Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Boston)
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common at Boston, in the U.S. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was erected in memory of Massachusetts soldiers and sailors who died in the American Civil War. Designed by Martin Milmore, construction began in 1874 and the monument was dedicated on September 17, 1877. Union Generals George B. McClellan and Joseph Hooker were among the estimated 25,000 people attending the dedication on Boston Common.
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is located on a rise called Flag Staff Hill. The monument is neoclassical in design, taking the form of a victory column carved of Hallowell white granite. The monument rises to a height of 126 feet. The platform is 38 feet square and features four bas-relief bronze tablets. The first tablet is titled The Departure for the War, and depicts a regiment marching by the Massachusetts State House. The second bas-relief tablet depicts the medical care on the battlefield and is titled The Sanitary Commission. The third tablet depicts Union sailors in an engagement between a Federal man-of-war and a Confederate ironclad likely the CSS Virginia. The fourth tablet, entitled The Return from the War shows a regiment of veterans marching by the State House to present their battle flags to Governor John Albion Andrew.
Above the bas-relief tablets at the base of the column are four 8 foot high carved granite figures representing the northern, southern, eastern and western sections of the reunited nation.
Bronze statues that stand on the monument's corners represent peace by holding an olive branch, history by holding a book, and the army and navy by wearing those services' respective uniforms. They were once placed in storage to prevent further deterioration and vandalism.
Surmounting the doric column is a bronze allegorical female figure titled AMERICA. She is crowned by thirteen stars, and in her left hand holds the United States flag, in her right hand she holds a laurel wreath and sword.
The base bears the following inscription:
TO THE MEN OF BOSTON
WHO DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY
ON LAND AND SEA IN THE WAR
WHICH KEPT THE UNION WHOLE
AND MAINTAINED THE CONSTITUTION
THE GRATEFUL CITY
HAS BUILT THIS MONUMENT
THAT THEIR EXAMPLE MAY SPEAK
TO COMING GENERATIONS
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- Forbes, Esther, and Arthur Griffin. The Boston Book. Houghton Mifflin Company: 1947.
- McDowell, Peggy. "Martin Milmore's Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on the Boston Common: Formulating Conventionalism in Design and Symbolism." The Journal of American Culture. Spring 1988, Volume XI, Issue I.