The Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument is the state's foremost Civil War monument. This outstanding example of civic sculpture stands in a prominent downtown location on the southeast tip of Campus Martius where five principle thoroughfares intersect--Michigan Avenue, Monroe Street, Cadillac Square, Fort Street, and Woodward Avenue. In 1865, the Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Association was established by Governor Austin Blair in order to collect funds for a monument commemorating Michigan's sailors and soldiers killed during the Civil War. Voluntary subscriptions from citizens were collected and sculptor Randolph Rogers, who had created similar Civil War commemorative monuments in Ohio and Rhode Island, was chosen as the artist for the monument. Rogers' design consists of a series of octagonal sections or that rise up from the base of the monument. The lowest sections are topped by eagles with raised wings that guide the eye upward to the next section which is surmounted by four male figures depicting the Navy, Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery branches of the U.S. Army. Four female figures, resting on pedestals, are above the male statues and represent Victory, History, Emancipation, and Union. Local lore claims Rogers used Sojourner Truth, the famous African-American abolitionist, as his inspiration for the Emancipation statue, but little evidence exists to document this belief. Capping the monument, the heroic Indian warrior figure "Michigan" brandishes a sword in her right hand and in her other she raises a shield, prepared for attack.
The Michigan Soldiers'and Sailors' Monument is situated within the traffic circle of the intersection of Woodward Avenue, Michigan Avenue, Monroe Street, Fort Street, and Cadillac Square. The property is open to the public.
Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, 1888|
Photograph courtesy of Manning Brothers Commercial Photographers, Detroit, MI
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