| PRO PATRIA |
Intersection of North and South Streets
Type: Marble obelisk enriched with sculpture
Height: Approximately 18'
PRO PATRIA, Litchfield, is significant historically because it marks the honor and respect paid to the community's men who died in the Civil War. Remarkably little is known about the circumstances surrounding the provenance of the monument.
PRO PATRIA, Litchfield, is artistically significant because it has an imaginative and elaborately carved design on the face of its pedestal and is fabricated of marble, rather than the usual brownstone or granite.
The choice of marble may have been prompted by the presence of marble quarries in the village of Marble Dale in Washington, 12 miles to the west. Technical skills and artistic talent to design and carve marble presumably were at hand at the quarries. The choice of soft stone made possible the elaborate sculpture of flags, figures, and artifacts on the pedestal. Regrettably, there is no information on the designer and fabricator.
The design, incorporating soldiers with bowed heads, is unusual and thoughtfully organized, with figures in the two upper corners and flags in the two lower corners balancing one another and the central Latin words. The horizontal line formed by the words is above center.
Another Civil War monument in Litchfield, MUSTERED OUT, is in the shape of a drum, while PRO PATRIA has a drum in the carving of the dado. These two Litchfield monuments are among the few in the state to have drums significant in their designs.
Soldiers with heads similarly bowed on their hands at rifle muzzle appear in a large bronze plaque on a Civil War monument in Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport. The Bridgeport design also features the words Pro-Patria and the monument is called PRO-PATRIA. The sculptor for Bridgeport's PRO-PATRIA is known; he was Paul Winters Morris of Bridgeport. There is no reason to think he was involved with Litchfield's PRO PATRIA. The difference in dates, 1874 for Litchfield, 1906 for Bridgeport, is substantial. There is a possibility that Morris somehow was familiar with the earlier work.
PRO PATRIA, Litchfield, is composed of a marble pedestal and obelisk. It is located in the center of the Green at the village's main intersection. The monument honors Litchfield men who died in the war.
The plinth of the monument is gray granite, but the rest of the stone is marble. The front (south) face of the pedestal's dado is elaborately carved within a recessed panel. At the bottom, a small central drum in flanked by flags and cannonballs. The raised lettering PRO PATRIA is in the center. Above the lettering a strong arched molding supports soldier figures in its spandrels. The soldiers are seated with heads bowed. The man to the west is a cavalryman with his head on his saber; the one to the east is an infantry officer leaning on his sword. An artillery piece and tent are at the top of the arch.
The transition from pedestal to obelisk shaft is made by heavy ogee and torus moldings under a band of five raised stars, which continues around the four sides of the obelisk. Two raised courses with battle names divide the front of the shaft into three sections, which have chamfered corners with lamb's tongue stops. The middle section of the shaft displays the Seal of Connecticut, raised, with a cross below and flags above.
The top of the obelisk is a low pyramid.
Plaques on four nearby granite stelae honor those who served in various wars. A cannon is mounted on a granite cube a few feet to the west.
Front (south) face of dado, raised caps:PRO PATRIA
Above:Ft [sic] DARLING
East: ROLL OF HONOR / DIED / (20 names, with unit and date of death)
Above:Ft [sic] HARRISON
North: ROLL OF HONOR / KILLED IN ACTION / (12 names) / DIED / (5 names)
West: ROLL OF HONOR / KILLED IN ACTION / (19 names)
Baruch, p. 15.
Alain C. White, The History of the Town of Litchfield, Connecticut, 1720-1920 (Litchfield: Enquirer Print, 1920), p. 269.