Saturday, October 1st 2011
‘Johnny Reb’ is back
By Jerry Gunn
JEFFERSON – The Square in downtown Jefferson filled with an audience Saturday that came to witness the unveiling of Jefferson’s new Civil War icon, a bronze likeness of a Johnny Reb infantryman from Jackson County. The original was accidentally torn down 71 years ago in 1940.
Jackson County Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 94 members launched the funding campaign that raised the money for the statue according to Chapter Commander Steve Satterfield.
“We just felt like the statue was the best thing we could give to the city and to honor the men who served,” Satterfield said. “We just wanted our statue back.”
According to Satterfield the new bronze image, standing 5’ 8” tall on its concrete pedestal, resembles the original. Pieces of that original were on display in the Crawford Long Museum.
Authentic details on the statue, made in Marietta, came from Civil War re-enactors including the uniform buttons, the belt buckle and the soldier’s rifle.
Several of those re-enactors were present for the ceremony, providing the color guard and the honor guard firing musket salutes. Members from Company ‘F’, 43rd Georgia from Hall County, the 18th Georgia from Jackson County, the 63rd Georgia, and SCV Camp 96 Honor Guard participated.
Featured speaker Christopher Sullivan from Greenville, South Carolina said his Confederate ancestor was from Jackson County.
“We’ve got a lot to be proud of,” Sullivan said. “It’s important to remember our history and the men who served, and perpetuate their values.”
Satterfield said the statue had the full support of the city and county and is actually part of Jefferson’s Streetscape project.
“They redid the whole downtown,” Satterfield said. “They created green space, they redid the parking lots and the sidewalks and they’re trying to get the businesses to come back to downtown Jefferson.”
Jefferson’s new bronze Johnny Reb might even pick up a nickname, like Gainesville’s ‘Old Joe’ guarding the downtown square for just over a hundred years.
“We haven’t quite got one yet but we’re thinking of a few,” Satterfield said.
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