In April of 1865, after four years of warfare and being under siege for nearly a year—with the army near starvation—Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Cabinet had to evacuate the nation’s capital of Richmond, Virginia and move the government to Danville, Virginia. Awaiting Davis was a populace braced and ready to continue the fight.
Entrenchments were dug, artillery was positioned, food and ammunition were stockpiled and the people of Southside were rallied around their president. Naval Cadets manned heavy artillery at strategic sites. Jefferson Davis implored all faithful patriots to renew their spirit and faith in the cause .He also developed a strategy to continue the war effort.
The people of Danville were praying and hoping for General Lee to make it to Danville. The Sutherlin Mansion in Danville had become the new Capitol and home of the president. Danville, Virginia had become the focus of all the southern states—their last, best hope for southern Independence.
Even as they prayed for a miracle they still had confidence in their political and military leaders, especially General Robert E. Lee. However on April 9th 1865, General Lee was compelled to surrender and the hopes of an independent Confederate nation vanished.
Forty five years later the famous Sutherlin Mansion, temporary home of the President of a once proud nation, would be in disrepair and scheduled for demolition. In 1912, a group made up of United Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy and former confederate leaders including Confederate Captain Harry Wooding, whose statue is in front of our court house today, incorporated the Danville Confederate Memorial Association.
At a time when Danvillians were still recovering from the ravages of war the DCMA , made up of men with missing limbs, war widows, ladies who had been deprived of fathers , sons, brothers, and husbands raised the equivalent in today’s dollars of over $480,000. They rescued the historic building and began the restoration process.
The first and most notable thing they did was to erect a sign over the main entrance with two simple, but very important words: “CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL”. The building would soon be deeded to the city of Danville as a permanent memorial to the soldiers, sailors and marines who suffered and died defending the populace of Virginia and the Southern Confederacy between 1861 and 1865.
Since 1971 the Museum of Fine Arts and History has rented the building. The first thing the museum did was to disrespectfully remove the "CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL"sign from the building. Over the last forty years it has become a harbinger of leftist ideology and has been managed by a small clique that looks down upon Danville’s heritage and history.
We want to raise funds to purchase and restore the building, but more importantly—to restore the honor and dignity of our Confederate heroes. Danville, Virginia is The Last Capitol of the Confederacy. No amount of Northern Revisionism can change that fact. Danville and its legacy of history deserves the restoration of The Last Capitol…an authentic museum, in which the people of Danville can take pride. We need a museum that will attract the best writers, story tellers, and artists. To whom would you entrust the telling of our story? It should be a qualified Museum Director who is not condescending and who would not go to great lengths to ignore the sacrifices of heritage. A nations’ soldiers, sailors and marines, its world-renown generals like Jackson , Stuart and Lee, and the elected leadership of that unique nation—all deserve better than they have received from the present “Director”. The Sutherlin Mansion is so much more than its current leadership is recognizing. This historic place was the focus of the world’s attention for a time—it was where the Confederate States of America was centered. All Southerners—not just Virginians—held their breath while Robert E. Lee battled to bring his army to the safety of Danville. It is inappropriate to minimize and take away the dignity of this Southern heritage. The Commonwealth that gave birth to Washington and Lee became the point of the spear for a Constitutional government…and that national government resided for a perilous time in Danville, Virginia. It is time to own and be proud of that fact.
We will dedicate our funds to purchase the Sutherlin Mansion, to establish flag sites, and to continue all efforts to erect the Third National flag back on our soldiers monument at the Sutherlin Mansion, and put the "CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL" sign back above the entrance once again.
Please join our struggle and our cause to bring back the full honor of the Sutherlin Mansion and our fallen veterans.
Danville Confederate Memorial Association Inc.