| Putnam |
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| || SOLDIERS' MONUMENT |
93 Grove Street
Dedicated: May 30, 1912
Type: Bronze figure on granite pedestal
Foundry: Gorham Company
Height: Approximately 19'
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Putnam, is significant historically because it was erected by the A.G. Warner Woman's Relief Corps in honor of those from the town who served in the Civil War. Women's organizations were active during the years 1861-1865 supporting the troops in a variety of ways and continued to be active for many decades, ofen in association with Grand Army of the Republic posts. For other monuments erected by or with the strong participation of women, see SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Bridgeport, SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, Clinton, and SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, Danielson in Killingly.
It rained on Memorial Day, May 30, 1912, for the dedication, but a crowd of hundreds turned out anyway. After the procession returned from the cemetery, Mrs. Lillie E. Leach, chairman of the Woman's Relief Corps, was in charge of the ceremonies. Joseph McKenzie, past commander of the A.G. Warner Post, G.A.R., was one of the speakers. "The city at last has the memorial to her soldier and sailor dead that has so long been desired," the newspaper account noted. The orator of the day, Major John McGinley of New London, cut short his speech because he had to leave early, but called on his audience to be no less patriotic than those who had gone before.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Putnam, is significant artistically because the details of the bronze figure are slightly different from most stone figures, and because of the retardataire design of the pedestal.
The details in the figure that are different are the fold of the left corner of the overcoat and the position of the cape covering both forearms. In most stone figures the left corner of the coat is straight, as is the right, and the cape falls inside the forearms. It may be that the basic original sculpture for the stone figure, believed to be the work of Charles Conrads, was not adopted by the foundries which produced bronze casts. The bronze figure of SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, Brooklyn, sculpted by Karl Gerhardt much earlier, 1888, is similar to Putnam's, while the bronze figure of WILCOX SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Madison, 1896, may be identical.
Gorham Company of Providence cast many art objects in bronze; for example, see MEMORIAL GATEWAY, Simsbury. The foundry's location near Putnam in Providence, Rhode Island, made it a convenient source. Eastern Connecticut long was oriented toward Providence, which was the source of much of the capital for the textile mills that were the economic base of Eastern Connecticut in the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries.
The design of the pedestal exhibits 19th-century features which are surprising for 1912. These are the heavily foliated cove of the cornice, a Victorian-era detail (similar to the corresponding feature at SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MONUMENT, Brooklyn), and the bluntly pointed arch of the pediments, a vaguely 19th-century Gothic Revival reminder.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Putnam, is a bronze figure standing on a gray granite pedestal. The monument faces east toward the apex of a small triangular park several blocks east of downtown. The monument is unusual for the details of the cast figure and for the retardataire design of the pedestal. Also, it is one of the few Civil War monuments in Connecticut to be credited on its face to the Woman's Relief Corps. It is dedicated to all Putnam men who served in the Civil War.
The year dates 1861-1865, which appear on the bronze plaque, are also raised on the front of the second riser of the base. Crossed rifles, raised, are at the next stage up, where the surface is inclined, on both the front and the back. Crossed cannon are on the sides. The bronze plaque on the dado is an embellished rectangle, having eared-architrave corners. Pedestal frieze and cove of its cornice are treated as a single surface, bearing a boldly raised repetitive foliate design. Above the cornice are bluntly pointed arched gables of smooth surface against a ridged background, with leaves at the corners. There is a vertical bronze U.S./G.A.R. shield on the front only.
The figure stands with his left foot forward, butt of the rifle perpendicular to the direction of the feet. Hands grasp the barrel, left over right. The left lower corner of the overcoat is folded back. The waist belt carries cartridge box at the right hip and bayonet at the left. The cape falls over both forearms. He wears a moustache and kepi.
A flagpole is nearby, in front of the monument.
Front (east) face of dado, raised caps on bronze plaque:TO THE MEMORY
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS
PUTNAM AND VICINITY
WHO FOUGHT FOR
OF THE UNION
1861 - 1865
A.G. WARNER WOMAN'S
Below, on front face of second riser of base, raised caps:1861 - 1865
The Putnam Patriot, May 31, 1912, p. 1, il. and June 7, 1912, p. 1, ils.