Ohio’s American Civil War soldiers and civilians sought to commemorate the troopers’ devotion to and service with the United States by constructing monuments and other memorials.
During the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.
Ohio’s soldiers and civilians sought to commemorate the troopers’ devotion to and service with the United States by constructing monuments and other memorials. Ohioans completed the first of these commemorations during the Civil War, with hundreds more being built after the conflict. Ohioans have built at least 295 monuments to commemorate Civil War veterans, civilians, political leaders, and war-related events in the state. Eighty-six of the state’s eighty-eight counties contain Civil War monuments, with Hamilton County, Lucas County, Lorain County, Brown County, and Franklin County each boasting ten or more memorials each. Only Clinton County and Noble County do not contain Civil War monuments.
The earliest Ohio memorial for actual Civil War soldiers was constructed in Bristol (modern-day Bristolville), in Trumbull County. Dedicated on October 16, 1863, the monument cost five hundred dollars to build and honored the fourteen men from Bristol who lost their lives during the conflict between 1861 and 1863. Local artist Frank J. Hammond designed the monument, which the Myers, Uhl & Company of Cleveland, Ohio produced.
On the monument's dedication day, thirty-four women, wearing white dresses and pink scarves, marched through the town with a brass band. The women symbolized the thirty-four states–including the eleven that had seceded–currently part of the United States of America. Upon reaching the monument, two of the women removed the flag that concealed the memorial, while the band played "Rally Round the Flag." Standing by stacked muskets, thirteen boys stood, representing the fourrteen dead soldiers.
The monument originally was entirely made of stone, with a one and one-half foot base and a nine foot sculpture. The sculpture included carvings of crossed swords, crossed rifles, and cannon, with a funerary urn topping the monument. The names of the thirteen Bristol men killed in the war also were inscribed on the sculpture's sides, but weathering had caused the inscriptions to be unreadable by 1970. During that same year, the Bristol Grange #2527 added inscribed bronze plaques with the soldiers' names. The original inscription may have read:
Truman E. Chaffee
Alamanza H. Chaffee
Jamen D. Hottel
Adj. Charles A. Brooks
Calvert C. Miller
James Sage Jr.
George H. Crozier
Lester F. Sprague
George F. Sprague
Henry M. Collar
;of the Union
from Bristol, Ohio
The deceased soldiers ranged in age from seventeen years to forty-four years. Truman Chafee, Jacob Kagy, James Thorp, James Hottell, Lester Sprague, and Charles Sprague died at the Battle of Shiloh, while serving with the 14th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Charles Munson, George Crozier, and Almanza Chaffee died while serving in the Civil War's Western Theater with the 2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Charles Brooks and Calvert Miller died at the Battle of Cedar Mountain while serving with the 7th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. James Sage, Jr., Henry Collar, and Jacob Ryan perished at the Battle of Perryville, while serving with the 105th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
The monument is currently owned by the Bristol Township Trustees and is located at the Bristolville town square, at the intersection of State Route 45 and State Route 88.