A New Arm for the 11th Massachusetts Infantry Monument at Gettysburg

The 11th Massachusetts monument was found vandalized on Feb 16, 2006. The arm had been broken off, smashed, and a number of pieces were stolen. It is located along Emmitsburg Road just north of Sickles Avenue.

Gettysburg National Military Park’s monument preservation branch has been working on restoration of the 11th Massachusetts Infantry monument, which was damaged by vandals in February 2006. The arm with its bronze sword was the primary symbol of the Massachusetts coat of arms and was emblazoned on brass buttons worn by militia organizations from the commonwealth during the Civil War.

11th Massachusetts Infantry Monument

The 11th Mass. arm before the 2006 vandalism incident.

The broken stone arm in the foreground and plaster cast made from the damaged piece in the background.

Park staff made a mold from the broken off arm of the sculpture, using broken pieces recovered from the scene of the vandalism.  Then they used the mold to make a plaster casting of the stump of the arm. 

Monument preservationist Brian Griffin then used a large selection of photos (many provided by the public), as well as other broken pieces of the original carving, including three fingers, the sword blade and hand guard, to approximately scale the sculpture to ensure the proper size and orientation for the clay modeling. 

A steel armature was then attached to the plaster to support the clay.  Once completed, the sword was then attached to the armature at the appropriate angle.  Griffin is now applying clay and sculpting an exact likeness of the original arm.  This work is extremely tedious requiring him to view the sculpture from various angles to ensure proper duplication based off the photos.

The armature for clay modeling.

Once this work is completed the entire piece will be molded again and a plaster casting poured of the complete arm.  This model will then be contracted to a stone carver for replication in granite and placement back on the field.  The park hopes to contract for the stone carving in May and complete the entire project by the fall of this year.

The clay model for the new arm.

The sculpted clay arm prior to the addition of the hand and sword.

Brian at work on the model.

Gettysburg Monument Specialist Brian Griffin adds finishing touches to the clay model.

Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant.


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3 Responses to A New Arm for the 11th Massachusetts Infantry Monument at Gettysburg

  1. Randy says:

    That’s great news!

  2. Gary Dombrowski says:

    Great to see this monument will be complete once again. Thanks to the park staff for all their hard work. ~Gary

  3. Pingback: This just breaks my heart, for several reasons | The books are taking over…

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