Nash County Confederate Monument, Rocky Mount
This monument depicts a Confederate Common Soldier placed atop a tall Corinthian styled column. Both statue and column are composed of white marble. The soldier stands at attention with the Confederate flag at his side. The base of the monument is large and grand with large arched slabs of stone extending from the four corners outward to short columns on each corner. The initials of the Confederacy, "C.S.A.", are in bas-relief at the base of the tall column with the bas-relief image of three rifles below on the front of the base. The smooth front face to the left and right of the rifles is inscribed along with the three remaining faces of the base. Two shallow steps lead to the base.
Originally the statue of a soldier sat atop each of the short columns at the base. Two were stolen in the 1970’s and the other two removed for safekeeping. They are stored in a city-owned warehouse.
Images: Workers with Greenville Monument Co. dismantle and move the Confederate monument on June 29, 2020.
Front, base of column: C.S.A.
Front, to the left of the rifles: TO THE / CONFEDERATE / SOLDIERS OF / NASH COUNTY / WHO IN 1861 IN / OBEDIENCE TO THE / SUMMONS OF THEIR / STATE FREELY OFFERED / THEIR LIVES, / THEIR / FORTUNES, / AND THEIR / SACRED HONOR / ON BEHALF OF / THE CAUSE OF /
Front, to the right of the rifles: CONSTITUTIONAL / LIBERTY AND SELF / GOVERNMENT / AND THROUGH FOUR / YEARS OF WAR / SO BORE THEMSELVES / IN VICTORY AND DEFEAT / AS TO WIN THE / PLAUDITS OF THE WORLD / AND SET AND EXAMPLE OF / EXALTED AND UNSEEN / PATRIOTISM WHICH WILL / EVER BE AN UNFAILING / INSPIRATION TO ALL / FUTURE GENERATIONS OF / AMERICAN CITIZENS
Front, steps: BUILT BY ROBERTS MARBLE CO. BALL GROUND GA
Rear: THIS MONUMENT / ERECTED BY A / SURVIVING COMRADE
Right side: THE NAMES OF THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS / FROM NASH COUNTY CAN BE FOUND IN THE / MEMORIAL VOLUME OF THE VARIOUS LIBRARIES / OF THE STATE AND THE CLERKS OFFICE OF NASH / COUNTY N.C.
Left side: THIS MONUMENT IS COMMITTED TO THE / CARE OF BETHEL HEROES CHAPTER / U.D.C. WHO WITH THEIR SISTER DAUGHTERS / ARE PRESERVERS OF SOUTHERN IDEALS.
City of Rocky Mount
May 14, 1917. Rededication: 1976
35.962130 , -77.805440 View in Geobrowse
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"Monument to Nash County Dead was Unveiled Today," Evening Telegram (Rocky Mount, NC), May 14, 1917, 1
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United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Fourteenth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division, Held at Rocky Mount N.C., October 12th, 13th, 14th 1910, [Raleigh, NC: Capital Printing Co., 1910], 113, (accessed September 5, 2012) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Twentieth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina Division, Held at Gastonia, North Carolina, October 11, 12, 13, 1916 (Wilmington, N.C: Wilmington Stamp and Printing Company), 65-66, (accessed September 7, 2012) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina Division, Held at Winston-Salem, North Carolina, October 25, 26, 27, 1921 (Gastonia, N.C.: Brumley-Walters Printing Co.), 147, (accessed September 15, 2012) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Twenty-First Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina Division, Held at Kinston, North Carolina, October 10, 11, 12, 1917 ([United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1917]), 116, (accessed September 7, 2012) Link
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Shaft and statue: Georgia marble
Colonel R. H. Ricks
The monument was dedicated on May 14, 1917 in Riverside Park. A procession began at the Ricks Hotel led by mounted marshals, the 1st N.C. Regiment Band, five troops of Boy Scouts, the Junior Bethel Heroes Chapter, three troops of Girl Scouts, school children, and automobiles. "America" and "Bonnie Blue Flag" were sung by children. Governor Bickett delivered the address, and the monument was unveiled by R. H. Ricks and Richard Thorp. Following the service, a "genuine Nash County barbecue dinner" was served.
Rocky Mount was the site of Rocky Mills, a large mill complex begun in 1818. Slave labor provided the manpower until 1852. On July 20, 1863, the mills were targeted by Union General Edward E. Potter with six companies dispatched to the destroy them.
The monument was sponsored by Colonel R. H. Ricks, a Rocky Mount native and Confederate veteran, who donated funds for its purchase and installation. The monument originally had four soldiers mounted on the short columns at the base. In 2012, the local Bethel Heroes Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy began an effort under their president, Ellie Lee, to raise funds to restore the monument. As of 2012, this effort was still in progress. In 1976 another restoration effort took place, and the monument was rededicated at that time to veterans of all wars from Nash and Edgecombe counties.
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 Rocky Mount City Council voted 6-1 to remove the monument on June 2, 2020. Crews began removing it on June 29. The city entered into a contract with the company Greenville Monument Co. to remove the Confederate monument at a cost of $281,250, according to city officials. Rocky Mount mayor Sandy Roberson said the monument will be stored in a warehouse and will likely end up on a private property.
On June 29, 2020, the memorial was dismantled and removed from Riverside Park on the east side of Falls Road in Rocky Mount, NC. According to Rocky Mount mayor Sandy Roberson, the monument will be stored in a warehouse and will likely end up on a private property.
The monument was located in Riverside Park on the east side of Falls Road in Rocky Mount, NC, until its removal on June 29, 2020. The Riverside Park is on Benvenue / Falls Road (State Highway 43/48) near Stonewall Drive, on the left when traveling south. The monument sat in a grassy area alongside the road, surrounded by woods.
In 1921, the Bethel Heroes Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy planted sixteen trees marked with bronze tablets in memory of the descendants of veterans in an effort to beautify the monument grounds.