The Monuments at Bentonville

The following is an excerpt from “Preserving the Bentonville Battlefield” by Donny Taylor, the site supervisor at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site. It appears in “Calamity in Carolina: The Battles of Averasboro and Bentonville, March 1865” by Daniel T. Davis and Phillip S. Greenwalt (Savas Beatie, LLC. March 2015)

The Goldsboro Rifles Monument.

The Goldsboro Rifles Monument.

The first efforts to memorialize the battle began in 1894 by the Goldsboro Rifles, a post war militia unit and the namesake of Company A, 27th North Carolina Troops 1861-1865. In 1894, they began an effort to raise money to place a monument on the property of John Harper in the Bentonville community along the Old Goldsboro Road. After a year of fundraising, these efforts came to fruition on March 20, 1895— the 30th anniversary of the battle. The keynote address on this occasion was given by former Confederate general Wade Hampton, who 30-years prior had developed the battle plan that General Johnston approved. The monument unveiled to the public was an obelisk that contained many names of Confederate soldiers killed or wounded during the battle.

Monument erected in 1927 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the North Carolina Historical Commission.

Monument erected in 1927 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the North Carolina Historical Commission.

It was not until 1927 that another monument was placed on the battlefield, this time by the North Carolina United Daughters of the Confederacy and the North Carolina Historical Commission. This monument was dedicated to the North Carolina Junior Reserves, the “seed corn of the Confederacy,” which fought gallantly during the battle. The monument is a bronze tablet set in Wake County granite and placed at the intersection of Harper House Road and Bass Road, the position occupied by these young boys. Once the well-attended ceremony was over, the battlefield once again became a quiet farming community for many years.Nearly 40 years later, the state of Texas placed a pink granite monument to the Texas regiments that were in the battle during the battle’s 100th anniversary commemoration in 1965. In 1992 the Harper House Bentonville Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy placed a large rectangular monument resembling a tomb to honor the North Carolina soldiers and loved ones.

The North Carolina Monument with the Texas Monument in the background.

The North Carolina Monument with the Texas Monument in the background.

An attempt to place a monument to the Union soldiers at Bentonville began in 1993 but was not passed by the North Carolina Historical Commission. That effort was renewed in 2012 by the Sons of Union Veterans, General Thomas Ruger Camp #1, to place a monument at Bentonville to honor the four Union Corps in the battle. This time the effort was successful, and a granite monument was dedicated on the 148th anniversary of the battle in March 2013.

Union monument at Bentonville.

Union monument at Bentonville.

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One Response to The Monuments at Bentonville

  1. Ryan Quint says:

    “An attempt to place a monument to the Union soldiers at Bentonville began in 1993 but was not passed by the North Carolina Historical Commission” is certainly one way to put it. Another way to put it, as described in James McPherson’s “Mighty Scourge of War” on page 123, has Federal soldiers described by planners as “thieves, murderers, rapists, arsonists, trespassers.” It’s a disturbing trend in denying monuments to American soldiers, on American land, as if somehow the South won and now had the rights to deny such monuments– a trend continued at places like Olustee, Florida.

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