Last Meetings of the Confederate Cabinet Commemorative Marker, Charlotte
Jno. Williams, Inc., New York, NY, Foundry
The monument consists of a rectangular stone marker with a bronze plaque explaining the commemorated event and the sponsors.
THE LAST MEETINGS / OF THE / CONFEDERATE CABINET / WERE HELD IN THIS BUILDING / AND THE SURRENDER OF / GEN. JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON / WAS AUTHORIZED FROM HERE / ON APRIL 24TH, 1865 / ERECTED BY / STONEWALL JACKSON CHAPTER / UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY / OCTOBER 6TH, 1915
Although maintained by the Charlotte Chamber of Economic Development and considered situated on a public space (Tryon Plaza), the land on which the marker rests was owned by the Southern National Bank, now the BB&T Corporation.
October 6, 1915
35.226730 , -80.843780 View in Geobrowse
"Daughters of the American Revolution, Mecklenburg Chapter Records," J. Murray Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte Link
"Old Phifer Home, Charlotte, N.C." in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill Link
Blythe, LeGette and Charles Brockman. "Some of the Principal Historical Markers, Monuments and Tablets of Charlotte and Mecklenburg" in Hornets' Nest. Appendix (Charlotte Mecklenburg Library: 1961), (accessed January 23, 2017) Link
Chandler, Ray. "Several cities lay claim to final meeting place of Confederacy," Online Athens (accessed June 16, 2014) Link
Davis, Burke. The Long Surrender. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.
Swanson, James L. Bloody Crimes: the Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse. New York: William Morrow/Harper Collins, 2010.
United Daughters of the Confederacy. United Daughters of the Confederacy - Patriot Ancestor Album. Paducah, KY: 1999.
Vaughan, John. "On Our Street," The Charlotte News, April 12, 1979.
Walmsley, James Elliot. "The Last Meeting of the Confederate Cabinet," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 336-349.
“Cabinet Tablet Is Unveiled,” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), October 7, 1915
“Confederate Tablet Unveiling,” The Charlotte News (Charlotte, NC), October 6, 1915
Stonewall Jackson Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy
The dedication service was opened with prayer by Rev. A.A. McGeachy followed by the song “Carolina.” An address was given by John A. McRae. After singing of “Bonnie Blue Flag,” the tablet was unveiled by Anna Jackson Preston, great granddaughter of Stonewall Jackson, Josephine Phifer Houston, Laura Tillett and Elizabeth Fore. The ceremony ended with the playing of “Dixie.”
With rumors of a potential Union attack on Charlotte, Jefferson Davis felt it was imperative that his cabinet roam throughout the city as they planned their defense strategy. After meetings at the Bank of North Carolina (on Tryon Street) as well as the homes of Confederate Attorney General George Davis, Secretary of the Treasury George Trenholm, and Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, Davis called the Confederate Cabinet's final meeting on April 26, 1865. During the period from April 18-26, 1865 Charlotte acted as the final capital of the Confederacy. It was also the site of the authorization of General Joseph Johnson's surrender to Sherman on April 26, 1865 following his Carolina Campaign, and his surrender at Bennett Place.
Some believe that the final meeting took place at the Phifer House where W. F. Phifer, Secretary Trenholm, Attorney General George Davis, and President Jefferson Davis had gathered to discuss the surrender. The group met at the Phifer residence because Trenholm (then Secretary of the Confederate Treasury) was confined to his bed. It is said that, at this meeting, the men decided that Jefferson should seek refuge from Richmond and set about making plans for his departure.
News articles about the dedication claim the last meeting was held at what became the Charlotte Observer building at 32 South Tyron Street. An article in The Charlotte News on October 6, 1915 claims that the cabinet first met in the sick room of Secretary Trenholm but President Davis and his cabinet used the Observer offices as a conference hall and the last full meeting was held there.
Although historians can agree on a relative time frame during early spring of 1865, the debate as to the precise location of Confederate President Jefferson Davis' final cabinet meeting continues. Some believe the location to have been the Phifer House located on what is now North Tryon Street but there are, in fact, four areas which lay claim to the last meeting of the Confederate Cabinet. These four locations include Charlotte (NC), Fort Mill (SC), Abbeville (GA), and Washington (GA). Primary contentions rest on what terminology defines an "official" meeting as well as what degree of business interactions constitute a formal cabinet meeting.
In his work, "The Long Surrender," Burke Davis argues that Charlotte is the location of the final meeting because, following the meeting, Attorney General George Davis did not continue with the party towards Georgia and away from Richmond.
The marker is located at 122 South Tryon Street in Charlotte, North Carolina and stands on what was once the location of the Old Phifer House. Today, the marker can be seen in front of the First Citizens Bank Plaza. It is approximately 300 ft. from the Jefferson Davis Plaque. There are eight other similar markers within five miles of this site.
Trees line the walkway along the road but the marker, itself, has little surrounding decoration. Across Tryon Street stands the North Carolina Highway Historical Marker for the same event.
When dedicated the tablet was attached to the exterior wall of the Charlotte Observer building “midway between the two entrances.” This building was demolished in the 1970’s and this is when the memorial was most likely moved to its current site where the Phifer House once stood. This site at some point became the home to Southern National Bank which merged with BB&T Corporation in the mid-1990’s.