Thomas L. Clingman Monument, Asheville
The white marble monument is an obelisk shaped shaft atop a pedestal base with a total height of approximately 20 feet. The pedestal consists of six separate blocks of varying heights with a decorative cap atop which sits the six feet tall shaft. Inscriptions are on three sides with the one on the left also showing Clingman’s Dome in low relief above the inscription.
Images: Clingman’s gravesite | Front inscription | Right inscription | Clingman’s Dome
Front: IN HONOR OF / T.L. CLINGMAN, / COL. 25TH N.C. REGT. / BRIG. GEN. / CONFEDERATE ARMY, / UNITED STATES / SENATOR.
Right side: ERECTED BY / R.E. LEE CHAPTER / CHILDREN OF THE / CONFEDERACY / AND FRIENDS. Left: CLINGMAN’S DOME / SMOKY RANGE 6660 FT / NEXT TO MT MITCHELL, / 6714 FT HIGHEST EAST OF / ROCKIES.
Rear base: CLINGMAN
November 8, 1905
35.600000 , -82.570310 View in Geobrowse
"Buncombe County Court House, Asheville, N.C." in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill. Link
Butler, Douglas J. North Carolina Civil War Monuments, An Illustrated History, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013) 66-70, 73
Hardy, Michael C. “Three of Asheville’s Confederate Monuments,” Looking for North Carolina’s Civil War, (accessed June 4, 2015) Link
Kearney, Jr.,H. Thomas. “Clingman, Thomas Lanier,” NCPedia.org, (accessed June 5, 2015) Link
“Monument To Clingman,” The Concord Daily Tribune (Concord, NC), November 1, 1905
“Monuments to Mountain Heroes,” Daily Industrial News (Greensboro, NC), November 9, 1905
“Three Shafts Are Unveiled,” The Morning Post (Raleigh, NC), November 9, 1905
Robert E. Lee Chapter, Children of the Confederacy
November 8, 1905 saw the unveiling of three monuments, all located on the grounds of the Buncombe County Courthouse. Last unveiled, the monument to the 60th NC Volunteers was draped in white and with eight ribbons hanging from the corners and held by eight little girls; grandchildren of regiment veterans. As the crowd sang, “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” the covering was removed. The monument to Colonel William B. Creasman had been unveiled first by either his descendants or grandchildren of soldiers from his unit the 29th NC Regiment. Next unveiled by members of the Robert E. Lee Chapter, Children of the Confederacy was the obelisk to General Thomas L. Clingman.
Due to poor weather the crowd was then moved inside the courthouse. The keynote address by Governor Robert B. Glenn was to “honor the memory of the brave men who carried the cross barred flag furthest in battle line.” County Commissioner (later governor) Locke Craig accepted the monuments on behalf of the county with an “eloquent tribute to the soldiers.” Other notables present included Captain J.P. Harvey of Asheville and Colonel James M. Ray, acting commander of the 60th Regiment at Chickamauga. The event concluded with a benediction by Bishop A. Coke Smith. During the ceremony a collection was taken up to help complete payment of the Clingman and Creasman memorials. About 1,500 people were in attendance.
This was the first and only time in state history when multiple Civil War monuments were dedicated in a single event.
The phrase “First at Bethel; farthest to the front at Gettysburg and Chickamauga; Last at Appomattox,” is known as North Carolina’s “Rebel Boast.” In a famous Confederate charge at the battle of Chickamauga on September 20, 1863 it was the 60th NC that reached the furthest point which brought fame to the unit and inclusion in the boast.
Thomas Clingman (27 July, 1812 – 3 November, 1897) was an antebellum political leader, Civil War general, and proponent for Western North Carolina development. During his political career he served in both houses of the NC Legislature and both houses of the United States Congress. He was the last southern legislator to leave Congress in 1861. In September 1861 he was made colonel of the 25th NC Regiment and promoted to General in 1862, serving without distinction in Eastern NC and Virginia. After the war he was prohibited from returning to politics but became engaged in a dispute with Dr. Elisha Mitchell about the location of the highest peak in the Black Mountain Range.
The monument resides in Riverside Cemetery, at 53 Birch Street, Asheville, NC. The monument is next to Clingman’s gravesite. Other prominent North Carolinians buried at Riverside include authors Thomas Wolfe and William Sidney Porter, better known as O. Henry, Confederate generals James Martin and Robert B. Vance and the politician Zebulon B. Vance.
The Riverside Cemetery consists of 87 acres of rolling hills and gardens overlooking the French Broad River.
The monument originally stood on the grounds of the Buncombe County Courthouse on College Street. We can see the monument on the right of the Courthouse on this vintage postcard. It was most likely relocated sometime in the 1970’s to allow for construction projects in the area. It stood originally near the Colonel C.B. Creasman Monument and the Monument to 60th Regt. NC Volunteers. All three memorial s were dedicated on the same day, November 8, 1905.