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

    Memorial to Civil War Soldiers of the University, UNC (Chapel Hill)

  • Type

    Common Soldier Statue

  • Subjects

    Civil War

  • Creator

    John Wilson, Sculptor

    Gorham Manufacturing Company, Foundry

  • City

    Chapel Hill

  • County

    Orange

  • Description

    The monument depicts a Confederate soldier facing north while grasping his rifle firmly in both hands. He lacks a cartridge box for ammunition. On the front of the monument a brass plaque depicts a woman clad in classical dress, representing North Carolina, resting her hand on the shoulder of a seated student, convincing him to take up arms.

    Images: Plaque Image | Left Inscription | Right Inscription

  • Inscription

    Left: ERECTED UNDER THE AUSPICES / OF THE / NORTH CAROLINA DIVISION / OF THE UNITED DAUGHTERS OF / THE CONFEDERACY / AIDED BY THE ALUMNI OF / THE UNIVERSITY

    Right: TO THE SONS OF THE UNIVERSITY / WHO ENTERED THE WAR OF 1861 – 65 / IN ANSWER TO THE CALL OF THEIR / COUNTRY AND WHOSE LIVES / TAUGHT THE LESSON OF / THEIR GREAT COMMANDER THAT / DUTY IS THE SUBLIMEST WORD / IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

  • Custodian

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Dedication Date

    June 2, 1913

  • Decade

    1910s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.913610 , -79.052110 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "'Silent Sam' A Yankee," Carolina Alumni Review (January 1975), 6, (accessed January 20, 2013) Link

      "As Time Goes By Sam Seems to Get Noisier," Carolina Alumni Review (November/December 2011), 10, (accessed January 20, 2013) Link

      "Breaking the Silence About Sam," Carolina Alumni Review (May/June 2000), 14, (accessed January 20, 2013) Link

      "Civil War Monument [Chapel Hill, NC], (sculpture)," Smithsonian Institution Research Information System IAS 64070005, (accessed January 17, 2013) Link

      "Confederate Soldiers' Monument, University of NC, Chapel Hill," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, (accessed December 12, 2012) Link

      "Graffiti on 'Silent Sam'" in the Hugh Morton Collection of Photographs and Films (P081), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link

      "L.A. Verdict, BCC Issue Stir Campus Concern," Carolina Alumni Review (Summer 1992), 29, (accessed January 20, 2013) Link

      "Photograph Album 0011: The Squirrel Hunter (Silent Sam Confederate Monument), January 1927: Scan 3," in the John Moran Frohock Photographic Collection (P0042), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (accessed January 15, 2013) Link

      "Silent Sam's on sabbatical," Carolina Alumni Review (Summer 1986), 2, (accessed January 20, 2013) Link

      "Soldiers' Monument. Chapel Hill, 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

      "Spring Cleaning for 'Sam'," The University Report 28:3 (May 1981), C1, (accessed January 20, 2013) Link

      "The Confederate Soldier," University of North Carolina Alumni Review (December 1967), C2, (accessed January 20, 2013) Link

      "The Soldiers' Monument Unveiled." University of North Carolina Alumni Review, Vol. 1:6 (June, 1913), 184-185, (accessed January 14, 2013) Link

      "UNC Student Life," in the Hugh Morton Collection of Photographs and Films (P081), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link

      "UNC-Chapel Hill student life, 1939-1942," in the Hugh Morton Collection of Photographs and Films (P081), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (accessed November 19, 2012) Link

      "Unveiling of the Confederate Monument, June 2, 1913" in Orange County, North Carolina Postcard Collection (P052), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill Link

      Aronson, Isaac-Davy and Frank Stasio. "Controversial Silent Sam Monument Turns 100," wunc.org, (accessed August 27, 2013) Link

      Carr, Julian Shakespeare. Dedication Speech in Folder 26 in the Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers #141, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see Scans 93-112 Link

      Chapman, John K. "Black freedom and the University of North Carolina, 1793-1960." PhD diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006. (accessed January 17, 2013) Link

      Hartley, Taylor. "Real Silent Sam movement holds protest focused on statue’s history," The Daily Tar Heel (Chapel Hill, NC), September 20, 2011, (accessed January 14, 2013) Link

      Letters in the University of North Carolina Papers #40005, University Archives, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, see folders 920, 921, 922, 923, 942, 964, 965, 966, 967, 970, 971, 972, 973, 974, 975, 976, 977, 978, 980, 981, 982 ,984, 985, 986, 987, 988, 989, (accessed January 14, 2013) Link

      London, Bettie Jackson. "Speech Made to the Trustees of the University of North Carolina to Present 'This Monument which is Erected in Memory of Those Students of this University who Served the Armies of the Confederate States of America.'" (1913), (accessed May 22, 2012) Link

      London, H.A. [Mrs.]. “To Be Erected at Chapel Hill,” Raleigh News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), March 14, 1911, 1 Link

      Oral History Interview with Conrad Odell Pearson, April 18, 1979. Interview H-0218. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Published by Documenting the American South, (accessed January 14, 2013) Link

      Photos from September 1, 2011 Demonstration: Re-Reading Julian Carr's 1913 Dedication Day Speech, | "Who is Silent?" A Poem About Silent Sam, | Image of Crowd, | Image of Crowd, | A new "plaque" awaits unveiling, | Crowd before unveiling of new "Plaque," | Side view of Statue before unveiling, | The new "plaque" unveiled, | Close up of new "plaque", | After the demonstration

      Tollerton, David. "The Legend of Silent Sam," Carolina Alumni Review (Summer 1992), 67, (accessed January 20, 2013) Link

      United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Fourteenth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division, Held at Rocky Mount N.C., October 12th, 13th, 14th 1910, [Raleigh, NC: Capital Printing Co., 1910], 25, 66, 108, (accessed September 3, 2012) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Sponsors

    North Carolina Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and University of North Carolina Alumni

  • Monument Cost

    $7,500

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Julian Carr spoke at the dedication of the monument in 1913. His speech recounted the heroic efforts of the men the monument honored as well as the women on the home front. The speech also spoke to the racialized nature of the commemoration as Carr tells this story: “100 yards from where we stand, less than 90 days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench, until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady.”

  • Nickname

    Silent Sam, originally brought about due to the statue's lack of ammunition which would cause him to be unable to fire his weapon.

  • Controversies

    Students and members of the Chapel Hill community regularly protest the statue's racial overtones, some pushing for its removal from the UNC campus and others for its relocation to the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery. This has sparked the "Real Silent Sam" movement, which hopes to create dialogue regarding the meanings behind monuments and buildings on campus.

  • Location

    The statue faces north as if to defend the Confederate South from the armies of the United States.

  • Landscape

    The monument sits at the center of McCorkle place on the UNC Campus. It is surrounded by campus buildings as well as a number of other monuments.

Know anything else about this monument that isn't mentioned here? If you have additional information on this or any other monument in our collection fill out the form at the Contact Us link in the footer. Thank you.