Oates commanded the 15th Alabama Regiment when it made five unsuccessful charges July 2, 1863 up against the slopes of the Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg. The 20th Maine Regiment, commanded by Col. Joshua Chamberlain held the position even as the Maine men ran out of ammunition and followed Chamberlain in a bayonet charge against the Oates and his Alabamians.
Despite the loss, Oates and his men became legendary in the South for their devotion to their cause, as the unit suffered 138 casualties out of the roughly 400 soldiers who marched 25 miles in 11 hours in order to join the fight that day. One of the dead was Oates’ brother John, who was wounded and died in a Union field hospital.
Jones released the ad at a time when there is a national debate about whether Confederate soldiers should be memorialized at all.
Cities like New Orleans and Baltimore have removed Confederate memorials, and monuments and statues to the Southern soldiers have been vandalized and the focus of protests.
In the Jones ad, the Democrat draws on that conflict between Oates and Chamberlain to make a greater point about political discourse today.
“What brought those two brave men, one from Alabama and one from Maine, together was war—two sides believing so strongly in their cause that they were willing to die for it,” he said.
“Those times are past, long ago, and our country is better for it. But now we fight too often over other matters,” he said.
“It seems as if we’re coming apart. I want to go to Washington and meet the representatives from Maine and those from every other state not on a battlefield, but to find common ground, because there’s honor in compromise and civility,” he said.
“To pull together as a people and get things done for Alabama.”
Watch the Jones for Senate commercial “Honor” here: