| Middletown |
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| || 24TH REGIMENT C.V. MONUMENT |
301 Washington Terrace
Dedicated: October 20, 1904
Type: Pink granite exedra with central pier bearing bronze plaques
Architect: H. Hilliard Smith
Supplier: Fox-Becker Granite Company
Height: Approximately 16'
A measure of the great significance attached by the Middletown community to the Civil War service memorialized by 24TH REGIMENT C.V. MONUMENT is the fact that the newspaper account of the dedication ran to 240 column inches.
A parade and long program marked the dedication ceremony. The Governor of Connecticut, Abiram Chamberlain, was in attendance. Orator of the day was the Reverend Bradford Paul Raymond, D.D., L.L.D., president of Wesleyan University. The event was different in tone from many of those that preceded it by two or three decades in that no active troops marched in the parade and no reference was made by the speakers to the insidious character of the motivations and actions of the South. The speakers extolled those who had served, spoke ill of "dreadful battle," and dealt in excruciating detail with the history of campaigns of the 24th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers.
Cost of the monument was $2,700, paid $1,000 by the State of Connecticut, $1,000 by the City of Middletown, and $700 by members of the regimental association. The monument was the idea of the secretary of the association, who proposed it only two years earlier. Several groups and interested parties supported the suggestion, including the Mansfield Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, which in 1884 had raised its own Civil War monument in Indian Hill Cemetery only two or three blocks away. The short time span between proposal and erection of 24th REGIMENT C.V. MONUMENT may be a record in Connecticut.
24TH REGIMENT C.V. MONUMENT, Washington Green, Middltown, is significant artistically because it is an example of a Civil War monument expressed in early-20th-century terms. The Neo-Classical Revival developed toward the end of the 19th century, after many Civil War monuments had been erected. The 20th-century design trend emphasized classical forms and decorative features, such as an exedra and the swags, festoons, and shield in this monument.
H. Hilliard Smith (1871-1948), a Middletown native, was working for Hartford architect William C. Brocklesby in 1904. From 1905-1910 he was a partner in Brocklesby & Smith, then practiced in the highly successful Hartford firm of Smith & Bassette to 1948. The firm specialized in Colonial Revival homes in a design philosophy consistent with the monument. Curiously, the contemporary newspaper account stated that the monument was "of Gothic design."
Fox-Becker was a Middletown firm of stonecutters and monument dealers, still in business today under the name Fox-Becker-Sterry Granite. 24th REGIMENT C.V. MONUMENT is therefore a relatively rare example of a monument whose designer and supplier both were local to the community. Fox-Becker often cut monuments in its Middletown yard, but in the case of large commissions supplied work executed at quarries. This monument, according to the recollection of Franklin A. Batchelder, former owner, was cut in Barre, Vermont. Whether it was designed in Middletown or Barre is not clear; it may well have been designed in Middletown.
24TH REGIMENT C.V. MONUMENT is one of several in Connecticut dedicated to specific fighting units. Others include 21st REGT. CONN. VOL., New London; SOLDIERS MONUMENT, 9TH REGT. CONN. VOL. Sixth Street, New Haven; and BROADWAY CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, New Haven.
The 24TH REGIMENT C.V. MONUMENT is a pink granite exedra with embellished central pedestal. It faces north in a narrow park several blocks long, called Washington Green, about half a mile west of downtown. It is dedicated to those from Middletown who died in the Civil War.
Two risers lead up to the floor of the exedra in front of the curved seats which flank the pier or pedestal. Black streaks deface the steps at the west end of the exedra. The dado of the pedestal curves inward above the seat backs, then tapers to a robust swag below its cornice. A central pilaster rises two-thirds of the height of the dado on its east and west faces. The plaque-in-shield and raised wreath on the front of the pedestal are balanced on the back by a large plaque under raised broadfoot cross, badge of the 19th Corps, in rectangular frame of raised enriched carving. The cornice projects in a rectangular profile, without curves. A bronze eagle is perched on a granite sphere at the top of the pedestal.
At the time of dedication, the eagle was not in place, for lack of $250 to defray the cost. It was added at a later unknown date.
Front (north) face of dado in raised shield, bronze plaque, raised caps:ERECTED
MEMBERS OF THE
Above, in raised wreath:24
Above, raised caps:PORT HUDSON
West, top of dado:IRISH BEND
South, bronze plaque, raised letters:DIED IN THE SERVICE
KILLED IN ACTION
(2 columns of names, with units,
6 in each column plus one centered at bottom)
DIED FROM WOUNDS
(2 columns of 4 names each)
(2 officers / 2 columns 25 names each plus 1 centered at bottom)
Above:(raised broadfoot cross)
Above cross, raised caps:2nd BRIGADE 4th DIV
Below cross:19th ARMY CORPS
(bordered on sides and at top by raised rectangular swag)
Ransom Bio, pp. 96, 122, 123, and 152-154.
Unidentified newspaper clipping dated October 20, 1904. Middlesex Historical Society.