| East Hartford |
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| || SOLDIERS MONUMENT |
948 Main Street
East Hartford, CT
Type: Brownstone obelisk and eagle
Fabricator and supplier: James G. Batterson (attr.)
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, East Hartford, is significant historically because it is a tangible symbol of the town's honor and respect for its sons who died in the Civil War. Erected in 1868 (Goodwin, page 208), the monument shows in the Baker & Tilden 1869 atlas. The East Hartford obelisk is in the group of 10 monuments known to date from the 1860s, which includes:
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Kensington in Berlin, 1863
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Bristol, January 1866
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, North Branford, April 1866
CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, Cheshire, July 1866
MONUMENT, Northfield in Litchfield, September 1866
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, East Hartford, is also significant historically because it recognizes African-American participation in Union forces. One of the 23 names on the pedestal's die is Samuel W. Francis followed by COL'D. (See also SMITH GATEWAY, East Lyme.)
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, East Hartford, is significant artistically because it is an early example of a brownstone Civil War obelisk monument. Due to its nearly identical appearance to well-documented SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Bristol (1866), it is attributed to the James G. Batterson firm of Hartford which, the record is clear, supplied the Bristol monument. Aside from the difference in lettering (both carry the reference to voluntary contributions), the principal distinction between the two is in the moldings at the bottom and top of the dado. East Hartford's torus and cyma at the bottom and bold egg-and-dart at the top are more sophisticated than their counterparts at Bristol.
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, East Hartford, is located in Center Cemetery, an 11.3-acre parcel on Main Street in the middle of downtown. It is a tall brownstone pedestal and obelisk, topped by a brownstone eagle, and is dedicated to men from East Hartford who died in the war.
The monument is on top of a rise 100 yards or so inside the entrance. It has a two-stage plinth, 7' square at grade, the "third riser" being the base of the dado. Strong torus and a cyma moldings lead to the dado. A bold egg-and-dart course marks the top of the dado. Above, the base of the obelisk shaft is enriched by raised shields of Connecticut and the United States. The first block of the shaft, or the entire shaft if it is a single piece of stone, has shifted, and projects slightly at the northwest corner.
The raised trophy between the battle names mid-shaft is composed of crossed flag, saber, and rifle with a haversack superimposed. The top of the shaft has a raised foliate molding, then a course of acanthus leaves under the cornice. On top, a tall cube of stone rises to a taper to support the sphere on which the eagle rests. The eagle's body is nearly horizontal, with the head up. Wings are widespread but relatively small in size, being shorter in length than the bird's body.
The corners of the shaft show that repair work has been undertaken. Apparently, the stone separated vertically at the corners, a common problem with obelisks. See Conservation Assessment Report for the Civil War Monument, Center Cemetery, East Hartford, Connecticut, for description of additional deterioration.
A small thick iron cannon and a pyramid of iron cannonballs are nearby, both painted green. The cannon muzzle has no visible lettering.
Front (west) face of base of dado, "third riser," incised caps:THE UNION IT MUST AND SHALL BE PRESERVED
Above, die:(5 names, each occupying three lines: lst line, name; 2nd line, unit and place of death; 3rd line, date of death and age)
Above, shaft, above and below trophy, raised caps:COLD HARBOR / ANDERSONVILLE
South, "third riser:"ALL HONOR TO THE BRAVE
Above, die:(6 names, 6th on two lines)
Above, shaft:KINGSTON / SHARPSBURG
East, "third riser":WE MOURN THE PATRIOT DEAD
Die:(6 names, one of which is as follows)
SAMUEL W. FRANCIS, COL'D.
10.C.30, REG. C.V. DIED AT CITY POINT HOSPITAL
OCT. 27, 1863, AGED 30.
Shaft:PETERSBURG / DRURYS BLUFF
North, "third riser:"ERECTED BY VOLUNTARY SUBSCRIPTION TO THE
MEMORY OF THE BRAVE MEN WHO GAVE UP THEIR
LIVES THAT THE REPUBLIC MIGHT LIVE. Die:(6 names) Shaft:ANTIETAM / PORT HUDSON
Atlas of Hartford City and County (Hartford: Baker & Tilden, 1869), Plate 9.
Conservation Assessment Report for the Civil War Monument, Center Cemetery, East Hartford, Connecticut (Westport, CT: Fine Objects Conservation Inc [sic]-Conservation Technical Associates LLC, July 7, 1995). Connecticut Historical Commission.
James O. Goodwin, East Hartford: Its History and Traditions (Hartford: Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1879), pp. 207, 208.
Lee Paquette, Only More So (East Hartford: Raymond Library, 1976).