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.
- Barrett, John G. 1963. The Civil War in North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. [No useful information about the campus area in this volume.]
- Drake, James Madison. 1880. Fast and Loose in Dixie. New York: Published by the author. [No useful information about the campus area in this volume.]
- Drake, James Madison. 1889. The history of the Ninth New Jersey veteran vols., a record of its service, from Sept. 13th, 1861, to July 12th, 1865, with a complete offical roster, and sketches of prominent members, with anecdotes, incidents and thrilling reminiscences. Elizabeth, New Jersey: Journal Printing House. [No useful information about the campus area in this volume.]
- Everts, Hermann. 1865. A Complete and Comprehensive History of the Ninth Regiment of New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. Newark: A. Stephen Holbrook, printer. [Shows that the Ninth New Jersey was in Greensboro at least from 10 May–14 July 1865. No details given of their campsite.]
- Hendricks, Howard D. 1987. Imperiled City: The Movements of the Union and Confederate Armies Toward Greensboro in the Closing Days of the Civil War in North Carolina. Master’s Thesis, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. [Shows that the Ninth New Jersey as well as the 104th Ohio Regiments were encamped in Greensboro in 1865, and provides promising details about the location of the camp of the 104th Ohio which seems to have been in the vicinity of the present campus.]
- Report of a Commission for the Erection of a Monument to the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers at New Berne, North Carolina. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co. [No useful information about the campus area in this volume.]
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