The Peace or Navy Monument Washington D.C.

Peace Monument


The 44 foot high white marble memorial was erected in 1877-1878 to commemorate the naval deaths at sea during the American Civil War.

At the top of the monument, facing west, stand two classically robed female figures. Grief holds her covered face against the shoulder of History and weeps in mourning. History holds a stylus and a tablet that was inscribed "They died that their country might live."

Peace Statue

Below Grief and History, another life-size classical female figure represents Victory, holding high a laurel wreath and carrying an oak branch, signifying strength. Below her are the infant Mars, the god of war, and the infant Neptune, god of the sea.

Peace Statue

Facing the Capitol is Peace, a classical figure draped from the waist down and holding an olive sprig. Below her are symbols of peace and industry. Opposite, the symbols of science, literature, and art (including an angle, a gear, a book, and a pair of dividers) signify the progress of civilization that peace makes possible.

Peace Statue

At the corners of the monument, four marble globes are visually supported by massive brackets. The fountain below, with a jet on each side, empties into a quaterfoil-shaped basin. Its inscription reads: "In memory of the officers, seamen and marines of the United States Navy who fell in defense of the Union and liberty of their country, 1861 - 1865.

The Peace Monument, first intended for Annapolis, Maryland, was conceived by Admiral David Dixon Porter, who had commanded fleets of gunboats and troop transports during the war. Porter first sketched a simple design depicting Grief and History; beginning in 1865, he raised funds from private contributors, and the monument was commissioned from Simmons in 1871. The sculptor carved the Carrara marble in Rome and worked directly with Admiral Porter on many changes in the designs, including the addition of other figures. The architectural part of the monument was made by the Bonanni Brothers of Carrara, Italy, under Simmons's direction. The marble pieces were shipped to Washington in 1876; in 1877 the monument was erected on the base of Maine blue granite and the final figure, Peace, was set into place in January 1878.

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