Connecticut's Civil War Monuments


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Veterans Memorial Park
55 Whiting Street
Plainville, CT

Dedicated: June 14, 1913
Type: Granite pedestal and standard-bearer
Supplier: McGovern Granite Company
Height: Approximately 13'

Historical Significance

DEFENDERS OF THE FLAG, Plainville, is significant historically because it is a symbol of the respect and honor tendered by the Plainville community to those who served in the Civil War. Sixty men enlisted from Plainville. A Soldiers Monument Association was formed at an event celebrating their return, held on July 4, 1865, and it raised about $200. A wooden memorial was erected in West Cemetery. In 1872 proposals were put forward that a stone monument should take its place. No action resulted. In 1903 the General Assembly appropriated an unknown amount for a Plainville monument, but it was not until 1913, 48 years after the first initiative, that the dedication was held.

The original location was Railroad Square, near the railroad depot. Eventually, the railroad required that the monument be removed. The original site is now occupied by the town hall.

Artistic Significance

DEFENDERS OF THE FLAG, Plainville, is significant artistically because it is an example of a standard-bearer memorial with several unusual features. One is the rounded raised lettering, rather than the usual raised lettering with straight edges. Another is the fact that the soldier is not wearing a sword; customarily, a standard-bearer's left hand is on the hilt of his sword, ready to draw to defend the flag. See, for example, SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Unionville in Farmington, and SOLDIER'S MONUMENT, Jewett City in Griswold. The absence of a sword probably conforms to actual practice during the Civil War.

Most unusual of all is the simple sentiment "in memory of the defenders of the flag." More common is reference to those who saved the Union. The reference to "defenders of the flag" in the lettering is consistent with the choice of a standard-bearer for the surmounting figure of the memorial. The absence of embellishment on all secondary faces of the pedestal, while uncommon, does occur elsewhere. See, for example, SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Manchester.

DEFENDERS OF THE FLAG is also significant artistically because it is the only public sculpture in Plainville.

The supplier, McGovern Granite Company, was a Hartford firm. McGovern also erected the standard-bearer SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Unionville in Farmington.


DEFENDERS OF THE FLAG, Plainville, stands in the southeast corner of Plainville's Veterans Memorial Park, a small space which was established in the central business district in 1945 as a place for war memorials. Facing northwest, the monument consists of a castellated pedestal and surmounting figure of a standard-bearer. It is dedicated to all Plainville men who served in the Civil War.

Crossed rifles, symbol of the infantry, are raised on the pitched upward slope of the pedestal base. Water tends to accumulate here above the rifles. The next stage of the pedestal is a broad scotia section, on which sabers crossed through a laurel wreath, the symbol of the cavalry, are raised. The lettering recorded below is on the face of the die. The cornice or top of the die is castellated and bears a central shield with the raised badge of the Grand Army of the Republic. The other three sides of the pedestal are without embellishment of any kind, except for the castellation of four embrasures which continues around all four sides.

The standard-bearer's left foot is forward. Wearing a belted jacket with open collar, he encircles the flag with his left arm, while his right forearm is held horizontal with hand on the flagpole. A canteen slung over his right shoulder is suspended at the left hip. The flagstaff rests on his left shoulder and extends for about two feet above his head. The figure is clean-shaven, wears a kepi, and looks straight ahead.

Other monuments in the park, nearer the sidewalks, include a granite stele with eagle for the Korean War and Vietnam Conflict, a granite stele commemorating the Persian Gulf action, and a quarry-faced granite slab with a large pink bronze plaque listing World War I and World War II names.


Front (northwest) face of pedestal base, raised rounded numerals:

1861 * 1865

    Front face of pedestal die, raised rounded caps:



Baruch, p. 13.

Henry Allen Castle, The History of Plainville, Connecticut, 1640-1918 (Canaan, New Hampshire: The Reporter Press ), pp. 163-166.

Ruth S. Hummel, Plainville Municipal Historian, "Silent Statue Has Seen a Great Deal," New Britain Herald, May 30, 1994.