Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Historical markers describe University of Alabama's Civil War history

'University of Alabama ' historical marker. 
This week’s featured historical marker is the “UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA” marker in Tuscaloosa County, Ala. This marker is located just off University Boulevard, behind the Denny Chimes clock tower, on The Quad on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

This marker was erected in 1986 by the Alabama Historical Association. There’s text on both sides of the marker, but both sides are identical. What follows in the complete text from the marker:

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“UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA: Endowed by Congress 1819, Ordained by State Constitution 1819, And established by General Assembly 1820, Instruction Begun 1831, Unofficial Training School Confederate Officers 1861-65, Destroyed by Federal Army April 4, 1865, Rebuilding Begun 1867 and Reopened 1868.”

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'Madison Hall' historical marker.
The marker described above is just one of many located on The Quad at the University of Alabama, including several related to the university’s Civil War history. A short walk from the marker above, you’ll find a smaller marker located near a small stack of bricks, which is all that remains of Madison Hall. That marker reads as follows – “THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA - Madison Hall - This plinth identifies the southeast corner of Madison Hall, constructed in the late 1850s. Madison Hall was used for classrooms, administration offices, dining and as a residence hall. It was destroyed when the Union army burned the campus in April 1865. This site was excavated in 1975 as part of the University’s Bicentennial.”

A short walk from that marker will bring you to the front steps of the Gorgas Library and if you face those steps and look to the left, you’ll see a plaque set into the side of the steps that reads as follows – “ROTUNDA PLAZA: The Rotunda Plaza is dedicated to John H. and Carolyn Cobb Josey (Classes of 1950 and 1951, respectively), in recognition of the establishment in 1992 of the John H. and Carolyn Cobb Josey Library Endowment Fund, ensuring continued excellence of library and information services to the University of Alabama. The flagstones embedded in this plaza mark the original foundations of the rotunda, which housed the first library of the University of Alabama, and which on April 4, 1865 was burned by federal troops. Rediscovered and excavated in 1984, the foundations symbolize the link between the library’s past and its future.”

'1861-1865' stone historical marker. 
From there, walking back toward Denny Chimes, you’ll also encounter a large stone monument that features a large plaque that reads as follows – “1861-1865: The University of Alabama gave to the Confederacy - 7 General Officers, 25 Colonels, 14 Lieutenant Colonels, 21 Majors, 125 Captains, 273 Staff and other commissioned officers, 66 Non-Commissioned Officers and 294 Private Soldiers. Recognizing obedience to state, they loyally and uncomplainingly met the call of duty, in numberless instances sealing their devotion by their life blood.
“And on April 3, 1865, the Cadet Corps, composed wholly of boys, went bravely forth to repel a veteran Federal invading foe, of many times their number, in a vain effort to save their Alma Mater, its buildings, library and laboratories from destruction by fire, which it met at the hands of the enemy on the day following.
“To Commemorate this heroic record this memorial stone is erected by the Alabama Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy. University of Alabama, May 13, 1914.”

In the end, visit this site next Wednesday to learn about another historical marker. I’m also taking suggestions from the reading audience, so if you know of an interesting historical marker that you’d like me to feature, let me know in the comments section below. 

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