You are here

Confederate Memorial (Removed)

-A A +A
1875–1893, Charles E. Cassell. 2020, removed. Center of Court St. north of High St.
  • Confederate Memorial (Richard Guy Wilson)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Located to one side of the city's main intersection, this Confederate monument was a prominent reminder of Portsmouth's involvement in the Civil War. Sponsored by the Ladies Memorial Aid Association, it took nearly two decades to raise funds for the memorial, which was dedicated in June 1893.  Designed by a Baltimore architect originally from Portsmouth, the monument consisted of a 35-foot granite obelisk on a 20-foot pedimented base, guarded by bronze statues of four men representing (clockwise from the south elevation) the Confederate infantry, cavalry, artillery, and navy. The sailor's headband was inscribed Merrimac, a reference to the Confederate ironclad, fashioned in nearby Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The monument stood in Olde Towne Portsmouth until the summer of 2020 when it was removed as a result of anti-racism protesting. In June, protestors covered the monument in paint and graffiti, beheading some of the statues and toppling others. After a man was injured when one of the statues was being pulled down, the Portsmouth City Council voted unanimously to remove the monument in its entirety. This was accomplished by the end of August 2020.


“To tears and cheers, the Portsmouth Confederate monument is dismantled. 26 August 2020.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.
Updated By: 
Gabrielle Esperdy



  • 2020


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Confederate Memorial (Removed)", [Portsmouth, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 444-444.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.