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| || SOLDIERS' MONUMENT |
47 East Main Street
Mystic in Stonington, CT
Dedicated: June 13, 1883
Type: Granite pedestal and figure
Designer, fabricator, supplier: James G. Batterson
Sculptor: Charles Conrads, attr.
Donor: Charles Henry Mallory
Height: Approximately 19'
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Mystic Bridge in Stonington, is significant historically because it marks the honor and respect tendered by the community to its Civil War soldiers and because of unfortunate incidents which occurred at its dedication.
The monument was a benefaction to his home town of Charles Henry Mallory of New York City, who operated the Mallory Steamship Line. He was assisted in the matter by the Williams Post, No. 55, Grand Army of the Republic. Cost of the monument was $5,000.
Dedication Day on June 13, 1883, was a major regional event, even though the monument and size of the community were modest. Reporters were in attendance from the New London Day, New London Telegram, New York Herald, New York Times, Providence Journal, Norwich Bulletin, Stonington Mirror, Mystic Press, Boston Globe, Cooley's Weekly, New Haven Register, New Haven Palladium, and New Haven Union. The crowd, which arrived by train, wagon, and steamer, was variously estimated at between 5,000 and 12,000 people.
The day was ill-fated. Events got off to a slow start because the train from New London was late. Then, the grandstand collapsed under the weight of the people sitting on it, although no one was hurt. Most dramatically, the firing of the salute (blanks) by the battery of cannon was badly timed to an extreme; it "mowed down" the first three ranks of marchers. "Marchers faces were thoroughly honeycombed with burning powder, clothes were scorched, one leg severely bruised." "Incredible fiasco" and "disastrous" were words used by the press to describe the day (New London Day, June 13, 1956).
Governor Hobart B. Bigelow was present. The 3rd Regiment, Connecticut National Guard, marched in the parade. Principal addresses were delivered by General Joseph R. Hawley, inveterate orator at Civil War monument dedications, and Congressman John T. Wail.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Mystic Bridge in Stonington, is significant artistically because it is an example of a modest Civil War monument consisting of pedestal and figure, but with no shaft. The lettering and decorations are minimal. The curves of the pedestal design at base and top, concave and convex, are unusual for so early a date as 1883. They are more likely to be seen, especially the concave line at the base, in the 1890s as the Neo-Classical Revival mode gathered strength.
The tan granite is of fine quality. It came from the nearby Westerly, Rhode Island, quarry of Rhode Island Granite Works, a unit in the James G. Batterson enterprise of New England Granite Works.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Mystic Bridge in Stonington, consists of a tan granite pedestal and conventional surmounting granite figure of a soldier at parade rest. It is sited in the Mystic Bridge section of the Town of Stonington on the east bank of the Mystic River estuary, in the middle of the intersection of East Main Street and Broadway. It is dedicated to all Mystic men who served in the Civil War.
The risers of the stepped base of the monument are inclined, giving the corners a batter. The junction of the base with the pedestal, although molded, is essentially a continuous curve. The curve at the top of the pedestal is reversed, in the manner of a mansard roof.
The figure stands with his left foot forward, the butt of his rifle held parallel to the direction of the foot. Both hands are on the barrel, right over left. He wears an overcoat with cape and waist belt. A cartridge box and bayonet are suspended from the belt. His face is clean-shaven except for a moustache, and he wears a visored soft cap.
Front (southwest) face of dado, raised polished caps:DEDICATED TO THE BRAVE SONS OF MYSTIC WHO
OFFERED THEIR LIVES TO THEIR
IN THE WAR OF THE REBELLION.
1861, [sic] - 1865.
Above, in ascending order:(the raised Seal of Connecticut, the battle name ANTIETAM flanked by ziggurats, a raised wreath)
Northwest face:PORT HUDSON (and wreath)
Northeast:GETTYSBURG (and wreath)
Southeast:DRURY'S BLUFF (and wreath)
Carol W. Kimball, "Mystic's Disastrous Dedication," in Danger, Disaster, and Horrid Deeds (Dublin, New Hampshire: Yankee, Inc., 1974), pp. 28-31.
James McKenna, article in New London Day, June 13, 1956, reprinted in Historical Footnotes, Bulletin of the Stonington Historical Society, III(February 1966):2.
New London Day, June 13, 1883, 4:2 and June 14, 1883, 1:1.