Brigadier General Alfred Moore Scales
A visit to Green Hill Cemetery in Greensboro, North Carolina, will
reveal the First National Flag of the Confederacy, proudly flying high
over a hill bearing a bronze sentinel, silently guarding the remains of
unknown Confederate soldiers who gave that last supreme measure to the cause for which they had fought
for so gallantly. Nearby, some 100 paces north of this spot will be found an unassuming granite marker, in
section 8 of the cemetery. Without knowing it was there, one would easily pass the resting spot of one of
North Carolina's most prominent sons, Alfred Moore Scales. (GPS position 36.04.93n/079.47.88w)
Alfred M. Scales was born in Rockingham County, North Carolina on
November 26, 1827, and had been a successful lawyer, state legislator,
and member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1857-1859) before
answering the call to serve his state and his new nation at arms. A supporter of John C. Breckinridge in the
1860 presidential election, Scales attended the state's secession convention in February 1861, and hesitated
in advocating immediate secession. Remarkably, Scales voluntarily enlisted as a 34 year old Private in
Company H of the 13th Regiment North Carolina Troops on or about April 30, 1861. Quickly recognizing
his merit, the company elected Scales as their Captain on the same date. (The date of his rank was re-
ported as May 3, 1861)
Again, his competence was rewarded as he was elected Colonel of the
13th Regiment on October 11, 1861,
receiving his commission the next day. He served in the area of Norfolk, and later led his troops on the
penninsula at Yorktown, Williamsburg, and nearer Richmond at the battle of Seven Pines. During the Seven
Days' Battles of late June, 1862, Scales led with such skill and distinction that he received praise from his
superior officers. At Fredericksburg, in December, 1862, Scales temporarily took command of the brigade
of Brig. Gen. William D. Pender, after the latter fell wounded. His regiment again served with distinction
during the battle of Chancellorsville, where Col. Scales was wounded in the thigh during fighting of May
1-3, 1863. He was promoted to Brigadier General on June 13, 1863.
After a period of recouperation, Brig. Gen. Scales returned to command
the Fourth Brigade, consisting of the
13th, 16th, 22nd, 34th and 38th North Carolina Regiments. Maj. Gen. Pender, now Scales' ranking
officer, was commanding a division of Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill's Third Corps. During fighting on the first day of
Gettysburg, Scales was again wounded at Seminary Ridge. Later, on the third day of battle at Gettysburg,
Scales' and Lane's brigades went down in history as participating in the infamous "Pickett's Charge" upon
Cemetery Ridge, both brigades being deployed on the far left, under command of Gen. Trimble. After
returning to service, Scales participated in the campaigns of 1864; The Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court
House, and the siege of Petersburg. Due to previous unhealed wounds, Scales took a leave of absence
late in the war, and was at home in NC when the war ended. There is also speculation that he was never
After the war, Scales was reelected to the State Legislature (1866),
as well as to Congress (1874-1884),
and served as governor of North Carolina for two terms (1884-1888). After retiring from public service,
Scales became President of the Piedmont Bank of Greensboro, NC. He died on February 9, 1892.
Returning to the gentle, windswept hills of Green Hill Cemetery,
a time capsule in the hustle and bustle
of the city, one's thoughts cannot help but drift back in time...in an attempt to capture with the imagination
the dedication, valor, and personal bravery exemplified by such a man as Alfred Moore Scales... a man of
his time. Marking what was undoubtedly Scales' unassuming style, a second simple granite headstone
sits quietly next to his, amongst the boxwoods. It reads:
" Kate B. Henderson Scales
March 15, 1846
April 15, 1930
Wife of Alfred Moore Scales
Erected by Madison-Mayodan Greys Chapter U.D.C."
These two simple headstones cannot do justice to the accomplishments
and lifelong service of Alfred
Scales. However, the simplicity of their design speak volumes about the character behind the man;
to do one's duty.
To view a close-up photograph of the resting place of Gen. Scales and his wife, click here (215k).
To view the Confederate Memorial Day 2002 ceremony, held at the grave of Gen. Scales in
Green Hill Cemetery, and observed by the Col. John Sloan Camp #1290, SCV, click here (117k).
"Encyclopedia of the Confederacy",
Vol. 3, pp. 1370
Richard N. Current, Editor in Chief
Simon and Schuster
"Touring the Carolinas' Civil War Sites"
John F. Blair, Publisher
"North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865"
to 22nd Regiment North Carolina Troops ]
This page last updated on July 15, 2002.