On July 28, 1863, the Soldiers Monument in the Kensington section of Berlin was dedicated. One of the state’s–and the country’s–earliest monuments commemorating the Civil War, the dedication was held less than a month after the Battle of Gettysburg. Kensington resident Nelson Augustus Moore designed the obelisk. A member of the Hudson River School, Moore was considered an accomplished landscape artist, sculptor, and photographer. The monument was built of brown Portland sandstone as a memorial to Kensington’s fallen and originally honored six men. The sandstone was brought from the quarries in Portland by a sledge, a vehicle mounted on low runners, drawn by 14 oxen to the Bacon quarry in East Berlin to be worked on. Its inscription reads:
ERECTED TO COMMEMORATE THE DEATH
OF THOSE WHO PERISHED IN SUPPRESSING
THE SOUTHERN REBELLION.
“HOW SLEEP THE BRAVE WHO SINK TO REST
BY ALL THEIR COUNTRY’S WISHES BLEST.”
Oldest, Permanent Civil War Monument in US
As 2013 and the monument’s 150th anniversary approached, the Kensington Congregational Church, which owns and cares for the memorial, joined with the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission to gain federal recognition for the monument. They succeeded and the Kensington Soldier’s Monument is now recognized on the National Register of Historic Places as the country’s oldest, permanent Civil War monument.