Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Milford

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Milford, facing west

This week, we look at several monuments on (or near) the green at the heart of downtown Milford, which was founded in 1639. We’ll start with the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, which was dedicated in 1888 to commemorate local residents who served in the Civil War.

The four sides of the monument beneath the soldier lists battle locations of Gettysburg, Fort Fisher (North Carolina), Port Hudson (Louisiana) and Appomattox, and also feature several symbolic icons.

A flower bed at the base of the monument helps to discourage active interaction with the monument during warmer weather.

The flagpole in the background of the image facing away from the monument was built in 1954, and is dedicated to the citizens of Milford who have lost their lives in World War II, Korea and Vietnam (monuments honoring those wars will be featured later this week). Its 15-sided base includes 13 stone markers listing the names of 93 local residents killed in those conflicts.

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Milford, facing east

As you can see from the vintage postcard below, a gazebo has long stood near the monument. The card’s postmark is unclear, but the back is divided, so it was printed after 1907. If you look in the lower left corner (enlarged in the next image), you’ll see a horse-drawn delivery carriage.

In front of the monument is a memorial fountain erected by the Ford family to honor their ancestor Thomas Ford, one of Milford’s founders. The fountain is  used today as a planter.






















Memorial Fountain, Milford Green











Connecticut Historical Society: Civil War Monuments in Connecticut

Milford, Connecticut, 350th Anniversary Book (1639-1964)

History of Milford Connecticut 1639-1939, Federal Writers’ Project, 1939 (1973 reprint by the Milford Historical Society)

Defenders’ Monument, New Haven

Defender's MonumentThe Defenders’ Monument, located at the intersection where Columbus and Davenport avenues meet Ella Grasso Boulevard (Route 10) in New Haven, commemorates the more than 150 local militia and students who combined to harass British troops who invaded the city on July 5, 1779.

During the invasion, British troops attempting to capture a powder mill in the city’s Westville section were repulsed by New Haven residents and militia, including forces from nearby towns. The troops eventually began looting nearby homes and businesses, and spent the night on the New Haven green. The next morning, the troops returned to their ships (burning several warehouses near the harbor along the way) and sailed to Fairfield on July 7.

During the attack, 27 residents were killed.1913 Postcard

The monument was dedicated in 1910, and depicts the combined efforts of local militia, residents and students in defending the city. As you can see from a vintage postcard (with a 1913 postmark), the gentleman on the left (as you face the monument) used to carry a ramrod that has been lost to vandalism or theft over the years. Now he’s primarily lending moral support. Also, the monument has been fenced in, perhaps in response to the ramrod disappearance.

Artist and sculptor James E. Kelly was also responsible for at least a dozen historic monuments, including the statues of John Buford in Gettysburg, George Washington at New York’s Federal Hall and the Monmouth Battle Monument in New Jersey.

The monument sits at the base of a small park that’s flanked by two cemeteries (St. Bernard’s to the south and Evergreen to the north). Both include Civil War monuments that will be featured in a future entry.

Defenders' Monument

Defenders' Monument

Update: The British troop landing site at West Haven’s Bradley Point is commemorated with a plaque on a small boulder.

British Troop Landing Site, West Haven

British Troop Landing Site, West Haven

-Vision in the Sky, New Haven’s Early Years 1638-1783. Myrna Kagan, Linnet Books, 1989.
-Burpee’s the Story of Connecticut, Charles W, Burpee, American Historical Company, Inc., 1939