The Soldiers’ Monument, dedicated in 1889, features a granite base in the middle of a plot reserved for local veterans. A dedication on the monument’s east face reads, “In honor of our dead comrades who fought to save the Union in the War of 1861-1865. Erected by Buckingham Post No. 12, Dept. of Conn., G.A.R (Grand Army of the Republic), 1889.”
The monument is surrounded by 32 graves of Civil War veterans who served in regiments from states including Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The monument was originally topped by a zinc figure depicting a Civil War soldier. The figure was removed in 2002 after extensive deterioration and vandalism that included the theft of the soldier’s rifle.
The Norwalk Historical Society is raising funds to restore the figure and return it to Riverside Cemetery.
Nine veterans of the Spanish-American War are buried not far from the Civil War plot, and other nearby plots are dedicated to veterans of later wars.
Norwalk Civil War veterans are also honored with a monument in South Norwalk.
Norwalk’s use of a zinc soldier atop a granite base was unique in Connecticut. Stratford dedicated an all-zinc Civil War monument in 1889 that, like the Riverside Cemetery monument, has suffered from deterioration over the years because zinc turns brittle in cold weather. Zinc monuments often have difficulty supporting their own weight.