Civil War Monument and Cannon - Denver, Colorado
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
N 39° 44.354 W 104° 59.142
13S E 501225 N 4398815
Quick Description: Colorado's Monument/Memorial to Colorado's Civil War Volunteers along with Cannon
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 2/24/2007 1:20:00 PM
Waymark Code: WM18MD
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member showbizkid
Views: 144

Long Description:
The Colorado Civil War Memorial is located at the west entrance of the Colorado State Capitol. This bronze figure of a Union Soldier facing South with gun in hand was built to honor Colorado's Civil War heroes and to promote civic pride. It is the work of Captain John D. Howland, a prominent member of the 1st Colorado Cavalry and accomplished artist. Howland studied art in Europe and Mexico and also under the tutelage of Armand Dumeresq, who was secretary to the Indian Peace Commission. Howland was also a correspondent for Harper's Weekly. While the monument was designed by Captain Howland, J. Otto Schweizer of Philadelphia actually molded the figure. The statue was unveiled on July 24, 1909 using donations from both the taxpayers as well as the Colorado Pioneer's Association.

The stone base of this monument is adorned with four tablets that list the battles and the names of the soldiers who died. Also chiseled into the base of this grand memorial is the proud statement that Colorado had the highest average of volunteers in the Civil War of any state or territory in the Union. Another plaque on the statue refers to the discovery of gold at Pikes Peak in 1858 by Green Russell and others. The plaque on the north face of the monument simply reads, " For the Unknown Dead." Originally two black walnut trees from the home of Abraham Lincoln flanked this memorial. While the trees no longer stand, there is a plaque within the capitol commemorating the generosity of President Lincoln for his donation to the beautification of our capitol.

There is a newer plaque on the stones surrounding the memorial that reads: "The controversy surrounding this Civil War Monument has become a symbol of Coloradans' struggle to understand and take responsibility for our past. On November 29, 1864. Colorado's First and Third Calvary, commanded by Colonel John Chivington, attacked Chief Black Kettle's peaceful camp of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians on the banks of Sand Creek, about 180 miles southeast of here. In the surprise attack, soldiers killed more than 150 of the villages 500 inhabitants. Most of the victims were elderly men, women and children.

Though some civilians and military personnel immediately denounced the attack as a massacre, others claimed the village was a legitimate target. This Civil War monument, paid for from funds by the Pioneers' Association and State, was erected on July 24, 1909, to honor all Colorado Soldiers who had fought in battles in the Civil War and elsewhere. By Designating Sand Creek a battle, the monument's designers mischaracterized the actual events. Protests led by some Sand Creek descendants and others throughout the twentieth century have led to the widespread recognition of the tragedy as the Sand Creek Massacre.

This plaque was authorized by Senate Joint Resolution 99-017"

The Colorado State Archives has information about the Colorado Civil War volunteers. Information about the Sand Creek Massacre is also widely available.

On either side of the civil war memorial on the west lawn of the capitol are two Napoleon howitzer cannons from the Civil War Era. Built in 1862 and 1863 by the Revere Copper Company, these cannons weigh 1,250 pounds each and were designed to fire canisters filled with twenty-seven pieces of golf ball sized lead shot. There is quite a bit of speculation surrounding the history of these cannons, but perhaps the most plausable explanation is that these cannons were first used in 1862 to defend the Union against the Confederate advance at La Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. One of the cannons bears the number 121 which means that it was most likely used by the Ninth Massachusetts Battery at the Battle of Gettysburg before its service in Colorado. In 1878 President Ulysses S. Grant donated the guns to a militia group named the Chaffee Light Artillery, which was later incorporated into the First Brigade of the Colorado National Guard. When this unit was equipped with more modern weaponry in 1907, the First Brigade sent the cannons to the scrap heap seemingly unaware of their historical significance. Immediately, Colonel Ferguson, the curator of the war relics department, and David Moffat raised the $800 needed to return the cannons to Colorado from a foundry in New York. The cannons now stand guard at the west lawn of the capitol having been recently restored with money from gaming revenue. During the restoration process it was learned that the axles and ironwork were original.

According to another story, the cannons were part of Confederate General Sibley's forces. On his retreat from New Mexico he supposedly buried six cannons so that Union forces could not use them. The cannons remained buried for thirty years until a war veteran found them. The federal government supposedly donated two of these cannons to Colorado and four to New Mexico. This account is apparently inaccurate, however, since General Sibley's advance on the American West occurred in 1861, and the cannons were made in 1862 and 1863. Of the six cannons found in the New Mexican desert, two have been placed in the custody of the State Historical Society.

Still another report places the cannons at the 1898 Battle of Manila, however evidence shows that General Irving Hale was specifically told not to return with any war relics. Furthermore, the cannons were made more than thirty year previous to this military engagement.

The guns were fired for the last time on August 1, 1935 in celebration of Colorado Day. When the acting curator's clothes caught on fire from the twenty one gun salute, the decision was made to cap the cannons. (Information collected from various websites on the Internet.)
Date Installed or Dedicated: 07/24/1909

Name of Government Entity or Private Organization that built the monument: Pioneers of Colorado and State of Colorado

Union, Confederate or Other Monument: Union

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