Catawba CSA Memorial
NC-16, Old Catawba County Courthouse
Newton, Catawba County, North Carolina
"To Confederate Soldiers of Catawba County
No braver bled for brighter land,
Nor brighter land had a cause so grand
Erected by the people of Catawba County,
August 15, 1907"
This corner of the old Courthouse is extremely well kept and the memorial itself is quite well done. The sculpture takes the extra step to show the pride of the cause, as is evident in the battle flag flowing from one facet to another on the middle of the column.
It's interesting to research the history of the volunteer and conscripted companies that mustered into the CSA here in Catawba County. The boys of Company E, 72nd North Carolina Regiment formed as the 3rd NC Junior Reserves, and they were juniors - most of them probably not yet old enough to shave daily. They were part of the force assigned to defend Fort Fisher on the Cape Fear River, a key element of keeping Wilmington from the Union forces. It took over 6,500 men of the Union Army and Navy more than 40 days to seize the fort, and subsequently take Wilmington. The youngsters of Company E didn't see much of the action, they were part of about 300 soldiers captured on Christmas Day, 1864, and packed off to prisoner of war camps in Maryland.
Company E of the 57th Regiment was part of the force that joined with the Burke County men of the 54th North Carolina at the Battle of Deep Run, Virginia, in 1863. Their task that day was to hold a section of railroad away from Union forces. They prevailed, but 124 men of the 57th we counted among the killed, wounded and missing that night.
Company E of the 57th wasn't comprised of youngsters. Most wars of any length don't discriminate by age when it calls up men to battle. Carlos Lowrance was a 31 year old farmer who taught school part time when he mustered in on July 4, 1862 - this was an era that considered 50 years as 'old'. He was wounded and captured at Rappahannock Station, Virgina, in November 1863 and died in hospital just nine days later in Washington, D.C. - his body rests with honor among other soldiers of the C.S.A. at Arlington National Cemetery. He is only one of nearly 700 Catawba men that did not return from the War of The Rebellion.
The stories of Catawba soldiers don't stop after one or two, there are as many as there were enlistees. The reputation of these men from Catawba, Burke, Iredell, Rowan, and Cabarrus counties that formed the 57th Regiment and others like it is well described by one eyewitness, Hamilton C. Jones, who wrote about the 57th in its' last battle as he saw the regiment surrounded and nearly every man killed or captured;
The old courthouse has been turned into a very nicely curated museum. If you are interested in more history of the CSA, and Catawba County soldiers, it may be a good idea to spend some time inside with the various displays and artifacts.