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| ||MANSFIELD POST CIVIL WAR MONUMENT|
Indian Hill Cemetery
383 Washington Street
Type: Granite pedestal and figure
Height: Approximately 17'
MANSFIELD POST CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, Indian Hill Cemetery, Middletown, is significant historically because it was erected by a Grand Army of the Republic post as the centerpiece of a burying place for Civil War veterans. G.A.R. posts frequently were active in efforts to organize and promote the erection of Civil War monuments, but usually as a catalyst for a broader community action. Occasionally, a post put up a monument on its own, as was done here. Another example is SOLDIERS MONUMENT, East Berlin in Berlin.
Civil War monuments as the centerpieces of burying areas for veterans occur elsewhere. Other examples are MUSTERED OUT, Litchfield, and KNIGHT HOSPITAL MONUMENT, New Haven.
MANSFIELD POST CIVIL WAR MONUMENT is significant artistically because it is an example of a typical figure-on-pedestal with unusual details. The polished surfaces are not customary, nor are the symbols in the frieze of the pedestal. The style of lettering is not familiar. The position of the rifle butt, suspended in space, is seldom found. These singularities raise the conjecture that the unknown designer and fabricator of this monument have little other work in Connecticut.
MANSFIELD POST CIVIL WAR MONUMENT is a granite figure supported on a high base and pedestal. It is located at the southern end of Indian Hill Cemetery, a 100-acre burying ground dating from about 1850, in the center of a section of the cemetery set off for burial of Civil War veterans. The monument memorializes those who died in service, rather than all who served.
The site, about 57' x 97' in size, falls off in grade from east to west between two roadways which are its east and west boundaries. Flush granite curbings form the north and south boundaries. Brownstone piers 30" tall mark the four corners; they have G.A.R. shields on their outside surfaces and gabled tops with rounded moldings running along the gable ridges. Three steps lead down from the east roadway to three rows of about 13 white marble government-issue headstones with segmental tops. The name, unit, date of death, and age of the soldier memorialized are inscribed on each stone. The monument is set next, in the center, followed by two more rows of headstones. The western edge of the site is defined by a 2' brownstone retaining wall from which four brownstone steps descend in a closed stone string, which is out of plumb.
The monument faces east, in the center of the site, on a base of three risers. The faces of the top two risers are polished, except for narrow margins. The four faces of the pedestal's die also are polished in a round-arched shape, with a row of attached circles at the bottom. Stars are in the spandrels. Only the front face is lettered. A row of stars encircles the pedestal in a flat raised band below its frieze. A polished broadfoot cross, star, and heart occupy the east frieze; a clover, star, and broadfoot cross the north; a Greek cross, anchor, and fortification plan the west; and a new moon, acorn, and arrow the south. These symbols are badges of army corps. A G.A.R. cipher is in the stepped and rounded gable above on all four sides.
The crowning figure of a soldier stands at parade rest with his left foot forward. The butt of his rifle, suspended in mid-air, is at 90 degrees to the direction of the feet, at the toe of the right foot, which projects over the side edge of the statue's base. Wearing trousers with overcoat to the knees, the soldier holds both hands on the barrel of the rifle, left over right. The overcoat cape falls back from his shoulders. A bayonet is suspended at left hip, while a raised "U S" in circle appears on the flap of the cartridge box at right hip. The soldier bears a grim visage, looking straight ahead, with moustache and short haircut under visored cap.
Front of top of base, incised caps:FRATERNITY, / CHARITY, LOYALTY.
Die, raised caps:TO THE MEMORY
POST NO. 53
Individual headstone, typical, incised caps:SYLVESTER BAILEY
CO. K. 5 REGT.
JUNE 21, 1896.
Steps in west retaining wall, top two risers, incised caps:MANSFIELD POST / NO. 53, G.A.R.