Pitt County Confederate Soldiers Monument, Greenville
This monument presents a Common soldier statue situated atop a tall tapered column. The soldier stands with his arms crossed as they rest atop the muzzle of his rifle with the butt resting on the ground in front of him. He wears a Confederate uniform with a wide brimmed hat.
The column bears a bas-relief image of a Confederate flag unfurled around its pole. The plinth contains a medallion above the inscription, and the initials of the Confederate States of America are engraved on the cap above.
Images: Vintage postcard image, circa 1915-1930 |
The statue on top of the Confederate monument outside the Pitt County courthouse is removed on June 22, 2020.
Front: OUR CONFEDERATE DEAD
Right: TO THE HEROES OF 1861-1865
Left: ERECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF PITT COUNTY IN GRATEFUL / REMEMBRANCE OF THE COURAGE & FORTITUDE OF HER CONFEDERATE / SOLDIERS
Rear: DEDICATED 1914
Pitt County Courthouse
November 13, 1914
35.613370 , -77.372650 View in Geobrowse
"Group Wants Confederate Monument Removed from Pitt Courthouse," WRAL.com, www.wral.com, February 23, 2006, (accessed June 16, 2013) Link
"Pitt County Court House, Greenville, 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 June 16, 2013) Link
"Pitt County Courthouse, Greenville," 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 June 13, 2013) Link
'NC County Removes Confederate Monument Outside of Courthouse," www.wspa.com, Jun 22, 2020, (accessed July 24, 2020) Link
Associated Press & Mitch Northam. "Pitt County Removes Part of Confederate Monument in Greenville," WUNC.91.5, www.wunc.org, Jun 22, 2020, (accessed July 24, 2020) Link
Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments: An Illustrated History (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2013), 136.
Kraft, Ariana. “NC Community Has Mixed Emotions About Move of Confederate Monument to Neighborhood,” CBS17, March11, 2021, (accessed March 15, 2021) Link
Livingston, Ginger. “Commissioners Approve Confederate Monument Relocation,” The Standard (Snow Hill, NC), February 4, 2021, (accessed March 15, 2021) Link
Norris, David. "'The Yankees Have Been Here!': The Story of Brig. Gen. Edward E. Potter's Raid on Greenville, Tarboro, and Rocky Mount, July 19-23, 1863," The North Carolina Historical Review Vol LXXIII: 1 (January 1996).
Pitt County [North Carolina] Board of Commissioners. "February 20, 2006 Minutes," (accessed June 16, 2013) Link
United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division. Minutes of the Fourteenth Annual Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Held at Rocky Mount N.C., October 12, 13, 14, 1910, 94, (accessed June 14, 2013) Link
“Confederate Monument to Be Erected,” New Berne Weekly Journal (New Bern, NC), October 23, 1914
“Memorable Day for Pitt County People,” The Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, NC), November 14, 1914
A reference in the United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division, annual meeting minutes from 1910 indicates the George B. Singletary Chapter No. 313 at Greenville was organizing that year for laying of the cornerstone of the monument. The monument itself indicates sponsorship by the citizens of Pitt County.
$3,300 - 3,500
The monument was dedicated on November 13, 1914, and the address was given by Governor Locke Craig.
During the days of July 19 to 23, 1863, Greenville was raided as part of the Union effort under General Edward Potter to disable the rail routes in the eastern part of the state along with the cotton mills at Rocky Mount. Potter's advance through New Bern, Kinston, Greenville, Rocky Mount, and Tarboro has become known as Potter's Raid. Potter and his troops entered Greenville on Sunday the 19th without being met by Confederate troops. Locals reported widespread looting by the Union soldiers following the departure of the troops late in the afternoon.
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 Pitt County monument has been the subject of calls for removal since 2006. A group of citizens petitioned county commissioners requesting removal of the statue from its installation on public property.
On June 15, 2020, the Board of Commissioners voted 7-2 in favor of the “immediate removal” of the monument. The statue is owned by the county and with the reason of threatened public safety, the commissioners have the legal authority to take it down. The county manager said the cost for removal and storage of the monument will probably cost around $100,000. This will come from the board’s contingency fund left over for unforeseen expenses. To minimize traffic control and safety concerns, crews began work at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, June 22 and worked for approximately 5 and 1/2 hours on the removal process. Pitt County officials said, “Immediately upon removal, the statue transported to a secure, monitored location where it will be preserved and stored (along with all other components, once removed) until a relocation committee, appointed by the Pitt County Board of Commissioners determines a permanent location.”
In January 2021 the relocation committee recommended that the statue be donated to the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. which would then be responsible for maintenance. Pitt County was to pay for relocating and re-erecting the statue on its original pedestal with the total cost, including the removal in June 2020, estimated at $100,000.
On February 1, 2021 the Pitt County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted on a new location for the monument which immediately caused further controversy. The commission approved moving the statue to land on Highway 43 South in the Chiod community in southern Pitt County owned by former county commissioner Ephraim Smith. Some members of the Chiod community then complained about the lack of transparency in this decision and were opposed to having the monument relocated there. This led members of the county commissioners to back track somewhat and explain that this was not a done deal. Legal paperwork needed to be approved and further discussions were needed about placement of the monument with Mr. Smith and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The outcome of these discussions would determine if the plan would move forward.
On Monday, June 22, 2020, crews removed the bronze statue that tops the monument outside the Pitt County Courthouse in Greenville. Due to mechanical issues with a contracted crane, the pedestal and base from the monument remained to be taken down at a later time.
There are other memorials nearby the place where the monument stood (on the right side of the courthouse grounds at the corner of West 3rd and South Evans Streets.) A George Washington Visit marker is located to the left of the main entrance. The memorial to World War One, World War Two and Korean War dead can be seen on this historic postcard directly in front of the memorial. The Vietnam and Iraqi Freedom War memorial was originally located to the left side (when facing) of the Confederate Memorial. Both memorials were most likely moved in 1989 when the Veterans Memorial was dedicated on the Town Commons. The courthouse is located at 100 W. Third Street in Greenville, NC.
The monument stood on the right side of the courthouse grounds at the corner of West 3rd and South Evans Streets. It faced south. The monument sat in the lawn between a walkway connecting the south and east entrances to the courthouse and the sidewalk along West 3rd and South Evans Streets. Mature trees are located on the edge of the lawn area as they flanked the monument.