MONUMENT SEARCH North Carolina Civil War Monuments Survey

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Union Monument, National Cemetery, New Bern, NC

Since 1868, North Carolinians have been building monuments commemorating the people and events of the Civil War. The first Civil War monument erected in North Carolina is in the Cross Creek Cemetery in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Led by Ann Kyle and Maria Spear, a group of local women raised funds and dedicated the monument on December 30, 1868. The desire to memorialize the Civil War continues to the present day, with a statue of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston dedicated on private land near the Bentonville, N.C. Battlefield on March 20, 2010.

There are also monuments to North Carolinians who fought for the Union and to soldiers from other states. Monuments from various northern states dot the National Cemeteries in New Bern and Salisbury and a memorial to the United States Colored Troops stands in Hertford, North Carolina.

For almost as long as Tar Heels have been building Civil War monuments, North Carolina historians have been trying to document and catalog them. As early as 1910, R.D.W. Connor, the first secretary of the North Carolina Historical Commission, began writing to local historians and United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) chapters asking for information on any Civil War monuments in their area. In 1941, under the auspices of the NC Chapter of the UDC, Blanche Lucas Smith authored a book titled North Carolina’s Confederate Monuments and Memorials, which listed a majority of the Confederate monuments built up to that time. In 1957, David Leroy Corbitt wrote letters to Clerks of Court in all 100 North Carolina counties asking for information on Civil War monuments in their counties. The North Carolina Museums Council conducted a survey of outdoor sculpture in 1994, which included many of North Carolina’s Civil War monuments.

Confederate Monument, Greensboro, NC

This current survey builds on the previous ones, and in time will be the most comprehensive listing of Civil War monuments in North Carolina. What this survey is attempting to catalog: monuments and memorials honoring individuals, military units, or groups of individuals’ contributions to the Civil War. This includes the ubiquitous “standing soldier” monuments found on many courthouse lawns, regimental monuments on battlefield sites and cemeteries, and monuments to civilian efforts such as the monument to the North Carolina Confederate women on the Capitol grounds in Raleigh.

What this survey is not cataloging: gravesites, Civil War Trails markers, or historical markers erected by the North Carolina Historical Commission or the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, or monuments to individuals where the monument's primary focus is not the person’s Civil War service. Under these criteria, the General Johnston monument near Bentonville is included, the monument to Governor Zebulon Vance on the Capitol grounds in Raleigh is not included.

This survey is a work in progress, and contributions from members of the public are most welcome. If there is a monument not on this survey, we need the exact location, the date when it was dedicated (if known), and a photograph. If you have any information to add to this survey, please contact Tom Vincent at tom.vincent@ncdcr.gov. If you submit a photograph, please indicate how you would like to be credited. Any photographs or information submitted for this survey will become a public record as specified in G.S. 132-1.

Confederate Monument, Edenton, NC

Further Reading:

Bishir, Catherine. “'A Strong Force of Ladies': Women, Politics, and Confederate Memorial Associations in Nineteenth-Century Raleigh.” The North Carolina Historical Review 77 (October 2000): 455-491.

Crow, Amy. “'In Memory of the Confederate Dead': Masculinity and the Politics of Memorial Work in Goldsboro, North Carolina, 1894-1895.” The North Carolina Historical Review 83 (January 2006): 31-60.

Hardy, Michael. Remembering North Carolina's Confederates. Charleston SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2006.

Smith, S.L. North Carolina's Confederate Monuments and Memorials. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1941.

Vincent, Tom. “'Evidence of Womans Loyalty, Perseverance, and Fidelity': Confederate Soldiers' Monuments in North Carolina, 1865-1914.” The North Carolina Historical Review 83 (January 2006): 61-90.

WUNC Radio has prepared a Map of Civil War Monuments in North Carolina using the information from this database.