Source: Wilmington Confederate Monument
Confederate Monument, Wilmington
Erected to honor the courage and self-sacrifice of New Hanover County's Confederate soldiers, this monument presents two bronze sculptural figures framed by a tall granite stele. The figures represent two Confederate soldiers as the figures of courage and sacrifice. The figure of courage stands tall and determined, as he protects the body of his fallen comrade, the figure of sacrifice. The standing soldier is dressed in military attire and wearing a caped coat that floats in the air behind him as he holds his rifle in his right hand with the bayonet pointing upward. Unlike many Confederate soldier statues where the figure stands silently and obediently at parade rest, the standing soldier in this rendering wears no hat and is portrayed as if in motion, elegant and gallant. One soldier’s face is modeled after that of granite salesman John Ernest Ramsay of Salisbury, who provided the stone for the stele. The monument was apparently vandalized around 1950 with John Ramsay replacing the stone at that time.
The pedestal is inscribed with a commemoration in verse. It includes the Latin phrase Pro Aris et Focis. This phrase, literally translated as "for our altars and hearths", is also translated into the patriotic motto, "for God and country."
Images: Contemporary view | View from the intersection of South 3rd Street with Dock Street | Front inscription on pedestal | Rear inscription
On June 25, 2020 bronze statues of the Wilmington Confederate Monument and George Davis Monument were removed and the base and signage for both monuments were covered in black shrouds.
Front, stele: 1861 - 1865 / TO THE SOLDIERS OF / THE CONFEDERACY
Front, pedestal: CONFEDERATES BLEND YOUR RECOLLECTIONS / LET MEMORY WEAVE ITS BRIGHT REFLECTIONS / LET LOVE REVIVE LIFE'S ASHEN EMBERS / FOR LOVE IS LIFE SINCE LOVE REMEMBERS / PRO ARIS ET FOCIS / THIS MONUMENT IS A LEGACY OF GABRIEL JAMES BONEY / BORN WALLACE, N.C., 1845 - DIED WILMINGTON, N.C., 1915 / A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER
Rear, stele: ERECTED BY A COMMITTEE UNDER THE / TESTATOR'S WILL REPRESENTING THE / DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY, THE / CONFEDERATE VETERANS' ASSOCIATION / AND HIS EXECUTOR / MCMXXIV
City of Wilmington
November 6, 1924
34.234350 , -77.945910 View in Geobrowse
"Bacon, Henry (1866-1924)," North Carolina Architects & Builders: A Biographical Dictionary, (accessed November 4, 2011) Link
"Confederate Memorial Monument - Unveiling Ceremony," New Hanover Public Library Digital Archives, (accessed June 20, 2011) Link
"Confederate Soldiers Monument," The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed October 4, 2017) Link
"To the Soldiers of the Confederacy, (sculpture)," Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museum, SIRIS, sirismm.si.edu, # IASNC000008, (accessed June 28, 2013) Link
Bishir, Catherine W. Southern Built: American Architecture, Regional Practice, (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006), (accessed February 2, 2012) Link
Bowman, Jesse. “Two Confederate Statues Removed from Downtown Wilmington,” WECT.com, (Wilmington, NC), June 25, 2020, (accessed August 2, 2020) Link
Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013), 190-192
Campbell, Ken. “For Safety Reasons, City of Wilmington Removes Confederate Monuments,” WHQR.org, (Wilmington, NC), June 25, 2020 Link
Grimes, J. Bryan. "Why North Carolina Should Erect and Preserve Memorials and Mark Historic Places: Address Before the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association, Raleigh, N.C., November 4, 1909," ([Raleigh, NC: The News and Observer, 1909]), (accessed May 18, 2012) Link
Ingram, Hunter. “A Wilmington Lawyer Said She Is Not Convinced the Law Says the City Has to Put the Monuments Back Up,” Star News (Wilmington, NC), July 27, 2020, (accessed August 2, 2020) Link
“Confederate Monument Is Formally Unveiled,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), November 7, 1924
On November 6, 1924, the dedication and unveiling began with a parade formed at the Wilmington Light Infantry armory led by the band of Company A and a Light Infantry detachment. The procession also included Confederate veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Children of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Reverend A.D.P. Gilmore delivered the invocation followed by the featured speaker, General A.H. Boyden. As was typical he spoke of Confederate army’s battlefield glory but also raised the issue of soldier’s pensions which were a contentious state issue at the time. Virginia Boney, grand-daughter of the monuments donor unveiled the sculpture which had been covered by Confederate battle flags. Atypically for Confederate commemorations, “Dixie” was not played. As the monument was revealed; the band struck up the “Star Spangled Banner.”
The monument is also known as the Boney Monument.
Funds for the monument were provided for by the will of Gabriel James Boney, a Wilmington resident and Confederate veteran. He named the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to the committee to erect the monument. The monument was apparently vandalized in the 1950s, with James Ramsay of Salisbury providing a replacement for the stone. He had provided the stone for the original stele. The bayonet was damaged and replaced sometime in the late 1980s.
The monument’s designer, Henry Bacon, who lived in Wilmington as a child, most famous work is the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
Following the massacre of nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015 by white supremacist Dylann Roof, Americans, especially southerners, have reflected on and argued over the historical legacy of slavery, the Civil War, the Confederacy, and white supremacy. Monuments have been a particular focus of these debates and controversies, especially after the death of a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 and after President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to the removal of Confederate memorials. Despite laws in many southern states intended to prevent or impede the removal or relocation of historical monuments, protesters and local community leaders have removed or relocated controversial monuments associated with slavery, the Confederacy, and white supremacy. The pace of the removal of controversial monuments accelerated sharply in 2020, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Against the backdrop of protests against police brutality and white supremacy across the nation, local authorities in many communities in North Carolina removed and/or relocated monuments that were the focus of civil unrest.
In the early morning hours of June 25, 2020, Wilmington city officials had two bronze sculptures removed from the Wilmington Confederate Monument. The statue to George Davis was removed at the same time. A city official described the move as temporary and in compliance with North Carolina law. Given the protests after the George Floyd's killing the city spokesperson said the monuments had become a threat to public safety. They were moved to an undisclosed location. The base and signage for both monuments were not removed but later covered in black shrouds.
Two bronze sculptures have been removed from the base on June 25, 2020. The statue base remains but is covered with a dark shroud. The statue was being stored by the City of Wilmington at an undisclosed location.
Until its removal on June 25, 2020, the memorial stood at the intersection of South 3rd Street (U.S. 74) and Dock Street, in the median on South 3rd Street, Wilmington, NC. The front of the monument faced North.