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Controversial Lee statue finally is up

June 09, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

SHARPSBURG - Since Friday, a controversial 24-foot statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee has overseen Antietam National Battlefield from the Newcomer House Civil War Museum property along Md. 34.

"I'm very relieved that it is finally up - it's been a long battle," William F. Chaney said Sunday from his home in Lothian, Md.

A descendant of the Confederate leader, Chaney said a ceremony to dedicate the statue will be Saturday, June 21, at 6 p.m.

In a press release issued Friday, Chaney said he led the movement to erect the statue of Lee to help balance the number of Antietam monuments to the Union and Confederate soldiers who fought on the bloodiest day in American history. Until now, he said, the number was 99-3 in favor of the Union.

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Last December, the Washington County Historic District Commission voted 3-2 that the statue was historically inappropriate for the site.

But Chaney said the way later was cleared for the statue, which depicts Lee holding binoculars that he used to view the position of his soldiers during the Battle of Antietam.

The 12-foot bronze statue of Lee atop his horse, Traveller, is atop a 12-foot granite base. The statue is the work of sculptor Ron Moore, Chaney said.

Donations for the statue can be sent to Southern Heritage at Antietam, P.O. Box 262, Lothian, MD 20711. For more information, call the Newcomer Museum at 301-432-0300.

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