Working in DC is.. like working anywhere else I guess. It is work. Among several perks while going to and from work I get to pass statues like this one:
The figure is Major General James B. McPherson. He is familiar to Army-types as the name-sake of Fort McPherson outside Atlanta. Atlanta appears as the second line on the inscription along with a date. On July 22, 1864 James McPherson fell during the Battle of Atlanta. Considered one of the best officers in the Union Army (Generals Grant and Sherman regarded him highly), he lead the Union Army of the Tennessee during the Atlanta Campaign. McPherson was the second highest ranking Federal officer and the only union army commander to die in battle during the war.
The equestrian statue of McPherson features him holding a pair of binoculars and calmly grasping the reigns of his rather startled mount. At the time of his death, McPherson was well forward attempting to restore order in response to a Confederate flank attack. No understatement here – McPherson was forward in the thick of battle, as he often was during his tenure as commander. When Confederate skirmishers ordered him to halt, he tipped his hat and attempted to escape. But the Confederate marksmen hit their mark before he could slip away.
McPherson’s men thought very highly of him. So much that after the war they worked to honor their fallen commander with this memorial on what is today McPherson Square, just northeast of the White House. Here’s a view of the inscription on the back indicating the work of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee.
But that is not a Civil War 150th celebration in the background.
It’s part of the Occupy DC protest movement. Perhaps in contrast to the close cropped views often used in the reporting, I’ll offer you a wide-angle view of the protest.
According to the “official” Twitter feed:
Well, I uploaded a picture. I’ll let the readers decide if the movement is growing.
Consider also the juxtaposition at play here. McPherson and the men of his army lived in a time when the United States confronted far, far more difficulties than we do today. McPherson and men like him sacrificed their all. They gave without asking. To them, the American system was one worth preserving.
Either in my daily walks past them, or via the news outlets, I haven’t heard any statements from the Occupy DC protesters about preserving anything, save their semi-permanent plots occupying the ground in front of General McPherson.