SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Crews have loaded up and hauled away the first pieces of the dismantled Confederate monument from outside the Caddo Parish Courthouse in downtown Shreveport.

A large flatbed truck arrived at the courthouse Thursday morning, and crews began loading pieces of the monument with a forklift, including the Confederate soldier that once stood atop the marble cenotaph.

The process began three weeks ago, about a month after the $782,000 contract with Florida-based Energy Products and Services Corp. was signed. The contract calls for the removal to be completed no later than December 31, 2022.

The marble and granite monument was erected between 1902 and 1906 on the grounds of the Caddo Parish Courthouse, which was built in 1926, where two previous courthouses stood. One of those original courthouses even served as the state capital of Louisiana during the Civil War.

The Confederate monument will be moved to private property at the Pleasant Hill Battlefield site in southern De Soto Parish, where what is considered the bloodiest battle of the Civil War west of the Mississippi was fought the day after the Battle of Mansfield.

It is not known yet when the monument will be reinstalled at its new home in De Soto Parish. Work on that site is also still underway.