The heroic men of the Third North Carolina Regiment are immortalized in the Boney Monument at Third and Market Streets in Wilmington, a memorial to North Carolinians who fought valiantly to defend their homes, county and State. This impressive civic art features a standing bronze figure representing courage and protection, while a bronze figure of a fallen soldier represents self-sacrifice. The memorial was designed by renowned sculptor Francis Packer in 1924; the base and backdrop were designed by Henry Bacon, architect of the Lincoln Memorial.
The John F. Van Bokkelen noted below was the son of Mr. A. H. Van Bokkelen who “clothed and cared for his son’s men [of Company D] before the South’s new government was operable. Additionally, the father ensured that the wives and children of every man in his son’s company were provided for during the war. Young Van Bokkelen died of typhoid fever in late-May 1863; his Wilmington friend and fellow officer James I. Metts later named his first-born after Van Bokkelen. (Doctor to the Front, Koonce, pg. 56)
Remembering North Carolina’s Soldiers on Veterans Day
“The brave men of the Third North Carolina Regiment, which included many men from New Hanover County who left their families, homes and farms to defend their State.
“September 17, 1862 was a day of unsurpassed carnage in which as many as four thousand Northern and Southern men died in battle. Exceptional losses were the rule, but the terrible honor of having suffered the most casualties at Sharpsburg may belong to the Third Regiment, North Carolina State Troops.
One of the largest units on the field, the Third North Carolina carried 520 men into action against the enemy, but by day’s end acting-adjutant John F. Van Bokkelen could account for only 190 of them. Later analysis revealed a staggering 111 battle deaths: 75 men killed on the field and 36 dying of their wounds in the weeks and months that followed. In all, 299 members of the Third North Carolina were killed, wounded and/or captured, a loss of 57.5 percent.
The Third rebounded but only to suffer two more terrible blows during the 1863 campaign: 233 men fell at Chancellorsville (58 killed), and 229 at Gettysburg (49 killed). The regiment suffered near annihilation at Spotsylvania, where 238 men were captured, but the survivors fought on, sustaining 139 more casualties, until a remnant of 58 men laid down their arms at Appomattox.”
(State Troops and Volunteers: A Photographic Record of North Carolina’s Civil War Soldiers. Volume One. Greg Mast, NC Department of Cultural Resources. 1995, pg. 339).