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Civil War Soldiers' Monument, Bath, Maine
The Soldiers' Monument in Bath, Maine was dedicated to those men of Bath who gave their lives in service during the Civil War. As noted in The Edward Clarence Plummer History of Bath, Maine, (Owen, 1936),
"The erection of a monument to those who fell in the Civil War was undertaken by the city in 1867 and it was completed in 1869 at a total cost of $4975, exclusive of the lot opposite the Court House which had been owned for some years. This monument, which still stands as a reminder of the sacrifice of the Union soldiers, consists of a granite shaft over 30 feet high, surmounted by an eagle, with a marble tablet let into each face of the die. The tablet on the west face bears the inscription:
Erected by the City of Bath
and Dedicated to
THE MEMORY OF HER SONS
That the Nation Might Live
"The world will little note what we say, but it can
never forget what they did."- Lincoln at Gettysburg
The monument is noteworthy for several reasons; it was one of the earliest Civil War monuments to be erected in the State of Maine (see historical note at end of text), and the stone that was used in the monument is a relatively local rock, a foliated quartz diorite (not granite as noted above) from a small plutonic body on Georgetown Island (Figures 5-6). The quartz diorite was sampled for U-Pb zircon dating of the pluton with a resultant age of 376±3 million years, a late Devonian age (Hussey and Berry, 2006). It is not known where the marble tablets were acquired. Although there is marble locally in the area (Hussey and Berry, 2006), it is not the source of the marble tablets; the source is unknown but the tablets may have come from the marble belt in western New England.
The monument is directly opposite the front of the Sagadahoc County Court House and from a passage in Richard Snow's History of the Court House, "Old Sagadahoc," the foundation of the court house also is from the same quartz diorite body in Georgetown. The location of the site from which the rock was quarried was not indicated in Snow's book.
Arthur Hussey, Bowdoin College Professor of Geology Emeritus, recommended the author examine a draft version of the Bedrock Geology of the Phippsburg 7.5-minute quadrangle on file at the Maine Geological Survey showing the location of quarries in the quartz diorite body. It is located on a Nature Conservancy property, the Margot Domizi Freeman Preserve. A visit to the site with permission from the landowner who donated the property resulted in locating several quarry openings (Figures 7-11). There were also indications of a small-scale quarry operation utilizing the small stream tributary to the Back River to transport the stone, undoubtedly by ship or barge. A sample of the quarry stone was taken for comparison with the court house foundation and the monument; the match is good (Figures 12-13).
The quartz diorite formed deep in the earth's crust by cooling of molten rock (magma) to form a solidified plutonic body. Over time, erosion of the earth's surface has exposed the igneous rock now found in Georgetown today. It contains some features that are seen more clearly on the monument than in naturally exposed bedrock. These features include minerals that are aligned in the same direction within the rock, often called the grain of the rock, or foliation (Figure 6 above). Other visible features termed schlieren (Figures 14-17), a German word that means streaks, are defined as irregular dark or light streaks or bodies in plutonic igneous rock that differ in composition from the principal mass. The streaks or bodies may have diffuse or sharp boundaries, and originally may have been inclusions of other rock, or mineral segregations. Other terms that may apply to features in the quartz diorite include flow layering or banding, defined as structure in an igneous rock characterized by alternating layers of color, mineral composition, or texture formed as a result of flow of magma (Figure 18).
Further research into the history of the monument by Peter Goodwin has found records indicating payment of $500 for construction of the monument to a Vincent M. Hogan, of Georgetown, in February of 1867, contradicting the completion date of 1869 for the monument noted in the History of Bath. Also, from the 1860 Census, there is a Vincent M. Hogan living in a rented house on Front Street in Bath, occupation is stonecutter, and by the 1870 Census he had relocated to Vinalhaven.
Text and photos by Tom Weddle who acknowledges the following individuals:
Historical note: The first monument erected to the Union dead in the United States is a monument at Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor, Maine, dedicated June 17, 1864.
References and sources of other information
Bates, R.L., and Jackson, J.A., 1980, Glossary of Geology: American Geological Institute, Falls Church Virginia, Second Edition.
Hussey, Arthur M., II and Berry, Henry N., IV, 2002, Bedrock geology of the Bath 1:100,000 map sheet, coastal Maine: Maine Geological Survey, Bulletin 42, 50 p. report, 58 figs.
Hussey, Arthur M., II and Marvinney, Robert G., 2002, Bedrock geology of the Bath 1:100,000 quadrangle, Maine: Maine Geological Survey, Open-File Map 02-152, scale 1:100,000.
Owen, H. W., 1936, The Edward Clarence Plummer History of Bath, Maine: The Times Company, Bath, Maine.
Snow, Richard, History of the Court House, "Old Sagadahoc."
Warner, M.J., Civil War Memorials erected in the State of Maine, 1965: Maine Civil War Centennial Commission, Augusta, Maine.
Originally published on the web as the November 2009 Site of the Month.
Last updated on December 1, 2009
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