Dedicated in 1899, the stunning Civil War Memorial in Peoria is one of the more unique and memorable monuments to the war I have seen, and I can assure you I’ve seen plenty living in Washington, DC. The monument was sculpted by Fritz Triebel, cast in Pistoia, Italy (not Pistojo [sic] as mentioned in some sources), with marble quarried in Maine. Triebel traveled extensively in Europe, and in particular in Italy, which I could tell the second I laid my eyes on it. The bronze casting is impeccable, and the detail on the monument is some of the best I’ve seen in American sculpture.
The most outstanding figure in the monument is the woman (Columbia? Liberty?) in the process of writing a bronze inscription on the granite with her right hand. Her left hand juts back elegantly, as huge swaths of drapery roil on the ground below her.
The large bundle of laurel wreaths, the symbol of victory, frames a banner with a dedicatory inscription.
While on the other side of the plinth is a bronze plaque naming the dead from Peoria and its environs.
The first of two sculptural groups on the base of the monument, which allude to Stiebel’s formal title, Defense of the Flag.
And the second of the two sculpture groups.
The top of the granite Corinthian column is topped with an interesting, unconventional bronze capital and eagle.