The soldier’s monument in Guilford Connecticut’s base was dedicated in 1877. Cities and towns in Connecticut began to build monuments and memorials to honor the men lost in the Civil War. Connecticut was a state that had many citizens fight in the Civil War and wanted to do something to show support. In 1861, during the Lincoln administration, the state had no problem finding volunteers to fight and in the first three regiments had about 2,500 men enlisted. During the time Lincoln was president, other states as well did not have a problem finding volunteers because the morale was so high and the American spirit was up. The statues that were placed around Connecticut in the years to come were just of way of thanking the men and showing respect to those that lost their lives while fighting. Guilford decided to add a statue of their own which is located on the town green and now 121 years later, still stands.
The town green of Guilford is a focal part of the community. It is located in the downtown area of Guilford and is a place for townspeople as well as tourists to come and explore. It is a typical park today, but it has many famous monuments and memories. In the 19th Century a group of women set on a journey to raise enough money to put up 100 lamp posts around the green and keep them lit. They raked the green and took great care of it, and even to this day the green remains a huge part of the town spirit. With a population of 21,398 residents today the town of Guilford takes pride in all the old monuments they have and savour the history their town holds in it.
The Soldier’s Monument in Guilford is made up of two different kinds of granites and dedicated on May 30, 1877. The pedestal is made of pink granite, designed and produced at the Beattie Quarry located on the Guilford and Branford town line, now called the Stony Creek Quarry Preserve. This beautiful pink and gray granite that was later used in the making of the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station, and many other national landmarks.
However, it was not until 10 years later when architects from Massachusetts dedicated the gray granite statue of a soldier that the monument was complete. While it was not common for things to have such a delay in making, Guilford was used to it because of other projects going on in the town.
The monument displays an infantryman holding a rifle ready to defend his country. An infantry man is a soldier ready to defend his/her country in peacetime and to capture and destroy enemy ground forces during combat.
During the war the smallest type of infantry units were companies. It consisted of 100 infantrymen, but once injuries and illnesses struck, numbers decreased. They would fight smaller battles and sometimes come together with other companies in order to fight. When the companies came together to fight, they would form a regiment, which was the most important unit. A regiment was led by a colonel and made up of about 1,000 soldiers, who used the same equipment as infantrymen. A regiment would fight on horses, and carry their rifles. There were also always medical units around in order to assists the soldiers if injuries occurred. A regiment would fight the bigger battles when a company of infantrymen could not take it on themselves.
Located just a little off the green, upon a base of Stony Creek granite is the Guilford Gun which honors the Civil War victims, infantry men and officers that lost their lives while fighting in battle. This too has a base made out of stony granite, because as mentioned previously, heavy structures were usually built with this strong rock. The cannon is a 100 pound Parrot rifle whose plaque on the southwest front states “to the memory of those who fought for the preservation of the Union 1861-1865.” The Guilford Gun was dedicated later than the Soldier’s Monument, in 1902, but still honors and holds as much importance.
The Soldier’s Monument also has much engraved on it that holds much importance to honouring the veterans. What is stated on the Soldier’s Monument is very similar to that on the Guilford Gun with just a few word changes and added words. On the south face of the monument it states “In memory of the men of Guilford who fell and in honor of those who served in the war for the Union, the grateful town erects this monument that their example may speak to coming generations.”
The south front also lists the battle of Antietam and the names and regimental affiliations of 14 residents that were killed during the war. The Guilford residents that fought and died during this battle were Uriah Parmdee, Herry B Bullard, Fairfield Cook, Samuel H. Hull, Jonathan Norton, Hezekiah Tuttle, John L. Graham, Wells Gilbert, John R Burcis, Henry Hall, Abraham Tibbals, Andrew Adams, Henry Beers, Samuel Dunn. The battle of Antietam which occurred on September 17, 1862 is known as one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles. The battle that lasted 12 hours and effectively ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to what started Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
The east side of the monument lists the Battle of Gettysburg, which was fought from July 1-3 of 1863, and another 14 names of residents that fought in the 14th CV. Wm N Bartlett, Joel Benton, R Ward Benton, Moses C. Clements, Nathan C. Clements, Henry C Dudley, Oliver W Evarts, Edmund I Field, Ceo Foote, Richard Hull, Francis Norton, Miles Richardson, Francis Scranton, Thomas Scranton were the residents of Guilford that were killed during that battle. The north side lists the battle of Fredericksburg, fought from December 11-15 of 1862, and has 15 of residents consisting of men that fought in the 15th and 16th C.V. Lewis Blathanley, Joseph Coan, John Davis, WM. Dolph, Benjamin Dard, H Elsworth Hall, Horman Johnson, Chas H Benton, Chas Bishop, Joseph Crosvenur, Samuel Crosvenor, WM Hubbard, Chas Lee, and Dennis Nettleton were the soldiers whose lives were lost.
The west face lists the Battle of Port Royal that occurred November 7, 1861 in South Carolina. The Battle of Port Royal was a stepping stone because it was an important accomplishment for the Union. It proved that the Confederacy would have a harder time protecting their coastline then they believed. On the west face are 14 names listed, again stating the residents that died during the battle. The names listed on that side are Douglass Fowler, Patrick Cox, John Norton, Richard H Fowler, Samuel Fowler, Joel Parmelee, Harvey Welton, Abraham Jackson, Alexander Peterson, Toby Trout, Chas Tucker, Joel Benton, and Henry Wright. This men all fought in different CV’s, ranging from 17th to 30th.
The green continues to honor the soldiers of Guilford lost. At the southeast corner of the green is a memorial for the soldiers lost during World War II. This memorial is also made of pink granite, quarried locally.
There is also a Vietnam memorial on the green, showing Guilford is a patriotic and respectful town. The Vietnam memorial was dedicated on May 28, 1984, and is also made up of pink and gray granite. On the bottom of the memorial it states God*Duty*Honor*Country, which is everything the soldiers in the Vietnam War believed in. There were only three Guilford residents who fought in the Vietnam War, Stephan J Brennan, PFC, Arthur A Crosby Jr., W.O., and Frederick W. Davten Jr, Maj.
The Guilford Green is full of stony creek granite and memorials that honor veterans of the town. On a Saturday afternoon, the green is flocked with townspeople enjoying the history and the beautiful green. Without knowing, stony creek granite is all around during daily life. With granite from local quarries, it makes it even more personal to the community. Guilford is just one example of a town in Connecticut that builds with stony creek granite and the Soldier’s Monument in Guilford remains a memorable statue for those who see it. As a way of respecting those who lost their lives in the Civil War, Vietnam War, and WWII, the granite is just one way to make sure the statue is strong and sturdy for another 121 years to come.
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