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Event Details

Statue of General Gibbon

Time: July 2, 2018 all day
Location: Philadelphia and Gettysburg
Event Type: history, general, gibbon
Organized By: John Voris, Lead Coordinator
Latest Activity: May 14, 2018

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Event Description

In the famous Mount Laurel Cemetery next to Fairmount Park, there is a statue called The Silent Sentry.  The statue was rescued and restored and remounted and presented to the public on Memorial Day 2015.  The statue has a strange tale of being vandalized in the 1970's at its original home at Mount Moriah Cemetery.

The original pedestal for The Silent Sentry was later reused and rededicated on July 2, 1988 for a statue for Gen John Gibbon.

General Gibbon served under Philadelphia's General Meade at Gettysburg.  He is one of the few generals of the Civil War who was never criticized for his conduct or actions in battle. And he is a hometown hero being born in the Holmesburg section of Philly before his family moved south.

From the Old Baldy CWRT Newsletter of 08 August 2015:

In 1986, Old Baldy member John Reilly, the District Attorney of Delaware County, contacted the membership and informed us that there were funds available to erect a statue of General John Gibbon at Gettysburg.

In the early 1900s, the State of Pennsylvania made available  funds to erect statues of every Pennsylvania general that  fought at Gettysburg.

When it came to John Gibbon and Samuel Crawford, the funds ran out.

Through John Reilly and state officials, the funds were restored and made available to erect the statues of the last two generals. Each project would receive $75,000. A  committee was formed from the membership of Old Baldy and the Civil War Library and Museum and it was decided to erect a stature of General John Gibbon.

Blake Magner was elected chairman and Mike Cavenaugh treasurer. Right off the bat, strong supporters of the project would be the Union League of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Commandry of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS). Terry Jones was named the sculpture and project manager. His fee was $75,000 just to produce the statue. This meant we had to raise at least $6,000 for incidentals and find a base to complete the project. Major players and average Civil War buffs came forward and more than $8,000 was raised. The balance of over $2,000 was given to the Gettysburg NMP for maintenance. The base of the statue came from the MOLLUS plot at Mt Mariah Cemetery in West Philadelphia. It was the base for the Silent Sentry bronze statue that was stolen and recovered several years back. It now stands in a place of honor in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Using this base saved us over $25,000! The project moved along nicely and it was ready for dedication on July 2, 1988, the 125th anniversary of the battle. After a very moving and well attended dedication ceremony, Blake Magner and the committee gathered behind the General and toasted the event with a bottle of Don Perrion.

Over the years Blake had the ritual of setting next to the general in his folding chair smoking a cigar on the anniver- sary of the dedication. One year a van load of Japanese tourist passed, stopped, and backed up. The occupants jumped out and began snapping pictures. Blake Magner was in his glory!


Photo: Blake Magner , Mike Cavenaugh, Blake Magner, Terry Jones, sculptor, Sen Vince Fumo, Russ Pritchard, John Reilly - Dedicated July 3, 1988

Photo: Gibbon Model and Final Monument

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