Today I visited Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh and was able to take a look at the Civil-War-ear inscriptions that can be found on a boulder near the Hunt Drive entrance to Dix Hill. Local tradition holds that these inscriptions were made by Union soldiers encamped at the Dix campus starting April 13, 1865, and continuing until Gen. Sherman’s army marched north after the war’s end. On this detail from the Drayton “Rebel Lines” map, I have marked the approximate location of the boulder:
At that time, the boulder with the carvings would have been near the course of the Rocky Branch creek, which was rerouted when Western Boulevard was built. Following are photos of the boulder and some of the inscriptions. The writing is indistinct, but I can make out individual characters and parts of words, perhaps. These are thought to be names of soldiers or of their military units.
If anyone can read or recognize any of these inscriptions, please leave a comment below. I understand that more inscriptions can be found on the other side of Western Boulevard, but those would be on the grounds of Central Prison and difficult to access because of the high security necessary there.
The inscriptions pictured here are mentioned in the master plan for Dorothea Dix Park. As an important historical feature of the Dix Hill area, these inscriptions, not to mention any traces of the Raleigh Wall, would be a good subject for preservation efforts, as the park’s development unfolds.
ARB — 16 September 2019