Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – As sculpture of the statue commissioned for the Mississippi Monument at Shiloh proceeds toward an early 2015 completion date, Mississippi’s Sons of Confederate Veterans are nearing their fundraising goal for the installation.
The $425,000 for the statue is in hand, $250,000 from an allocation of the Mississippi Legislature earlier this year and $175,000 raised mostly by the Col. W.P. Rogers SCV Camp 321 in Corinth.
“We’ve also raised additional funds for the dedication, and any funds left will go into an account to be used for upkeep on the monument,” said Camp Commander Larry Mangus, although the National Park Service will have primary responsibility for the statue’s maintenance once it is installed.
Having a statue to honor Mississippi’s soldiers who fought in the Battle of Shiloh has been a dream for many years, and achieving the goal came closer to reality when the 2010 Mississippi Legislature agreed to help fund the project.
Last year Buddy Ellis, a past commander of Camp 321 and Second Brigade Commander for the Mississippi Division SCV, was honored by the state group with the J.Z. George Preservation Award for his fundraising work on the project.
“It was my idea to do this,” Ellis said. “In June 2005, when they dedicated the Tennessee Monument, people started asking me why we didn’t have one.”
At the time Ellis was leading the fundraising effort to restore the Col. Rogers statue in Alcorn County, a project that took 10 years to raise $25,000.
“When that was done I took the idea to the state SCV convention,” Ellis said. “When I take on a project I take the bull by the horns and don’t let go till it’s done. It went slow at first, but then started picking up steam.”
The monument is expected to be completed by April, in time for the April 6, anniversary date, but October is also being considered and a decision is pending.
Meantime, the group continues to raise funds to bolster plans for the dedication ceremony and the maintenance fund.
Last month the Corinth camp was honored for the fifth consecutive year with the Jefferson Davis Award as the top SCV camp in the State.
“Being the lead camp in raising funds to place a monument to the Mississippi soldiers that fought at the Battle of Shiloh,” was one of the key accomplishments cited for the award.