25-9 Soldiers, Sailors, and Pioneers Monument / “Victory, the Jewel of the Soul”
Side A: The Soldiers, Sailors, and Pioneers Monument was planned and promoted by Butler County Civil War veterans and financed by a county levy in 1899. The monument, built of Indiana Limestone, is near the center of the site of Fort Hamilton, built in 1791 and named in honor of Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury in President George Washington’s cabinet. Featured, are two large, colorful windows that recognize the contributions of Butler County women during the Civil War. Featured speaker at the July 4, 1906, dedication was Governor Andrew L. Harris, a Butler County native and Civil War veteran. His name is one of the more than 4,300 carved into the interior marble walls.
Side B: The statue atop the monument is officially entitled “Victory, the Jewel of the Soul,” but is better known as “Billy Yank,” the name given the common Union soldier during the Civil War (1861-1865). The 17-foot, 3,500-pound bronze figure is the work of Rudolph Thiem, a local artist whose design was selected in national competition. The soldier’s informal pose represents his reaction to victory and peace at the end of the Civil War. His right foot is on an unexploded shell, while his right hand clasps his musket. His cap is uplifted in his left hand. His mouth is open as he shouts “Hurrah!” at the realization that fighting has ended. The statue was placed on the Monument in December 1904.