Connecticut's Civil War Monuments


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MUSTERED OUT, Litchfield
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West Cemetery
Whites Woods Road
Litchfield, CT

Dedicated: 1894
Type: Granite drum on two-stage granite base
Height: 4', 7"

Historical Significance

MUSTERED OUT, West Cemetery, Litchfield, is significant historically because it marks an interest on the part of people of the Town of Litchfield and the State of Connecticut to provide burial places for men who died in the Civil War who were not otherwise provided for. The Town of Litchfield set aside Soldiers' Lot in West Cemetery in 1894 for the burial of soldiers not having lots of their own. The monument was raised at that time. Payne states that "A few veterans have from time to time been interred on the lot," and that, in 1903, the State of Connecticut erected 23 headstones for Litchfield men who were buried in unknown graves on Southern soil. If the present count of 34 is complete, only nine stones were erected under the 1894 program.

It is to be noted that when writing in 1905, Payne still referred to the conflict as the Rebellion.

Litchfield had earlier honored its men who died in the war with the monument PRO PATRIA, on the Green. The difference in approach followed with MUSTERED OUT related to the practicalities of burial.

Artistic Significance

MUSTERED OUT is significant artistically because of the originality and innovative character of its concept. The idea of associating termination of service by death with termination by being mustered out in a ceremony to the roll of a drum was a novel idea for a Civil War monument. So far as is known, it was not used elsewhere in Connecticut. The concept seems entirely appropriate and introduces an out-of-the-ordinary concept to monument design. Regrettably, no information has come to hand on how this unusual approach to Civil War monument design happened to occur in Litchfield in 1894.

Drums were used in the Civil War for communication, sending messages and giving orders, as well as for band instruments. Drums played a prominent part in the ceremony when a unit was "mustered out" at the conclusion of its war-time service. The term also applied to termination of an individual's service without ceremonies.

The quality of the execution of the lettering and the likeness of the drum appear to be first class; after 100 years the monument is in excellent condition.


The Civil War monument in Soldiers' Lot, West Cemetery, Litchfield, is a granite drum of the type used in military bands mounted at an angle on a granite base. The base carries the raised letters MUSTERED OUT.

West Cemetery, owned by the Town of Litchfield, is located southwest of the village center. It is about 2.8 acres in size and adjoins another cemetery. Soldiers' Lot is at its west end, close to an entrance from Whites Woods Road. Soldiers' Lot is defined by four cannonballs of 14" diameter, one at each corner, about 50' apart.

The two-tier base of the monument and the drum itself are made of the same gray granite. Most of the surface of the granite is smooth, but not polished. The raised lettering and the surface of the body of the drum are polished. A likeness of ropes for tightening the drumheads is incised in the polished surface.

MUSTERED OUT, Litchfield, wide view

Two rows of 12 marble gravestones with segmental tops are laid out north of the monument. Name, unit, and date of death are incised in capital letters. Ten more flat-topped stones are in front and to the sides of the two 12-stone rows. Payne gives the inscriptions for 27 of the gravestones. More than half of the lot is vacant.


Base, north face, upper section, raised caps:



Charles Thomas Payne, Litchfield and Morris Descriptions (Litchfield: Dwight C. Kilbourn, 1905), pp. 255-257.