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| || SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT |
46 State Street
New London, CT
Dedicated: May 6, 1896
Type: Granite obelisk with granite figures at base and top and bronze plaques
Designer, fabricator, supplier: Smith Granite Company
Stonecarvers: Angelo Zerbarini, A. Pinardi, Matthias Wills, Alfred Wills,
John Davey, William Higgins
Donor: Sebastian Duffy Lawrence
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, New London, is significant historically because of its importance to the city as a Civil War memorial and because of its association with the Lawrence family. The dedication ceremony on May 6, 1896, was a great event, drawing a crowd of 15,000 onlookers, some of whom stationed themselves on the roofs of nearby buildings.
It was unusual for a Civil War monument to be a private philanthropy; broad-based fund raising throughout the community and/or state funding were more likely. The Lawrence family, however, was well able to make the gesture. Joseph Lawrence (1788-1872) was born Giuseppe Lorenzo in Venice, Italy. He became a successful whaler out of the port of New London and invested whaling profits in a variety of auspicious enterprises. His sons carried on. Sebastian Duffy Lawrence (1823-1909), donor of the monument, who left an estate of $10,000,000, was president of the National Whaling Bank, 1863-1909. A variety of civic activities in New London were started and supported by the family, not the least of which is the Lawrence Hospital.
Another of Sebastian D. Lawrence's philanthropies to the city was the Firemen's Monument (1898), which, like SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, was produced by Smith Granite Company.
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, New London, is significant artistically because it is a large-scale example of an accepted standard design of figures at the base of a shaft which supports a heroic female figure. See SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, East Rock Park, New Haven, BROADWAY CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, New Haven, and SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Bridgeport, for similar designs. The New Haven, Bridgeport, and New London monuments are the largest of their type in Connecticut.
New London was perhaps the last of the major Connecticut cities to engage in the popular, almost de rigeur, civic exercise of erecting a Civil War monument. When the monument, at length, was built, it consisted of a design long in fashion and by then somewhat retardataire.
Smith Granite Company of Westerly, Rhode Island, which supplied the New London monument for $20,000, was a family concern that developed the Westerly granite business in the mid-19th century. Smith also bought the Westerly quarry owned by New England Granite Company (James G. Batterson) in 1928 when that company reduced the scope of its operations.
Smith performed all aspects of monument production in-house, including design, sculpture, and execution. Wolverton notes that the name of the Smith designer for New London was "never made public," but in their typescript, at New London Public Library, Rita and Robert Manke report from an interview with Isaac Gallup Smith, Jr., that the soldier and the figure of Peace were carved by Angelo Zerbarini, the sailor by A. Pinardi, lettering by Matthias Wills and Alfred Wills, stars by John Davey, and polished die by William Higgins. This list of names is typical of the information in the company records now maintained and in the course of becoming a computerized data base under the care of Isaac Gallup Smith, Jr.
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, New London, is a 50'-tall granite obelisk with figures of a soldier and a sailor standing on its base and a female figure representing Peace at its top. The pedestal's die is appropriately lettered in stone and bronze, as recorded below. The obelisk has alternating bands of smooth polished blue Westerly granite, in which battle names are incised, and quarry-faced red granite. The monument is in memory of all New London men who served in the Civil War.
At ground level a square stone platform edged with granite coping defines the monument's space. The platform is bordered by a pipe railing with sawtooth top that connects low piers along its edge. The piers appear to have once had finials. An opening between two piers on the western edge of the platform is the entry to the monument's defined space.
Three quarry-faced risers provide a base to the monument, on all four sides, leading up to the polished bluestone pedestal with its legends. The lettering on the west face, which includes the date of May 6, 1896, is raised; all other stone lettering is incised. The pedestal is 13', 6" square, but extends 2', 6" north and south to provide bases for the soldier's and sailor's figures. The faces of the pedestal carry the lettering recorded below, while the pedestal extension, on the west, displays crossed cannon in a wreath, representing the army, to the north, and crossed anchors in a wreath, representing the navy, to the south. On the east are wreaths containing crossed sabers and crossed bayonets. The pedestal is capped by a molding of quarry-faced granite.
The plinth for the two 7' figures rests on the pedestal's cap. It runs completely around the monument and contains 45 stars, perhaps one for each state at the time of design. The figure to the north is the conventional soldier at parade rest with his left foot forward, wearing overcoat and cap. The figure to the south is a sailor in uniform of tight-fitting trousers and a shirt with rolled-up sleeves. His left foot is also forward. In his left hand is a spyglass, while his right hand holds a rope attached to a capstan behind his left leg. In the first tier of the obelisk, on the south, are paired bronze bas-relief shields, on the west containing the grapevine symbol of Connecticut, on the east a three-masted square rigger, with the lettering recorded below. In corresponding position on the north is a bronze shield with vertical bands under a field of stars.
The top of the obelisk comes to a point which supports a sphere on which stands the 9' classical female figure. She is clothed in flowing drapery, holds a palm leaf in her hands, and has a dove on her head--the conventional symbols of peace.
The smooth granite is described by Wolverton as blue and the quarry-faced as red, but to the untrained eye they appear as light tan and tan.
West face of dado, raised caps:PRESENTED TO THEIR NATIVE CITY
BY THE SONS OF JOSEPH LAWRENCE
MAY 6, 1896
West face of north extension of dado:QUI TRANSTULIT SUSTINET
West face of south extension of dado, bronze plaque:MARE LIBERUM
North face of dado, incised caps:ERECTED BY SEBASTIAN D. LAWRENCE
North face of obelisk, from the top:GETTYSBURG / PORT HUDSON / FREDERICKSBURG / ANTIETAM / GROTON / BUNKER HILL
East face of dado:IN MEMORY OF
NEW LONDON'S SOLDIERS AND SAILORS
WHO FOUGHT IN DEFENCE OF THEIR COUNTRY
ERECTED ON THE SITE OF HER FIRST FORT
FORTIFIED 1691 - DISMANTLED 1777
South face of dado:DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP
South face of obelisk, from the top:KEARSARGE / HARTFORD / CHESAPEAKE / CONSTITUTION / TRUMBULL / DEFENCE
Baruch, p. 17.
Robert Owen Decker, The Whaling City (Chester, Connecticut: The Pequot Press, 1976), pp. 79 and 160.
Rita and Robert Manke, "Mr. Lawrence's Fireman's [sic] Monument," typescript, October 30, 1984, p. 5, fn. 4. History and Genealogy Room, New London Public Library.
C.D. Wolverton, "New London Soldiers and Sailors Monument," typescript. History and Genealogy Room, New London Public Library.