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33 East Pattagansett Road
Niantic in East Lyme, CT
Erected: After 1923
Type: Two bronze plaques on piers
Donor: Flora M. Smith
Size of plaques: 20" x 38"
SMITH GATEWAY, Niantic in East Lyme, is significant historically because it is a symbol of the honor and respect paid by the Smith family and the community to those who served in the Civil War. Use of the term Civil War in the lettering is consistent with the late date of erection of the gates; the term was not used frequently in the decades immediately after the war.
Frederick Malcolm Smith served in Company C, 26th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers Infantry. He enlisted on September 4, 1862, was mustered in on November 10, 1862, and was mustered out on August 17, 1863. The 26th, a nine-month regiment, saw service in Louisiana. Smith's daughter, Flora M. Smith (1868-1923), was a resident of Willimantic, Connecticut, at the time of her death.
The key at the bottom of each plaque identifying the men listed above as to whether died in service, buried in this cemetery, or colored is unusual because African American soldiers seldom received recognition on Civil War memorials. Here are names of five, one of whom died in service.
SMITH GATEWAY is significant artistically because of the quality of the stonework, which is a combination of quarry-finished and smooth granite well-tooled, and the modest decorative features of the bronze plaques, including the shields and stars.
SMITH GATEWAY at the main entrance to Union Cemetery, Niantic in East Lyme, consists of two granite piers with bronze plaques. The piers have nicely tooled margins and low, truncated pyramid tops. The bases and shafts are rough-finished, the tops smooth. Pintles for gates are in the piers, indicating the presence of gates in the original design. Wrought-iron gates appear in a photograph published in 1962, which also shows cannonballs as finials on top of the piers.
The bronze plaques are embellished at the top center with the Shield of the United States, flanked by laurel sprays. There are stars at the lower corners. Most of the space on the plaques is filled with lettering. The memorial is dedicated to the listed East Lyme volunteers who served in the Civil War.
Front (east) face of south pier, raised caps:SMITH GATEWAY
ERECTED BY THE LATE FLORA M. SMITH
IN MEMORY OF HER FATHER
FREDERICK MALCOLM SMITH
CO. C 26TH REG'T C.V. INF
AND THE FOLLOWING CITIZENS OF THE
TOWN OF EAST LYME
WHO ALSO VOLUNTEERED FOR SERVICE
IN THE CIVIL WAR
(2 columns of 21 names/1 name centered, through capital letter H)
(key: * Died for the Union + Buried Here - Colored)
North pier:(duplicate heading)
(names begin with capital letters H through W)
(2 columns of 20 names)
Eleanor Kern, "East Lyme Was a Sleepy Village When War Clouds Lowered In 1861," The Niantic News, il., undated clipping ca.1861.
Flora M. Smith, death certificate. Town of East Lyme Town Clerk.
The Reverend Allen F. Tinkham, "East Lyme's Part in the Civil War...," The Niantic News, August 16, 1962, il.