New Haven’s Monument Day

“New Haven’s Monument Day will be ever remembered in the city by our inhabitants as one of the greatest and most memorable of occasions in its history. The city was awakened at sunrise by the booming of cannon from the war ships in the harbor and on Indian Head, and its inhabitants were destined to witness one of the most magnificent pageants it has ever been the lot of the average citizen to witness.

The thoroughfares were wide awake at 5 o’clock and by 7 o’clock began to put on a holiday aspect. Thousands of people were swaying up and down Chapel and the principal streets by 9 o’clook and at 10 o’clock thousands more had arrived to witness the formation of the grand parade.

The country people of the surrounding towns made their appearance in the city at an early hour. Every kind of vehicle was pressed into service by the agriculturists from the buckboard to a hay wagon decorated for the occasion. It is safe to say New Haven never contained such a tremendous crowd as were on the streets at the starting of the grand procession.

Early trains brought out of town participants in the parade. The in-pour of veterans and members of organizations was something wonderful. The visitors were elated at the beautiful dress in which the city was attired. National colors and beautiful decorations could be seen at every point.

The pealing of bells and the music from drum corps and brass bands plainly told them that New Haven was in for a grand celebration, the grandest yet. Old Sol apparently became angry at all the noise going on down below and began to show signs of threatening to put a stop to it all. At nine o’clock the storm clouds floated about in the heavens and a few drops of rain would now and then fall.

What a pity, soliloquized the thousands, if there should be a storm. Umbrellas and parasols were pressed into service, but luckily were not needed long. The beautiful decorations were hardly dampened by the rain drops and looked fresher and more beautiful than ever, it was not until the great procession had got fairly started that the rain clouds hid themselves and the bright sun again beamed down on the celebration.

Will it start in time! was the query made by thousands as they witnessed the formation of the line. Ten minutes after 11 o’clock, Center church bell rung out, but it was fully twenty minutes later before General Greeley gave the word for the starting of one of the most noted, diversified, largest and grandest parades the city ever saw.

The starting time was 11 o’clock, but owing to delay caused by the First regiment which came from Hartford the line was detained. The river of moving blue coats, brass buttons and the various uniforms of the civic societies presented a magnificent appearance as they moved out of the north gate of the Green and up Elm street.

“View from Orange Street bridge,” courtesy of the Internet Archive, “East Rock Park (New Haven, Conn.),” published by A. Wittemann, New York, 1891
“Farnam Drive,” courtesy of the Internet Archive, “East Rock Park (New Haven, Conn.),” published by A. Wittemann, New York, 1891
“View of New Haven and the Harbor from East Rock,” courtesy of the Internet Archive, “East Rock Park (New Haven, Conn.),” published by A. Wittemann, New York, 1891

The route was up Elm to Howe, to Chapel, to Orange, to the Farnam drive, to the monument.

It was approaching the noon hour when the carriages containing the distinguished guests drove up to the reviewing stand in front of the Hyperion Theater, and Governor Lounabury, Generals Sheridan, Terry, Sherman and Greeley and other distinguished guests alighted and were escorted to the front seats on the reviewing stand, which was soon filled to it utmost capacity.

On the stand also were the city officials and the members of the boards of aldermen and councilmen, Mayor York and ex-mayors and ex-governors were among the collection of dignitaries. The City Hall bell tolled out 12 o’clock when the head of the procession turned the corner of Howe street into Chapel…

As the Grand Army men passed the stand, many of them recognizing Generals Sheridan and Sherman, each battalion gave three cheers and lifted their hats. It is thought that fully three thousand ex-Union soldiers were in line. Much patriotic interest was displayed as the wearers of the dingy brass buttons passed down the street in review.

There were about two hundred and fifty of the sailors in line. The sailors were accompanied by a battery of howitzers and a goat, the latter a great favorite on board the flagship Richmond. The sailor boys marched in excellent shape and kept almost perfect lines. Their fine appearance in general was frequently applauded.”
-Excerpt courtesy of, “New Haven Morning Journal and Courier,” published on, Saturday, June 18, 1887. (top) “Dedication of Soldiers’ Monument,” image courtesy of, “Pictures of buildings, grounds and landmarks in New Haven, 1653-1970 (inclusive). Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University,” 1887

“On June 17, 1887, double-amputee George Warner unveiled one of the four statues on the massive Soldiers and Sailors monument in New Haven, Connecticut.” New Haven Museum and Historical Society, courtesy of, “Hidden History of Connecticut Union Soldiers,” by John Banks, 2015

“Now Haven woke from its long sleep yesterday and for the third time within a score of years felt as though she was able to entertain the world, and she tried her best to fill the bill. All through the city’s center were noise and bustle. More than 100,000 strangers were in the city and the crowd surged just where I pleased. Its very magnitude made it omnipotent.

