Richmond Howitzers Monument
Original Author: Cook Collection
Created: ca. 1900
Medium: Glass-plate negative
Publisher: Valentine Richmond History Center

Richmond Howitzers Monument

A monument at Park Avenue and Harrison Street in Richmond pays tribute to the service of the Richmond Howitzers during the Civil War. The sculpture portrays an artilleryman standing erect, in what was known as position number one, at the front of the gun. His job was to ram the cartridge down the barrel of the artillery piece, and then, after the gun had been fired, to sponge the barrel down in order to extinguish any sparks before the next round of shooting.

The sculpture was one of three Confederate monuments in the Virginia capital created by artist William Ludwell Sheppard, who joined the Richmond Howitzers artillery in 1861 and then served in the Topographical Engineers Department of the Army of Northern Virginia. After the war, Sheppard painted watercolor scenes of the daily life of the Confederate soldier and became a famous artist of the Lost Cause. He illustrated a number of magazines and books, among them Detailed Minutiae of Soldier Life in the Army of Northern Virginia by Carlton McCarthy, also a veteran of the Richmond Howitzers.

The sculpture was unveiled on December 13, 1892, but this photograph of the monument was taken around 1900. A sign next to the statue, placed there at some unknown date, seems to indicate that the proper respect was not being shown by the local citizenry. The Richmond Howitzer Association has offered a $10 reward "for the arrest of any one throwing rocks into or trespassing on this park."

In 2020, the statue was pulled from its pedestal during protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis.