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What is the Statue at Third and Market?

Judy Royal
George Davis statue

George Davis statue

The statue at Third and Market streets, Wilmington, [Map this] is a monument to George Davis (March 1, 1820-Feb. 23, 1896), a Confederate States of America political figure and the last Confederate Attorney General, serving from 1864 to 1865.  Born near Wilmington, Davis attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was valedictorian of the class of 1838. He subsequently studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1840. In 1848 he became general counsel of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad. He held this position the rest of his life.

Davis was a delegate from North Carolina to the unsuccessful Washington Peace Conference of Feb. 4 to Feb. 27, 1861. He also was a delegate to the Provisional Confederate Congress in 1861-1862, and was then elected to the Senate, where he served from 1862 to 1864. In December 1863, President Jefferson Davis appointed him attorney general. He served in this position from Jan. 2, 1864 until April 24, 1865, in the last days of the Confederacy.

Davis was captured by U.S. forces at Key West, Fla., on Oct. 18, 1865, and was imprisoned at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, N.Y. He spent several months at Fort Hamilton before being pardoned in 1866. He then returned to law practice in Wilmington, holding no further major political offices until his death.

Port City lore from the 1950s and ’60s claimed that the outstretched hand of the Davis statue was pointing the way to the ABC (state-run liquor store) which stood at the corner of Third and Market at the time.

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