Invitation to Attend the Unveiling of the 48th PA Monument at Petersburg
Those who could make the journey were provided with train tickets. Transportation costs for the dedication were covered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:Passenger Train Tickets Provided to Members of the 48th to Attend the Monument Unveiling
Those who wished to attend and participate in the event were also provided with an itinerary of the days' activities, letting them know where they were supposed to be, and when. Also, as is noted in the following letter, "As Petersburg is a city of about 30,000 inhabitants, there will be no difficulty to secure hotel accomodations at reasonable rates." I suppose Pennsylvania thought paying for the cost of transportation was enough.Itinerary
Finally, programs for the unveiling were distributed. . .Program, Listing the Order of Events at the Unveiling
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Dedication day was Thursday, June 20, 1907. After parading through the streets of Petersburg, the veterans of the 48th gathered near the monument. Here they were welcomed by General Bolling, head of the A.P. Hill Camp, Confederate Veterans. Bolling was a veteran of Lee's army and as he began his address, he said that when he was surrendered at Appomattox "my wildest dreams could not have conceived the idea, that forty-two years after I had sheathed my sabre forever that I should here upon this spot welcome with heartfelt sincerity the faithful soldiers of the 48th Regiment from the Keystone State, who come here to honor a gallant soldier, who fell upon this field."
Following Bolling's welcome, Pennsylvania's Adjutant General, Thomas J. Stewart, who himself served in the 6th Corps during the Civil War, delivered the response. Stewart thanked Bolling for the cordial welcome and expressed his gratitude to the people of Petersburg, and of Virginia. He also hinted about what must have been on everyone's mind. . .Let's face it: If there was one Union regiment that might not be very kindly welcomed in Petersburg, it was the 48th Pennsylvania. It was they, of course, who, 43 years earlier, tunneled under the Confederate defenses and triggered the mine explosion. "Many of us have been here before," spoke Stewart, "under very different circumstances. These survivors of the 48th Regiment tried to get into Petersburg forty-three years ago; they knew they were forcing themselves upon you, and they did not expect any such welcome as they received to-day. . . .[But] Today we journey here in peace, to raise a memorial and a tribute to the days and men of war: days rich in heroic achievement, days of unsurpassed bravery, out of whose mighty tumult and carnage there was wrought and shaped the undying fame and glory of the American volunteer soldier, both in blue and in gray."
After Stewart finished, Major Frank Leib, Chairman of the 48th's Veteran Association, formally turned over the monument to the State of Virginia. Then came the unveiling. The actual unveiling was performed by Ms. Bessie B. Reid, daughter of Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Robert A. Reid, who served in Company F, and Mrs. Otelia Mahone McGill, daughter of Confederate General William Mahone, whose troops opposed the 48th Pennsylvania for much of the Petersburg Campaign.Governors Edwin Stuart (Pennsylvania) and Claude Swanson (Virginia) with their staffs at the Dedication and Unveiling of the 48th Pennsylvania Monument at Petersburg.
Survivors of the 48th gather near the entrance to the Mine at Petersburg
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The 48th Pennsylvania Monument: Petersburg, Virginia
2007A bronze statue of Colonel George W. Gowen stands atop the monument
Power Lines and Traffic Signals
Now Gowen faces north. . .towards a tire business and a strip mall
On the north side of the pedastal is this bronze tablet. Daniel Nagle spoke of the efforts to raise the money for the monument: "And. . .in behalf of our Association, the public school children, the public press, the patriotic citizens, our comrades of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and our friend, Captain John Featherston. . .who by his excellent lecture on the Crater, delivered in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, the headquarters of the regiment, very materially increased the funds, thus enabling us, before we too joined the silent army, to pay tribute to our dead, by placing on this historic and hallowed ground of old Virginia, this monument."
A bronze depiction of Colonel Henry Pleasants, mastermind of the Petersburg Mine, is located on the eastern side of the monument.
A bronze table depicting soldiers of the 48th carrying powder into the mine decorates the southern side of the monument.
[I am indebted to Mr. Philip Johnson, of Petersburg, Virginia, for the modern-day pictures of the 48th Pennsylvania Monument].