Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Amid the busy streets of downtown Cleveland stands the Soldiers and Sailors' Monument, built to honor the 10,000 Cuyahoga county residents who fought in the Civil War. Almost fifteen years after Major William J. Gleason first suggested the idea of honoring the bravery of these local Union soldiers, the monument was finally dedicated on July 4, 1894. This long anticipated event featured a parade over five miles long, an opening address made by William McKinley, performances by the Great Western Band, and children singing anthems of patriotism.

Despite all this enthusiasm, the Soldiers and Sailors' Monument was subject of hostility throughout most of its planning. City authorities and a few citizens opposed the scheme to locate the monument in the southeast corner of Public Square, where it now stands. After numerous court battles, one of which went to the Supreme Court, and meetings to protest the building site, construction finally began at the location on August 25, 1891.

A committee of twelve former soldiers and sailors were in charge of the monument's planning. The monument was designed by architect Levi T. Scofield, but the entire Soldiers and Sailors' Monument committee contributed with their ideas. The decision to have the monument be either a shaft or a memorial hall was put to a vote at a meeting of Camp Barnett Soldiers and Sailors' Society. Because the votes were split, it was decided to include both styles in the design.

The total height of the Soldiers and Sailors' Monument reaches to 125 feet. Atop the black Amherst stone column stands Lady Liberty in a defensive stance. The column itself is separated into sections by six bands that together contain the names of thirty of the most notable Civil War battles. A bastion fort with guns mounted in barbette connects the column to the monument's building. Surrounding the Soldiers and Sailors' Monument are four bronze statues symbolizing the principle branches of service: the Infantry, the Cavalry, the Navy, and the Artillery. During the planning, the building became a tablet room rather than the originally proposed memorial hall. Inside the building, which became a tablet room rather than the originally proposed memorial hall, the names of the 10,000 Cuyahoga county Union soldiers are carved in the marble walls. Above the tablets, on the east and west walls are the bronze busts of officers who were killed in action. Above the north side door is the bust of General James Barnett, and above the south side door is Captain Levi T. Scofield. The foundation of the column centers the room. On each of the four sides are bronze relief statues portraying the Beginning of the War in Ohio, The Emancipation of the Slave, the Northern Ohio Soldiers' Aid Society, Sanitary Commission, and Hospital Service Corps, and The End of the War.

In 2008, an extensive restoration began on the Soldiers and Sailors' Monument lasting two years and totaling two million dollars. Reopened to the public on June 4, 2010, this symbol of pride for the residents of Cuyahoga county can now be visited and appreciated year round.

Images

The Advance Guard

The Advance Guard

This sculpture is a representation of the cavalry group. According to architect Levi T. Scofield, "The Advance Guard" is "a detachment that has struck the line of the enemy. . . The confederate soldiers were introduced in this historical group to show to posterity what they and their flag were like." Image courtesy of Heidi Kathleen Elise Fearing View File Details Page

At Short Range

At Short Range

"At Short Range" is a representation of the artillery group. Image courtesy of Heidi Kathleen Elise Fearing View File Details Page

The Monument in the 1890s

The Monument in the 1890s

The area surrounding the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument was quite different than it now looks. For example, due to increasing costs and changes in Public Square, the floral arrangements surrounding the monument have been altered. However, those who work to preserve the monument strive to keep it as close to its original appearance as possible. Image courtesy of the Western Reserve Historical Society. View File Details Page

Beginning of the War

Beginning of the War

"The Beginning of the War in Ohio" shows (from left to right) James A. Garfield, Jacob A Cox, George B. McClellan, William R. Dennison, David Tod, John Brough, William S. Rosecrans, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Quincey A. Gilmore. Image courtesy of Heidi Kathleen Elise Fearing View File Details Page

