| Suffield |
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| || SOLDIERS' MONUMENT |
2 Mountain Road
Dedicated: October 17, 1888
Type: Granite pedestal and figure
Supplier: Stephen Maslen Corporation
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Suffield, is significant historically because it is tangible evidence of the honor and respect paid by the community to its sons who died in the Civil War. Dedication Day was notable for the high marks given its collation, reported as "a royal repast of scalloped oysters, roast spring chicken, gorgeous chicken pie, cold meats of all sorts, baked beans, cakes, pies, pudding and no limit of good hot coffee. One thousand persons found seats, and after they had eaten until they could hold no more--and some of them had remarkable capacity--another thousand took their place, and still the tables were replenished and attacked anew." (The Hartford Courant, October 18, 1888.)
Colt's Band played selections by Rossini, and the 22nd Regiment was on hand. Several addresses were given; principal orator was the Honorable V.B. Chamberlain of New Britain, who delivered a stirring talk about patriotism, pride in country, and the distinguished career of General William Tecumseh Sherman. The great accomplishment of the war, he said, was that the Union was preserved. He also referred to the monument being dedicated as having a statue of bronze when in fact it is stone.
An unusual feature of Chamberlain's remarks was his observation that the soldier on the monument was placed "with his face towards the field on which he fell...." This is perhaps the only contemporary reference to come to hand regarding Connecticut Civil War monuments facing in the direction where the fighting occurred.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Suffield, is significant artistically because it is a good example of a pedestal-and-figure design in Barre granite. The raised cannon on the west face of the dado are particularly robust. The band of stars on the statue base are somewhat unusual. Also unusual is the fact that while the lettering is incised in a polished surface, it is, nevertheless, quite readable. This may be because the letters are slightly wider than many, giving more opportunity for shadow against the light gray granite.
Stephen Maslen Corporation of Hartford is credited by the contemporary newspaper account with the "design and work for the memorial." The Report of the Monument Committee, however, states, probably more accurately, "Stephen Maslen of Hartford, aided in its design, and placed it complete upon its prefixed site...." A Barre quarry no doubt did the sculpture and stonecutting. Cost, paid to Maslen, was $2,700.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Suffield, is located at the south end of the narrow 3.6-acre Town Green. It consists of a high base, tall dado, and surmounting figure for an overall height of 23', in Barre granite. The monument is dedicated to those from Suffield who died in Civil War service.
The monument rests on a mound of earth about 1 1/2' high, which is planted with a garden and surrounded by a granite curb. There is no plinth. The base of the pedestal and the base of the dado work together to form four risers. Scotia, fillet, and scotia moldings accomplish the transition from base to die, which is polished, as is the band above, to receive year date and battle names. A wide plain frieze leads to a torus molding and the cove of the projecting cornice. A small rounded gablet is centered in each side of the cornice. A band of five raised polished stars decorates the base of the statue.
The figure stands with left foot forward, the toe extending over the edge of the base. The rifle butt is at right angles to the direction of the feet. Hands are on the barrel, left over right. The soldier wears an overcoat with cape falling to his forearms. His bayonet is at the left hip; accoutrements are suspended from the waist belt in back. Wearing moustache and kepi, he is looking straight ahead with head tilted slightly down.
Front (south) face of die, caps incised in polished surface:SUFFIELD
ERECTS THIS MEMORIAL
IN HONOR OF
HER CITIZEN SOLDIERS,
SERVING THEIR COUNTRY,
THAT THE UNION
MIGHT BE PRESERVED.
1861 - 65.
Above, raised numerals in panel recessed in polished band:1888
East:(list of 31 names, with units)
North, in recessed panel:(raised Seal of Connecticut)
West:(raised cannon in recessed circle)
Baruch, p. 13.
List of individuals who pledged financial support of the monument. Connecticut Historical Society.
Stephen Maslen Corporation ledger, 1885-1890 (1888), p. 433. Beij, Williams & Zito, Hartford, Connecticut.
"Report of the Monument Committee," Suffield, October 17, 1888. Suffield Historical Society.
Lester Smith, Suffield Municipal Historian, letters, June 1, 1994 and June 22, 1994.
"Suffield's Celebration, The Soldiers' Monument Dedicated," The Hartford Courant, October 18, 1888.