West Virginia State Capitol Complex Walking Tour

Union Soldier Statue

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art ()

Overview Listen

The statue is a memorial to the Union Soldiers and Sailors from West Virginia who fought in the Civil War. Funded by the State of WV and placed on the Capitol grounds in 1930, it faces Kanawha Blvd. east of the Governor’s Mansion.


Photo Union Soldier statue on WV State Capitol grounds
Photo The front of Union Soldier statue on WV State Capitol grounds
Photo The plaque that states the date the memorial was erected and contains the names of the members of the Union Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Commission who erected it.
Photo The plaque that states Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Photo The plaque that states the admission of the State of West Virginia to the Union on June 20, 1863.

Backstory Listen

In 1927, the WV Legislature created a Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Commission, which planned the building, on the Capitol grounds, of a monument in memory of the estimated 20,000 to 36,000 men of the state who fought for the Union in the Civil War. The memorial was dedicated in 1930 to the memory of the Union soldiers and sailors from the State of West Virginia in the Civil War.

The state set aside funds in the amount of $15,000 for the project. Two other Civil War monuments on the Capitol grounds, the Stonewall Jackson and Mountaineer statues, were both paid for by private funds. A New Martinsville, West Virginia, monument firm was awarded the contract. Little is known about the artist of the statue, Roy H. Stewart.

The monument depicts a Home Guard soldier carrying a musket, and the soldier is marching east toward the Stonewall Jackson statue in the southeast corner of the capitol grounds. It has four plaques affixed to its base. One commemorates the dedication of the memorial and contains the names of the members of the Union Soldiers and Sailors Commission who erected the memorial. The second plaque contains the words from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The third plaque commemorates the admission of the State of West Virginia to the Union on June 20, 1863, as follows: "The Act of Congress admitting West Virginia as a separate state was approved by President Abraham Lincoln. June 20, 1863." The final plaque is inscribed: "In Memory of the thirty-two thousand soldiers, sailors and marines, contributed West Virginia to the service of the Union during the Civil War. 1861 - 1865."

In 1976 this statue, the Stonewall Jackson, and the Mountaineer Statue were removed from the Capitol and taken to Preston County for refurbishing. It has been returned to the West Virginia State Capitol grounds. 

1900 Kanawha Blvd E
Charleston, WV 25305

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Cohen, Stan & Richard Andre, Capitols of West Virginia: A Pictorial History. Charleston, WV: Pictorial Histories Publishing, 1989.

West Virginia Veterans Memorial. West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History. Accessed June 18, 2019. http://www.wvculture.org/history/wvmemory/wvvets.html.

Riecks, Chuck. "Charleston WV: State Capitol Grounds: Union Soldier Statue." Flickr. com, May 29, 2010, Accessed June 19, 2019, https://www.flickr.com/photos/chuckandaliceriecks/4650966763

Deacon, Sneakin. West Virginia Civil War Memorial - Charleston, West Virginia. Waymarking. March 25, 2010. Accessed June 19, 2019. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8FE1_West_Virginia_Civil_War_Memorial_Charleston_West_Virginia.

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