Confederate States Navy Yard Marker, Charlotte
J. Frank Wilkes, Mecklenburg Iron Works, Designer
Mecklenburg Iron Work, Foundry
This marker commemorated the site of the Confederate Navy Yard that had been relocated
from Norfolk, Virginia to Charlotte in 1862. It is made of cast iron in the shape of a navy shield
flanked by anchors and coils of rope and was originally painted black with red lettering. It is
roughly two and one/half feet tall and two feet wide. Tom Hanchett of the Levine Museum of
the New South had rescued the plaque prior to demolition of the building it was attached to
and it was kept in storage for many years until being restored circa 2010. As restored the
lettering is gold instead of the original red. Attempts to find a spot near its original location on
East Trade Street to be re-installed failed. It was finally decided to place it in the Confederate
Section of Elmwood Cemetery near the Confederate Monument. When installed at
Elmwood it was attached to a rectangular marble slab on a single marble base with inscriptions
detailing the history of the marker. On the rear also appears a 1929 photograph of the
Seaboard Airline freight depot to which the shield was first mounted.
Images: Front inscription | Rear inscription
Plaque: CONFEDERATE / STATES / NAVY YARD / 1862 1865
Granite slab, front: CONFEDERATE NAVY YARD CHARLOTTE / THE NAVY SHIELD AFFIXED TO THIS MONUMENT WAS ORIGINALLY INSTALLED ON THE / WALL OF THE SEABOARD AIRLINE RAILWAY FREIGHT DEPOT. ONE OF THE SEVERAL / BUILDINGS THAT WAS PART OF THE C.S. NAVAL ORDNANCE WORKS, LOCATED ON THE / S.W. CORNER OF E. TRADE AND COLLEGE STREETS. THE MARKER WAS GIVEN AND / DEDICATED JUNE 3, 1910, BY THE STONEWALL JACKSON CHAPTER #220, UNITED / DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY. MISS ANNA MORRISON “STONEWALL” JACKSON, / FOUNDING CHAPTER PRESIDENT, WAS PRESENT FOR THE DEDICATION. IN MAY 1862 / MOST OF THE ORDNANCE MACHINERY, LATHES, TOOLS, RIFLES AND AMMUNITION OF THE / GOSPORT NAVY YARD, PORTSMOUTH, VIRGINIA, WERE RELOCATED TO CHARLOTTE, AS / FEDERAL FORCES MOVED TO OCCUPY THE NORFOLK-PORTSMOUTH AREA. THE / CONFEDERATES NEEDED AN INLAND CITY, WELL CONNECTED TO RAIL TRANSPORTATION. / SOME OF THE MANY ITEMS MANUFACTURED AT THE SEVERAL OVENS, FOUNDRIES AND / MACHINE SHOPS THAT COVERED AN EXTENSIVE AREA OVER 300 YARDS IN LENGTH / ALONGSIDE THE RAILROAD WERE: NAVAL GUN CARRIAGES, PROJECTILES FOR CANNON / FOR GUNBOATS AND COASTAL BATTERIES, ANCHORS, RIFLES, TORPEDOES, MARINE / ENGINES AND PROPELLER SHAFTS FOR THE C.S.S. ALBERMARLE, C.S.S. VIRGINIA II, C.S.S. / RALEIGH, AND OTHER IRONCLADS BUILT IN CHARLESTON, WILMINGTON AND SAVANNAH. / SEVERAL PROMINENT NAVAL OFFICERS COMMANDED THE FACILITY AT DIFFERENT TIMES, / AMONG THEM CAPT. RICHARD L. PAGE (LATER OF FORT MORGAN FAME), CAPT. CATESBY / AP R. JONES (OF C.S.S VIRGINIA FAME), AND CHIEF ENGINEER H. ASHTON RAMSEY / (ALSO OF C.S.S. VIRGINIA FAME). IN LATE APRIL 1865 A COMPANY OF 60 UNIFORMED / AND ARMED NAVY YARD WORKMEN ESCORTED PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS’ WIFE, / CHILDREN AND THE CONFEDERATE TREASURY TO ABBEVILLE, S.C. BEFORE RETURNING / TO CHARLOTTE. AN ADDITIONAL 240 WORKMEN SERVED AS GUARDS FOR THE NAVY / YARD AND OTHER FACILITES, PRIOR TO THE OCCUPATION BY FEDERAL FORCES.
Granite slab, rear: THIS PHOTOGRAPH OF THE SEABOARD AIRLINE FREIGHT DEPOT AS IT / APPEARED DURING THE CONFEDERATE REUNION OF JUNE 1929. / IT IS ONE OF THE MANY BUILDINGS THAT COMPRISED THE CONFEDERATE / NAVY YARD. THE NAVY SHIELD DEDICATED IN 1910, CAN BE SEEN ON / THE MIDDLE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BUILDING NEXT TO THE RAISED PARKING LOT.
ERECTED BY / THE STONEWALL JACKSON CHAPTER #220 UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY / UPON THE COMMEMORATION OF THE SESQUICENTENNIAL OF THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES / MAY 3, 2015 / ASSISTED BY THE ROBERT E. LEE CONFEDERATE HERITAGE ASSOCIATION / PIEDMONT CIVIL WAR ROUNDTABLE, 13 TH NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS / 30 TH NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, LATHRAMS BATTERY
June 3, 1910
35.235390 , -80.846660 View in Geobrowse
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Blair, Dan. “Charlotte Navy Yard,” NCPedia.com, (accessed March 11, 2016) Link
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Lee, Bill. "Charlotte's Navy Yard," Newport News Shipbuilding, (accessed March 12, 2016) Link
“Navy Yard Tablet To Be Unveiled By Mrs. Jane Wilkes,” The Charlotte News; (Charlotte, NC), June 3, 1910, 1
“Re-Dedication Of The Confederate Navy Yard Plaque, Sunday, May 3 From 2 To 4 pm, Elmwood Cemetery, Charlotte,” MHA News: Mecklenburg Historical Association 13.2 (2015), 2, (accessed March 13, 2016) Link
Cast iron, granite
Stonewall Jackson Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy
June 3rd was chosen for the dedication date to also honor the birthday of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. A short address was given by E. Randolph Preston after which “Carolina” was sung by the Children of the Confederacy. Mrs. Jane R. Wilkes then unveiled the marker. Five Daughters of the American Revolution chapters were present, the Colonial Dames, Sons of the Confederacy and other members of the general public.
News reports stated that this navy yard was the only one every known to have been constructed over 100 miles from navigable water.
The monument is located in the Confederate section of Elmwood Cemetery off West 6th Street. It is located just to the north of the west side of the first circular road after the entrance to the cemetery where the loop meets the second circular road. Five markers honoring local Confederate regiments, the Mecklenburg County Confederate Monument, the Mecklenburg County Confederate Soldiers marker and a memorial for the D.H. Hill School stand in the same Confederate section of the cemetery. The Confederate Navy Yard marker and D.H. Hill School memorial like the the Mecklenburg County Confederate Soldiers marker were originally placed at different locations.
The memorial sits in a manicured lawn surrounded by small stone grave markers of Confederate veterans and the entire site is surrounded by a low gridiron fence.
First relocation: Second relocation: When dedicated the marker was attached to the wall of the Seaboard Air Line freight depot on a wall facing East Trade Street. The freight depot was at the corner of E. Trade and A Street and was torn down in 1959. In October 1959, the marker was moved to a nearby building which demolished in the 1970’s and the plaque was placed in storage. On May 3, 2015, the memorial was moved to its current location, in the Confederate section of Elmwood Cemetery.
Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated annually at Elmwood Cemetery.