A memorial in Mississippi honoring Rhode Islanders who sacrificed their lives during the Civil War was destroyed by a tornado earlier this week, Eyewitness News has learned.
The 111-year-old monument, located in Vicksburg National Military Park, is now mangled and broken. Ben Frail of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War said the EF-2 tornado knocked the metal soldier right off the memorial’s stone base.
The memorial was a tribute to the 47 Rhode Island men who died while fighting in the Battle of Vicksburg. Frail said he was heartbroken when he heard the monument was damaged.
“It’s a bronze statue of a soldier carrying the 7th Rhode Island national colors and a rifle in his hands and he’s charging forward… it’s a beautiful, beautiful sculpture,” he said. “If it weren’t for their sacrifice, what would be today as a country?”
Frail said it will cost up to $20,000 to repair the statue and said it should be Rhode Islanders who step up to help.
“We owe it to these men to honor them, to memorialize them and to make sure that their statue gets fixed,” he said. “These are our boys, these men represented Rhode Island and it’s up to us to make sure their memory is preserved.”
Currently, the Friends of Vicksburg have created a donation page with all proceeds going toward repairing the statue.