Hewn from marble and standing 26 feet high with a six-foot-wide marble base, the American flag-draped column of the Soldiers’ Monument at Fairview Cemetery in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley was one of the first major monuments in the United States raised to honor men who fought to preserve America’s Union during the Civil War.
An American Eagle stands guard atop the column.
In its 21 July 1866 edition, Philadelphia’s Evening Telegraph reported on the monument’s creation:
SOLDIERS’ MONUMENT. – There is now on exhibition at the marble yard of Henry S. Tarr, Green street, above Seventh, a magnificent monument, just completed, and about to be erected by the citizens of Catasauqua, Pa., to perpetuate the memory of those from that vicinity who fought for freedom and to crush rebellion. The design is exceedingly chaste and appropriate, being six feet square at base and twenty-six feet high, with the American flag thrown over a fluted column, and hanging in graceful folds around its sides, while on the top is the American eagle, in the act of defending its flag from its enemies. On the four sides are the names of the members of the 46th and 47th Regiments Pennsylvania Volunteers, with the names of the numerous battles in which they were engaged; also the names of those who died in the service, etc. To those desirous of examining this specimen of monumental sculpture, we will state that it will remain in the yard during the ensuing week, when it will be removed to the destination at Catasauqua, Pa., and dedicated with appropriate ceremonies on the 9th day of August next.
Engraved on the monument were the following words:
- North Side: “I have pursued mine enemies and overtaken them; neither did I turn again till they were consumed.” (Psalms 18:37);
- South Side: “Thou has subdued under me those that rose up against me.” (Psalms 19:39);
- East Side: “There fell down many because the war was of God.” (Chronicles I, 5:22); and
- West Side: “With us was the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” (Chronicles II, 32:8).
Also inscribed on the monument were these words:
To perpetuate the memory of those from this vicinity who with heroic valor and noble patriotism on many battlefields fought for freedom and to crush rebellion, this monument was erected by their loyal and deeply grateful friends, 1866.
During their planning process, the members of the association involved in establishing this monument at Fairview Cemetery decreed that “no man’s name shall be inscribed on the monument unless he was sworn into the service of the United States and was under the enemy’s fire.”
The monument’s Roll of Honor, which wraps around the monument and lists the names of 157 soldiers in total, includes the names of 29 men who had been killed in action or died while serving with their respective regiments during the American Civil War.
The number of soldiers inscribed from the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry alone represented nearly the equivalent of one full company out of the regiment’s ten companies in total, and included men from Catasauqua’s F Company, Companies A and E, which were enrolled for military service at Easton, and Companies, B, G, I and K, which were enrolled at Allentown. All included from the 47th Pennsylvania on this particular Roll of Honor had ties to the Lehigh Valley, and many of their respective individual graves were created near this Soldiers’ Monument:
47th Pennsylvania Volunteers – Officers:
Capt. Henry S. Harte Serg. W. F. Longenhagen
Capt. Edwin Gilbert Serg. John L. Jones
Lieut. James W. Fuller Corp. Joseph H. Schwab
Lieut. Geo. W. Fuller Corp. G. H. Longenhagen
Lieut. Wm. H. Bartholomew Corp. Martin H. O’Brien
Lieut. Augustus Eagle Corp. Josiah H. Walk
Lieut. Henry H. Bush Corp. James E. Patterson
Lieut. Thomas F. Lambert Corp. Robt. Cunningham
Ord. Sgt. James Tait Corp. Augustus F. Eberhart
Ord. Sgt. William H. Glace Corp. Charles L. Nolf, Jr.
Serg. John W. Heberling Corp. Spencer Tettemer [sic]
Serg. Richmond H. Schwab Corp. Jas. Ritter
Serg. Jos. J. Lilly Corp. W. H. Van Dyke
Serg. Albert H. McHose Mus. David A. Tombler, Jr.
47th Pennsylvania Volunteers – Privates:
David Andrews Chas. H. Michel
Abram Bauder Daniel Newhart
Godfrey Betz John O’Brien
Stephen Beers Michael O’Brien
Hiram A. Beitelman Wm. Offhouse
Wm. Christ Griff. Reinhart [sic]
Ambrose Dietrich Robt. M. Sheats
Wm. Ehrich Nicholas Smith
Orlando Fuller Gotlieb Shrum
Fred. Fisher F. H. Wilson
Rainey Grader John P. Weaver
Addison R. Geho John Worley
Joseph Geiger John Weiss
Joseph Gross G. Assenheimer
Joseph Hunsicker Wm. Henry
Wm. Herman Emanuel Leffler
Isaac Jacoby Aaron Laub
Wm. Jordan Chas. Leffler
Geo. Kerchner Frank Leffler
Nicholas Kuhn Benjamin Missimer
Wm. Kuntz Wm. Mensch
Reuben H. Keim Ed. Mathew
Philip King Alfred Lynn
Charles King W. H. Moll
J. K. Longenhagen Geo. Moll
Joel Laudenslager Jenkin Richards
Regrettably, a number of the soldiers’ names were spelled incorrectly in various newspaper and historical accounts, several of which appear to have carried over to the monument’s inscriptions.
