Connecticut's Civil War Monuments


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PRO-PATRIA, Bridgeport
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Mountain Grove Cemetery
2675 North Avenue
Bridgeport, CT

Erected: 1906
Type: Large bronze bas-relief mounted on granite stele
Sculptor: Paul W. Morris
Foundry: John Williams, Inc.
Height: 5'

Historical Significance

PRO-PATRIA, Bridgeport, is significant historically because it memorializes Bridgeport's contribution to the Civil War in a monument raised by the city's Grand Army of the Republic post with State of Connecticut financial support. The G.A.R. post was named for Elias Howe, Jr., inventor of the sewing machine and prominent Bridgeport industrialist. Howe served in the army from August 14, 1862, to July 19, 1865, the entire time as a private. The State of Connecticut provided financial support for erection of Civil War monuments in the first decade of the 20th century. For similar state funding see also SOLDIERS MONUMENT, 9TH REGT. CONN. VOL., Sixth Street, New Haven; 21ST REGT. CONN. VOL., New London; 24TH REGIMENT C.V. MONUMENT, Middletown, and others.

The monument is dedicated IN LOVING MEMORY OF THOSE WHO DID NOT RETURN. Mountain Grove Cemetery was established in 1849 as a typical mid-19th-century Picturesque landscape in a rural location away from the center of the city. It grew in size to 140 acres by 1921. The G.A.R. first acquired a plot in the cemetery in 1883. The plot was enlarged in 1896 and again in 1906, with the installation of PRO-PATRIA, to the present size of 46' x 75'. G.A.R. interments continued until the early 1930s.

Artistic Significance

PRO-PATRIA, Bridgeport, is significant artistically because it is an unusual example of a combination of large bas-relief figures with lists of the deceased. Normally, plaques mounted on boulders are little more than lists under appropriate headings. The stance of PRO-PATRIA's soldiers, with heads bowed, also is unusual. The only other known instance in Connecticut is the figures with heads bowed in the marble monument on the Litchfield Green, which is also lettered PRO PATRIA, a circumstance suggesting common origin for the two monument designs.

Little is known of the career of sculptor Paul Winters Morris (1865-1916), other than that he studied under the nationally known sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in New York City. He was born and educated in Bridgeport, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Morris who lived at the corner of Noble and East Washington Avenues; his sister was Mrs. William T. Hincks of Bridgeport. Morris was named by the will of Harriet Adelaide Perry, widow of William Hunt Perry, who had been a neighbor, to design the triumphal arch which she presented to the city in memory of her husband. (See Historic Resources Inventory form for Perry Memorial Arch in Seaside Park, Connecticut Historic Municipal Parks Survey, 1995.) He declined the commission on grounds that he was a sculptor, not an architect; it would have been the largest work of his lifetime.

John Williams, Inc., was a well-known New York City art foundry.


PRO-PATRIA, Bridgeport, is a substantial granite stele to which a large bronze plaque has been affixed. It is located in Mountain Grove Cemetery at the front of a plot that contains graves of about 83 Civil War veterans. Corners of the plot are marked by pyramids of cannonballs. The memorial is a monument to those who died.

Three tiers of quarry-finished dark gray granite comprise the stone part of the monument. First is the low base, second an intermediate section with curved ends and the central lettering PRO-PATRIA, and third the principal top section which is recessed to accept the 5' x 8' plaque. The border of the main lettered section of the plaque is formed of Roman fasces. Three vertical lines of a foliate motif divide the lettering into four sections. A soldier wearing kepi, sack coat, and brogans stands to the right and a sailor in cloth cap and woolen frock to the left, both with bowed heads resting on their hands at the corners of the fasces border. Each name in the lists in the four sections is followed by rank, unit, and date and place of death (often in a hospital). The top of the stone is crowned by a bronze representation of a soldier's hat, coat, and sword. Seven rows of graves, approximately 12 to a row, are behind the monument. All gravestones are standard white marble, with incised lettering.


Front (southwest) face, below plaque, in smooth-finished recessed panel of granite base, raised caps:



        Left lower corner, incised u.c. and l.c.:

Paul W. Morris Sc

        Left lower corner, incised u.c. and l.c.:

Jno Williams Inc. / Bronze Foundry, N.Y.

        Right lower corner:


        Left lower corner, lettering in two interlocking wreaths, raised caps:


    Running across bottom of plaque, raised caps:


    Main body of plaque, raised caps:

(list of 27 military units, followed by individuals' names, starting with FIRST CONN. CAVALRY, ending with U.S. NAVY. Longest list of names [20] NINTH CONN. INFANTRY; second longest [19] SIXTH CONN. INFANTRY)

    Running across top of plaque, in ribbons:


    Center of this line:

(Seal of Connecticut)


G.A.R. Post plot file in records of Mountain Grove Cemetery Association.

Edward Mohylowski, Historic and Architectural Resource Survey of Western Bridgeport, Statewide Historic Resource Inventory, Connecticut Historical Commission, 1986, Form #33.

David F. Ransom, Elias Howe, Jr., Monument, SOS! Connecticut Survey Questionnaire Form #023 (Washington, D.C.: National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property, 1993).

_______________, Perry Memorial Arch in Seaside Park, Connecticut Historic Municipal Parks Survey, Statewide Historic Resource Inventory, Connecticut Historical Commission, 1995.

"[Ma]yor Wilson Receives Perry Memorial Arch From [Trus]tee George W. Wheeler in Behalf of City Park," undated (1918) unidentified newspaper clipping. Historical Collections, Bridgeport Public Library.