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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Nathanael Greene Monument, Guilford Courthouse

  • Type

    Equestrian Statue

  • Subjects

    Revolutionary War

    Historic Military Figures

  • Creator

    Francis H. Packer, Sculptor

  • City

    Greensboro

  • County

    Guilford

  • Description

    The monument consists of two bronze statues, the larger of which is Nathanael Greene on a stallion. The smaller figure is a representation of a classically-garbed Athena with a shield and laurels. The monument stands over 27 feet tall.

    Vintage postcard image

  • Inscription

    Below Athena: MARCH XV MDCCLXXXI / IN THE MANOEVERING THAT PRECEDED IT, IN THE STRATEGY THAT SIGNALIZED IT, AND IN THE RESULTS THAT FLOWED FORM IT, THE BATTLE OF GUILFORD COURTHOUSE IS SECOND TO NO BATTLE FOUGHT ON AMERICAN SOIL. OVER THE BRAVE MEN WHO FELL HERE THEIR COMRADES MARCHED TO ULTIMATE VICTORY AT YORKTOWN, AND THE CAUSE OF CONSTITUTIONAL SELF GOVERNMENT TO ASSURED TRIUMPH AT PHILADELPHIA. TO OFFICER AND PRIVATE, TO CONTINENTAL SOLDIER AND VOLUNTEER MILITIAMAN, HONOR AND AWARD ARE ALIKE DUE. THEY NEITHER NEED DEFENSE NOR EULOGY BUT ONLY JUST RECOGNITION. A GRATEFUL NATION ERECTS THIS MONUMENT, THEREFORE, AS AN EXPRESSION OF ITS SOLEMN PRIDE IN THE MEN WHO FOUGHT HERE, OF ITS IMPERISHABLE DEVOTION TO THEIR MEMORY, AND OF ITS UNALTERABLE CONFIDENCE IN THE PERMANENCE OF THE PRINCIPLES WHICH THEIR EXAMPLE VINDICATED AND THEIR BLOOD CONSECRATED.

    Below Greene: NATHANAEL GREENE / APPOINTED MAJOR GENERAL IN / COMMAND OF THE SOUTHERN ARMY / OCTOBER 14, 1780 / BORN IN RHODE ISLAND AUGUST 7, 1742 / DIED IN GEORGIA JUNE 19, 1786 / On pedestal to Greene's left: HARLEM HEIGHTS / TRENTON / PRINCETON / BRANDYWINE / GERMANTOWN / MONMOUTH

    On pedestal to Greene's right: GUILFORD / COURT HOUSE / HOBKIRK’S HILL / NINETY-SIX / EUTAW SPRINGS

    On base to Greene's left: GREENE IS AS DANGEROUS AS WASHINGTON I NEVER FEEL SECURE WHEN ENCAMPED IN HIS NEIGHBORHOOD. / -CORNWALLIS

    On base to Greene's right: IT IS WITH A PLEASURE WHICH FRIENDSHIP ALONE IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF THAT I CONGRATULATE YOU ON THE GLORIOUS END YOU HAVE PUT TO HOSTILITIES IN THE SOUTHERN STATES. / -WASHINGTON

  • Custodian

    Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

  • Dedication Date

    July 3, 1915

  • Decade

    1910s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    36.132210 , -79.844430 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Arrangement for the Big Celebration at the Battle Ground," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), June 17, 1903, 1 Link

      "Greensboro North Carolina, 'City of Charm,'" in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed December 12, 2012) Link

      "Guilford Battle Ground Affairs," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), June 1, 1903, 1-2 Link

      "Guilford Courthouse: Historic Monument Pictures," National Park Service, (accessed November 30, 2011) Link

      "Guilford Courthouse: Historic Park Scenes," National Park Service, (accessed November 30, 2011) Link

      "Guilford the Only Revolutionary Battlefield Now a Battlefield," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), July 7, 1909, 1-3 Link

      "Guilford: The Only Revolutionary Battlefield Now a National Park," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), July 7, 1909, 1-3 Link

      "Monument to Nathaniel Greene, Guilford Battle Ground, Greensboro, N.C.," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed December 12, 2012) Link

      "Monument to Nathaniel Greene, Guilford Battle Ground, Greensboro, 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 Battle Ground Celebration," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), July 5, 1905, 6 Link

      "The Battle Ground Company," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), September 1, 1902, 1-2 Link

      "The Fourth at Guilford Battle Ground," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), July 9, 1902, 1 Link

      "The Glorious Fourth," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), July 1, 1901, 1 Link

      "To General Greene: A Statue to Be Erected at Guilford Battle Ground," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), March 4, 1896, 1 Link

      "Two Big Celebrations," Greensboro Patriot Weekly (Greensboro, NC), June 30, 1903, 1 Link

      Program of Celebration and Dedication of the Greene Memorial Monument at Guilford Court House Battlefield, July 3rd, 1915, ([Greensboro, NC: Guilford Battle Ground Company, 1915]), (accessed February 6, 2012) Link

      Additional Images: Looking South Looking South East Face of Greene Below Athena

      Allman, Kate. "Nathanael Greene monument," Learn NC, (accessed January 7, 2014) Link

