Rhode Island Monument, New Bern National Cemetery, New Bern
Gorham Manufacturing Company, Foundry
William Whitney Manatt, Sculptor
This monument, dedicated to Rhode Island's volunteers to the Union Army, presents the bronze figure of a woman clad in classical dress. As an allegorical figure, she represents aspects of both Victory and Peace. With her gaze slightly downcast and eyes closed, she raises her left hand in a gesture of blessing and salute to the soldiers she honors. Lowered at her side, her right hand holds a wreath of laurel or olive leaves. The front of the monument bears an inscription on a polished square of the granite, and the rear displays a bas-relief of the seal of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Above the seal, the state motto is written: "HOPE".
The figure is approximately seven feet tall and sits on a low square granite base. The entire structure rests on a rough cut granite pedestal approximately four feet high that narrows slightly upward from the ground.
Front: ERECTED BY THE STATE OF / RHODE ISLAND TO COMMEMORATE / THE SERVICES OF RHODE ISLAND / VOLUNTEERS WHO GAVE UP THEIR /
LIVES IN NORTH CAROLINA DURING / THE CIVIL WAR 1861-1865 / FOURTH RHODE ISLAND INFANTRY / FIFTH RHODE ISLAND HEAVY / ARTILLERY - BATTERY F FIRST / RHODE ISLAND LIGHT ARTILLERY
New Bern National Cemetery, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
October 6, 1909
35.123410 , -77.053180 View in Geobrowse
"Rhode Island Monument, (sculpture)," Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog, # IAS 68000034, (accessed August 16, 2013) Link
"Rhode Island Monument, Section 9, Front Elevation. View to Southwest.-New Bern National Cemetery, 1711 National Avenue, New Bern, Craven County, NC," Prints & Photographs Online Catalog HALS NC-1-22, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, (accessed August 18, 2013) Link
"Rhode Islanders to Arrive Tonight," New Bern Weekly Journal (New Bern, NC), October 5, 1909.
"To Greet Rhode Island Visitors," New Bern Weekly Journal (New Bern, NC), September 28, 1909.
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior. "New Bern National Cemetery New Bern, North Carolina," National Cemeteries, (accessed August 16, 2013) Link
Powell, William S. and Beverly Tetterton. 2006. "Cemeteries, National and State," NCPEDIA, (accessed August 19, 2013) Link
RI.gov. "Origins of the Seal of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," State Symbols, (accessed August 18, 2013) Link
Rhode Island. New Berne Monument Commission. Report of the New Berne Monument Commission Made to the General Assembly at Its January Session, 1910. Providence: E.L. Freeman Co., 1910.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "New Bern National Cemetery," National Cemetery Administration, (accessed August 16, 2013) Link
“New Bern National Cemetery,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, www.cem.va.gov, (accessed August 20, 2016) Link
State of Rhode Island
The New Bern Board of Alderman deliberated appropriating sums for the receiving of the Rhode Island veterans and guests. Committees were formed to handle the arrangements and receptions, and the Daughters of the Confederacy as well as the Confederate Veterans were asked to join in hosting the reception. The unveiling of the Rhode Island Monument occurred without a parade at the National Cemetery at 2:30pm. School children from the local school sang at the ceremony. After the ceremony, the Governor, the monument commission, and a visiting party of veterans visited a New Bern battlefield and an old fort at Croatan where the veterans were able to reminisce on where they once served.
The monument was donated by the State of Rhode Island to commemorate the state's Civil War soldiers who died in North Carolina. The sculptor, William Whitney Manatt, was a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Three organizations within Rhode Island recruited men in the summer and fall of 1861 to be sent to the war. These men served for approximately three years.
The New Bern National Cemetery was established Feb. 1, 1867, north of downtown New Bern, a short distance from the western bank of the Neuse River. The cemetery is the final resting place for the Union soldiers, including 300 U.S. Colored Troops. Today, more than 6,500 people are interred in the cemetery’s 7.7 acres. The cemetery closed to new interments in 1996. The Rhode Island Monument at New Bern is one of four monuments sponsored by Union states that sent soldiers to North Carolina during the Civil War.
The monument is situated in the northeast corner of section 9 located on the south side of the central drive through the cemetery, at 1711 National Avenue, New Bern, NC. The New Jersey Monument, the Massachusetts Monument, and the Connecticut Monument stand nearby. Bivouac of the Dead and Gettysburg Address plaques are also located at this cemetery.
The monument is surrounded by the graves of veterans and their low white markers.
Col. Philip S. Chase, representing Battery F, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, first prepared a petition for the erection of a monument commemorating Rhode Island's troops fallen at New Bern. Connecticut and New Jersey had already dedicated monuments in the National Cemetery, and he felt that the 190 Rhode Island soldiers who died in the war deserved to be honored as well. A commission was organized on June 20, 1908, which eventually lead to approval of the construction of a monument.