| Derby |
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| ||CIVIL WAR MONUMENT |
136 Elizabeth Street
Dedicated: July 4, 1877; July 4, 1883
Type: Granite pedestal and bronze figure
Supplier and possible fabricator of stone: M.J. Walsh
Supplier and foundry of sculpture: Maurice J. Power
Height: 21', 4"
CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, Derby, is significant historically because it is a symbol of the honor afforded by the citizens of Derby to their sons who served in the Union forces.
Its creation took many years, as was not unusual. The Elisha S. Kellogg Post, No. 26, of the Grand Army of the Republic appointed a monument committee in 1875 which was successful in raising $1,475. Its leather-bound subscription book, at the Harcourt Wood Memorial Library, lists names of donors and amounts of contributions, which generally were $10 or $25, but ranged upwards to $200 and $500. These funds made it possible to proceed with erection of the pedestal in 1878 by person unknown at a cost of $1,500. The base of the contemplated monument was dedicated July 4, 1877, with suitable ceremonies which included a procession headed by the Bristol Brass Band.
Several years later, when an additional $3,200 was pledged, Maurice J. Power of New York City was given a contract to remodel the substructure and erect a bronze statue. The dedication July 4, 1883, on the Derby Green was attended by 8,000 people. Trains brought crowds from New Haven and Bridgeport. Firemen from Derby and surrounding towns marched in the parade. The principal oration was delivered by Captain Wilbur F. Osborne, lst Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery, who declared that the "patriotism which conquered the great rebellion...lies in the heart of every soldier, sailor, and patriotic citizen of this village."
The "Bivouac of the Dead" reference in the stone is a quotation from Theodore O'Hara, Irish-Kentuckian soldier and scholar. Kentucky soldiers who died at Buena Vista were brought home and re-interred at Frankfort in 1867, with suitable ceremony. O'Hara included the poem in his remarks on that occasion. The lines are also incised in CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, West Hartford.
CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, Derby, is significant artistically because it is a good example of the figure-on-pedestal design, without shaft. Monuments in this design tend to have more elaborate decoration than those with obelisk shafts. Here the four sides of the pedestal's dado are completely covered with bronze plaques, while friezes and areas above the cornice carry bronze embellishment as well. The bronze base of the statue is one of the few in Connecticut to incorporate horizontal fasces in its design (see also SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Enfield).
Maurice J. Power of New York City was given the contract for the 1883 portion of the work. Power operated an active foundry in which he cast, for example, figures for the Civil War Monument at Manchester, New Hampshire. Who the sculptor was for the 7' Derby figure is unknown, but the name may be on the base, unreadable from the ground.
Apparently Power employed M.J. Walsh, about whom little is known, to do the work of "remodelling" and adding to the existing base. Power and Walsh had collaborated on the nearby SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Ansonia, in 1876. According to the contemporary newspaper account, the sub-base at Derby, 8', 4" square by 2', 6" high, is Quincy granite, while the balance of the stone part of the monument is Westerly granite. The difference is apparent to the eye. The record indicates that the Quincy granite dates from 1878 and the Westerly stone from 1883.
CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, Derby, is composed of a high granite pedestal and surmounting life-sized bronze figure. It is sited facing west on a low knoll in the southwest corner of the Derby Green, a small park near the center of the city. The monument is dedicated to all men from the community who served in the Union forces.
According to a contemporary newspaper account, the overall height of the monument is 21', 4". The sub-base of Quincy speckled dark gray granite is 8', 4" square by 2', 6" high. The balance of the stone is Westerly light tan granite, with the following dimensions:
The statue is 7' tall.
5', 11" square by 1' high
Base of pedestal:
4', 8" square by 2', 6" high
3', 7" square at base, 3', 4" at top by 3', 5" high
The pedestal is elaborately decorated with bronze plaques and carving. The name of a battle in polished raised capital letters is on each face of the pedestal base. The dados above are covered with 3', 2" x 2', 9" bronze plaques. The four surfaces of the pedestal frieze are decorated in bronze with horizontal foliate motifs flanking small central shields on the west and east, egg-and-dart roundels flanked by laurel on the north and south. The surfaces of a small attic above the pedestal cornice are more elaborately treated, with overlapping bronze Shields of Connecticut and the United States on the front, a rosette in wreath on each of the other three sides.
The base of the monument on the north and south sides is cut with low gables, which are repeated in the pedestal cornices above. The corners of the pedestal are chamfered, with lamb's tongue stops. Some corners of the stone are chipped. Many corners of raised letters of battle names are chipped.
The bronze base of the figure is elaborate. Each corner is supported by a small sphere. Above, five layers of horizontal curved surfaces are joined by vertical lines just inside the corners, creating the effect of horizontal fasces. The figure stands with his left foot forward and musket butt between his feet perpendicular to the direction of the feet. He wears an overcoat with cape. Both arms are bent, bringing the forearms to a horizontal position and both hands on the rifle barrel, left over right. One covers the muzzle, strictly in violation of all drill manuals and regulations. The soldier has a moustache and wears a visored cap.
Four 11' cannon are mounted diagonally at the corners of the monument. They are held in U-shaped iron support fixtures.
South (rear) face of statue base, lower section below fasces, incised caps:M.J. POWER / BRONZE FOUNDRY N.Y.
South face of pedestal base, to the left, caps in polished panel:M.J. WALSH
West (front) face of pedestal base, raised caps:GETTYSBURG
Above, die, bronze plaque, raised caps:IN
MEMORY OF THE
MEN OF DERBY AND HUNTINGTON
IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY
WAR OF THE REBELLION,
DEFENDERS OF LIBERTY AND
South face:NEW BERN
Above, bronze plaque, raised caps:ROLL OF HONOR
(over 2 columns of 14 names,
plus 1 centered at bottom with unit and date of death)
DIED OF WOUNDS
(over 2 columns of 7 names)
"ON FAME'S ETERNAL CAMPING GROUND
THEIR SILENT TENTS ARE SPREAD,
AND GLORY GUARDS, WITH SACRED ROUND,
THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD"
Above, bronze plaque:ERECTED
PEOPLE OF DERBY AND HUNTINGTON
IN HONOR OF ALL WHO FOUGHT
IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY
"THAT GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE,
BY THE PEOPLE, AND FOR THE PEOPLE,
SHOULD NOT PERISH FROM THE EARTH"
Above:ROLL OF HONOR / DIED IN SERVICE
(over 2 columns of 20 names)
[Derby] Daily Transcript, July, 7, 1883, quoted in undated, unidentified newspaper clipping. Harcourt Wood Memorial Library.
Monument Committee Subscription Book, August 1876. Harcourt Wood Memorial Library.
Program of dedication ceremonies of contemplated monument, July 4, 1877 (Birmingham, Connecticut, Press of the Derby Printing Company, 1877). Harcourt Wood Memorial Library.
David F. Ransom, George Keller, Architect (Hartford: The Stowe-Day Foundation, 1978), p. 121.