Connecticut's Civil War Monuments


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Top of the Green
Main Street
Sharon, CT

Dedicated: August 6, 1885
Type: Cannon and carriage on granite exedra
Designer: Emily O. Wheeler
Height: Approximately 7'

Historical Significance

SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Sharon, is significant historically because it is a tangible symbol of honor and respect paid by the community to Sharon men who died in the Civil War. Ongoing discussion regarding a monument came to a head upon submission of Emily O. Wheeler's plans and design. A January 1885 town meeting authorized the expenditure of not more than $1,000 to execute her proposal, which was done.

The Dedication Day ceremonies on August 6, 1885, were organized by the John M. Gregory Post, No. 59, Grand Army of the Republic. The procession included two bands and three G.A.R. posts. Dr. C.C. Tiffany of New York presented the monument on behalf of the selectmen, while Colonel A.H. Fenn of Winsted and the Reverend Dr. Hiram Eddy of Canaan made the principal addresses.

The Sharon memorial demonstrates use of the phrase Soldiers' Monument as a generic term for a Civil War memorial. Whether or not a soldier was represented in the monument design was irrelevant; it was a monument to soldiers. Another striking example of this principle is WARREN SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Stafford Springs in Stafford, where the only representational presence is an allegorical female figure.

The monument initially was located in Main Street's central median, i.e., the Green proper. When the western roadway was widened earlier in the 20th century, the memorial was moved across the street to its present westerly location, visually and physically separated from the central Green.

Artistic Significance

SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Sharon, is significant artistically because it is an ingenious combination of classical exedra, classical pedestal, and gun carriage, unique in Connecticut. The scrolled and carved bench ends enhance the classical character of the design. A more conventional combination of exedra and pedestal is seen in 24TH REGIMENT C.V. MONUMENT, Middletown. The year 1885 is exceptionally early for use of the exedra; such classical motifs were not commonly adopted for Connecticut Civil War monuments until the last decade of the 19th century and early 20th century.

The plans and design for the Sharon monument were proposed by Emily O. Wheeler of New York. Her association with Sharon and her source of the plans and design are not known. The identities of the quarry and stonecutter also are unknown.


SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Sharon, is in a small triangular .07-acre park located on the western side of Main Street at the top of the Green. A commercial building is next door to the south, a residence to the north, and a cemetery to the west. Grade falls off to the west. The monument is dedicated to Sharon men who died in the Civil War.

The monument is a granite structure that combines features of an exedra and pedestal, on which is mounted a small cannon. When the original metal cannon deteriorated earlier in the 20th century, the present wooden replacement was substituted. The exedra structure is U-shaped rather than curved; the seats are perpendicular to the axis rather than part of a curved plan. Carved sunbursts embellish the scrolled bench ends at the front. The peaked coping of the benches terminates in a small stack of granite cannonballs on either side of the central pedestal. This central feature is a block 35" high x 42" wide x 42" deep rising from the level of the bench coping. It carries the lettering recorded below, which is incised and difficult to read. The gun carriage perched on top is granite. A flagpole is nearby.

The monument is in need of attention. Black stains deface the stones, the stonework requires pointing, and the wooden cannon is soft and spongy.


Front (southeast) face of pedestal, u.c. and l.c. incised in recessed smooth panel 24" x 24" (final line off-center):

by the Town of Sharon
In memory of the brave
Men who enlisted from
This township in the war
of the Rebellion and fell
In the struggle to maintain
The Union [sic]                                    


Other three faces, each:

(list of 8 or 10 names)


Bruce Clouette, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Sharon Historic District, Sharon, Connecticut (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1992), Photograph 17.

Jeanne Magdalany, Sharon Municipal Historian, conversation, July 8, 1994.

Charles F. Sedgwick, A History of the Town of Sharon, Litchfield County, Conn. (Hartford: Case, Tiffany & Co., 1842, with appendices), pp. 195-198.