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 Posted: Sat Apr 8th, 2006 03:18 am
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VirtualCivilWar
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Vandalized monuments might take a year to repair




The Evening Sun







By MEG BERNHARDT
Evening Sun Reporter
National Park Service officials have located a copy of a sculpture that was among three Gettysburg monuments vandalized in February.
They will use the sculpture to take rubber molds and recreate parts of it so the restoration is as close as possible to the original, said Gettysburg National Military Park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon.
The sculpture of a Union artilleryman from the 4th New York (Smith's) Battery sat on Houck's Ridge, above Devil's Den. Earlier this year, vandals dragged it 162 feet across the road, removed the head and took it from the scene. The monument sustained the most damage of three vandalized that night.
The damage of the three totaled $60,000 and it will take a year or more to restore all of them, Lawhon said Thursday.
Recreating the details on the 19th century sculptures can be tricky. Luckily, Lawhon said, they've found the copy, made by the same sculptor out of the same mold as the original, in Manchester, N.H.
She said sculptors often made several statues out of the same mold at one time.
Park service historians have said that the monuments at Gettysburg are some of the finest examples of sculptures produced during the 19th century.
Each is one of a kind, said Dru Anne Neil, communications director of the Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg.
Park officials will travel to New Hampshire and create a rubber mold of the head and the ramrod for a cannon, which the soldier held in his hands. They will replace the damaged or missing parts.
But they haven't been able to track down a copy of a stone arm of an 11th Massachusetts soldier on a monument damaged the same night. The monument was dedicated in 1885 and placed near Sickles Avenue.
Lawhon said The Boston Herald published a piece asking for information on the arms, but so far, it hasn't yielded a three-dimensional model. She did say a quarry where the arm was created passed along some original sketches and drawings.
A third monument of a Civil War Zouave infantryman was repaired and restored to his pedestal at his post along Emmitsburg Road in early March.
It took about 20 minutes for a crane from Shenango Steel Co. of Gettysburg to hoist the repaired monument on its base in front of the Sherfy House.
The life-size bronze sculpture depicts a 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry soldier and was originally dedicated on July 2, 1886.
"This wanton vandalism has obviously struck a public nerve," said park superintendent John Latschar. "The outpouring of rage and disgust has been impressive, and the amount of unsolicited donations for the repair of the monument has been heartwarming."
Contact Meg Bernhardt at mbernhardt@eveningsun.com.
REWARD OFFERED
The Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg, Adams County CrimeStoppers, Jennifer and David LeVan, the Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation, the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides and the Gettysburg Civil War Roundtable established a $31,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals who damaged three monuments in February.
Anyone with any information on the crime or who wishes to donate money for repairs should contact the National Park Service at (717) 334-1124.

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