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[Old] North Cemetery
60 North Main Street
West Hartford, CT
Type: Granite tombstone
Designer, fabricator, and supplier: Stephen Maslen Corporation
Height: 5', 9"
CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, West Hartford, is significant historically because it is a tangible symbol of the honor and respect paid by the State of Connecticut and the townspeople to West Hartford men who died in the Civil War but whose bodies were not brought home for burial. Concern for this issue is demonstrated in several monuments across the state, including CANTON MEMORIAL MONUMENT, Collinsville in Canton; MONUMENT TO SOLDIERS IN UNKNOWN GRAVES, Danbury; and NON-REPATRIATED SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Winsted in Winchester.
Nothing is known about the circumstances surrounding the creation of the monument. Presumably, a local group lobbied the General Assembly to participate in the state's program of erecting local Civil War monuments.
[Old] North Cemetery is referred to on a historical sign nearby as Old North Cemetery, while the Town Assessor lists it as North Cemetery. The burying ground was established in 1790.
CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, West Hartford, has little significance artistically because it is a conventional tombstone with rounded top. It is fitting for the cemetery environment in which it was erected. Stephen Maslen Corporation erected many small individual tombstones for Civil War veterans in various cemeteries under contract to the state. CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, West Hartford, is a larger version of the standard product. The charge for CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, West Hartford, was $160. Maslen also supplied far more ambitious designs, including GRIFFIN A. STEDMAN MONUMENT, Barry Square, Hartford, and SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Suffield.
The poetry quoted on the back of the stone, "The Bivouac of the Dead," was written in 1847 by Thomas D. O'Hara. The lines also appear on CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, Derby.
CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, West Hartford, is a gray tombstone of conventional shape, with its top a segmental curve. It is 5', 9" tall, 3' wide, and 7 1/4" thick. It stands facing west at the back of the middle drive leading from North Main Street into the flat 6.4-acre cemetery.
The front of the stone is completely covered with lettering as recorded below, while on the back there is one name at the top over four lines of poetry. Each of the 11 names is a three-line entry, consisting of name, military unit, and place and date of death.
The stone is soiled with gray stains, which is unusual for granite, giving rise to the speculation that in fact it may be limestone or a hard marble.
Front (west) face, incised caps:ERECTED 1904
BY THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
IN MEMORY OF THE MEN OF WEST HARTFORD
WHO OFFERED UP THEIR LIVES
A SACRIFICE IN THE CIVIL WAR
AND WHOSE BODIES WERE NEVER BROUGHT HOME FOR BURIAL.
(10 names with unit and place and date of death)
East face:(1 name, 3 lines)
ON FAME'S ETERNAL CAMPING-GROUND
THEIR SILENT TENTS ARE SPREAD
AND GLORY GUARDS WITH SOLEMN ROUND
THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD.
Stephen Maslen Corporation, journal/order book for 1904, p. 321. Beij, Williams & Zito, Hartford.