Augusta Confederate Monument
|Augusta Confederate Monument|
“In honor of the men of Richmond County who died in the cause of the Confederate States.”
|Location||700 block of Broad Street, Augusta, Georgia|
The Augusta Confederate Monument, also known as the Richmond County Confederate Monument, is located in the median of the 700 block of Broad Street in downtown Augusta, Georgia. This Confederate monument soars seventy-six feet into the sky, set on a granite base topped by a shaft of Carrara marble. The monument was commissioned by the Ladies Memorial Association of Augusta as a memorial in 1875. It was designed by the architectural firm of VanGruder and Young of Philadelphia, built by the Markwalter firm of Augusta, carved by Antonio Fontana, and dedicated on October 31, 1878.
Around the base of the monument are the life size statues of four Southern generals in the American Civil War: Thomas R. R. Cobb, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and William H. T. Walker. The enlisted Confederate soldier depicted above the generals is the war hero Sergeant Berry Benson, known, among other things, as never having surrendered his weapon at Appomattox with General Lee. An inscription at the base reads, “In honor of the men of Richmond County who died in the cause of the Confederate States.”
to have lived and known
to be hallowed and held
in tender Remembrance:
the fadless Fame which
Confederate soldiers won.
who gave themselves in life
and Death for us:
For the Honor of Georgia.
For the Rights of the States.
For the Liberties of the South.
For the Principles of the Union.
as these were handed down to
them by the Fathers of
Our Common Country.
"No nation rose so white
None fell so pure of crime."
In honor of the men of
in the cause of the
Known locally as “baddest man on the planet,” Berry Greenwood Benson was a legend of his time. His likeness, representing the numerous enlisted soldiers who served during the Civil War, was the model for the statue atop the Augusta Confederate Monument. A number of books have been written about his exploits and societal contributions during and after the war.
Born in 1843 in neighboring Hamburg, South Carolina, Benson was an adventurous young man, heading west to try his luck during the California gold rush; not finding it there, he moved back to Greenville, South Carolina. This move put Benson into the debate of secession – the main topic of the early 1860s.
When South Carolina seceded, Benson joined the Hamburg Minutemen, who mustered with the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Regiment in Charleston. Helping during the bombardment of Fort Sumter, he witnessed the surrender of the Union fort in April 1861.
Berry Benson re-enlisted after his six-month tour end and saw a lot of action during the war. His regiment was part of the Virginia Campaign, joining General A. P. Hill’s Light Division and General Stonewall Jackson’s army. He was badly wounded in one of his legs which sent him home to recuperate. During his recuperation in Augusta, he met his future bride, Jeannie Oliver.
In 1864, Benson rejoined Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. He fought around Richmond and at Spotsylvania against General Grant’s army. He was captured while scouting enemy positions and sent to Point Lookout in Maryland. Benson escaped by swimming two miles through the waters of Chesapeake Bay. He was captured again by Union forces in Virginia and sent to Washington, D.C. and later to a military prison in Elmira, New York. Once again, Benson escaped and made his way back to his regiment.
As the war was coming to an end, Benson decided not to surrender with Lee at Appomattox and returned to Augusta with his rifle, never surrendering.
In 1875, when The Ladies Memorial Association honored the Confederate soldiers of Richmond County with a war memorial, Berry Benson was chosen as the model for the enlisted soldier atop their monument.
Benson lived until 1923, actively serving his community. He is buried at Sunset Hill Cemetery in North Augusta, South Carolina.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Augusta Confederate Monument.|
- McKenney, Frank M., ‘’The Standing Army: The History of Georgia’s County Monuments’’, WH Wolfe Associates, Alpharetta, GA, 1993 pp. 99-103.
- "History of Augusta; 1875 Ladies Memorial Association".
- McKenney, Frank M., ‘’The Standing Army: The History of Georgia’s County Monuments’’, WH Wolfe Associates, Alpharetta, GA, 1993 p. 101.
- "New Georgia Encyclopedia; Berry Benson".