Key West, that tropical southern city on the tip of Florida known for its very laid-back attitude, has managed to add another Civil War memorial to its modest collection, with no apparent opposition.
On Tuesday, a sculpture of a black Union soldier was unveiled at Bayview Park in honor of the black residents who were recruited or volunteered to fight for the Union. It is the city’s fourth Civil War memorial.
When the Memorial to the Forgotten Soldiers was authorized several years ago, the names of those who served from Key West were not known. However, 126 names of those soldiers have since been discovered. Feb. 16 was chosen as the dedication day because it was on that date in 1863 that the men were ordered to report for duty.
At the 11 a.m. ceremony, local officials spoke, Civil War re-enactors stood in formation, a cannon was fired and a roll call of the recently discovered names was presented.
The other Civil War memorials in Key West are an obelisk erected in 1866 by the Navy Club of Key West in memory of the officers, sailors and soldiers of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps who died during the war while stationed at Key West; a white stone pavilion erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1924 that was dedicated to the soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy; and a shaft of Indiana limestone dedicated in 1930 to honor soldiers from two New York regiments stationed in Key West who died in 1862 from yellow fever.
The Union occupied Key West throughout the war.