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

      Folder 16 in David Schenck Papers, #652, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 6-8, 10-15, 26-28, 91-100 Link

      Folder 17 in David Schenck Papers, #652, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 12-16, 26-27 Link

      Folder 18 in David Schenck Papers, #652, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 99-100, 166-167 Link

      Folder 19 in David Schenck Papers, #652, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 306-307, 310, 359 Link

      Folder 40a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 48, 50, 51-53, 54, 58-59, 63-65, 70 Link

      Folder 40b in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 1, 2-7, 10-12, 19-20, 21, 24-26, 30-31, 35, 40, 50 Link

      Folder 41a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 2 Link

      Folder 48a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 3-9, 19-23, 25, 31-33, 38-40,58-59 Link

      Folder 51 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 42-45 Link

      Folder 52 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 6-7, 11-13, 24, 30, 38-39, 41, 48, 55 Link

      Folder 55b in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 17-18, 28 Link

      Folder 56a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 5 Link

      Folder 58b in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 68-70 Link

      Folder 59 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 138-140, 153-154 Link

      Folder 60 in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 60 Link

      Folder 62a in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scan 8 Link

      Folder 62c in Joseph M. Morehead Papers, #523, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see scans 83-84 Link

      Letters and Speeches in Folder 3 in the Charles Randolph Thomas Papers, #1814, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. See scans 1, 8-14, 18-28 Link

      Morehead, Joseph Motley. An Appeal to the Descendants of General Nathanael Greene for His Remains and to Congress for a Monument Over These at Guilford Battle Ground, North Carolina, (Greensboro, NC, 1902) Link

      Newspaper Clippings in Folder 5 in the Charles Randolph Thomas Papers, #1814, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. See scans 8-9 Link

      Photograph in the Charles Randolph Thomas Papers, #1814, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Link

      War Department, Chief of Engineers U.S. Army. "Erection of Monument to Commemorate the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC, and in Memory of Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene and the Officers and Soldiers of the Continental Army who Participated with him in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse," in "Annual Reports, War Department, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1912," U.S. House of Representatives Document No. 935, (Washington DC.: Government Printing Office, 1912), (accessed February 6, 2012) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Granite base, bronze letters and statues.

  • Sponsors

    Guilford Battle Ground Company and United States Congress

  • Monument Cost

    $30,000 was appropriated for construction by the U.S. Government

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Local Boy-scouts and the Guilford Militia led a parade which included 700 soldiers. According to the ceremony's program, addresses were given by the Governors of North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island, as well as by the the Lieutenant-Governors of Georgia and South Carolina. Senator Lee Overman of North Carolina presented the statue. Charles Randolph Thomas gave a speech as well. Unfortunately, it rained during the ceremony.

  • Controversies

    The monument was savagely vandalized in July 1989. Its granite base was severely chipped and covered with spray-painted graffiti. Fifty-eight of the monument’s sixty-three granite blocks had to be replaced, as did a quarter of the approximately 450 bronze letters that are applied to the monument’s granite faces. A re-dedication ceremony was held April 19, 1991 (on the 216th anniversary of the beginning of the Revolutionary War). The cost of restoration approached $200,000 and was covered by donations from local individuals, businesses, civic organizations, and National Park Service.

    Much of the graffiti was anti-police. It was theorized that the motivation behind the vandalism was a photo of the Greensboro police department in front of the monument used on the cover of the 1989 city phone directory.

  • Location

    Faces West

  • Landscape

    The placement of the monument is due to the elevation of the site, which is one of the highest points in the park. Proximity to the train station also played a role. An Amphitheater was later built in front of the monument. The monument was completed in 1939 and has since been partially dismantled, reducing the visual impact.

    Though the monument has not moved, other monuments within sight have been removed and added over time. A line of monuments along the Old Battle Ground Road (now a walking path) was previously visible running east from about 120 feet to the to the North. The nearest was Clio, The Muse of History, (removed in 1937), followed to the east by the Battle of Alamance and James Hunter Monuments (moved to Alamance County), The Battle of Kings Mountain Monument (removed in 1937), and lastly the David Schenck and Joseph Morehead (both moved to new locations in sight of the Greene monument). The former location of many of these monuments is now overgrown. Additionally, the train station and railway (now a bike path), the Battle Monument, and the Davidson and Nash Arches were easily seen from the Greene monument.

    Today, the Hooper-Penn monument and the Reynolds monument--which sits very close to where Clio once stood--are readily visible from Greene; a few others are noticeable in the distance.

    Click here to explore the site of the Greene Monument.

  • Post Dedication Use

    Photos show that the monument once had cannons on either side of the statue. They have since been removed.

  • Approval Process

    The National Fine Arts Commission helped select the winning version for the statue of Greene. The first effort to erect a monument to Gen. Greene in Guilford County was undertaken in 1857 by the organization of the Greene Monument Association. However, the Civil War disrupted the association and all funds were lost. Following the 1886 formation of the Guilford Battle Ground Company, a campaign was launched to secure congressional funding for a monument to Greene and the soldiers he led at the battle of Guilford Courthouse. In 1911 it finally succeeded when Congress appropriated $30,000 for this purpose. Sculptor Francis H. Packer received the commission for the monument, and on July 3, 1915 the work was dedicated.

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