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

    Robert E. Lee Memorial, Sanford

  • Type

    Wall

  • Subjects

    Historic Military Figures

    Local History

    Civil War, 1861-1865

  • Creator

    Casteel Sculptures, LLC, Sculptor

    Gary Casteel, Gettysburg, PA, Sculptor

  • City

    Sanford

  • County

    Lee

  • Description

    This monument features a large bronze bas-relief portrait tablet of Confederate General Robert E. Lee for whom Lee County was named. The bas-relief is attached to a free standing red brick wall like structure almost 11 feet wide and 7 feet tall including two flanking support columns. White brick tops the structure and outline the bronze plaques. A history of Lee’s life appears on the bronze plaque attached to the back of the wall.

    Images: Bas-relief | Memorial wall and Lee County courthouse | Back side | Artist signature

  • Inscription

    Front, east face: ROBERT EDWARD LEE / 1807 – 1870

    Rear, west face, large plaque: “DUTY IS THE SUBLIMEST WORD IN OUR LANGUAGE. DO YOUR DUTY IN ALL THINGS. / YOUR CANNOT DO MORE. YOU SHOULD NEVER WISH TO DO LESS. / GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE / BORN JANUARY 19, 1807 AT STRATFORD HALL, WESTMORELAND COUNTY, VIRGINIA. / SON OF HENRY “LIGHT HORSE HARRY” LEE AND ANNE CARTER LEE. / 1825-1830 ATTENDED THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT. / GRADUATED SECOND IN HIS CLASS WITH THE DISTINCTION OF BEING THE ONLY CADET TO NEVER RECEIVE A DEMERIT. / JUNE 30, 1831 MARRIED MARY CUSTIS AND RESIDED AT ARLINGTON HOUSE, VIRGINIA. / 1846-1848 SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY DURING THE MEXICAN WAR. / AFTERWARDS WAS REFERRED TO AS “THE VERY BEST SOLDIER I EVER SAW IN THE FIELD,” BY GEN. WINFIELD SCOTT. / SEPTEMBER 1, 1852 – MARCH 31, 1855 SERVED AS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY. / APRIL 1, 1865 PROMOTED TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL OF THE SECOND UNITED STATES CALVARY. / IN 1861 OFFERED COMMAND OF ALL UNITED STATES TROOPS, BUT DECLINED SAYING, “I CANNOT RAISE MY HAND AGAINST / MY BIRTHPLACE, MY HOME, MY CHILDREN.” / JUNE 1, 1862 GIVEN COMMAND OF THE CONFEDERATE FORCES HE WOULD NAME THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA. / JANUARY 31, 1865 APPOINTED GENERAL-IN-CHIEF OF THE CONFEDERATE ARMY. / APRIL 12, 1865 SURRENDERED THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINA AT APPOMATTOX COURTHOUSE, VIRGINIA. / OCTOBER 2, 1865 NAMED PRESIDENT OF WASHINGTON COLLEGE (LATER WASHINGTON AND LEE) LEXINGTION, VIRGINIA / OCTOBER 12, 1870 DIED IN LEXINGTON, VIRGINIA AT AGE SIXTY- THREE. / 1907 LEE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA FORMED. NAMED IN HONOR AND MEMORY OF GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE. / “IT IS BETTER TO DO RIGHT, EVEN IF WE SUFFER IN SO DOING, / THAN TO INCUR THE REPROACH OF OUR CONSCIENCE AND POSTERITY.”

    Rear, west face, small plaque: ERECTED BY / ROBERT E. LEE / SOCIETY

  • Custodian

    Lee County

  • Dedication Date

    April 14, 2007

  • Decade

    2000s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.467330 , -79.162840 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      “About Gary Casteel,” The Fine Art of Gary Casteel, www.garycasteel.com, (accessed September 5, 2015) Link

      “Minutes Of The Regular Meeting Of The Board Of Commissioners For The County of Lee, State of North Carolina,” Lee County, NC, December 4, 2006

      “The Lee County Memorial,” Casteel Sculptures, LLC, Facebook, www.facebook.com, (accessed November 24, 2015) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze, brick

  • Sponsors

    Robert E. Lee Society

  • Subject Notes

    The sculptor, Gary Casteel, is known for his General James Longstreet equestrian erected in the Gettysburg National Military Park. The National Civil War Memorial Commission has chosen Casteel to create a memorial in stone and bronze, depicting the complete four year struggle.

  • Location

    The memorial is located between the rear of the old Historic Lee County courthouse and the entrance to the modern Courthouse. The Lee County courthouse complex is located at 1400 S Horner Blvd. in Sanford, NC. Entrance to the parking lot is off of Courtland Drive.

  • Landscape

    The memorial wall stands on a brick paved courtyard.

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