The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch is a notable memorial to the American Civil War located in Hartford, Connecticut. It was the first permanent triumphal arch in America, and honors the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the war, and the 400 who died for the Union. The arch's first conception dates from October 21, 1879, when a committee was formed, with a competition sponsored in 1881. Commission was eventually given to architect George W. Keller. It was dedicated on September 17, 1886.
The tower statues (completed 1894) were carved by Albert Entress. Total cost was about $60,000. When the arch was rehabilitated in 1986–1988, its original terra cotta finial angels were replaced by the current bronze angels. The arch is made of brownstone from Portland, Connecticut, in Gothic style, and composed of two medieval towers joined by a classical frieze. The north frieze, by Samuel James Kitson, tells the story of war, with on the right, a figure of General Ulysses S. Grant surveying his troops and on the left, marines jumping from a boat to rush the Confederates. The south frieze, by Caspar Buberl, tells the story of peace, with a central female allegorical figure representing the City of Hartford, surrounded by her citizens welcoming soldiers home. Both were fabricated by the Boston Terra Cotta Company.
Spandrel symbols identify the four military services: the anchor for the Navy, the crossed cannon for the Artillery, crossed sabers for the Cavalry, and crossed rifles for the Infantry. Six sculptural figures, each 8 feet tall, adorn the towers - a farmer, blacksmith, mason, student, carpenter, and African-American male breaking bondage's chains. Each tower is topped by a bronze angel, one playing a trumpet, the other cymbals. The ashes of architect Keller and his wife Mary are interred in the tower.