Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Carroll County Civil War Soldiers And Sailors Monument

Carroll County Civil War Soldiers And Sailors Monument
Location: Court House Square, Mount Carroll, Illinois
Dedication: October 6, 1891
Medium: Barre Granite
GPS Coordinates: N 42° 06.079 W 089° 58.724

Located in Northwest Illinois, Mount Carroll became the county seat of Carroll County in 1843. Carroll County was originally a part of Jo Daviess County

until 1839. It was named for Charles Carroll, a United States Senator from Maryland and the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. On October 24, 1884, a number of Carroll County Civil War veterans organized the Soldiers and Sailors Reunion Society of Carroll County. At a subsequent meeting, D. W. Dame recommended that the society build a monument to honor the 1,284 Civil War veterans of Carroll County. Most of the men fought under Generals Grant, Sherman, McPherson, or Logan. They fought in Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, or Tennessee. The society members suggested that the monument be placed on the courthouse square in Mount Carroll. The county board voted to contribute $6,000.00 for the project, and the city of Mount Carroll provided $400.00 to construct the cement steps and background.

Lorado Taft was a member of a team of artists who was commissioned to create the Carroll County Civil War Soldiers And Sailors Monument. George H. Mitchell designed the monument, and Josiah Schamel constructed the foundation. John C. Hall designed the annex that was added later when county officials determined that there were many names missing from the original honor roll list. The monument consists of a fifty-foot vertical shaft with a Lorado Taft sculpted soldier holding a flag at the top. Lewis H. Sprecher of Lanark posed for the statue and made several trips to Taft’s Chicago studio to model for it. Two additional statues are attached to the base of the monument, one an infantryman and the other a cavalryman.

Just below Taft’s statue at the top of the monument are eight engraved symbols representing the various army groups that the men of Carroll County fought in during the Civil War. The monument also includes the names of the twelve battles that the men of Carroll County fought in: Atlanta, Chickamauga, Corinth, Fort Donelson, Gettysburg, Hatchie’s Bridge, Nashville, Resaca, Shiloh, Stones River, Vicksburg, and the Wilderness. The following words appear on one face of the monument: “Carroll County: To The Memory Of The Men Who Saved The Union That Their Example May Speak To Coming Generations.” The short phrases “Slavery Abolished” “Peace Restored” and “Courage – Endurance” flank the monument on the other three sides. Two large cannons are positioned on either side of the monument, and a pyramid of cannon balls rests on the ground near the rear of the monument.

The Carroll County Civil War Soldiers And Sailors Monument was unveiled and dedicated in Mount Carroll on October 6, 1891, before a crowd of more than 5,000 people. County Superintendent of Schools John Grossman declared a school holiday on that day, and hundreds of students and teachers attended the dedication ceremony. Carriages full of attendees came from Savannah, Thomson, Lanark, and Shannon. The city was decorated with bunting and flags, and meals were served to the guests by hotels and churchwomen. A band from Savanna led a parade of marchers that included members of various Grand Army of the Republic posts, the Knights of Pythias, the Select Knights of America, and school children. Mount Carroll Mayor N. H. Melendy gave the welcome speech, and J. M. Hunter addressed the assembled soldiers and civilians.

The Carroll County Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument was rededicated exactly a hundred years later on October 6, 1991. Two Civil War reenactment groups participated in the celebration. The 121st Illinois Regiment conducted a daylong Civil War encampment, and Battery G of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery fired the cannons near the monument. Lt. Col. Warren Sweitzer addressed the assembled crowd and thanked the Carroll County Board for constructing the monument a century earlier.

For further reading:

Boyd, Mary et al. Rededication Ceremony of the Carroll County Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Mount Carroll, Illinois: Developing Communications, 1991.

“The Soldiers and Sailors Monument.” Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Accessed 8/30/10. http://siris-artinventories.si.edu/

Sparboe, W. H. “Battles Listed on the Carroll County Civil War Monument.”
Mount Carroll Culture, Style, Art, History, & Relaxation. Accessed 12/31/10.

Sparboe, W. H. “The Carroll County Civil War Memorial.” Mount Carroll Culture, Style, Art, History, & Relaxation. Accessed 12/30/10. http://www.mtcarroll.com/sparboe.php

Thiem, E. George, ed. “Soldiers and Sailors Society.” Carroll County – A Goodly Heritage. Mt. Morris, Illinois: Kable Printing Company, 1968.


  1. An interesting article but an important correction: Taft sculpted the Cavalry Man (statue facing north)NOT the Standard Bearer. See the 1913 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Volume 2, History of Carroll County. Also Savanna is spelled without the h.

  2. I stood in front of this statue today and fell in awe of it. The words written resonated deep into my heart. With so much turmoil in our country, to see this incredible work of art put the belief of patriotism back in order with in me. We all need to go back into our rich history of The United States of America. Read about our heritage, think about it all deeply, and react in any way possible to restore faith.
    Thank you for collecting all this information to learn about this Monument. How often does anyone drive by it with out a thought of it there? It is magnificent, thoughtful, and to imagine an actual soldier stood and had his image chiseled in his form for authenticity, for immortality, for history sake let us never forget.
    Slavery Abolished, Peace Restored, Courage.