AND THE CIVIL WAR goes on. In Richmond, various sons and daughters of the lost cause are raising a fuss over a statue of Abraham Lincoln that will commemorate his visit to the conquered Confederate capital in the final days of the war. They are abetted by Del. Richard H. Black of Loudoun County, who is not even sure there should be a statue of the 16th president anywhere in Virginia. The major objection is that Lincoln came to gloat over Richmond's fall. "He sat at Jefferson Davis's desk and propped his feet up on the desk," said one angry son of the Confederacy.
Heavens, bring the smelling salts. Mr. Lincoln is not remembered as a gloating man, but maybe it could be regarded as insensitive of him to have descended as he did into the midst of a sullen and defeated population. Except that not everybody was all that sullen and defeated. Jay Winik, in his book "April 1865," describes the scene as Mr. Lincoln walked from his boat:
"Out came a sound. 'Glory to God!' It was a black man working by the dock. Then again: 'Glory to God! Glory! Glory! Glory!' Leaving their squalid houses and their tar-paper shacks, an impenetrable cordon of newly freed blacks followed Lincoln down the rubble-strewn streets, starting with a handful and swelling into a thousand. 'Bless the Lord!' they shouted. . . . 'Glory hallelujah.' "
Surely many of those celebrators have descendants who live in Richmond to this day but who haven't been much consulted over the past 138 years on the themes of the city's many monuments. As Mr. Black's colleague Del. Viola O. Baskerville of Richmond observes, perhaps it's time some people learned "the complete story of the Civil War."