A statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson was discovered vandalized Wednesday at a Civil War battlefield in Virginia on the morning after officials in Prince William County debated renaming roads and buildings honoring Southern leaders.
A large quantity of white paint was poured on three sides of the statue's polished granite base, the National Park Service said in a statement, and the word "Dead!" was written on the statue in gold spray paint.
The vandalism at Manassas National Battlefield Park was discovered early Wednesday and preservationists were working to remove the paint.
The park commemorates two battles between the Union and the Confederacy — one in 1861, when the armies "clashed for the first time," according to the battlefield's website, and another in 1862, when "Confederates won a solid victory bringing them to the height of their power."
The vandalism happened the morning after a raucous Board of Supervisors meeting in Prince William County — where the statue is located — in which protesters were kicked out after yelling "Shame!" over the board's unwillingness to support a resolution condemning violence in Charlottesville and to rename roads and government buildings in the county.
The resolution, introduced by Supervisor Frank Principi (D-Woodbridge), recommended renaming Jefferson Davis Highway, a volunteer fire station and two schools named after Stonewall Jackson.
No other supervisor agreed to back the motion. That triggered an outburst of heckling from the audience, leading Republican Chairman Corey A. Stewart – a vocal advocate of preserving Confederate monuments in Virginia – to order that the room be cleared.
The board then passed another resolution to condemn racism and reaffirm the county's commitment to diversity, without any mention of renaming buildings or roadways. That measure passed 7-1, with Principi opposing.
The Jackson statue at Manassas National Battlefield Park was erected in 1940, according to a history of the park on the National Park Service's website, and "tied the bronze statue and the recently established national battlefield park to the events surrounding World War II." Jackson received the nickname "Stonewall" at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861, the Park Service said.
Authorities asked anyone with information about the vandalism to call 301-714-2235.