The CT Post reports planned renovations to the magnificent Winchester Soldiers Monument in Winsted are on hold because $100,000 in a dedicated fund appear to have been stolen by a former finance director accused of stealing at least $2 million from the town.
The Non-Repatriated Soldiers’ Monument, in the Winsted section of Winchester, was dedicated in 1900 to honor local Civil War heroes buried on distant battlefields.
The dark granite monument, topped with a polished sphere, stands at the center of a section of the cemetery with 21 graves of Civil War veterans who died after war.
A dedication on the front (south) face of the monument reads, “Erected by the State of Connecticut and citizens of the town in memory of Winchester volunteers who died or were killed in the War of the Rebellion and whose bodies were not brought home for burial.”
The monument’s east face lists the names and regimental affiliations of 21 residents lost in the conflict. The north face honors 10 residents whose service was credited to other towns, and the west face lists 22 residents.
According to the Connecticut Historical Society, information about the monument’s designer or supplier isn’t readily available.
The corners of the Civil War burial section have supports that once held round objects, such as cannonballs or granite spheres. Cannonballs incorporated into Civil War monuments have been removed in several other Connecticut locations, often due to theft, vandalism or World War II scrap metal drives.
Civil War Heroes
To the immediate north of the Civil War section is the burial place for Samuel Belton Horne, an Irish immigrant and Winsted resident who received a Congressional Medal of Honor for actions in 1864. Horne’s horse was shot out from under him while he was delivering a message during a battle at Fort Harrison, Virginia.
At the western edge of Forest View Cemetery is a brownstone obelisk marking the grave of Col. Elisha S. Kellogg, a member of the 2nd Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteer Artillery who was killed in 1864 during the Battle of Cold Harbor, Va.
Two crosses next to the obelisk mark the graves of Kellogg and his wife, Polly.
The Kellogg obelisk was repaired and cleaned in August by rangers from the Antietam battlefield as well as members of the Connecticut Civil War Roundtable and the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery re-enactment group.
A number of graves near the Kellogg obelisk also list service in the Civil War.
Honoring Other Veterans
Near Forest View’s entrance on Torrington Road, a 1923 monument and a grove of trees honor Winchester’s World War I veterans.
The monument features a bronze plaque mounted on a boulder surrounded by trees. The plaque has a dedication reading, “To keep in remembrance the men of Winchester who gave their service, even unto death, for their country and her kindred nations beyond the seas, 1917 – 1918, this tablet is erected and these oaks stand as a living memorial.”
At the base of a hillside near the north end of the cemetery, two rows of graves honor veterans of more recent wars.
The 27-foot monument features an infantryman standing atop a large granite shaft. A dedication on the monument’s front (south) face reads, “For the dead, a tribute. For the living, a memory. For posterity, an emblem of loyalty to the flag of their country.”
The south face also features a decorative trophy with an eagle and two crossed flags, and honors the Battle of Cold Harbor.
The north face has another dedication reading, “In honor of the patriotism and to perpetuate the memory of the 368 brave men who went forth from this town from 1861 to 1865 and periled their all that the nation might live, this monument has been erected so that all who come after them may be mindful of their deeds and fail not in the day of trial to emulate their example.”
The west face displays crossed cannons, symbolizing the artillery, and honors the Battle of Petersburg, Va.
The monument was donated by Winsted native Charles Pine, who served in the Civil War and later became president of the Ansonia National Bank. Pine also donated a memorial chapel in Ansonia’s Pine Grove Cemetery.
The monument was erected in 1904 and dedicated in May of 1905.
Moving slightly north on the green, a 2000 memorial to the 1,551 Winchester residents who served in World War II lists 39 names of residents killed in the conflict.
To the west of the green, near the entrance to the Winsted Old Burying Ground cemetery, a 1907 monument honors the 44 American Revolution veterans buried within Winchester’s borders.
At the far south end of the green, a 1956 monument honors seven residents killed in the Naugatuck River Valley flood in the summer of 1955.
Winchester’s Civil War veterans are also honored with the elaborate Winchester Soldiers’ Monument on Crown Street as well as a memorial in Forest View Cemetery.
The Winchester Soldiers’ Monument, dedicated in 1890, is the largest feature in a Crown Street park. The monument features a corner tower topped by an eight-foot bronze standard-bearer.
A granite archway along Crown Street, in the Winsted section of Winchester, stands in front of a long stairway that leads visitors to the monument tower. The archway bears the years of the Civil War.
A marker on the front (west) face of the monument reads “Soldiers Memorial.” Below the marker, a small plaque honors the monument’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
The monument’s three-story interior, which we have not yet visited, includes a dedication plaque reading, “Erected by the citizens of Winchester in recognition of their obligation to the loyal men who represented them during the War of the Rebellion, whose names are herein perpetuated in grateful remembrance of their patriotic service, 1861 – 1865.”
A bronze door that depicted scenes from the war was lost to a World War II scrap drive. During World War II, the monument was used as an observation tower. A wooden structure was added to the roof, and the site was electrified.
The tower is also used to display Christmas lights, which were visible atop the monument during our visit in late January.
The park surrounding the monument also includes two cannons, a fountain/planter and a bulletin board with helpful information describing the monument and its history.
The monument was designed by architect Robert W. Hill, who was also responsible for several state armories, opera houses in New Britain and Thomaston, the Litchfield county courthouse, and other public and private buildings.
The Winchester monument was been repaired several times in its history. Broken windows were replaced in the late 1970s, and since the early 1990s, a municipal commission has overseen the ongoing restoration of the monument.
A number of road signs helpfully direct visitors from downtown to the monument, which is open to the public during the afternoons of Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day.
The horizontal, black-and-white postcard near the bottom of this post was mailed from Winsted in 1907 to Illinois. The postmark on the color postcard, which was mailed to Bridgeport, was damaged when someone removed the stamp.
More information about the monument and its restoration, including interior views, can be seen at the Soldiers’ Monument and Memorial Park website.