On May 14, 1864, two days after James Ewell Brown Stuart died, the City of Richmond formed a committee to erect “a suitable monument and inscription” to the Confederate general. The committee’s work slowed with little fundraising occurring in the 1870s or 1880s, although Stuart’s brother placed a marker on his grave in Hollywood Cemetery in 1876, and in 1888 a group of cavalry veterans erected an obelisk in Stuart’s memory near the site of his death in Henrico County.
In October 1891, a new organization, the Veteran Cavalry Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, took over the mission of a monument to Stuart. After a decade of serious fundraising, led in part by Fitzhugh Lee, in 1903 the United Daughters of the Confederacy offered to help the VCA raise the final $3,000 for the monument.
In May 1904, the organization selected New York sculptor Frederick Moynihan to create his equestrian statue of Stuart, modeled after John Foley’s monument to James Outram in India.
Later that year, the Civic Improvement League suggested that the Stuart, Davis, and “Extra Billy” Smith monuments all be located on Monument Avenue to make the road “more than a mere name.”
Work commenced on the pedestal base in June 1905 at Franklin and Lombardy streets. In late 1906, veterans decided to officially unveil the Stuart monument during the reunion already scheduled in late May and early June.
The organizers planned to combine the Stuart and Jefferson Davis monument unveilings for at least two years as it coincided with 1907 Jamestown Exposition and the events surrounding the 300th anniversary of the English arrival in Virginia. On May 30, 1907, Stuart’s granddaughter, eight-year-old Virginia Stuart Waller, pulled the cord to unveil the statue.
During the summer of 2020, as social justice activists targeted Lost Cause monuments around the city as sites of protest, skaters and bikers began utilizing the base of J.E.B. Stuart Monument.
On June 1, 2020, while peaceful protestors gathered at the Lee Monument, other activists attached a rope to the sculpture of Stuart. Aerial footage collected by the Richmond Police Department reveals that officers at the Lee Monument misunderstood a call for police support at the Stuart Monument, leading to the tear gassing and assault on a large crowd of citizens at Lee Circle.
On July 7, 2020, at the direction of the City of Richmond, Team Henry Enterprises removed the Moynihan bronze sculpture of Stuart, and they returned in 2022 to dismantle the pedestal. In the spring of 2022, the city transferred ownership of the sculpture and pedestal to the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia.
|Authors||Christina K. Vida|
|Work Title||Monument Avenue: J.E.B. Stuart Monument|
|Published||October 3, 2023|
|Updated||October 24, 2023|
|Copyright||© 2023 The Valentine Museum|