They worried people would forget.
It might seem odd now, even 150 years after the Civil War, that anyone would not remember the terrible fight to preserve the United States. But that fear of losing the collective memory spurred veterans – both Confederate and Union – to construct monuments and memorials.
So 100 years ago, a large arch of gray granite was rapidly built in a few months on property set aside for a memorial at a cost of $25,000 and dedicated at Camp Randall, Wisconsin’s largest Civil War training camp. It still stands as a sentinel today though the land where 70,000 soldiers mustered before heading off to the battlefields of Shiloh and Gettysburg has long since been claimed by the University of Wisconsin.