|THEN: A huge American flag covers the Sedgwick monument in this image on dedication day, |
May 30, 1900. (Period images from excellent Cornwall Historical Society collection)
|NOW: The original cannonballs were sold for scrap during World War II and replaced with fakes.|
On May 30, 1900, more than 3,000 people gathered in sleepy Cornwall Hollow, Conn., for the dedication of a monument in honor of the town's favorite son, Major General John Sedgwick. Thirty-six years earlier, on May 9, 1864, "Uncle John" had been killed by a sharpshooter at Spotsylvania Courthouse, Va., a death that struck the Union army "like an electric shock."
|John Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter on May 9, 1864.|
(Library of Congress collection)
Before the monument dedication, a crowd gathered around the monument for Sedgwick across the road in the cemetery where the general was buried on May 15, 1864. Upon that monument rested a large cross of red, white and blue flowers, given by the daughter of the general who succeeded Sedgwick, Horatio Wright. In a moment that surely stirred passions of veterans, a former Union soldier briefly laid at the foot of the cemetery memorial a large section of a captured Confederate flag that once flew in Richmond.
The U.S. government also got into the act, donating piles of cannonballs that surrounded the monument as well as a cannon tube, reportedly used by Sedgwick's troops during the Mexican War and Civil War. (The cannonballs were used for scrap during World War II and replaced with fakes.) The next day, the local newspaper devoted 5 1/2 columns of coverage to the big day, surely the greatest event in the small town's history.
SOURCE: Hartford Courant, May 31, 1900
|THEN: The horse-and-buggy was one mode of transportation to the dedication in 1900. The large tent|
in the leftbackground accommodated dignitaries and their guests,
who were fed there before the dedication.
|NOW: I was the only soul at the monument when I shot this image Saturday morning, quite|
a contrast to the thousands of people who gathered for the dedication on May 30, 1900.
|THEN: The cannonballs and cannon tube for the monument were donated by the U.S. government.|