Civil War Re-enactors Explore Life of First N.C. Confederate Soldier Killed in Battle
For June 11 ‘2nd Saturdays’ Program at the State Capitol about Big Bethel
RALEIGH - The State Capitol will mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Big Bethel on Saturday, June 11. The battle took place in June 1861 in Virginia . Henry Lawson Wyatt, honored with a statue on the Capitol grounds, died at Big Bethel, and was the first North Carolina soldier to die in battle for the Confederate cause.
From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., the North State Rifles re-enacting group (www.northstaterifles.com) will be on the northwest Capitol grounds at the Wyatt monument. Group members will speak about Wyatt’s life, model the variety of uniforms worn by Tar Heels in the first year of the war, and give a lecture on the Battle of Big Bethel. Displays at “Remembering Big Bethel” will shed light on how soldiers made the transition from home to the battlefield.
For generations, it was held that Wyatt had the grim distinction of being the first Confederate killed in battle. This became a point of pride for many in North Carolina , and on the 51st anniversary of his death the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected a monument to him on Union Square with an inscription that read “First Confederate Soldier to Fall in Battle in the War Between the States.” In truth, Captain John Q. Marr of Virginia was fatally shot in a skirmish ten days before the Battle of Big Bethel.
Capitol staff will be on hand to assist visitors in making a stone rubbing of the base of the Wyatt monument to take home as a remembrance. Additionally, a new exhibit titled “The Capitol: 1861” will be on display inside. The event is free and open to the public.
The program is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ 2nd Saturdays (www.ncculture.com) summer programming series which showcases North Carolina ’s culture, heritage and arts. Partners in 2nd Saturdays include “Our State” magazine and AT&T. Media sponsorship is provided by Public Radio East.
For a complete schedule of more than 100 2nd Saturdays programs across North Carolina , go to www.ncculture.com or call (919) 807-7385.
The State Capitol’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history, architecture and functions of the 1840 building and Union Square . The Capitol is at One Edenton Street , Raleigh , N.C. 27601 . Visit www.nchistoricsites.org/capitol/default.htm or call (919) 733-4994 for more info rmation on the state historic site.
Administered by the Division of State Historic Sites, the State Capitol is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina ’s social, cultural and economic future.