Connecticut's Civil War Monuments


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New Haven

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St. Bernard Cemetery
Intersection of Ella Grasso Boulevard and Columbus Avenue
New Haven, CT

Dedicated: ca.1889
Type: Granite pedestal, shaft, and standard-bearer figure
Designer, fabricator, supplier: Smith Granite Company
    Sculptor: Edward L. Pausch
    Stonecutter: Joseph Bedford
Height: Approximately 32'

Historical Significance

SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, St. Bernard Cemetery, New Haven, is significant historicallybecause it is a Civil War monument erected by the State of Connecticut. A commission was established by the General Assembly in 1886 to erect a monument in St. Bernard Cemetery at a cost not to exceed $3,000. In 1887, $3,500 was provided for contemplated expenses of the National Guard's participation in the dedication, but no record of the dedication has come to hand. Payment of $3,000 to Smith Granite Company was made through the Commission on Sculpture in 1889, suggesting that the monument actually may have been erected in that year.

The usual circumstance surrounding creation of a Civil War monument was that a group of veterans or a civic association conceived and promoted the idea. No information on who that group may have been for SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, St. Bernard Cemetery, is known, although Smith records do make reference to the Grand Army of the Republic.

Artistic Significance

SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, St. Bernard Cemetery, New Haven, is significant artistically because it is an unusually tall cleanly designed memorial and because it incorporates features which are unusual in Connecticut Civil War monuments. The overall height of the piece, probably some 32' or more, is noteworthy. The polished surfaces and lettering are elegant without being ornate. The pointed-arch gablets introduce a Gothic Revival characteristic, rare in Connecticut Civil War monuments. Another Gothic Revival feature, a castellated cornice, is found in SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Unionville in Farmington, which happens to have a standard-bearer as its crowning figure as well. UNION MONUMENT, Colchester, also has Gothic Revival pointed arches.

The cross on the front of the shaft is the only cross known on a Connecticut Civil War monument, perhaps because this is the only known monument in a Catholic cemetery. And the elaborate but curious capitals of the shaft are unusual.

The monument was designed and produced by Smith Granite Company, Westerly, Rhode Island. Since Smith records survive, the names of the sculptor and the stonecutter are known, Edward L. Pausch and Joseph Bedford. Such information is available for only a few Connecticut Civil War monuments. A near-duplicate of SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, St. Bernard Cemetery, is SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Branford.


SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, St. Bernard Cemetery, New Haven, is a tall Westerly granite memorial consisting of high plinth, pedestal, tapered square shaft, and crowning figure of a standard-bearer. It was erected by the State of Connecticut pursuant to Special Act of the General Assembly in memory of all Connecticut men who died in the Civil War. The monument and surrounding graves of veterans occupy a plot in the 25-acre cemetery.

The high plinth supports the two-stage base of the pedestal. The four faces of the dado are slightly raised and polished panels but only the front face has lettering, as recorded below. A band of polished stars decorates the top of each face. Each face has a central pointed-arch gablet. In the front gablet is a raised Seal of Connecticut, in the north an anchor, west a wreath, and south crossed cannon.

Polished bands of stone set off the bottom and top of the tall tapered shaft. The front face of the shaft bears a raised cross. The capital of the shaft, on the front, is composed of an eagle framed by long volutes reminiscent of the Ionic order. The capital faces on the other three sides are the Shield of the United States.

The crowning figure of soldier bearing the colors has his right foot forward, with toe extending over the edge of the statue's two-stage base. He wears trousers and belted jacket. His left arm is around the folds of the flag, while his right hand grasps the hilt of the sword, ready to draw. Clean-shaven except for a moustache, he wears a visored cap. The flagpole extends upward about two feet above his head.

The graves surrounding the monument are laid out in rows of about 12, two rows in front and two in back. The stones are of near-identical appearance, marble with rounded tops. Lettering incised in each gives name, unit, and date of death, which is mostly in the 1880s and 1890s, although Spanish American, World War I, and World War II veterans are included.


Front (east) face of plinth, incised caps:


    Front of dado, caps incised in polished panel raised 1/8":



Connecticut Commission on Sculpture, records and abstract held by State Archivist. Connecticut State Library.

Isaac Gallup Smith, Jr., interview, January 20, 1994.

Special Act 192, April 8, 1886, Private Laws and Special Acts of the Connecticut State Legislature, v. 10, p. 356.