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Visual Evidence


Photo 1: Cavalry Monument.
[Graphic] Photo 1 with link to higher quality photo.
(Guilford Courthouse National Military Park)

Photo 1 shows the Cavalry Monument, which was erected in 1909 by the Guilford Battle Ground Company in honor of the American horsemen who fought in the final stage of the battle.

The first of two inscriptions reads:
TO THE MARQUIS OF BRITIGNY AND COL. WM. WASHINGTON WHO WITH THEIR NORTH CAROLINA AND VIRGINIA CAVALRY CHARGED AND RAN THROUGH AND OVER THE 2ND. QUEEN’S GUARDS IN THE VALLEY BELOW.

The second inscription reads:
TO PETER FRANCISCO, A GIANT IN STATURE, MIGHT, AND COURAGE WHO SLEW IN THIS ENGAGEMENT ELEVEN OF THE ENEMY WITH HIS OWN BROAD SWORD RENDERING HIMSELF THEREBY THE MOST FAMOUS PRIVATE SOLDIER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.

Photo 2: Gen. Nathanael Greene Monument. [Graphic] Photo 2 with link to higher quality photo.
(Guilford Courthouse National Military Park)

Photo 2 shows a monument erected in 1915 to honor General Greene. It is located on the American Second Line.

The inscription reads:
MARCH XV MDCCLXXXI
IN THE MANOEUVERING THAT PRECEDED IT, IN THE STRATEGY THAT COMPELLED IT, IN THE HEROISM THAT SIGNALIZED IT, AND IN THE RESULTS THAT FLOWED FROM IT, THE BATTLE OF GUILFORD COURT HOUSE IS SECOND TO NO BATTLE FOUGHT ON AMERICAN SOIL. OVER THE BRAVE MEN WHO FELL HERE THEIR COMRADES MARCHED TO ULTIMATE VICTORY AT YORKTOWN, AND THE CAUSE OF CONSTITUTIONAL SELF-GOVERNMENT TO ASSURED TRIUMPH AT PHILADELPHIA. TO OFFICER AND PRIVATE, TO CONTINENTAL SOLDIER AND VOLUNTEER MILITIAMAN, HONOR AND AWARD ARE ALIKE DUE. THEY NEED NEITHER DEFENSE NOR EULOGY BUT ONLY JUST RECOGNITION. A GRATEFUL NATION ERECTS THIS MONUMENT, THEREFORE, AS AN EXPRESSION OF ITS SOLEMN PRIDE IN THE MEN WHO FOUGHT HERE, OF ITS IMPERISHABLE DEVOTION TO THEIR MEMORY, AND OF ITS UNALTERABLE CONFIDENCE IN THE PERMANENCE OF THE PRINCIPLES WHICH THEIR EXAMPLE VINDICATED AND THEIR BLOOD CONSECRATED.

On the face of the main pedestal are these words:
NATHANAEL GREENE
APPOINTED MAJOR GENERAL IN COMMAND OF THE SOUTHERN ARMY OCTOBER 14, 1780
BORN IN RHODE ISLAND AUGUST 7, 1742
DIED IN GEORGIA JUNE 19, 1786

On two sides of the monument are the names of the battles Greene fought in. On the third side is an inscription that reads:
IT IS WITH A PLEASURE WHICH FRIENDSHIP ALONE IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF THAT I CONGRATULATE YOU ON THE GLORIOUS END YOU HAVE PUT TO HOSTILITIES IN THE SOUTHERN STATES.
WASHINGTON

On the fourth side of the monument is this inscription:
GREENE IS AS DANGEROUS AS WASHINGTON
I NEVER FEEL SECURE WHEN ENCAMPED IN HIS NEIGHBORHOOD.
CORNWALLIS

Questions for Photos 1 & 2

1. Some 28 monuments, ranging in height from two and one-half feet to more than 27 feet, were erected on the battleground between 1887 and 1931. Why do you think it took so long for the nation to mark the sacrifice of the men who died on the battlefield? What other wars took place between the War for Independence and 1887?

2. What do these inscriptions tell us about how those who erected the monument regarded those who fought at Guilford? What do they tell us about Cornwallis’ opinion of Greene? Washington’s opinion?

3. By the 1880s, Americans had forgotten, or chose to ignore, the fact that Guilford Courthouse would ever have been considered an American defeat. Why do you think that might have been?

4. What purpose do monuments serve? Do these monuments help you better understand this battle's significance in the Revolutionary War? Why or why not?

* The photos on this screen have a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Photo 1 and Photo 2, but be aware that each file will take as much as 35 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.

 

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