Confederate Soldiers Monument, Greensboro
The Confederate Monument at Green Hills Cemetery marked the mass grave of approximately 300 unknown Confederate soldiers. The statue features a soldier wearing a great coat and kepi (cap) with his proper left foot slightly in front of the right. The musket butt rests on the ground and is gripped by the proper right hand with the left arm resting on the end of the weapon’s barrel. The statue was formed of stamped copper and manufactured by the Bakewell & Mullins Company of Salem, Ohio. The statue stands on a granite column formed from two pieces of stone which in turn stands on a triple base. On the column above the inscription is a large metal Great Seal of the Confederacy. A circular courtyard of light brown paver stones surrounds the base. A low stone wall of the same color, topped with three sections of metal fence, further outlines the memorial site. Welded into the center fence section is: 1861 CSA 1865. A flag pole with Confederate flag stands left of the monument.
Since its dedication in 1888, the monument has seen several restorations and additions. It was vandalized in 1969 during a period of civil rights unrest and the gun and hand holding it broken off. It was repaired through efforts of Elihu Walker Camp 1290, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SVC). The hand and gun were not recovered and the replacements are of bronze. In 1984, the John Sloan Camp, SCV 1290 led a second restoration and added the second granite column section to raise the statue’s height. During Confederate Memorial Day services on May 10, 2008, the Great Seal of the Confederacy was dedicated. Later in 2008 a tree limb fell during a storm causing severe damage to the statue. The John Sloan Camp 1290 also led this restoration effort. Evidence of repairs can be seen on the soldiers back and legs. Erosion of the burial mound forced further modifications to the site and on May 10, 2011 the protective and memorial wall was dedicated. In 2017 the 1888 inscription was extended, noting that the Ladies’ Memorial Association, the original sponsor of the monument, was the predecessor to the Guilford Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy.
Images: Front view | Fence | Great Seal of the Confederacy | Inscriptions | Landscape View | Side view |
Only the base of the toppled monument remains
1888 Inscription: OUR / CONFEDERATE DEAD / 1861-65 / DEDICATED TO THE / MEMORY OF / 300 UNKNOWN SOLDIERS / BY THE LADIES’ / MEMORIAL ASSO. OF / GREENSBORO, N.C.
November 17, 2017 addition to inscription: WHICH BECAME / DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY / GUILFORD CHAPTER 301, 1899
Base Inscription, top of upper base: ERECTED IN 1888
1969 Plaque, front of upper base: RESTORATION MAY 10, 1969 / ELIHU WALKER CAMP 1290 / SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
1984 Plaque, front of middle base section: 2ND RESTORATION MAY 10, 1984 / COL. JOHN SLOAN CAMP 1290 / SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
September 26, 1888
36.082750 , -79.796790 View in Geobrowse
Associated Press & Mitch Northam. "Statue Marking Graves of Confederate Soldiers Is Toppled in Greensboro," WUNC 91.5, NPR, July 9, 2020, (accessed July 16, 2020) Link
Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013), 13, 31-32, 84,
Moore, Carol. Guilford County and the Civil War, (Arcadia Publishing, 2015), 105-9, 116-117, (accessed August 22, 2017) Link
Powell, Benjamin. “Keeper of Monument Desecrated by Underwear: ‘It’s Vile,” wfmynews2.com, WFMY2news, August 16, 2017, (accessed August 22, 2017) Link
“Impressive Ceremonies at the Unveiling of the Confederate Monument,” The Daily Evening Patriot (Greensboro, NC), September 27, 1888
“North Carolina News,” News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), April 26, 1888
“Our Confederate Dead,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed August 22, 2017) Link
“The Confederate Monument,” Greensboro North State (Greensboro, NC), October 4, 1888
“The Firemen’s Tournament,” Greensboro North State (Greensboro, NC), October 4, 1888
Stamped copper, bronze, granite
Ladies Memorial Association of Greensboro
Statue: $350. Die stone estimated at $100, other stone blocks for base donated by state of North Carolina.
After several delays, the monument was dedicated in conjunction with a “Firemen’s Tournament” held in Greensboro on September 26-27, 1888. The Rev. Dr. J. Henry Smith opened with prayer to “the memory of those brave, true men whose lives had been given nobly to a noble cause.” Mayor J.A. Barringer gave an impassioned speech on the “political causes that ushered in the great revolution.” A dedicatory poem was recited by Miss Daisy Caldwell. The monument was then unveiled by Miss Caldwell and Misses Alice Jones, Mary Dixon and Retta Leftwich.
In the late 1860’s the Greensboro Ladies Memorial Association purchased a piece of land near a church on Ashe Street. Along with the Eclectic Club, a mixed-gender literary society, the Ladies re-interred hundreds of unknown Confederate soldiers remains in a mass grave. The majority of those buried were 234 men from the battle at Bentonville who died of their wounds after evacuation to Greensboro. In 1884 the church graveyard was to be abandoned and the bodies were moved again to the city’s newly created Green Hill Cemetery along with additional remains from other sites. This monument is an example of a memorial placed by Ladies Memorial Associations in the years prior to 1900 as part of their efforts ensure proper burial of Confederate dead. This memorial as with many other of the early Confederate memorials marked mass burial sites. The memorial associations call to action arose in response to harsh post-war attitudes with Federal authorities threatening to throw Southern corpses “in the public road” and with Confederate burials called “dishonored graves.”
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.
The monument had previously been vandalized in 1969 and was damaged in 2008 when a large tree limb fell on it. On August 16, 2017, the statue was vandalized when soiled male underwear was thrown on the statue. This monument was among several that was vandalized 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.
Over the July 4, 2020 weekend, the monument was toppled over at the city-owned Green Hill Cemetery. City spokesman Jake Keys said it's unknown who is responsible. The base of the monument still remains.
The monument was pulled down on the weekend of July 4, 2020. It was then removed from the cemetery and placed in storage after suffering "pretty extensive" damage, according to Frank B. Powell, a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans. It is unclear if the monument will be re-erected in the cemetery, or if it will be moved to private property. As of July 9, it remained in storage.
The monument stood in Green Hill Cemetery, 901 Wharton St, Greensboro, NC. The monument was surrounded by tomb stones, mature trees and well-maintained lawn and landscaping.
Annual Confederate Day Memorial Services sponsored by United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of Confederate Veterans chapters are held in early May each year.