Monday, May 12, 2008

Wisconsin state monument

This is my favorite monument at Shiloh. It holds a special place in my heart because it is the Wisconsin monument but it also is a very nice monument regardless of which state it represents.

Since it is the Wisconsin monument I do know a bit more about its history than I do for some of the other monuments. It was meant to be dedicated in 1905 but the base was damaged and by the time the repairs were made it was July. They then decided to hold the dedication on April 7th, 1906.

The winning bid submitted was that of Victory lifting up a fallen officer. This was changed by the commission to be a color sergeant and the instructions given to the sculptor were that:
The soldier should not be dead, but mortally stricken. His agony should be
expressed by his grasp at his death wound, supposed to have been received near
his heart. His face should express exultation at the knowledge that victory
crowns his effort, and that the sacrifice of his life to his country’s cause is
not in vain, which fact is made clear to him by Victory holding aloft the flag
he carried, where, in his last moments, he can gaze upon it and glory in the
comforting thought of victory won. The figure of Victory should be imposing and
chaste, and her face should express tenderness and solicitude.

As part of the monument there are three daises on the pedestal, one for each regiment. The 14th Wisconsin commemorated their capture of a Confederate battery. The 16th Wisconsin dais showed the death of Captain Saxe linking them with the start of the battle. The 18th Wisconsin choose to show their defense of the Hornets’ Nest. The monument is located right behind the Hornets’ Nest. The commission choose this spot because it is centrally located to the positions for all three regiments. The 14th Wisconsin passed over this ground on their way to capturing the Confederate battery. The 18th Wisconsin was engaged in the Hornets’ Nest near here. The 16th Wisconsin fought farther to the left but some members of their regiment became lost in the initial attacks on their camps and fought with units along here. Also it is quite possible that this is an area where the 16th Wisconsin resupplied themselves about noon on the first day (the other place the 16th Wisconsin could have likely resupplied was near Wicker Field north of Bloody Pond).

Next to the monument is a plaque with the names of the men in the 14th Wisconsin that died in the battle of Shiloh. The 14th Wisconsin will be the subject of a much greater post in the future as my final research project for my history degree was the Wisconsin regiments at Shiloh.

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