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| || SOLDIERS MONUMENT |
49 Pound Street
Erected: January 20, 1866
Type: Brownstone obelisk with surmounting brownstone eagle
Supplier: James G. Batterson
Height: Approximately 35'
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Bristol, is significant historically because of its early date, January 20, 1866. The selectmen were authorized to buy the land the previous year, dating the monument's origins from 1865, very early indeed. It is one of the first Civil War monuments in Connecticut. Josiah F. Peck, Sr., a prominent Bristol citizen, organized the committee for the monument. He may have been motivated by the fact that four members of the Peck family, Albert C., Noble, Richard L., and Henry A. Peck, served in Bristol's Company I, 25th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, one of the units named on the monument. Josiah F. Peck, Sr., purchased the site, furnished transportation for the monument, and paid James G. Batterson, the supplier, $1500. In addition, there was widespread support from small contributors; the Bristol Public Library has 17 small notebooks listing individual "Subscriptions of $1.00 no more no less."
The monument was rededicated on May 30, 1988.
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Bristol, is significant artistically because it is an early example of the obelisk-type Civil War monument with lettering of men lost and battles engaged, modestly embellished with trophies. It is essentially a cemetery monument, typical of funerary art of the time, on a large scale. This overall design was to continue for about two decades, before being gradually supplanted by more sophisticated and elaborate designs. The supplier of the monument, James G. Batterson of Hartford, at the end of the Civil War built up his cemetery monument business purposefully and efficiently to become a major producer of Civil War monuments.
The manager of West Cemetery states that Casey Monument Company repaired the eagle in mid-20th century.
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Bristol, is located in West Cemetery, which was established by the city in the early 19th century. The cemetery occupies a rolling site of uneven ground. The monument is at the top of the highest hill in the cemetery.
The monument is a square tapered brownstone column made up of stylobate of three risers, pedestal, and shaft. It is crowned by a brownstone eagle, which faces east. The stylobate and pedestal provide space for the lettering recorded below. The pedestal has an ogee cornice embellished with ball-and-claw molding. The cornice at the top of the shaft carries an egg-and-dart molding. The east face of the shaft is decorated with two trophies, in addition to the three bands of lettering naming battles in which the memorialized soldiers fought. The lower trophy is a pair of shields encircled by swags. The upper trophy is a composition of crossed flags, musket, and sword with a cartridge box hanging from the musket.
For a Portland brownstone monument, SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Bristol, is in good condition. There has been little deterioration such as delaminating, spalling, major cracks, or separating. The surface is splotchy, perhaps as a consequence of the mid-20th-century treatment referred to above. The principal negative condition relates to the lettering on the north and west faces, which is losing its crispness; the sharp angles are becoming rounded through weathering, and the lettering is now difficult to read.
Front (east) face, third riser of base, incised caps:
ERECTED BY VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCEOF THE VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS OF BRISTOL WHO GAVE UP THEIR LIVESIN BEHALF OF THEIR COUNTRY IN THE WAR OF THE GREAT REBELLIONTHE SACRIFICE WAS NOT IN VAIN
Pedestal:MEMBERS OF BRISTOL COMPANY K, 16 REG. C.V.
(followed by 14 names)
Above:ANTIETAM / ANDERSONVILLE
North face, pedestal:BRISTOL COMPANY K, 16 REG. C.V.
DIED PRISONERS OF WAR
(followed by 13 names)
LOST AT SEA
(followed by 2 names)
Above:FREDERICKSBURG / PLYMOUTH
West face, pedestal:(members of sundry regiments)
KILLED IN BATTLE
(followed by 9 names)
BRISTOL COMPANY I, 25 REG. C.V.
(followed by 4 names)
Above:FORT WAGNER / IRISH BEND
South face, pedestal:(members of sundry regiments)
DIED IN HOSPITAL
(followed by 12 names)
Above:NEW BERN / GETTYSBURG
Bristol Press, ca. May 29, 1988.
Civil War Monument, flier of the Greater Bristol Historical Society, no date.