- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A  controversial monument erected in 1913 to honor Marylanders who fought for the Confederacy will be moved from its current perch outside Montgomery County’s historic Red Brick Courthouse at taxpayer expense to a historic ferry on the banks of the Potomac River.

The statue, which was vandalized in 2015 and has since been largely shielded from view by a wooden enclosure, bears an inscription dedicated “To Our Heroes of Montgomery County Maryland: That We Through Life May Not Forget to Love the Thin Gray Line,” the Montgomery County government noted in a Tuesday news release.

“I fully understand that the statue reflects a piece of County history and that many County residents are proud of the sacrifices and bravery shown by their ancestors,” the news release quoted County Executive Ike Leggett, who is African-American. “Nonetheless, as originally enacted, it was not, and is not, part of the heritage of all of our residents. When originally constructed and placed on County property, it failed to reflect both sides of this unfortunate struggle in our history.”

“That is why I strongly opposed keeping this statue on County property and wanted to move it to another location in the County that would be accessible to County residents,” Mr. Leggett added.

White’s Ferry Inc., the company that operates a vehicle ferry from Dickerson, Maryland, to Leesburg, Virginia, will now own and maintain the monument. 

“I am happy to provide a place for the statue to be relocated,” White’s Ferry attorney R. Edwin Brown said. “Those who wish to visit it will be able to do just that.”

Sitting on the Potomac alongside the historic C&O Canal, White’s Ferry is a popular picnic and rest stop for hikers, canoe rentals and cyclists, as well as a popular river-crossing point that averages about 600 vehicles daily, according to the ferry’s Facebook page.

Named for Elijah White, an ex-Confederate cavalry officer who purchased the operation after the Civil War, the ferry has been running continuously since it started in 1782.

White’s Ferry is the only one in operation on the Potomac River and just one of three ferries remaining in operation in Maryland, according to the state’s tourism website.

• Ken Shepherd can be reached at kshepherd@washingtontimes.com.

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