Massachusetts Monument, New Bern National Cemetery, New Bern
The Massachusetts Monument honors the soldiers from Massachusetts who died near New Bern while serving the Union Army in the Civil War. An allegorical sculpture, the monument presents the figure of Peace. Wearing classical dress and a wreath of laurel or olive leaves on her head, the larger than life size figure holds a shield in her left hand and a writing implement in her right hand as she gazes at the inscription on the shield. The shield is inscribed to acknowledge the return to peace and unity brought about by the soldiers' service. The granite pedestal contains an inscribed metal plaque with a dedication to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and her fallen soldiers.
Image: Photograph of the monument's unveiling
Shield: AFTER LOYAL CONFLICT, UNION AND PEACE
Front, plaque on pedestal: THE / COMMONWEALTH / OF / MASSACHUSETTS / ERECTS THIS / MONUMENT IN / GRATEFUL MEMORY / OF HER / SOLDIERS AND SAILORS / WHO DIED IN THE / DEPARTMENT OF / NORTH CAROLINA / 1861 – 1865.
Front, base: MASSACHUSETTS
Side, plaque on pedestal: 2 D MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 3 D MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 5 TH MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 8 TH MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 17 TH MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 21 ST MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 23 D MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 24 TH MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 25 TH MASS. VOL. INFANTRY
Side, plaque on pedestal: 27 TH MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 33 D MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 43 D MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 44 TH MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 45 TH MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 46 TH MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 51 ST MASS. VOL. INFANTRY / 2 D MASS. VOL. / HEAVY ARTILLERY
New Bern National Cemetery
November 11, 1908
35.123460 , -77.053470 View in Geobrowse
"Massachusetts Monument, New Bern National Cemetery, North Carolina," Waymarking.com, (accessed August 19, 2013) Link
"[Massachusetts Monument, National Cemetery, New Bern, N. C.]," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (accessed August 19, 2013) Link
"[Unveiling of Massachusetts Monument, National Cemetery, New Bern, N.C.]," in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (accessed May 14, 2013) Link
Gardner, James Brown. 1909. Massachusetts Memorial to Her Soldiers and Sailors Who Died in the Department of No. Carolina, 1861-1865, (Boston, MA: Gardner & Taplin, 1909), (accessed August 19, 2013)) Link
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Roe, Alfred S. The Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry In Its Three Tours Of Duty 1861, 1862-63, 1864, (Boston, MA: Fifth Regiment Veteran Association, 1911), (accessed August 19, 2013) Link
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“Honor Memories of Dead Comrades,” New Bern Weekly Journal (New Bern, NC), November 13, 1908.
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“The Monument Dedication,” New Bern Weekly Journal (New Bern, NC), November 10, 1908.
Bronze figure, granite base
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The unveiling ceremony began at 2:30 p.m. under ideal weather conditions with a crowd of over 2,000 people in the National Cemetery. All businesses in New Bern were closed as the town joined together in celebrating the memory of the Massachusetts solders. The North Carolina legislature appropriated $4,000 to ensure the travel expenses of veterans for adequate representation at the unveiling, and approximately 150 men and several women arrived from Massachusetts. General James Frankell acted as master of ceremonies, and a benediction was given by Rev. E. H. Hall, former Chaplain of the Massachusetts 44th. Addresses were made from a stand facing the monument, including the main addresses given by Judge Albert A. Putnam, Captain of the Second Heavy Artillery. Children sang “The Blue and the Grey” and “The Star Spangled Banner”.
On November 17, 1909, several days following the unveiling, the New Bern Weekly Journal ran a story of the event, with the lead: "Handsome Memorial Dedicated Last Wednesday By Surviving Comrades and Citizens, A Striking And Beautiful Statue of Granite And Bronze."
The Massachusetts Monument was built in honor of the 600 soldiers of the Commonwealth who lost their lives in the Civil War and are buried in the National Cemetery. Only a small number died in battle, as small pox and yellow fever took the lives of the majority. North Carolinians and Northerners joined together in an event that signaled reunion.
The sculptor, Melzar Mossman, from Chicopee, Massachusetts, was a member of the 46th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.
The New Bern National Cemetery was established Feb. 1, 1867, north of downtown New Bern, a short distance from the western bank of the Neuse River. The cemetery is the final resting place for the Union soldiers, including 300 U.S. Colored Troops. Today, more than 6,500 people are interred in the cemetery’s 7.7 acres. The cemetery closed to new interments in 1996. The Massachusetts Monument at New Bern is one of four monuments sponsored by Union states that sent soldiers to North Carolina during the Civil War.
The monument is located in the southeast corner of section 8 on the north side of the drive through the cemetery, at 1711 National Avenue, New Bern, NC. The New Jersey Monument, the Rhode Island Monument, and the Connecticut Monument stand nearby. Bivouac of the Dead and Gettysburg Address plaques are also located at this cemetery.
The monument is located in the grass-covered grounds of the cemetery surrounded by rows of small white grave markers.
After returning from vacation in North Carolina, Joseph E. Shaw, a former member of the Company C, 17th Infantry as well as then current chief of the District Police of Massachusetts, suggested that a monument be erected in honor of the Massachusetts troops. General Jones Frankell, a former colonel of the 2nd Heavy Artillery, became very enthusiastic about the effort. Since he was the most senior rank and had the largest number of men from his unit laid to rest in the cemetery, he requested to lead the movement. A petition was prepared to present to the House of Representatives, and eventually referred to the Committee on Military Affairs. The petitions were granted a hearing on February 21, 1907, and subsequently approved on March 22, 1907.