The Soldiers and Sailors Monument cornerstone was laid in 1909.  The monument was dedicated in 1910 to honor those who fought and died in the Civil War.  The bronze sculptures were designed by Cyrus Dallin - the east grouping entitled “A Call to Arms,” the west figures called “An Incident at Gettysburg.”

The western sculpture on the monument

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On the Clinton street side of the monument, a bronze relief depicts Union soldiers defending Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg from Rebel forces.  During the intense fire, the staff of the 149th flag was split in two and the flag fell over the breastworks into the line of enemy fire. 

The repaired 149th flag staff

Color Sergeant William Lilly bravely climbed over the breastworks and retrieved the flag.  He repaired it with his leather musket strap and wood splints from a cracker box, so once again, the colors of the 149th Fourth Onondaga County Regiment flew above the battlefield.  Sergeant Lilly survived the battle only to die later fighting in Tennessee.

A soldier with the 149th flag

Sergeant Kiggins with the 149th flag and repaired staff

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument today

Originally planned as a tribute to local Civil War Soldiers, it is dedicated to all military people from all wars.  The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is a lasting remembrance to Sergeant Lilly and all the others who lost their lives in the heroic battles for freedom.  The original staff of the 149th Regiment restored in its repaired state is on permanent display to the public on the second floor of the Onondaga County Courthouse, along with the remnants of Onondaga County’s Civil War Flags.