| SOLDIERS MONUMENT, 9TH REGT. CONN. VOL. |
Bay View Park, City Point
46 Sixth Street
New Haven, CT
Dedicated: August 5, 1903
Type: Granite pedestal and figure with bronze plaques and ordnance
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, 9TH REGT. CONN. VOL., New Haven, is significant historically because it honors a Civil War regiment primarily made up of Irish-Americans. Its dedication on August 3, 1903, was held in connection with a national convention of the American-Irish Historical Society of the United States. The monument's cost of $4,500 was paid for with $3,500 subscribed by the Ninth Regiment Veterans Association and $1,000 provided by the State of Connecticut.
Extensive newspaper coverage on August 5, 1903, and August 6, 1903, noted that the monument was placed on the spot where the regiment held its first encampment 42 years earlier. At that time the regiment was ignored for two months by authorities. Near starvation conditions prevailed before orders were received shipping the regiment to Louisiana. Of the 250 deaths in service, 200 occurred as a result of "swamp fever" at Baton Rouge and Vicksburg. These bodies were not returned to Connecticut.
Dedication of the monument was marked by great festivities which included a parade and dinner. The parade of military units from around the state marched from the New Haven Green to Bay View Park. Merchants and residents decorated their places of business and homes with flags and bunting in honor of the occasion. Department stores featured related exhibits in their shop windows. No estimate was recorded of the overall size of the crowd.
In the evening after the parade, festivities reached a high point with the annual dinner of the American-Irish Historical Society (founded in Boston on January 20, 1897) at the Tontine Hotel. Speakers extolled the role of the Irish. William McAdoo of New York City, then assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy and president-general of the society, proclaimed, "I think I can say without contradiction that there was not a battle fought during the civil war [sic] but what every county of Ireland had a representative in it."
Abiram Chamberlain, governor of Connecticut, and Morgan G. Bulkeley, department commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, were among the speakers. The importance of patriotic loyalty was stressed. "The duty of every citizen to place himself beside the starry flag and the banner of Connecticut" was the overriding theme.
Several components of the history of the City Point SOLDIERS MONUMENT set it apart from others. The ethnic feature of its recruiting is one, together with the continued focus on ethnicity 42 years later. The fact that the monument is located on the site of the original encampment is unusual. (See also GRIFFIN A. STEDMAN MONUMENT, Barry Square, Hartford.) The history of the regiment's woes--ignored for two months and then generating 80% of its casualties through fever rather than battle--serve as reminders of the dark underside of the Civil War's practical difficulties.
The pride of celebration displayed in the dedication was typical; the parade, community decorations, crowds, festivities, and oratory fit the Connecticut pattern. The dedication was indeed a great occasion. Speakers took the opportunity to drive home the responsibility of all men to accept the obligation imposed by society to conduct their lives in conformity with society's standards and to serve their country in war.
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, 9TH REGT. CONN. VOL. is an example of recognition of a particular fighting unit, in contrast to New Haven's larger East Rock Civil War monument of 1887 which celebrated service by all.
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, 9TH REGT. CONN. VOL., New Haven, is significant artistically because it is a late example of the conventional figure of a soldier at parade rest on a high pedestal. Turn-of-the-century influence is present in the classical Greek fret in the cornice and in the broad sweep of the symmetrical molding under the statue. These features are not found in similar monuments raised decades earlier. Provenance regarding sculptor, stonecutter, and supplier is not known.
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, 9TH REGT. CONN. VOL., New Haven, consists of a conventional figure of a soldier at parade rest on a high pedestal executed in light tan/gray granite. It is a memorial to the 9th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers for its service in the Civil War. The monument faces south in a small park in a residential neighborhood, just south of and adjacent to Interstate 91. Long Island Sound is visible to the east and southeast.
The base rests on a concrete slab, indicating that the monument has been moved. Two risers of 14" and 12" comprise the base. Battle names are lettered on the 12" surface on all four sides of the base and other lettering appears on the dado as recorded below; all lettering is raised and in caps.
The Seal of Connecticut appears as a raised medallion in granite over the lettering on the south face of the dado. There is a bronze plaque on the west face of the dado headed DIED IN SERVICE US, over two columns of 47 names and 35 names. A similar plaque is on the north dado face with columns of 48 and 28 names. The names are arranged by companies and show rank, which in two cases is BAND. The east column of names on this face displays a black cast, the nature and cause of which are not clear. On the east face both columns list 47 names; one rank is WAGR, another is MUS.
The fascia of the dado cornice is embellished with a Greek fret. Above, the curve of the principal section of the base of the figure is asymmetrical. The figure stands in conventional position with left foot forward, gun butt running left to right, overcoat to the knees, left hand over right at the gun barrel, cape to elbows, moustache, and cap with visor.
As seen in a postcard view, the monument faced west in its initial location a few feet to the north. Long Island Sound was easily in view to the east, and at each corner of the monument, positioned on the diagonal, there was a Dahlgren cannon on carriage. Now the cannon are in the same positions, but supported on the ground by low concrete fixtures.
In 1950 improvements in U.S. Route 1 caused the roadway to be relocated through Bay View Park. The monument was moved some feet to the south to make way. In the process the figure was removed from the pedestal, the two parts moved separately, and then reassembled on July 10, 1950. C.W. Blakeslee and Sons Company was the mover. Interstate 95 has now replaced Route 1. Preliminary plans have been circulated for filling in more of Long Island Sound and widening Interstate 95, which could occasion again moving the monument.
South face of base, raised caps:NEW ORLEANS
Dado:9TH REGT. CONN. VOL. / 1861-1865
West face of base:FISHERS HILL
Bronze plaque:DIED IN SERVICE US
(2 columns of 47 names and 35 names)
North face of base:CEDAR CREEK
Bronze plaque:(2 columns of 48 and 28 names, arranged by companies with rank, which in 2 cases is BAND)
East face of base:BATON ROUGE
Bronze plaque:(2 columns of 47 names each; 1 rank is WAGR, another is MUS)
Richard Hegel, "Veterans and War Memorials and Monuments in the City of New Haven, Connecticut," Journal of the New Haven Colony Historical Society 37(Spring 1991):38.
Historic postcard, postmarked 1910. Connecticut State Library.
New Haven Journal and Courier, August 5, 1903, August 6, 1903, and July 11, 1950.
New Haven Register, July 10, 1950.