Norwalk honors its Civil War veterans with a monument in Riverside Cemetery.
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.
The Civil War monuments in White Plains, New York, and Orleans, Massachusetts, feature zinc soldiers atop granite bases.
On Sunday afternoon, Norwalk returned an 1878 French cannon to the top of the World War monument on the city’s green.
The cannon, which had been captured by German forces in World War I and recaptured by the French, was presented as a gift to the city of Norwalk in 1921. The cannon stood atop the monument until the monument was moved in 1949 from Belden Avenue to its present home at the intersection of East Avenue and Park Street. At that time, the cannon was shifted to a former VFW building.
The eight bronze plaques bearing the monument’s dedication as well the names of local residents who fought and died in World War I also appear to have been cleaned since we visited the monument in early March (the bottom image in this post was taken then).
During that visit, we noticed that the plaque on the front face referred to a cannon that clearly was not there. We first assumed the cannon, like many Civil War artillery pieces, had been donated to a World War II scrap metal drive, but were glad to read about plans to restore the cannon to the top of the monument.
Organizers welcomed the restored cannon with a concert by the West Point Band, as well as remarks by a representative of the French government and local officials.
A granite monument to the Norwalk soldiers who fought and died in the first World War sits on the Norwalk Green, near the intersection of East Avenue and Park Street.
The monument, first dedicated in 1921, consists of five granite slabs mounted in a rectangular shape. The front (south) face bears the dedication “This monument is erected as a tribute of honor to the citizens of Norwalk, Conn., who devoted themselves to the cause of freedom in the service of our country during the great world war 1917-1919 and as a memorial to the men who made the supreme sacrifice.” Beneath this dedication are the names of 45 residents lost in the war.
The sides of the monument feature seven bronze plaques bearing an estimated 1,200 names of Norwalk residents who fought in the conflict.
The front plaque also refers to a cannon “that surmounts this monument” being donated to the city in 1921 by the Republic of France, but a casual glance reveals a lack of cannons atop the monument.
The French cannon, dating back to 1877, was removed from the monument in 1950, when the monument was moved from its original location on Belden Avenue outside the Norwalk Library. Between then and late last year, the cannon stood outside the local VFW post.
According to a Norwalk Hour article from last December, the cannon, which was captured by the Germans and recaptured by the French during the war, was moved into storage for restoration and reinstallation on the World War Monument.
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in South Norwalk stands in a small park near the intersection of West Washington Street and Martin Luther King Drive.
The granite monument, dedicated in 1900, depicts a caped infantry soldier, facing southeast, who is holding the barrel of a rifle. He stands atop a round column engraved with a dedication reading “Erected by the Grand Army of the Republic and the citizens of South Norwalk in memory of her loyal sons 1861-1865.”
The back of the column is stamped with the dedication date of October 20, 1900. The monument sits on a four-sided base, with each face bearing the symbol for a Civil War military specialty: infantry, cavalry, artillery and the navy.
Shrubbery lines the walkway leading to the monument from Martin Luther King Drive.
A copper box in the monument has a list naming schoolchildren who contributed to the monument’s fundraising effort.
(The images for this post were taken in early March, when snow covered a lot of Connecticut.)
Connecticut Historical Society: Civil War Monuments of Connecticut