The Confederate Soldier's Home, according to Raleigh historian Karl Larson, was established by the state legislature and opened at the corner of New Bern Ave and Tarboro Rd. in 1891.
"At its height, the campus comprised more than a dozen buildings," Larson said. "Seen in this view are the chapel, two dormitories and the hospital building. After the last resident died in 1938, the home closed. The hospital building was later used by a youth group as a club house for a few years. By 1948 the site was abandoned and the state demolished the buildings. The Division of Motor Vehicles now occupies the site."
In 1946, Simmons Fentress wrote about Wake County's remaining Civil War veteran.
That the passing of 81 winters since Lee and Grant met at Appomattox has left the South with but a few of its fighting men of 1861-65 can be seen clearly from the present picture in North Carolina. For in this State, where 125,000 men left their homes to take up arms against the Yankees, there now live only eight men eligible to have attended the (veterans') reunion.
These eight now reside at homes in eight separate counties for no county in the State now boasts more than a single veteran. The residence of soldiers in a special home was terminated five years ago, when the last occupant of the Confederate Veterans Home at Raleigh moved to Wilmington and died shortly afterward.
Only one of the several hundred Negro body servants who accompanied their masters to war is living in the State today. He is Alfred Blackburn of Yadkin County, body servant to the late Capt. A. Blackburn of Yadkinville.
Wake County's sole remaining wearer of the Confederate field grey (Robert L. Thompson of Raleigh, Route 7) became a centenarian in 1943, and will observe his 103rd birthday at his home 10 miles from Raleigh on November 6. An ardent supporter of the late Franklin Roosevelt, Thompson was at the polls in 1940 to cast a Democratic ballot as the President sidetracked tradition to win election to a third term.
During the War Between the States, "Uncle Bob" Thompson served under Generals Pettigrew and McRae. He held the rank of sergeant, and from Cold Harbor to Appomattox Courthouse was the highest ranking officer in his company -- his captain and two lieutenants having been killed in action. He saw General Lee many times and recalls that the General was a "mighty fine man and a fine soldier."
Thompson attended regularly Confederate reunions until 1931, when at the age of 88 he traveled to Tampa, Fla., to be with "the boys."
The Wake soldier shouldered a gun when 18 years old and was wounded in the campaign around Spottsylvania. He was in the front lines at Petersburg when Grant's forces broke through, but missed the decisive engagements at Gettysburg.
Tar Heel veterans of the Confederacy's fight for existence now receive $72 monthly from the State of North Carolina. That figure was adopted by the 1945 General Assembly, which more than doubled the $30 per month pensions being paid the 12 veterans then alive.
Many North Carolina counties boast several of the Confederate widows, and 13 currently reside in Wake County. For these women, ... the State maintains a home at Fayetteville. Its capacity is only 42, and its rooms are always filled.
That but a few of the Confederacy's sons could be alive today is illustrated by the fact that a boy enlisting at the April, 1861, start of the war, whose age was 18 -- the minimum age for enlistments at that time -- would today be a ripe 103. The fact that some veterans 97 and 98 years old are alive today is explained in that some men were recruited in the latter days of the war upon reaching the minimum age, and that not a few boys misrepresented their ages in order to gain admission to the fighting ranks.
North Carolina's troops laid claim after the war to being "first at Bethel, fartherest at Gettysburg and Chicamauga, and last at Appomattox." -- The News & Observer 10/14/1946