In addition to memorializing Catasauqua area residents who served with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, a large contingent of members from the 46th Pennsylvania were also similarly honored, as were individuals or smaller numbers of men who served with the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry, 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry, 1st Pennsylvania Reserves, 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteers, 54th Pennsylvania Volunteers, 58th Pennsylvania Volunteers, 188th Pennsylvania Volunteers, 202nd Pennsylvania Volunteers, 6th New Jersey Cavalry, 12th U.S. Infantry, 14th U.S. Infantry, and the U.S. Navy.
The Soldiers’ Monument was officially dedicated on 3 October 1866. The Rev. Dr. Cornelius Earle, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, and Major A. R. Calhoun served as the chief orators for the day’s ceremonies.
In 1884, the monument was enhanced by the addition of four siege cannons and 24 unused cannon balls. U.S. Congressman Charles Albright had arranged for their donation to the Grand Army of the Republic’s George W. Fuller Post No. 74. in 1871. Those guns were placed at the four corners of the monument, by order of the U.S. Secretary of War, when this G.A.R. post was reorganized in 1884. Two were English, 1812 model, 64-pounder cannons weighing roughly 5,500 pounds each; two were similarly sized U.S. Columbiads forged in 1819 and 1829, respectively. All four had been used in action by American troops.
Fairview Cemetery — Its Founding and Connection to the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers
Fairview Cemetery was, in the eyes of many members of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, a most appropriate site for this monument’s raising for it was here that several of the regiment’s most honored dead were interred, including beloved commanding officers and several brothers in arms who fell during the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia on 19 October 1864, a critical military engagement which helped turn the tide of the Civil War in the Union’s favor.
Another member of the regiment, William H. Glace, Esq., described the cemetery’s establishment in his book, Early History and Reminiscences of Catasauqua in Pennsylvania:
Fairview Cemetery was founded by James W. Fuller of Catasauqua in 1858, having purchased from Robert McIntyre and Peter Miller 6 acres 110 perches of land in South Whitehall (now Whitehall) township, across the river from Catasauqua, for burial purposes, because the conveniences of interment in the borough were limited. Before that time, the dead bodies of the time had been buried in the grave-yards adjoining the Presbyterian Church at Church street and alley, and that adjoining the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Howertown Road. Fuller laid off the land into burial lots, 10 by 20 feet, and named the place ‘Fairview Cemetery’ on account of its elevated situation; and he provided in each deed, executed and delivered by him, for lots in the cemetery, ‘that when one-half of the lots in the original plot were sold, the purchasers were empowered to form an association for the care and management of its affairs, make rules and regulations for its government, elect officers and have complete control of the ground.’
In 1871, an organization was formed by the lot-holders, who elected the following managers: –
R. A. Boyer (sec. and treas.) Samuel L. Nevins
David A. Tombler James W. Swartz
R. Clay Hamersly William H. Laubach
John Thomas Orange M. Fuller
A petition was presented to the Court for the incorporation of “The Fairview Cemetery Association,” and the decree was made on Sept. 13, 1872. The dead interred in the grave-yards of the borough were then removed to the cemetery.
Glace went on to write that “many fine monuments” had been erected at Fairview, and described the Soldiers’ Monument as “recognized as the first in Pennsylvania … accomplished largely through the instrumentality of Samuel Thomas in response to an earnest request of his brother David, made shortly before his death in 1862. Glace added that a “superior and attractive, enclosed pavilion was placed in the circle, next to the Soldiers’ Monument, by the Association in 1895” and that “[s]oon after the cemetery had become the property of the Association in 1872, two bequests were made to it by James W. Fuller and Samuel Glace with the condition that the income should be expended towards the perpetual care and preservation of their burial lots. Since then numerous other lot-holders have followed their example.”
According to Glace, “John Kane was the first soldier of the Civil War buried in this cemetery.” Although Private Kane was listed by Glace on the Soldiers’ Monument Roll of Honor as a member of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, the two entries for John Kane in the Civil War Veterans’ Card file at the Pennsylvania State Archives indicate that he performed his Three Months’ Service with the 9th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and then re-enlisted for service with the 54th Pennsylvania. He died from consumption in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania on 27 April 1862.
In 1895, cemetery managers built a 200-seat, octagon-shaped chapel near the Soldiers’ Monument.
1. “First Monument to Civil War Dead: Catasauqua in Front to in Its Tribute to Patriotism.” Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Allentown Leader, 29 June 1914.
2. “First Monument to Honor Soldiers: Erected on Fairview Cemetery, West Catasauqua, Forty Years Ago; Bears Appropriate Inscriptions.” Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Allentown Democrat, 4 October 1910.
3. Glace, William H. Early History and Reminiscences of Catasauqua in Pennsylvania. Allentown, Pennsylvania: Searle & Dressler Co., Inc., 1914.
4. “Improvements at Catasauqua Cemetery: Fairview Beautified, Where Stands First Soldiers’ Monument.” Allentown, Pennsylvania: The Allentown Leader, 9 June 1910.
5. “Soldiers’ Monument.” Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Evening Telegraph, 21 July 1866.