July 3, 2020, July/August Froe Chips, Rutherford County Historian Greg Tucker
Public attention has recently focused on the Confederate Soldiers Memorial monument on the historic Rutherford County Courthouse Square.
In the mid-1890’s, as many Civil War veterans reached the end of the average life expectancy for their generation, there was much interest and activity involving memorials to the soldiers and leaders on both sides of the historic conflict. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) chapter in Murfreesboro petitioned the County Court for authorization to place a monument memorializing the local soldiers who fought and died in the war. In or about 1897 the County Court approved the UDC plan to finance and construct a monument to be placed on the northeast corner of the Square.
J. S. Nugent & Co., a local “marble and granite” company, submitted a bid on the pedestal construction. The base was native limestone with four sides of polished granite for $855. (The bronze figure of a Confederate soldier was ordered separately and is identical to figures used for similar monuments in other communities.) Paid for by donations solicited by the UDC ladies, the monument was completed and dedicated in the early 1900’s.
The monument was originally erected in front of the east door of the courthouse, contrary to the specifications of the County Court (predecessor to today’s Rutherford County Commission). During the extensive remodeling of the Rutherford County Court House and Public Square in 1908-1910, the Confederate monument was repositioned to the northeast corner, as originally intended.
The front inscription notes that the monument is dedicated to those who fell in the Battle of Stones River and in other “minor skirmishes in this vicinity.” The courthouse side reads: “A monument for our soldiers built of a peoples love.” 2011 the local camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans placed at the foot of the monument a memorial to “all who served” from Rutherford County with a listing of the various units in which they served.