Emancipation of the Slave

Emancipation of the Slave

This relief shows President Lincoln holding the shackles that have been taken from the bondsman who is kneeling at his feet, while handing the newly emancipated man a gun and accoutrements. This feature explains more clearly the law that authorized Lincoln to issue the proclamation, and also shows how the government was required to employ the slave as a soldier. On the right of the president stand Salmon P. Chase and John Sherman, the financial men of the war period, and on the left are Benjamin Wade and Joshua R. Giddings, who were Lincoln's mainstays in the anti-slavery movements. In the background, in bas-relief, is represented the army and navy. Overhead is the closing paragraph of the proclamation, written by Chase and adopted by Lincoln: "And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice warranted by the constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God." Image courtesy of Heidi Kathleen Elise Fearing View File Details Page

The Color Guard

The Color Guard

"The Color Guard" is a representation of the Infantry group. Depicted here is the One Hundred and Third Ohio infantry at the Battle of Resaca that took place May 13-15, 1864. Sergeant Martin Striebler and his eight corporals defended the flag until each of them were killed or wounded. The monument's architect, Levi T. Scofield was one of the infantrymen who fought at this battle. Image Courtesy of C. W. Perron View File Details Page

End of the War

End of the War

According to the monument's architect Scofield, "The End of the War," (also called "The Peacemakers at City Point") is the scene "where Lincoln left his steamer, River Queen, and went ashore to visit Grant's headquarters. Gen. Sherman had been invited by Grant to make his a visit for consultation, as he usually did before making any important movement. He was accompanied by Gen. Leggett. . . . This conference led to the battle of Five Forks and the surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox." The men shown are (from left to right) George A. Cutler, Philip H. Sheridan, George Crook, Ulysses S. Grant, John A. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Robert T. Lincoln, Mortimer Dormer Leggett, William Tecumseh Sherman, Governor Kemble Warren, George Gordon Meade, Edward Otho Cresap Ord, David Dixon Porter, and Andrew A. Humphreys. Image courtesy of Heidi Kathleen Elise Fearing View File Details Page

Mortar Practice

Mortar Practice

"Mortar Practice" represents the Navy Group. In this sculpture, an officer and five men are loading a mortar, preparing to fire upon enemy entrenchments. This scene takes place at the Battle of New Madrid and Island No. 12 which lasted from February 28 until April 8, 1862. Image courtesy of Heidi Kathleen Elise Fearing View File Details Page

Soldiers Aid Society

Soldiers Aid Society

This relief statue shows the Sanitary Commission, the Soldiers' Aid society and the hospital service. The women shown include Mrs. Benjamin Rouse, Miss Mary Clarke Brayton, Miss Ellen F. Terry, Miss Sara Mahan, Mrs. John Shelly, Mrs. William Melhinch and Mrs. J. A. Harris. The hospital work is represented by Mrs. R. B. Hayes, Mrs. Peter Thatcher are busy with hospital work alongside a Sister of Charity who is tending to a wounded soldier. Courtesy of Heidi Kathleen Elise Fearing View File Details Page

The Tablet Room

The Tablet Room

The 10,000 Union Soldiers from Cuyahoga county are engraved on the marble walls of the tablet room. Above the tablets are some of the busts of soldiers killed in action. Image courtesy of Heidi Kathleen Elise Fearing View File Details Page

Audio

Monument Exterior Features

Tim Daley from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument talks about the monument's exterior features. View File Details Page

Monument Interior Details

Tim Daley from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument describes the four bronze relief statues in the tablet room. View File Details Page

Monument Legal Battles

Tim Daley from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument talks about the monument committee's fight to honor the Civil War veterans. View File Details Page

Architect Levi T. Scofield

Tim Daley from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument talks about the monument's architect Levi T. Scofield and his process for its design. View File Details Page

Opening Day July 4, 1894

Tim Daley from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument describes the celebrations that took place the day that the monument was dedicated. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Heidi Fearing, “Soldiers and Sailors Monument,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 28, 2017, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/332.
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