Henry Lawson Wyatt Monument
Description: A bronze statue atop a granite base depicts Henry Lawson Wyatt, the first Confederate soldier to die in battle. The statue shows Wyatt walking into battle seemingly with purpose. The monument is intended as a memorial to all Confederate soldiers. The Gorham Manufacturing Company, one of the leading art foundries in the country, cast the monument.
Images: Contemporary front view | Front inscription | Rare view | Rear inscription | Base inscription
Nickname: First at Bethel
Front: HENRY LAWSON WYATT / PRIVATE CO. A / BETHEL REGIMENT / NORTH CAROLINA VOLUNTEERS / KILLED AT BETHEL CHURCH / JUNE 10, 1861 / FIRST CONFEDERATE SOLDER | TO FALL IN BATTLE IN THE | WAR BETWEEN THE STATES.
Rear: WYATT'S COMRADES / IN DASH TO BURN THE HOUSE / GEORGE T. WILLIAMS / JOHN H. THORPE / ROBERT H. RICKS / ROBERT H. BRADLEY / THOMAS FALLON / ERECTED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA | DIVISION, UNITED DAUGHTERS | OF THE CONFEDERACY. / JUNE 10, 1912
Base, east face: GORHAM. Co. FOUNDERS.
Dedication date: 6/10/1912
Creator: Gutzon Borglum, Sculptor Gorham Manufacturing Company, Foundry
Materials & Techniques: Granite, bronze
Sponsor: United Daughters of the Confederacy, North Carolina Division
Cost: $4,500.00, R. H. Hicks gave $1000, State Legislature gave $2500.
Unveiling & Dedication: On June 10, 1912, the monument was unveiled with help from Wyatt's nephew. During the ceremony, "Dixie" was played, and rebel yells shouted by those who gathered. An address was given by E. J. Hale, J. Bryan Grimes was master of ceremonies, and Fannie Ransom Williams presented the statue. John A Mitchener (who started the project and served as secretary for the Wyatt Memorial Committee) attended, and Senator L. V. Bassett and Gov. W. W. Kitchen also gave remarks.
Post dedication use: In the fall of 2008 the monument was repaired and cleaned by the conservators from the Borglum Historical Center in South Dakota.
Subject notes: Henry Lawson Wyatt was the first Confederate soldier to die in battle during the Civil War on June 10, 1861. North Carolina Confederates took great pride in the fact that a citizen of the state was the first to surrender his life in the defense of the Confederate nation. After the Civil War, North Carolina Confederates boasted that their state (or rather, its soldiers) had been "First at Bethel, Farthest at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, and Last at Appomattox."
Controversies: Virginia had asserted that they in fact had gone farther at Gettysburg. This monument played a role in an ongoing debate over which state was most loyal, had sacrificed most, and fought harder than any other.
In the wake of anti-racism civil protest in the Spring and early Summer of 2020 and the toppling of the Confederate Monument on the State Capitol grounds, the Governor of North Carolina ordered the remaining Confederate monuments on the State Capitol grounds to be removed, including the Henry Lawson Wyatt monument and the monument to the Women of Confederacy. The Wyatt monument was disassembled between June 20 and June 28, 2020 and removed to offsite storage, along with the other two Confederate monuments.
Location: The monument was located in front of the State Capitol building and faces South Salisbury Street.
Landscape: The monument is located on the Capitol Grounds and is surrounded by a walkway for visitors to walk around the entirety of the monument. There are a number of trees nearby as well as a grassy plain behind the monument.
Subjects: Civil War, Historic Military Figures