The recent commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the attack on Fort Sumter and the start of the Civil War brought that horrible conflict back into the consciousness of many Americans. In many of the cities and towns of the Midwest, however, the reminders of the Civil War are ever-present.
I was in Indianapolis recently, and the gigantic Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument at the heart of Monument Circle is a good example. Although the monument recognizes the contributions of soldiers and sailors from many conflicts beginning with the Revolutionary War, the portion of the monument that deals with the Civil War is the most memorable. The devastating statistics of Indiana’s contribution to the Civil War effort, noting the hundreds of thousands who served and tens of thousands who died, are set forth in simple, precisely carved numbers on the facade. The statistics appear under the heading “War For The Union.”
As one Hoosier mentioned to me on my visit, it is no accident that the numbers appear on the side of the monument facing due south.