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Peabody Park in the Civil War

AT THE END OF THE CIVIL WAR, Greensboro was occupied by Union army forces. This was many years before UNCG existed as an institution, but the land that the University and Peabody Park occupy certainly saw Civil War activity.

It has often been said at UNCG that there was a Civil War campsite on campus, perhaps in Peabody Park, but few certain facts are known. In the 1970s an unfired civil war bullet was found in Peabody Park on the hillside east of Phillips-Hawkins Hall by undergraduate Robert Rice and it has been preserved by his roommate Kevin G. Carle of New London, North Carolina.

Research conducted in the spring of 2001 by undergraduate Takisha Little showed the following. In 1865, two northern regiments were camped a short distance to the west and northwest of the center of Greensboro. These were the Ninth New Jersey Volunteer Infantry and the 104th Ohio Regiment. The Ninth New Jersey was present from at least May 1865 to July 1865 when it was mustered out. Mr. Carle was certain that he had read a description of the exact location of one of these camps in a regimental history some years ago, and that the camp was very close to the area that is now Peabody Park, but we have not been able to locate that reference.

The most promising evidence found thus far relates to the 104th Ohio Regiment. Howard Hendricks reported in 1987 (see below) that Joseph Johnston’s 104th Ohio was encamped a mile and a quarter west of town in a grove of trees on a hill facing south. Peabody Park is located 1.0–1.5 miles west of the center of Greensboro, and the grove of trees and the hill could well be the elevated section of the Park woods now occupied by Phillips-Hawkins Hall. Early campus maps from around 1900 show a dump site under what is now the southeast corner of Phillips-Hawkins, but whether that was a dump site from 1900 or an earlier period is not indicated. It was on this hillside, however, that the Civil War bullet was found in the 1970s, and it is likely that most of the surrounding region had already been cleared for agriculture in the mid-1800s, leaving the Peabody Park woods as a distinctively forested site.

In the absence of contemporary maps or modern excavation we cannot yet be certain where these Civil War camps were located. The section of the Peabody Park woods around Phillips-Hawkins Hall is, however, a likely candidate and it merits further investigation.

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