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

    Alexander County Confederate Monument, Taylorsville

  • Type

    Common Soldier Statue

  • Subjects

    Civil War

  • City

    Taylorsville

  • County

    Alexander

  • Description

    The marble statue is a Confederate infantry soldier at parade rest standing atop a two tier base constructed of cut granite rocks laid around and supported by steel and concrete. The monument was built to honor all Alexander County Confederate Soldiers. It has three plaques, two of granite and one bronze. One of the granite plaques is an inclined slab at the monuments base, the other a part of the front face with the bronze tablet above. The inscription on the front face states that it was states’ rights and not slavery that motivated southern actions. The bronze tablet tells the story of a young man killed at the battle of Gettysburg. The statue was reported to weigh 1,345 pounds and the monument stands 22 feet from the base of the foundation to the top of the soldier's cap.

    Alexander County Commissioner’s purchased a “Jones six-pounder” cannon to accompany the statue. It was used at the battle of Gettysburg per an accompanying granite plaque. Next to the cannon is the Alexander County Confederate Dead monument with the names of county residents who lost their lives in the Civil War.

    Images: View with the Alexander County Confederate Dead Monument | Cannon marker | Base inscription | Close-up view | Front plaques

  • Inscription

    Front, bronze: THE YOUNG MAN WHO ADORNS THIS PEDESTAL / WAS KILLED AT GETTYSBURG, JULY3, 1863. / PERHAPS HIS DYING LIPS WERE MURMURING: / “OH, FATE OF THE JUST, THOU GAVEST ME / THIS BITTER CUP, AND I BOW TO THY / BEHEST AND DRINK IT UP.” / HE WAS A LAD OF “THE OLD SOUTH” WHOSE / NAME IS KNOWN BUT TO ME. / “HOW BRAVELY HER SONS CAN SAY FAREWELL.”

    Front, granite: FROM 1861-1865 THE HEROIC SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF / THE OLD SOUTH UNDER THE GREATEST GENERALS OF ALL TIMES / ROBERT E. LEE AND STONEWALL JACKSON FOUGHT WITH / GALLANTRY UNEQUALED IN ALL THE ANNALS OF HISTORY. / NOT FOR THE PRESERVATION OF SLAVERY BUT FOR OUR / GREATEST HERITAGE STATES RIGHTS. THOUGH THEY FAILED / THE MEMORIES OF THEIR HEROIC DEEDS WILL LINGER IN THE / HEARTS AND MINDS OF MEN LONG AFTER THESE STONES / HAVE CRUMBLED INTO DUST. / V.O. BECKHAM 1958

    Front base: LEE WAS OPPOSED TO SECESSION AND SLAVERY, HAVING FREED HIS / SLAVES 17 YEARS PRIOR TO THE WAR. JACKSON, BORN IN POVERTY, HAD / NO SLAVES, OPPOSED SLAVERY. AT TIME OF JOINING SOUTH WAS A / TEACHER OF A SQUALID NEGRO SUNDAY SCHOOL. GRANT OWNED SLAVES / WHICH WERE FREED BY EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. / “LET US MAKE TREASON ODIOUS BY HANGING THE CHIEFEST OF REBELS / ROBERT E. LEE,” TO WHICH GRANT NOTIFIED HIM THAT IF ONE HAIR IS / HARMED ON THE HEAD OF LEE HE WOULD TURN HIS VICTORIOUS ARMY / ON THE CITY OF WASHINGTON AND LEVEL IT TO THE EARTH.

    Cannon marker: PICKET’S CHARGE / AT 2:00 O’CLOCK P.M. THE BELCH AND ROAR / OF THIS JONES SIX-POUNDER CEASED AND OUT / OF THE GROVE ON SEMINARY RIDGE, GETTYSBURG, / MARCHED THE GREATEST BODY OF INFANTRY / THAT EVER CAREERED THE FIELDS OF BATTLE, TO HURL / ITSELF AGAINST THE UNION BATTERIES ON CEMETERY / RIDGE, ONLY TO BE ANNIHILATED IN A BLAZE OF / GLORY THAT WILL GLOW UNDIMMED THROUGHOUT / THE ROLLING FLOOD OF ENDLESS AGES.

  • Custodian

    Alexander County

  • Dedication Date

    Completed on June 1, 1959

  • Decade

    1950s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.922770 , -81.175420 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013) 213-215

      Hardy, Michael C., Remembering North Carolina’s Confederates (Charleston, SC: Acadia Publishing, 2006), 25, (accessed July 24, 2015) Link

      Keever, Homer. “Taylorsville Marker Slow Coming,” Statesville Record And Landmark (Statesville, NC) July 10, 1959

      “Confederate Monument Graces Courthouse Lawn,” The Taylorsville Times (Taylorsville, NC) October 1, 1959

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Granite from NC and Tennessee, concrete, steel, bronze, white Italian marble

  • Sponsors

    Virgil “Gus” Beckham and Alexander County

  • Monument Cost

    Statue and base: $2,722. Cannon: $1,175

  • Subject Notes

    When erected in 1959 this was the first Confederate soldier raised in the state in more than 30 years and none have been raised since. This monument is due to the efforts and money of Virgil “Gus” Beckham, a Taylorsville attorney. Stone to build the base was hauled personally by Beckham in his 1953 Chevy pickup and Beckham did much of the work himself. He would never reveal the name of the real person who was the model for the statue but it’s believed a photo of Jacob Lentz, his sister’s father-in-law, was used. Lentz survived the war and was not at Gettysburg.

  • Location

    The memorial is located on the lawn of the Alexander County Courthouse, 29 W. Main Avenue in Taylorsville, NC. It stands at the intersection of Center Street and W. Main Avenue, to the right when facing the courthouse main entrance. The Confederate Monument and Civil War cannon are grouped with the Alexander County Confederate Dead memorial. Across the courthouse lawn to the left are the World War I and World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars markers, and the Veterans Memorial Bell Tower.

  • Landscape

    The memorial stands on the courthouse lawn, under shady mature trees.

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