Civil War’s legacy hangs over a plaque honoring Confederate soldiers

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tags: Civil War, Confederacy, West Virginia, Confederate Monuments



The last significant Civil War battle in Jefferson County took place in August 1864 at Smithfield Crossing, a five-day slog between Union and Confederate forces that left some 300 casualties and neither side able to claim victory.

But now a new skirmish with ties to the Civil War is brewing in the county seat, a picturesque town of 5,200 founded in 1786 by George Washington’s youngest brother, Charles, that sits just 63 miles from the nation’s capital. It is being waged not with bullets and bayonets, but with letters, public hearings and angry Facebook posts that serve as another reminder that the country has never fully erased the deepest lines of division and distrust of a war that ended 152 years ago.

The focus of this new dispute is the fate of a plaque no larger than a cookie sheet that hangs next to the entrance of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

It reads: 1861-1865 In honor and memory of the Confederate soldiers of Jefferson County, who served in the War Between the States. Erected by the Leetown Chapter #231 United Daughters of the Confederacy.




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