Worth Bagley Memorialized at Capitol, 1907

The unveiling of the Bagley Monument on Union Square. Image from the State Archives.On May 20, 1907, the Ensign Worth Bagley monument on Union Square in Raleigh was dedicated.

Bagley was the first United States naval officer killed in the Spanish American War in 1898. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he was Raleigh native and grandson of William Henry Bagley, private secretary to Governor Jonathan Worth. Bagley’s 1898 death was extolled as a moment for of reunion for the nation, the first death in the Spanish American War coming from a reconstructed Southern state.

Bagley laid in state at the State Capitol before his burial in Oakwood Cemetery.


The front page of The North Carolinian, completely dedicated to the monument unveiling. Image from the State Archives.

The monument dedication in 1907 expanded on the view of reunification. The federal government sent 200 flags to adorn Union Square and the downtown Raleigh area. Official military speakers were authorized.

Bagley’s brother-in-law Josephus Daniels, editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, drove publicity and media coverage of the monument dedication.

The statue of Bagley, designed by New York sculptor F. H. Packer, was paid for by a nationwide fundraising effort.

An estimated 20,000 people attended the dedication. Bagley’s nephew and namesake unveiled the monument. Governor Robert Glenn honored Bagley by identifying him as the

boy who had so cemented the country together.

Visit: The monument still stands today on the grounds of the North Carolina State Capitol, one of 27 state historic sites.

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