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Cleveland monument honours Civil War veterans from Cuyahoga County

April 2020

The Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument is a unique war monument. Situated in Public Square in downtown Cleveland, the monument consists of a 125-foot-tall black Quincy granite shaft on a large square base of rough-hewn granite blocks, trimmed in sandstone, that houses a memorial hall inside it.

Designed by Levi Scofield, a Captain in the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, it was officially opened to the public on 4 July 1894. Scofield also designed the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, the prison used in the filming of 1994 film “The Shawshank Redemption,” and Cleveland’s Schofield Building.

The Quincy granite shaft is divided by six carved bands which list the names of battles in which Cuyahoga soldiers fought and is topped with a 15-foot-high bronze statue of the “Goddess of Liberty,” signifying loyalty to United States of America.

Surrounding the monument are four bronze depictions of battle scenes, when viewed in counter-clockwise order, tell of the war’s deadly progression. They begin with the Navy at the Battle of Island Number Ten. Blacks are featured in the bronze, one of the first monuments that show blacks and white fighting together.

The next bronze shows the Artillery. The gunners aim and fire, but there are losses. Two of the gunners have been killed.

Next is the Infantry, shown during a battle at Resaca, Georgia, where Scofield fought. The bronze shows nine soldiers, but three are dead and the rest are wounded.

Last is the Cavalry, which shows in frightening detail, the horrors of war in vicious hand-to-hand combat, with a Confederate soldier being shot at close range.

Inside the Memorial Hall at the base of the monument are four bronze panels lining the walls titled: The Women’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Aid Society, Beginning of the War in Ohio, Emancipation of the Slaves and End of the War at City Point, Virginia, along with busts of General James Barnett and Captain Levi Scofield, together with six other officers who were either killed in action, or died of disease or wounds.

Also inside the hall are marble tablets that list the names of the 9,000 Civil War veterans that served, both with Cayahoga County regiments and elsewhere.

A $1.5 million restoration project commenced in October 2008. Three years later, the names of 140 black soldiers were added to the tablets that researchers discovered had been missed when originally inscribed.

The monument is regularly open to the public free of charge.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldiers%27_and_Sailors%27_Monument_(Cleveland), http://www.soldiersandsailors.com, https://www.cleveland.com/news/2019/06/civil-war-colored-troops-names-to-be-added-to-soldiers-and-sailors-monument-at-juneteenth-celebration.html.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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