The Union Soldier Monument Controversy at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site
Wetterhahn, Dale R
This thesis centers on a controversial monument initiative at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site in Johnston County, North Carolina in 1994. The planned obelisk was to record the participation of the four Union Army corps that participated in the March 1865 battle. The sponsors of the memorial failed to anticipate, react or even comprehend the nature of the opposition to their project. Several prominent persons, including high appointed officials in the state government, played central roles in that opposition. In the end, the proposal was disapproved by the state authority, the North Carolina Historical Commission, by the narrowest of margins. With thoughtful consideration, proponents could have anticipated and minimized the outcry against their plan. As only one more commissioner's vote would have spelled success, a well-conceived campaign could have resulted in the subsequent placement of the commemorative piece. This thesis analyzes the actual objections of the dissidents. It dispels some historical errors and misconceptions of the time period. It relates the Southern experience, both during and since the end of the War Between the States, to opponents' predominant opinions. The ramifications of the state-wide collective memory and its impact on the outcome are explored in depth. Finally, a course of action is proposed which, had any or all of its recommendations been implemented, would have likely tipped the scale in favor of the monument. It is hoped that both public history students and professionals may glean important insight from this thesis to ensure the successful conclusion of their commemorative initiatives.
Wetterhahn, Dale R. (December 2018). The Union Soldier Monument Controversy at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7074.)
Wetterhahn, Dale R. The Union Soldier Monument Controversy at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, December 2018. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7074. July 24, 2021.
Wetterhahn, Dale R, “The Union Soldier Monument Controversy at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, December 2018).
Wetterhahn, Dale R. The Union Soldier Monument Controversy at the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; December 2018.
East Carolina University