Raleigh in Wake County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Saint Mary’s School
Union Camp and Confederate Refuge
—Carolinas Campaign —
Here in this oak grove on the front campus of Saint Mary’s School for girls, Union Gen. Oliver O. Howard, commanding Gen. William T. Sherman’s Right Wing, encamped in April 1865. The Federals coexisted with students and faculty for several weeks, as the school remained open. Although the Union presence created great excitement, the teachers and the rector, the Rev. Aldert Smedes, saw to it that life went on as usual. Howard, for his part, assured Smedes that “nothing was to be feared from his troops,” and all remained orderly in the grove.
Late in April, Sherman toured the school’s main building with Smedes and was “charmed with the polite reception” he received from the teachers and the girls. “So charmed,” Mary Bayard Clarke reported, that “after saying adieu he turned at the bottom of the steps for a parting bow,” and caught the girls making ugly faces at him; some were shaking their fists. This so amused Sherman that he later told the story himself.
( Sidebar : )
The Rev. Aldert Smedes, an Episcopal priest, founded Saint Mary’s School in 1842. During the Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis sent his wife, Varina, and their children here in 1862, when Union Gen. George B. McClellan threatened Richmond; they returned to the capital after
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 46.911′ N, 78° 39.193′ W. Marker is in Raleigh, North Carolina, in Wake County. Marker is on Hillsborough Street west of St. Mary’s Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located on the left, inside the front gate of St. Mary’s School. Marker is at or near this postal address: 900 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh NC 27603, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Saint Mary’s (a few steps from this marker); Joel Lane House (approx. 0.2 miles away); “Elmwood” (approx. ¼ mile away); Camp Bryan Grimes (approx. 0.4 miles away); Carolina Power & Light Car Barn & Automobile Garage Freedmen’s Convention (approx. 0.4 miles away); Central Prison (approx. half a mile away); L. O’B. Branch (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Raleigh.
More about this marker. The center of the marker features a 19th century engraving of “Saint Mary’s School, Raleigh, N.C.,” courtesy of Saint Mary’s School. The left side of the marker contains portraits of Gen. Sherman and Gen. Howard, courtesy of Library of Congress, and an 1860s photograph of a “Picnic in the Grove,” courtesy of Saint Mary’s School. The sidebar on the right features a portrait of The Rev. Aldert Smedes, Courtesy of Saint Mary’s School.
Categories. • Education • War, US Civil • Women •
Credits. This page was last revised on May 7, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 9, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 381 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on February 9, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.