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.
In 1910, Ashtabula resident James Lewis Smith donated $1330.00 to the City of Ashtabula, Ohio for the construction of a monument to honor the community’s Civil War soldiers and sailors, as well as these men’s families. Smith also provided funds for several other memorials around the State of Ohio, including on to the composer of Dixie, Daniel Decatur Emmett, in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. The Ashtabula memorial stands forty-four feet tall, and consists of a thirty-eight-foot tall granite base topped with a six-foot tall copper eagle with its wings raised. The eagle was manufactured by the W.H. Mullins Co. of Salem, Ohio. Inscribed on the monument’s base is the following: “Erected in Memory of the Soldiers and Sailors of the Civil War. Their Mothers and Wives. By James Lewis Smith. Dedicated May 30, 1910 and sacredly intrusted to the care of Paulus Post, No. 4. G.A.R.” The Mullins Co. displayed the Ashtabula Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in its 1913 catalog, The Blue and the Gray.”
The monument was dedicated on May 30, 1910 and was originally located at the southeast corner of Park Avenue and 44th Street on the grounds of the old Ashtabula City Hall. In 1965, officials relocated the memorial to its current site at 44th Street and Main Avenue, when the old city building was demolished. The monument remains in good condition.