The cause of all this was that a monument was to be dedicated to New Havens dead warriors. It was way up on East Rock Park, and all the veterans in the State, to say nothing of the militia, were here to dedicate it.

Long before the great procession had passed the many view platforms erected in different ports of the city, the seats were occupied by men, women, and children, each of whom felt like sacrificing everything in life for a view of the famous trio of war heroes — Sheridan, Sherman, and Terry.

The mornings red hot sun was nearing the meridian before Gen. Greely gave the signal from the start from the Green. When the marshal of the day gave his horse the rein and darted with his aides from the north gate of the Green, one of the biggest civic and military parades of New England began.

Martial strains awoke the repose from the old Elm street homesteads, banners waved and brilliant uniforms of rank and file dazzled the eyes of quiet citizens. Meanwhile Terry, Sheridan and Sherman were being shaken to pieces on the reviewing stand by the Mayors of many cities, and Generals and Colonels who never saw a fight.

Members of the city Government had the best seats on this platform placed just in front of the Hyperion Theatre. At its left the Republican Leagues headquarters was brilliant with bunting and flags. From the windows the chiefs of the club gazed complacently out on the reviewing stand and the perspiring procession…

When the veteran lines began to move slowly to the halting place at the League Club rooms, the three Generals, Sherman, Sheridan and Terry, for the first time displayed anything like enthusiasm.

Courteous old ‘Tecumseh’ first got upon his feet and reverently took off his civilians hat. Then for over half an hour the men in line threw their caps in the air — the three names, ‘Sheridan,’ ‘Terry,’ ‘Sherman,’ rising high above the din. Discipline was forgotten.

The men in the line saw their old Generals perhaps for the first time since a score of years had passed, and familiar old regimental cries came from every quarter.”
-excerpt courtesy of, “The Sun, (New York, New York,)” published on Saturday, June 18, 1897

After the March, Sherman, Sheridan and Many Other Distinguished Men Banquet at the Hyperion

“The Hyperion was turned into a banquet hall last night. Across the rear of the stage was a long table loaded down with toothsome viands, at which the chief dignitaries of the day, the invited guests lunched with the most prominent of New Haven’s military and civic citizens. They were all there and as they came in one by one they were greeted with vociferous cheers from the enthusiastic G. A. R. leaders. The movable floor was laid over the parquet and three rows of tables set there. About these gathered the members of the various committees, invited citizens and Grand Army men while the loads of edibles rapidly disappeared. A short distance from the tables where Gens. Sherman and Sheridan sat there stood small groups of men as though surprised to see these great Union leaders eat like other mortals. There was no speech-making, just plain every-day eating and drinking, yet the sight was a pleasing one for many of the nation’s heroes were enjoying themselves in the City of Elms. Steward Bradley of the Republican league catered.

After the exercises at the park Generals Sherman and Sheridan and Colonel Taylor stopped for a brief call at Governor Ingersoll’s residence. Later they and General Terry were entertained at the Union League club, after which they repaired to the banquetting hall at the Hyperion.

Governor Lounsbury, after the dedicatory exercises, was driven at once to the New Haven House. General Greeley, the Arctic hero, was entertained at the chief marshal’s, General E. S. Greely. General Terry was entertained during the evening at Governor Harrison’s.

At the Hyperion the gentlemen were seated at the table in the following order, Hon. N. D. Sperry being at one end and Mayor Lewis at the other.”

-Excerpt and (above) image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, the New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, June 18, 1887

-“The Procession ascending East Rock,” and, “The Monument,” images courtesy of Harper’s Weekly, Volume 31, “Dedication of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on East Rock,” from sketches by Charles Graham, June 25, 1887
-“Display of Fireworks,” image courtesy of Harper’s Weekly, Volume 31, “Dedication of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on East Rock,” from sketches by Charles Graham, June 25, 1887

“The town, which numbers among its historic names one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and which still bears upon some of its homes the marks of British bayonets, erects this monument to the memory of those true men who, when the light flamed up from yonder Beacon Hill, left their plough shares and their firesides, and rallying by companies where they could, or taking position along the roadways, and among the bushes, many of them single handed and alone, dared stand and fire upon his majesty’s drilled and veteran columns.”
-excerpt from, “The Boston Globe,” published on Saturday, June 18, 1887

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