By renaming three parks in Memphis to remove any reference to the Civil War and the people who fought it, it seems like the City Council wants to act like Memphis has no Civil War history at all.

There was a battle fought on the Mississippi off Memphis on June 6, 1862. Cannons placed along the bluff in the area of Confederate Park dueled with Federal gunboats. Although the battle was significant enough to be depicted on the front page of Harper’s Weekly, it wasn’t much of a fight as compared to the battles that took place down river at Vicksburg and New Orleans, but it is still part of Memphis’ Civil War history.

Jefferson Davis, whose statue is (for now) located in Confederate Park, lived in Memphis from 1869 to 1878 and he was the president of the Confederacy. Like him or not, he is part of our history.

Of course, the focal point of the parks controversy has been Forrest Park. I can’t add to what has been said, positive or negative, about Nathan Bedford Forrest. But he was a Memphian, and he is one of two people that Shelby Foote, a pretty fair Civil War historian, described as the most significant personalities to come out of the war. The other was Abraham Lincoln.

Maybe Forrest, his wife, Mary, and the statue should be returned to Elmwood.

Maybe those replica cannon that were recently placed in Confederate Park at great cost to the Sons of Confederate Veterans should be removed and relocated to another city or town that is not ashamed of its Civil War history.

Robert Laurie