12/11/05 — Seven Springs christens new veterans monument in town

View Archive

Seven Springs christens new veterans monument in town

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on December 11, 2005 2:08 AM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Members of the Seven Springs Historical Society honored heroes from two wars nearly 100 years apart on the town's Civil War battlesite Saturday.

The stone monument will stand at Whitfield Cemetery and honor soldiers from both the Civil War and Vietnam, organizers said.

Historical Association co-president Bobby Mozingo told those gathered for the dedication that the monument serves as a reminder that the freedoms Americans enjoy are not free -- and that men and women died on battlefields to protect those rights.

"That's why we dedicated this," Mozingo said. "It's going to happen again with the Afghanistan and Iraqi veterans. We need to support those veterans. That's what America is all about."

On one side the monument honors Civil War veterans with an excerpt from "Gods and Generals": "Both sides spoke the same language and worshipped the same God. Both sides fought for the same thing. America. As each side interpreted what America should be in such a war. One side would have to conquer. The other would have to be conquered."

The other side honors Vietnam and future veterans with a simple message:

"Never again shall one generation of veterans abandon another."

The historical association also commemorated the Battle of Whitehall by honoring the 10 Confederate soldiers who died there.

Behind the podium as Historical Association co-president Karen Mozingo spoke, lanterns burned representing each of the identified Confederate soldiers. An 11th soldier also died there, but he has not been identified.

According to the historical marker on the battlesite, on Dec. 15, 1862, Union Gen. John G. Foster's garrison was well-entrenched in the New Bern area planning to burn the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Bridge to halt Confederate troops on the other side. Fearing that Foster's men were planning to march on Goldsboro, the Confederate troops burned the bridge before Union troops could get the opportunity.

To illuminate the Confederate position, Foster's men produced a bonfire by torching 2,000 barrels of turpentine. The next morning, Foster used his location at the top of the hill looking over the river to bombard artillery shells at the newly constructed CSS Neuse and the Confederate troops surrounding it.

During the onslaught, 126 Union troops and 10 known Confederate soldiers died.

A century and a half later at the final resting place of those soldiers, Wendy Boyette performed "Amazing Grace" as part of the Saturday's ceremony -- a tribute to the men the members of the Historical Association say should be remembered for their bravery as well as their loss.

"So many people don't think about Vietnam and the Civil War. They want to forget about it," Bobby Mozingo said. "We don't want to forget."