Previous Site of the Month: January 2012
29th Colored Regiment Monument
Criscuolo Park, Chapel and James Streets, New Haven, CT 06513
The 29th Monument Memorial was borne out of the idea that men of color – African Americans and Native Americans - should be honored and recognized for their contributions to the fight for freedom during the Civil War. Men whose contributions had previously gone unrecognized.
The Descendants of the Connecticut 29th Colored Regiment C.V. Infantry, Inc. was organized in 1999 and is made up of descendants, and friends. The descendants chose, as one of their goals, the task of erecting a monument that would reflect their thanks and appreciation for the efforts of the 1005 soldiers who represented 118 towns in the State of Connecticut.
Famed sculptor/artist Edward Hamilton was retained to design and produce the monument. Hamilton is recognized nationally for his evocative public sculptures, including The Amistad Memorial in New Haven, Connecticut; the Spirit of Freedom monument in Washington D.C., the York Monument in Louisville, Kentucky; the Joe Lewis Memorial in Detroit, Michigan; and the Booker T. Washington Memorial at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.
Designed to serve as a teaching tool for those wishing to learn about the Civil War, The 29th Memorial Monument includes as its centerpiece an eight-foot tall polished black granite obelisk flanked by eight complimentary stones arranged in an arch.
The four sides of the central eight-foot tall obelisk bear the following:
West: A bronze plaque depicting soldiers carrying the 29th Regiment’s and the U.S. flags, the unit’s dates of engagement and the names of those killed in battle or who died of disease.
South: provides a detailed history of the unit
East: etched with images of Alexander H. Newton and Daniel S. Lathrop, the two members who achieved the unit’s highest rank of sergeant major.
North: 2008 Dedication Information
The eight smaller stones bear the names of the soldiers and officers who served in the regiment and the towns in which they enlisted.
The monument is situated on the spot where Frederick Douglas sent the soldiers off to fight with these words: "If you rise and flourish, we shall rise and flourish. If you win freedom and citizenship, we shall share your freedom and citizenship."
Alexander H. Newton, whose image is featured on the East side of the central obelisk, in his autobiography "Out of the Briars," gave an explanation of why he and his comrades enlisted:
"…we said that we would honor Old Glory, obey God, and contend for our prize, Liberty, and will contend in this conflict until the sound of clanking slave chains shall be heard no more in the length and breadth of this fair and goodly land."
The 29th Infantry was the first regiment to enter Richmond, VA, on April 3, 1865 one day after Gen. Robert E. Lee evacuated the capital of the Confederate forces