Confederate Monument, Goldsboro
A cloaked confederate soldier holds his gun vertically by the top of the barrel while the butt rests at his feet. The statue is constructed of “white bronze” (zinc) and stands on a shaft and base of granite. On the shaft’s cap is a pair of crossed artillery pieces in relief. The monument resides on a mass burial mound holding the bodies of 800 Union and Confederate soldiers. Stanzas from the poem “The Bivouac of the Dead" by Theodore O’Hara appear on the front.
In 2003 a series of granite blocks were placed around the burial mound by the Goldsboro Rifles, the original sponsor. The blocks hold the names of approximately 600 of the 800 soldiers thought to be buried under the monument.
Front, East side: IN MEMORY OF / THE CONFEDERATE DEAD / 1861-1865. / EIGHT HUNDRED / REST HERE
South side: “ON FAME’S ETERNAL CAMPING GROUND, / THEIR SILENT TENTS ARE SPREAD, / AND GLORY GUARDS THE SOLEMN ROUND, / THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD.
Rear, West side: A GENEROUS FOE / CONTRIBUTED TO THE ERECTION OF / THIS MEMORIAL. North side: ERECTED / UNDER THE AUSPICES / OF THE / GOLDSBORO RIFLES / MAY 10, A.D. 1883.
2003 Inscription, granite slab in front of monument: IN THIS GRAVE OF 800 CONFEDERATE DEAD, ARE OVER 200 / SOLDIERS THAT REMAIN UNKNOWN, BUT THEIR NAMES / ARE RECORDED UPON THE SCROLLS OF HEAVEN AND ARE / KNOWN TO GOD.
ERECTED BY THE GOLDSBORO RIFLES MAY 18TH, 2003
May 10, 1883. Rededication: May 18, 2003
35.375290 , -77.995360 View in Geobrowse
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[Senator Zebulon Vance], Goldsboro Messenger (Goldsboro, NC), April 5, 1883
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The shaft and upper base are of Quincy granite. The foundation is native granite donated by the state from a quarry at the state penitentiary. “White Bronze” was a proprietary treatment of cast zinc produced by the Monumental Bronze Company and its subsidiaries. Cast pieces were soldered internally to avoid visible seams. The outer surface was then sandblasted to create a carved-stone appearance.
A procession led by the Goldsboro Coronet Band and the Goldsboro Rifles organized at the courthouse. Upon arrival at the burial mound the invocation was given by Rev. George W. Dane. The monument was then unveiled prior to Captain Swift Galloway introducing the day’s orator, U.S. Senator Matt. W. Ransom who was a Confederate General during the war. During his speech, he commented on the contributions of Northern businessmen to the monument’s cost. He viewed this as “evidence of restored peace between the people of the two sections with more than ordinary gratification and hope.”
After the Civil War ended, the Young Ladies of Wayne Female College felt a need to give a decent burial to fallen soldiers in the area who lay in shallow graves or still on battlefields. They formed a Ladies Memorial Association (LMA) and led search efforts that resulted in over 800 bodies being reinterred in a mass grave in Willowdale Cemetery. They included both Union and Confederate dead.
In July 1882, a group of elite Wayne County business men and descendants of Confederate veterans formed the Goldsboro Rifles to “perpetuate the name and fame of the old organization” which had served as Company A, 27th Regiment, N.C. Infantry during the war. In September 1882, they announced plans to erect a monument over the mass grave at Willowdale. The Goldsboro Rifles held a fair that raised $750 of the amount needed in late 1882. In April 1883, the Ladies Memorial Association held a three-day festival to raise the remaining funds. A list of items for this “bazaar” probably explains the inscription to “generous” foes. Most of the items came from northern businesses, likely the wholesale suppliers to Goldsboro retail operations. In appreciation for their support the LMA was allowed to organize events of dedication day.
“The Bivouac of the Dead" by Theodore O’Hara is an elegiac poem that expresses feelings of melancholy, sorrow or lamentation—especially for a person or persons who are dead. Although O’Hara wrote “Bivouac” as a remembrance of the many casualties suffered in the Mexican War by the Second Kentucky Regiment of Foot Volunteers it seemed to capture the attention of a patriotic nation after the Civil War. It began to appear in various forms at Civil War battlefields and cemeteries across the county, including the first monument placed in North Carolina at Cross Creek Cemetery in Fayetteville, in Lenoir, and Lumberton.
Senator Zebulon B. Vance, a Civil War Governor of North Carolina, had been invited twice to deliver his speech, "The Scattered Nation," to benefit the monument fund. He declined on the grounds that he was too busy or needed rest. The Goldsboro Rifles and older veterans were disappointed by this and “put out” as Vance had found time to make speeches in New York but was unable to help the Wayne County “monument cause.”
The statue faces east. It stands in the center of Willow Dale Cemetery at 306 East Elm Street Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina, 27530-5840.
Located in south-central Goldsboro, the monument stands in the center of Willow Dale Cemetery, surrounded by the mass grave of the 800 Union and Confederate soldiers it honors.
Each year, the statue serves as the center of a wreath laying ceremony at the cemetery conducted by the Thomas Ruffin Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Goldsboro Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The monument was funded and approved by the Ladies Memorial Association in Wayne County.