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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    James Gillis Monument, Guilford Courthouse

  • Type

    Marker

  • Subjects

    Revolutionary War, 1775-1783

  • City

    Greensboro

  • County

    Guilford

  • Description

    A bas-relief of Gillies riding a horse and blowing his bugle is located above the inscription on this diamond-shaped stone monument.

    Images (courtesy of Natasha Smith): Bronze plaque | View of memorials

  • Inscription

    GILLIES / LIGHTHORSE HARRY LEE’S BUGLER-BOY / DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI”* / ERECTED BY THE LITERARY / SOCIETIES AND ALUMNI OF / OAK RIDGE INSTITUTE MAY 6TH 1898 TO THE / MEMORY OF THE GALLANT FILLIES WHO / FELL UNDER THE SWORDS OF TARLETON’S / DRAGOONS NEAR OAK RIDGE, N.C. / FEB. 13TH 1781, A NOBLE / SACRIFICE / TO HIS OWN / GENEROSITY AND FOR / HIS COUNTRY’S / FREEDOM. / *”SWEET AND FITTING IT IS TO DIE FOR ONE’S COUNTRY."

  • Custodian

    Guilford Battleground Company

  • Dedication Date

    May 6, 1898

  • Decade

    1890s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    36.131890 , -79.846320 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Gillies Monument: Unveiling of Cenotaph to Buglar Boy," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), May 8, 1898 Link

      "Inventory Form - Guilford Courthouse National Military Park," National Register of Historic Places, (accessed February 6, 2012) Link

      Baker, Thomas E. and Michael H. White. The Monuments at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, North Carolina, (Greensboro, NC: Guilford Courthouse NMP, 1991)

      Baker, Thomas E. and Michael H. White. The Monuments at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, North Carolina, (Greensboro, NC: Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, 1991)

      Folder 20 in David Schenck Papers, #652, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 28 Link

      “Gillies, 'Light Horse Harry Lee’s bugler-boy'” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed February 2, 2018) Link

      “Second Day Session,” The Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, NC), June 13, 1901

      “The Monument to Gillies,” Greensboro Telegram (Greensboro, NC), May 6, 1898

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Granite, bronze.

  • Sponsors

    Athenian and Philomathean Societies of Oak Ridge Institute

  • Monument Cost

    $250-300

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    “The High Point Band, in full uniform, discoursed inspiring airs... and patriotism was at full tide,” amongst the large crowd present for the dedication. Professor M. H. Holt was master of ceremonies. The monument was presented by R.T. Barnhill of the Philomathean Society of Oak Ridge Institute and accepted on behalf of the Battle Ground Company by Z.V. Taylor. An original poem, “The Bugler Boy,” by Mrs. E.D. Hundley of Greensboro, was also presented. The unveiling was performed by four young women from area colleges.

  • Nickname

    Bugle Boy Monument or Light Horse Harry Lee's Bugler-Boy Monument

  • Subject Notes

    Gillis was a young soldier serving for ‘Light-horse Harry’ Lee’s cavalry. He was killed in Guilford County by Tarleton’s dragoons during a retreat prior to the battle of Guilford Courthouse on February 12, 1781. The death of Lee’s bugler boy became one of the best known stories of the American Revolution in Guildford County. Another memorial to Gillis has been placed in Summerfield, NC and another at the actual site of his death.

  • Location

    The monument is located within Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. It faces north. The monument stands in a row of memorials that include No North-No South, Kerrenhappuch Turner, and James Morehead monuments.

  • Landscape

    The memorial is surrounded by mature trees of the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.

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