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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Confederate Monument, Bentonville Battlefield, Four Oaks

  • Type

    Column

  • Subjects

    Civil War, 1861-1865

  • City

    Four Oaks

  • County

    Johnston

  • Description

    The memorial marks the mass grave of approximately 360, mostly unknown, Confederates who died at the Battle of Bentonville, March 19-21, 1865. Its constructed of white marble and is 15 feet in total height. A burnished marble cannonball cap tops a decorative shaft with inscriptions on each side. The shaft stands on a tapered base also of burnished marble inscribed with the names and military units of about 40 men whose identity was determined.

    Images: Far-off view

  • Inscription

    Front: IN MEMORY OF / THE CONFEDERATE/ DEAD / ERECTED UNDER / THE AUSPICES OF / GOLDSBORO RIFLES / OCTOBER 10, 1894.

    Left: ON THIS SPOT AND / IN THIS VICINITY / WAS FOUGHT / THE BATTLE OF / BENTONVILLE / MARCH 19, 1865.

    Right: TWENTY THREE OF / THOSE BURIED HERE / HAD THEIR LAST HOURS / SOOTHED BY THE / LOVING CARE OF / JOHN HARPER AND / HIS NOBLE WIFE / AMY A. HARPER.

    Rear: Nor shall your glory / be forgot While Fame / her record keeps. Or / Honour points the / hallowed spot Where / Valor proudly sleeps.;

    Names inscribed around the base: Everett King, Co. B, 1 N.C. Batl’n / G.C. Taylor, Co. A, 1 N.C. Batl’n / M.J. Taylor, Co. B, 1 N.C. Batl’n / Arnold Rabon, Co. C, 1 N.C. Batl’n / Duncan Brown, Co. A, 1 N.C. Batl’n / J.A. McPhaul, Co. A, 1 N.C. Batl’n / Jacob Sours, Co. D, 1 N.C. Batl’n / Capt. R.G. Rankin, Co. A, 1 N.C. Batl’n / T.J. Blount, Co. A, 61 N.C. Reg’t / Zac Ellis, 1 N.C. Batl’n / Marx E. Cohen, Harts Battery, S.C. /

    J.R. Stringfield, Co. C, 6 Ga. Reg’t / J.W. Glover, Co. F, 6 Ga. Reg’t / S. King, Co. H, 27 Ga.Reg’t / T.J. Nail, Co. H, 27 Ga. Reg’t / A.B. Williams, Co. A, 34 Va. Reg’t / F.M. Williams, Co. C. Ark / Allen Lansdown, Co. E, 23 Ga. Reg’t / G.S. Beavers, Ga. / D.B. Nolger, Co. K, 39 Ala. Reg’t / Lieut. George M. Stoney, 1 S.C. Reg’t /

    Col. R.M. Saffell, Tenn / Columbus Gilliam, Co. F, 1 Tenn Cal / E.A. Smotherman, Co. D, 45 Tenn Reg’t / J.H. Edwards, Co. B, 26 Tenn Reg’t / Capt. R.P.H Heacock, Co. A, 30 Ala Reg’t / Capt. J.A. Latham, 40 Ala Reg’t / Lieut J.W. Layermer, 42 Ala Reg’t / Lieut Edmund Pettus, Ala / J.M. Moon, S.C. / Charles T. Quigley, Co. B. 2 S.C. Reg’t Art / John M. Leathe, 1 S.C. Reg’t Art /

    Harley Nance, Co. K, 1 N.C. Batl’n / W.E. Read, Co. D, 13 N.C. Batl’n / Allen Wooten, 10 N.C. Batl’n / James F. Chambers, Co. B, 40 N.C. Reg’t / H.J. Taylor, Co. H, 40 N.C.reg’t / L.B. Flack, Co. G, 50 N.C. Reg’t / T.J. Hampton, Co. K, 50 N.C. Reg’t / J.A. Thomas, Co. B, 40 N.C. Reg’t / Lt. Col. Edward Mallett, 61 N.C. Reg’t /

