05/21/04 — Who's buried there?

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Who's buried there?

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 21, 2004 2:02 PM

There are 800 soldiers buried under the Confederate Monument in the Willow Dale Cemetery, but reports are divided about whether they are all Confederates.

The Web page for Goldsboro's Travel and Tourism Department says Union soldiers are there, too. The site lists Willow Dale Cemetery as one of the attractions in the area.

"Visit the Confederate monument, erected in 1883 beneath which is the mass grave of 800 Civil War soldiers, both Union and Confederate," reads the description.

Dan Boyette, commander of Goldsboro's Rifle Camp, says there are only Confederates buried under the monument. He acknowledges that a group of people from the north helped raise money for the monument, but says no Union soldiers are buried there.

Goldsboro historian Randy Sauls said he had seen published reports about Union soldiers being buried at the monument, but had always assumed those reports were in error.

Sauls said that the inscription on the monument says that people from the north donated money for the monument, but it doesn't say that Union soldiers were buried there.

"I'm not saying it's not a possibility," Sauls said.

He said that he believed that the Union bodies had been exhumed from the area after the war, and most were put in a U.S. cemetery in New Bern.