Figure 1. Smith monument, 1861. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo: author.

William Moir Smith died fighting for the Union at the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861. His monument reflects on his death as a soldier by displaying his kit, now laid aside, bereft of weapons (figure 2).

Figure 2. Smith monument. Kit. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo: author.

His kepi sits on his haversack, one of the wood-framed models we see carried by other New York infantry. The bed roll is just above the haversack (only partially visible in my photographs), and his bandolier and belt have been looped by the cutter to add visual interest to the composition. The ammunition pouch (with barely visible “U.S.” in the oval) is attached to the bandolier, and the box of caps to the belt. At the left side is the empty bayonet holster.

Figure 3. Smith monument. Inscription. Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo: author.

WILLIAM MOIR SMITH.
COMPANY A, 71st REGT
N. Y. S. M.
HE FELL MORTALLY WOUNDED
AT THE FIRST BATTLE
OF BULL RUN,
JULY 21st 1861
DIED AT RICHMOND, VA
AUGUST 1st 1861
AGED 22 YEARS

The laurel branch at the lower left is of some interest (figure 1). The laurels connote victory (of the Union cause, if not of Smith personally), and are a standard Christian image indicating a life well lived. The broken twig at the top is a variant of the customary usage of having an object broken to symbolize a life cut off.

An analogous monument, improbably carried through in the well known tree-stump style, has been published at Gravely Speaking.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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