  • Custodian

    North Carolina Historic Sites

  • Dedication Date

    March 20, 1895

  • Decade

    1890s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.302300 , -78.320100 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Bentonville Battleground State Historic Site" in North Carolina Postcard Collection (P052), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill Link

      "Confederate Dead Monument," The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed February 18, 2011) Link

      "In Honor of the Gray," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), March 22, 1895, 1-4 Link

      "The Bentonsville Monument," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), March 21, 1895 Link

      Confederate Veteran 2 (1894), 335 Link

      Confederate Veteran 3 (1895), 231 Link

      Barnes, Greg. “Bentonville Confederate Graves Marked,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), July 5, 2011

      Crow, Amy Beth. "Confederate Memory and the Making of the Solid South in North Carolina: the Goldsboro Rifles' Bentonville Monument, 1894-1895," Masters' Thesis, (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 2002)

      North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. "Confederate Soldiers Monument, Bentonville Battlefield, Four Oaks," North Carolina Civil War Monuments, (accessed April 10, 2018) Link

      “The Monuments at Bentonville,” Emerging Civil War, (accessed September 7, 2017) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    White marble

  • Sponsors

    Goldsboro Rifles, Bentonville Monumental Committee

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Rev. J.J. Harper gave the prayer of dedication. General (and former Governor of South Carolina) Wade Hampton and the man who drew up Confederate battle plans for the clash at Bentonville was orator for the day. He said that those buried there were “neither rebels or traitors; that they were freemen, who believed… their cause was right” and related their greatness to that of the founding fathers. The role of God was also a major theme of Hampton’s speech. “Nowhere,” he said, does the Holy Word say “the just are to be rewarded in this world and the unjust punished.” He then urged those present to not “be misled by that false doctrine – false to your faith, to your country and to your God” that the principals for which they fought had been “obliterated” because the South lost the war. His statements were not intended to “reawaken sectional animosity,” but “that God alone can and will judge if they were right or wrong.” Hampton was provided a special escort of 13 young ladies in military dress (one for each Confederate State).

  • Subject Notes

    In the years after the Civil War, the United States government collected the bodies of Union troops buried on battlefields and placed them in National Cemeteries. Confederate Dead were left where they fell and were buried, typically scattered across a battlefield. Efforts to ensure the Southern dead were properly buried fell to Ladies Memorial Associations, formed for this purpose, and veterans’ organizations. The bodies were then typically reinterred in mass graves and marked with a monument. The men buried at this site had been gathered by men of the Goldsboro Rifles from burial places across a battlefield described as a “wilderness of pines” by the 1890’s.

    A photo taken at the 1895 dedication showed 20 grave markers behind the monument. It was not known if they had been placed there as a symbolic gesture by the Goldsboro Rifles or actually contained bodies. Ground-penetrating radar confirmed 20 voids and enough earth was removed by archaeologists to confirm the remains of wooden boxes and the tips of bones. The graves were not disturbed beyond that point. After the battle 45 captured, wounded, Confederate soldiers had been allowed to remain in the home of John and Ann Harper which had been used as Union field hospital. Many died and 20 had been buried in unmarked graves near the Harper house. It is now believed these bodies were moved by the Goldsboro Rifles to a spot behind the monument. The Harper House Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy donated $6,000 for tombstones that were placed in 2011.

  • Location

    The memorial is on Harper House Road (Local Route 1008), east of Mill Creek Church Road, on the left when traveling east.
    Other memorials at Bentonville Battleground include Bentonville Battlefield Memorial, Texas Soldiers Monument, North Carolina Confederate Soldiers, General Joseph Johnston, Civil War horses, 123rd Regiment New York State Volunteers, and Union Monument.

  • Landscape

    The column sits in a grassy area, in close proximity to other memorials at Bentonville Battlefield.

  • Death Space

    Yes

  • Approval Process

    T.H. Bain was in charge of the procuring the monument.

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