The Confederate statue that had stood for decades next to Rockville’s Red Brick Courthouse has been relocated to its new home: near a privately run Potomac River ferry named for a Confederate general.
Montgomery County officials struck a deal in February with White’s Ferry, which operates a car ferry linking Dickerson, Md., and Leesburg, Va., to take the 13-ton bronze soldier.
Officials said they chose a quiet, midsummer Saturday to load the statue onto a flatbed truck to avoid protests or other incidents.
The relocation, first reported Monday by the Bethesda Beat, cost about $100,000.
The statue was donated to the county in 1913 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and was ordered removed from government property by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) in the summer of 2015, at the height of a national debate over the location of Confederate memorials and monuments.
Shortly after Leggett’s announcement, vandals spray-painted “Black Lives Matter” at the statue’s base. It had remained encased in a wooden box since then to prevent further damage.
The statue depicts a young cavalry private, arms folded and with a saber hanging from his side. The plaque reads: “To Our Heroes of Montgomery Co., Maryland, That We Through Life May Not Forget To Love The Thin Gray Line.”
Several relocation sites were considered, including the Beall-Dawson house, a pre-Civil War home operated as a museum by the Montgomery County Historical Society. The city of Rockville, which owns the home, rejected the idea last year.
Leggett, the first African American elected to the County Council and then to be county executive, said in a statement Saturday that he wanted the statue to remain in Montgomery — it will be on the Maryland side of the Potomac — but not on county-owned land, because it reflected only one part of the county’s Civil War history.
“This statue is inaccurate because it pays tribute only to the Montgomery County young men who fought for the Confederacy,” Leggett said, “not also to those county residents who fought to preserve the Union and free those held in bondage.”
The ferry used at the Dickerson-Leesburg crossing is named for Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, a Confederate general who reached the outskirts of Washington during an 1864 raid.