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| || 26th REGT. CONN. VOLS. MONUMENT |
Little Plain Park
Crossways Street, at intersection of Broadway and Union Street
Dedicated: August 19, 1902
Type: Embellished granite obelisk
Height: Approximately 27'
26th REGT. CONN. VOLS. MONUMENT, Norwich, is significant historically because it is a tangible symbol of honor and respect offered by the State of Connecticut and the Norwich community to a Norwich regiment serving in the Civil War. The 26th participated in the Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, which occurred from May 27, 1863, to June 14, 1863, hence the dates on the obelisk marking the 26th's days of heavy casualties.
The sum of $1,000 was appropriated by the General Assembly in 1899 for the monument. The amount was matched locally to provide the total cost of $2,000. On the morning of Dedication Day, August 19, 1902, the regiment held its 39th annual reunion at the Buckingham Memorial (former home of wartime governor William A. Buckingham on Main Street). L.O. Smith of New York, chairman of the monument committee, gave a report of the finances regarding the monument. He said that the site of Little Plain Park had been selected because it was there that a welcome-home reception was held for the regiment when it returned to Norwich at the end of the war.
Smith spoke that afternoon at the dedication ceremonies, as did Mayor of Norwich Charles F. Taylor, who emphasized the importance of "loyalty and service," familiar themes at Civil War monument dedications. Apparently there was no parade or other festivities, and no visiting dignitaries such as the governor or United States senators. The report of the dedication the following day in the Norwich Bulletin was at the bottom of page 5. Such low-key approach to a Civil War monument dedication at the turn of the century is surprising.
26th REGT. CONN. VOLS. MONUMENT, Norwich, is significant artistically because it is a good example of monumental stonework. Quarry finish is used effectively for the faces of the base, dado, dado cornice, and obelisk bands, providing visually appealing contrast to the smooth stone. Carving of the principal front infantry trophy is robust and three-dimensional.
The name of the quarry and fabricator for the monument are not known. Since the budget was modest ($2,000), the chances are that it was the work of a regular quarry crew, rather than a designer employed for the job. If so, the 26th REGT. CONN. VOLS. MONUMENT speaks well for the quality of stonecutting produced by the trade. It is a strong, clearly defined statement in commemoration of the regiment.
26th REGT. CONN. VOLS. MONUMENT, Norwich, is sited toward the north end of a small triangular space, called Little Plain Park, in a residential neighborhood. The monument consists of a base, high dado, and obelisk with bands of quarry-finished stone. It is a memorial to the 26th Infantry Regiment, Connecicut Volunteers.
A curvilinear cast-iron fence surrounds the park. The upper and lower rails are joined by approximately half-round sections of iron centrally tangent to one another, between granite posts. The monument has no plinth. The faces of its two-stage base are quarry finished, with tooled margins. The narrow base of the dado is also quarry-finished on three sides, but smooth-finished on the front, where the vertical plane is continued upward to accommodate the lettering 26th REGT. CONN. VOLS. The top edge of the base is a tall cavetto molding, leading to the die. In each face of the die the central 31" x 21" polished panel is surrounded by a quarry-finished border. These panels contain the lettering recorded below on north and south, but are plain on east and west. The quarry-finished dado cornice is broken by pitched embrasures suggestive of battlements.
Two quarry-finished bands divide the obelisk into three sections. On the front the lowest section is embellished by a boldly raised trophy of crossed rifles with bayonets, wreath, and haversack--a symbol of the infantry. The second section has a square emblem of four centrally oriented triangles, no doubt the badge of the regiment, which is repeated on the other three sides. In the lowest section of the obelisk on the north is a haversack with the raised numerals 26.
The top of the obelisk is pyramidal. Branches of nearby trees now touch the stone.
Front (south) face of dado base, third riser, raised polished caps:26th REGT. CONN. VOLS.
Above, face of dado, incised caps:ERECTED
TO THE MEMORY
Above, base of obelisk, raised caps:PORT HUDSON
East, dado:MAY 27, 1863
North, dado, incised caps in 31' x 21" polished recessed panel:TOTAL MEMBERSHIP
KILLED IN ACTION 52
DIED IN SERVICE 84
West, base of obelisk:JUNE 14, 1863
Norwich Bulletin, March 30, 1899; August 9, 1900; and August 20, 1902, 5:4.