument
Pine Bluff Confederate Monument

PINE BLUFF CONFEDERATE MONUMENT, PINE BLUFF, JEFFERSON COUNTY

SUMMARY

The Pine Bluff Confederate Monument is associated with the historic context “Something So Dim It Must Be Holy”:  Civil War Commemorative Sculpture in Arkansas, 1886-1934 as a commemorative monument financed and erected through the efforts of an ancestral organization in Arkansas.  As such, it is eligible under Criterion A with statewide significance for its associations with the efforts of the David O. Dodd Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to reflect members’ perception of the noble character and valor of their veterans and their cause.  Thus, it also meets the eligibility requirements of Criteria Consideration F:  Commemorative Properties.

ELABORATION

David Owen Dodd was a 17-year-old Arkansan who, on December 29, 1863, was arrested by Union troops 10 miles west of Little Rock.  In his possession was a book containing coded material detailing the strength of Federal forces in the area.  Following a six-day trial, Dodd was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.  Professor W.C. Parham's 1906 account of the execution describes the Union General Fredrick Steele as offering his prisoner a full pardon if he would divulge the source of his information, to which Dodd allegedly replied, “I thank you for your good wishes and kind offers, but I must say that I will not betray a friend, and like Nathan Hale, I regret that I only have but one life to give to my country.”  Dodd was hanged on January 8, 1864, and subsequently achieved heroic status with many Arkansans, becoming known as "the Nathan Hale of Arkansas” or "the boy martyr of the Confederacy.”

In 1907 the David O. Dodd Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (located in Pine Bluff) decided to erect a monument in honor of Dodd and the Confederate soldiers of Arkansas who served in the Civil War.  Funds for the memorial were first raised by holding a tea and bazaar and were later supplemented by the sale of a Dodd biography, written by Mrs. Myra McAlmont Vaughan.  On July 22, 1910, the monument was unveiled before a large crowd at Pine Bluff High School.

The unveiling ceremony, which the Pine Bluff Daily Graphic called "one of the most interesting events in the history of Pine Bluff, was a gala affair.  The crowd watched as a procession of Confederate flag bearers, young girls representing each Southern state, local dignitaries, and the Cotton Belt band paraded down Laurel Street to Pine Bluff High School.  These elaborate festivities for such an occasion were typical of the era.  The monument remained at the high school until February of 1974, when renovations at the school necessitated a move to the current site.

Despite being moved from its original location after the historic period, the Pine Bluff Confederate Monument remains in a public place, having moved from a high school campus to the county courthouse, and retains its integrity of setting and environment and its associations with the David O. Dodd Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  Thus, it meets the requirements of Criteria Exception B.

The Pine Bluff Confederate Monument is associated with the historic context “Something So Dim It Must Be Holy”:  Civil War Commemorative Sculpture in Arkansas, 1886-1934 as a commemorative monument financed and erected through the efforts of an ancestral organization in Arkansas.  As such, it is eligible under Criterion A with statewide significance for its associations with the efforts of the David O. Dodd Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to reflect members' perception of the noble character and valor of their veterans and their cause.  Thus, it also meets the eligibility requirements of Criteria Consideration F:  Commemorative Properties.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Pine Bluff Commercial, July 22, 1973, clipping on file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

Pine Bluff Daily Graphic, July 23, 1910, clipping on file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.