Mingo monument rededicated

Pouring rain did not dampen the spirits of the many history enthusiasts who gathered Saturday for the 100-year rededication of the Mingo Confederate Monument.

The event was sponsored by the West Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, McNeill’s Rangers Camp 582 of Moorefield and the Mingo Historical Society.

The monument – also known as the Robert E. Lee Monument – was originally dedicated July 23, 1913, on land owned by Samuel and Fanny Beaty Wood and is dedicated “to the memory of the Confederate Soldiers of Randolph County and Vicinity. This includes all soldiers who died on Valley Mountain in 1861 while Gen. Lee was encamped there. Camp Pegram 602 UCV Valley Head, West Virginia.”

Rodger Ware, Past Commander of the West Virginia Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans welcomed those in attendance.

“The purpose of today’s event is to honor Confederate veterans and by doing so we honor all veterans,” Ware said. “Keeping this in mind, we will honor a local veteran with the presentation of a Quilt of Valor from the Mingo Historical Society.”

Mingo Historical Society member Vicky Graham presented the Quilt of Valor to local veteran Delbert Sharp.

“In the words of Robert E. Lee, our most favorite son of the South, and the man who eventually commanded all Confederate Armies as Commander Chief, ‘It is well that war is so terrible lest we should grow fond of it,”‘ Graham said. “As we gather this afternoon to rededicate our confederate monument, placed here 100 years ago in memory of Confederate soldiers who died during the Cheat Mountain Valley campaign of the Civil War, I would like to take a few moments to honor a veteran who is here today. I present this quilt to you in honor of your great service to our nation.”

Musical tributes for the afternoon were presented by bagpiper Sue Judy.

Keynote speaker for the rededication was Civil War historian W. Hunter Lesser, author of “Rebels at the Gate” and “The First Campaign: A Guide to Civil War in the Mountains of West Virginia.”

“About 20 years ago, there was a Smithsonian Institution bus tour and one of the stops was at Valley Mountain,” Lesser said. “The guide was legendary Ed Barrs and he stood out on the road not too far from us and he talked about the summer at Valley Mountain. As he talked, it began to rain just as it is today and he held out his hand and said it was raining, but much harder than this… much harder than this. It began to rain so hard that Barr’s hat collapsed on his head. Then he said, ‘This is how hard it rained that summer at Valley Mountain, just like it is raining right now.'”

Lesser read the inscription from the monument before he continued.

“It seemed to rain everyday the troops were at Valley Mountain,” Lesser said. “He felt the weather conspired against them. One of the veterans said it rained 32 days that August.”

Fred Ware III shared an article from the Randolph Enterprise, detailing the events of the original dedication of the monument and Lauren Ragland of the Mingo Historical Society presented a history of the area.

Kellen and Hayden Hutzell, descendants of those honored during the rededication Saturday, removed a bunting from the Mingo Confederate Monument to unveil the statue. Members of the McNeill’s Rangers Camp 582 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans of Moorefield presented the colors.