Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Battle of New Market Heights Memorial and Education Association

Historian James S. Price concludes his excellent book The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will Be Theirs By The Sword with a quote from a poem by the pioneering African American historian, and former United States Colored Troops soldier, Joseph T. Wilson's Voices of a New Race.

"No marble shaft or granite pile mark the spot
Where they fell - their bones lay harvested from sun rot,
In the Nation's cities of the dead. Hannibal led
No braver than they through Alpine snow, nor wed
To freedom were Greece's phalanx more, who o'er gory
Followed Butler to New Market heights that day."

Originally published in the late 19th century, this poem identifies a void on the monument landscape; a landscape quickly being filled at that time by veterans and their descendants from both the North and the South. Over one hundred years later the glaring void that Wilson viewed is still empty. However, that is about to change.

To help remedy the lack of memorialization at the site of this significant, yet too often overlooked battle, I've recently formed a non-profit organization called the Battle of New Market Heights Memorial and Education Association (BNMHMEA). Its primary purpose is to erect a suitable and substantial monument to honor the brave USCT soldiers of the Third Division of the XVIII Corps, Army of the James, who courageously fought that desperate morning battle on September 29, 1864.

Permission for placement of the monument at Four Mile Creek Park (near the interchange of I-295 and Hwy. 5) in Henrico County has been granted. This location, just a stone's throw from the core battlefield, will allow visitors the opportunity to come visit the monument, pay their respects, and learn more about the brave men who fought there for the end of slavery, the preservation of the Union, and their right to citizenship in the United States.

Although a lot has been accomplished in getting things to this point, so much more needs done. The next step is to establish a website for the organization. The website will serve both as an educational tool as well as a way of keeping up with the progress on the monument and as a means for fundraising.

We are pleased to mention that another monument to the New Market Heights USCT soldiers is being planned for erection in Richmond. That organization, called the Honor the 14 Foundation, and BNMHMEA will be working closely together to see that both memorials are completed.

To achieve our goals of doing the brave men who sacrificed so much at New Market Heights proper justice, it is going to take a tremendous amount of effort and support. I hope you will consider giving in someway to this worthy initiative. Being a recognized 501(c)(3) not for profit organization, all financial donations are tax deductible.
Gifts can be sent to:
Battle of New Market Heights Memorial and Education Association
P. O. Box 52
Sutherland, VA 23885

Please spread the word! Let's give those brave men the recognition they so greatly earned. This monument will help ensure that future generations have the opportunity to come honor and learn from their example of patriotism and sacrifice for the greater good.

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