Pennsylvania Monument, Salisbury National Cemetery
The Pennsylvania Monument was erected by the Pennsylvania Legislature to commemorate the patriotic devotion, heroism and self-sacrifice of the 736 officers and soldiers of the Pennsylvania volunteers who died while confined as Prisoners of War in the Confederate military prison at Salisbury. The monument is an arcade structure with a domed roof. It stands approximately 40 feet high on a granite base that is 20 feet by 20 feet. On the very top tier of the roof stands a bronze statue representing an unknown prisoner of war. The columns create three archways under the monument and one solid wall where three inscribed tablets are mounted. The two plaques on the right and left have inscriptions, and the top one has a relief image of the Confederate Prison Camp in Salisbury.
Contemporary images (courtesy of Natasha Smith): Full view | Close-up view | Rear view | Side view of soldier | Left tablet | Right tablet | Central tablet with a relief image of the Confederate Prison Camp in Salisbury | Facing south | Facing north | AMVETS Carillon marker and Pennsylvania Monument
Left tablet: THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED BY AUTHORITY OF AN ACT OF THE / PENNSYLVANIA LEGISLATURE APPROVED JUNE 13TH 1907. /
TO COMMEMORATE THE PATRIOTIC DEVOTION, HEROISM, AND / SELF-SACRIFICE OF THE OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS OF THE / PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS WHO DIED WHILE CONFINED AS / PRISONERS OF WAR IN THE CONFEDERATE MILITARY PRISON / AT SALISBURY, NORTH CAROLINA, DURING THE WAR OF THE / REBELLION AND WERE INTERRED AMONG THE UNKNOWN / UNION SOLDIERS AND SAILORS IN THE EIGHTEEN TRENCHES / AT THE SOUTHEAST SIDE OF THE MONUMENT. / A GRATEFUL COMMONWEALTH RENDERS THE TRIBUTE / TO THEIR HONOR AND MEMORY.
Right tablet: MANY PENNSYLVANIA SOLDIERS ARE BURIED HERE. / THEY WERE CITIZENS OF A STATE WHOSE FOUNDERS CAME ACROSS / THE SEA AND ESTABLISHED A COMMONWEALTH WHERE ALL MEN / WOULD BE EQUAL AND, UNDER JUST LAWS, FREE TO ENJOY THEIR / INALIENABLE RIGHTS IN THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, UNMOLESTED / BY KING OR NOBLE OR PREJUDICED CLASS. THEY USED THE SWORD / ONLY TO PRESERVE THE PEACE AND UNITY OF THEIR COUNTRY. / TWICE ON THE SOIL OF THEIR STATE WERE CRUCIAL STRUGGLES / FOR THE REPUBLIC. FIRST AT VALLEY FORGE, THAT TESTED THE / COURAGE AND FORTITUDE OF THE PATRIOT ARMY; THEN AT / GETTYSBURG THAT PROVED THE NATION COULD NOT BE BROKEN. / RESPECTING THE EXAMPLE OF THE ROMANS, WHO NEVER RAISED / EMBLEMS OF TRIUMPH OVER A FOE, / THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA ERECTS THIS MONUMENT TO PERPETUATE / THE MEMORY OF THE DEAD AND NOT AS A COMMEMORATION OF VICTORY. / THEIR MEMORY CANNOT BE FORGOT; / FOREVER SHALL MEN’S HEARTS REVERE / THEIR LOYALTY, AND HOLD THIS SPOT / SACRED BECAUSE THEY PERISHED HERE.
Salisbury National Cemetery
November 16, 1910
35.659280 , -80.474870 View in Geobrowse
"Cemeteries - Salisbury National Cemetery," United States Department of Veterans Affairs, (accessed January 22, 2012) Link
"Pennsylvania Monument," The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed February 1, 2011) Link
A Pilgrimage to the Shrines of Patriotism, (Albany, NY: J. B. Lyon Company, 1916), (accessed February 8, 2012) Link
Pennsylvania at Salisbury, North Carolina, (Harrisburg, PA: C. E. Aughinbaugh, 1912), (accessed May 16, 2012) Link
Cloyd, Benjamin G. Haunted by Atrocity: Civil War Prisons in American Memory, (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2010), 102
Curtis, Sue J. "Searching for the Confederacy in Rowan County," (accessed January 31, 2011) Link
Concrete foundation, white granite exterior, Georgian and Italian marble interior, black marble pillars, bronze plaques, bronze statue
Governor Edwin S. Stuart of Pennsylvania, his staff, a company of Federal soldiers and several hundred survivors of the Civil War, many of whom had been prisoners at Salisbury, were honored by Governor W. W. Kitchen, assisted by state officials and residents of the city. The monument was presented to Pennsylvania by Major Louis R. Fortescue of Philidelphia and was accepted by Governor Stuart. Stuart then presented it to the national government and it was accepted by General W. S. Mills, a special representative of the United States. The monument was unveiled by Miss Helen H. Walker, daughter of Col. James D. Walker of Pittsburgh.
During the Civil War, the practice of prisoner exchange kept the population down to a manageable level at Salisbury Prison until around 1864. In the last year of the war the population of POWs doubled from 5,000 to 10,000. As many as half of the men died of starvation and disease, giving Salisbury prison one of the highest prison death rates. The Pennsylvania Monument honors the officers and soldiers of the Pennsylvania volunteers who died as prisoners of war in the Confederate military prison. The 736 men honored represent the largest number of Pennsylvania dead buried in any cemetery.
The dead were buried in 18 trenches measuring about 240 feet long. Colonel Oscar A. Mack, the inspector of cemeteries, said in his report of 1870-71, "The bodies were placed one above the other, and mostly without coffins. From the number of bodies exhumed from a given space it was estimated that the number buried in these trenches was 11,700. The number of burials from the prison pen cannot be accurately known." The trenches are located at the southeast end of the cemetery. Among the dead are 736 Pennsylvania volunteers whose service is honored by the Pennsylvania Monument.
The prison compound, used from 1861 to 1865, was 16 acres and consisted of an abandoned cotton factory and some houses. There was a wooden stockade surrounding the prison that was later converted to a stone wall.
In response to monuments that were critical of the South's treatment of prisoners the United Daughters of the Confederacy built a monument to Henry Wirz, the commander of Andersonville prison, who was hanged for war crimes. Located in Andersonville Georgia, the monument was built by C. J. Clark, who in addition to the Salisbury Pennsylvania monument had built multiple monuments for Northern states at Andersonville. Clark profited handsomely from this ongoing debate over responsibility that led to competing monuments.
The historic section of Salisbury National Cemetery is located at 202 Government Road in Salisbury. The monument stands near the main entrance to the cemetery, next to the AMVETS Carillon plaque. The Gettysburg Address Plaque and the Bivouac of the Dead Plaque are located a short distance from both memorials.
The monument stands on the cemetery lawn, surrounded by large shady trees, bushes and tombstones.