Worth Bagley Monument, Raleigh
Francis Herman Packer, Sculptor
This bronze figure depicts Worth Bagley, in uniform, looking forward. He steps forward with this right foot and carries a coat in his right arm. The bronze sculpture sits atop a rectangular granite base that has an anchor with a design curling around it in bronze on the front.
Images: Contemporary front view | Rear view | East view | Spanish naval deck gun | Front inscription | Rear inscription
Front: WORTH BAGLEY / ENSIGN U.S.N. / FIRST FALLEN / 1898
Rear: KILLED IN ACTION / AT CARDENAS CUBA / MAY 11, 1898.
May 20, 1907
35.780130 , -78.639530
"As a Resurrection," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 19, 1907, 1 Link
"Gay in Colors Raleigh Shines," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 19, 1907, 17. Link
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"Monument to Ensign Bagley," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 14, 1898 Link
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"Statue of Worth Bagley Unveiled," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 21, 1907, p. 2. Link
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"Worth Bagley and State House, Raleigh, N.C.," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed September 12, 2013) Link
The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 17, 1905, p. 5.
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Daniels, Josephus. The First Fallen Hero, a Biographical Sketch of Worth Bagley, Ensign, USN, (Norfolk, VA: Sam W. Bowman, 1898) Link
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Bronze statue, granite base
N.W. West proposed to have a monument built in Bagley's honor. Several North Carolina newspapers including the Raleigh News and Observer and the Fayettesville Observer solicited small donations of one dollar or less. Almost every donation was of a dollar or less, including those given by former Governors, wealthy industrialists, and other well-to-do residents. The Bagley Monument Association was comprised of N.W. West, W.S. Primrose, D.E. Everitt, T.S. Kenan, R.M. Furman, and the mayor of Raleigh.
Speakers included Capt. R. B. Hobson and Governor Glenn. The entire city had been decorated. Frederick Own was master of ceremonies.
Worth Bagley was born in Raleigh, NC in 1874 to a prominent Raleigh family. He was a naval officer aboard the USS Winslow during the Spanish-American War. As the first soldier to die during this conflict on May 11, 1898, he became the war’s first national hero. His death in Cuba also was perceived to be a testament to the sectional reconciliation after the Civil War; he was a white son of the South who wore the uniform of the reunited nation three decades after the Civil War.
The statue stands in the southwestern section of Union Square, south of Hillsborough Street. Bagley's figure faces south.
The monument sits on the grounds of the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh on the west side of the building. Although Bagley’s monument commemorates a white southerner who fought under the United States flag, it simultaneously celebrates him as a North Carolinian. A few feet to the northwest of the monument stands the Confederate Monument.
In 1908 a Spanish naval deck gun was added beside Bagley’s statue.
The state House of Representatives and the state senate agreed to grant the Bagley Monument Association permission to erect a monument to honor Worth Bagley at the Capitol Square on January 18, 1899.