General Alfred Thomas Archimedes Torbert was born in Georgetownm, Delaware and lived in Milford from 1866 until his death in 1880 and he was, according to the Milford Chronicle, one of our local papers, Milford's highest ranking military figure. He lead the infantry in the Shenandoah Valley and served in the U.S. Consul General's service from 1869 - 1878. For any civil war buffs who may be reading, he fought on the Union side. When we first heard there was to be a civil war statue erected in our city, we wondered which side it would represent, as Delaware was one of those states where families were divided in their loyalties, some siding with the South, other with the North.
This type of statue was typically erected right after the person's death and it was through the efforts of dedicated local people, in particular Marvin Schelhouse and Dave Kenton who took this idea and ran with it, raising enough money and public support to see their dream become a reality.
We were astounded to learn that $80,000 was raised to commission and build this statue - and in this current economy that was no small task I'm sure. Being more interested in the art aspect of this project than the details of the war, (although I did find an interesting blog by someone who is and here's a link to it if you are too: http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org/about/) we were curious as to what it would look like and who was creating it. We learned that the sculptor is a talented Chinese American painter/sculptor with tons of experience sculpting Civil War heroes. His name is Zefeng Tao and his work is extremely impressive and realistic. He has a studio in Dover, Delaware, (although we had heard that the statue was being "made in China" and that some hoped that wouldn't actually be printed on the finished piece) It is constructed of Bronze and was cast in Beijing, China.
A reception was held on the front lawn of the Milford Museum at 121 South Walnut Street where speeches were given, befitting the occasion along with rifle salutes and Civil War reenactors in full woolen uniforms, followed by light refreshments and hors d'ouerves in the Museum.
I did not attend as I was over at the Mispillion Art League gallery helping hang the current show "Waterways" a collection of fine art based on the theme of water. I was amazed at the many varied interpretations of that concept by our talented members. This current exhibition will remain on display until October when we change it out following our big Fall Gala October 24.
The Mayor performed the unveiling of the statue
The final moments of the ceremony
A Rifle Salute by the reenactors
Proud Union Solder reenactor