Georgia Memorial slightly damaged in work

Published 11:45 am Friday, October 7, 2011

The Georgia Memorial at the Vicksburg National Military Park will be missing its top section for a couple of weeks following a mishap during the last half hour of moving the 18-foot-tall gray granite structure Thursday.

Park Superintendent Mike Madell said the section, scuffed slightly as it was being lifted into place, will be sent to a Georgia stoneworks company for repair.

“We had a little slip that will put us about two weeks behind schedule,” said Madell, who characterized the damage as a “1” on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst.

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The Lexington Blue Granite Company of Elberton was contracted to disassemble the monument. Madell said workers sectioned it into three pieces that were lifted by crane, loaded onto a flatbed truck and moved about 100 yards across a patch of grass to a new site along the park’s South Loop.

The two lower sections were placed without incident, he said, but the top slipped and banged into the truck trailer.

The company is insured and the repairs fall within the scope of their contract, he said.

Park staff concerned about visitor safety and conven-ience decided earlier this year to move the memorial closer to the road. An Environmental Assessment report was filed detailing several options, and the move was approved in August.

The new location is still historically accurate to the line occupied by Civil War Brig. Gen. Alfred Cumming and his Georgia Brigade during the 1863 siege of Vicksburg, Madell said in August.

Dedicated in 1962, the Georgia Memorial originally lay along the Confederate Avenue tour road. When the park went to a closed loop route in the mid-1960s, the road was altered, leaving the memorial still within view and walking distance but isolated from the road.

The monument is identical to Georgia memorials at Gettysburg, Antietam and Kennesaw Mountain, according to the VNMP website. It exhibits the state seal and bears the inscription, “We sleep here in obedience to law; When duty called, we came, When country called, we died.”

The VNMP, established by Congress in 1899, is home to more than 1,350 monuments, tablets and plaques.