For the vast majority of families native to Tazewell County, the Monument of The Confederate Soldier in front of the courthouse is a reminder of the spirits and souls of over 2,000 men who left their homes in a county with a population of less than 10,000 people to fight in the bloodiest war in American history. The Census records reveal that over 85% of them were poor Appalachian Mountain farmers.
To some, the monument represents slavery. However, less than 3% of the county population owned slaves and the removal advocates have yet to produce a list of slave owner soldiers, despite the fact that rosters with the names of almost 1,500 of them have been on file with the county administrator since June.
Those 2,000 soldiers left wives and children behind to shoulder the burden of tilling, planting, and harvesting the fields, caring for livestock, and preparing food and fuel for winter. All of them, soldiers and civilians alike, endured tremendous hardships.
Soldiers not only volunteered, but were also drafted to serve against their will. Many died in Union prisons, were killed in action or succumbed to disease. Of the soldiers who survived, many returned home with missing legs, arms, fingers and toes.
Over 3,000 people attended the dedication of the monument in 1903 and it has stood on the courthouse grounds for 117 years as a reminder of these hardships and sacrifices. This monument has been joined in recent times by a monument dedicated to the memory of Tazewell County veterans who have served in other wars since the Civil War. Both monuments are part of the history of Tazewell County, Virginia.