First Corps of Cadets Memorial Dedicated

October 17, 2017

Greg Heins, 2014

On November 16, 1867, the First Corps of Cadets memorial was dedicated.  At the ceremony Governor Alexander Bullock remarked, “There is something not altogether sorrowful in our assembling upon these sacred grounds…to pay the offering of our hearts to the memory of these citizens and soldiers whose names are sculpted here.  For this is a fitting place for a soldier’s rest.” (“Cadet Memorial Monument,” Boston Daily Advertiser, November 18, 1867)

Established in 1741, the first Corps of Cadets of Massachusetts provided officers for regiments serving from the Revolutionary War through World War II.  In honor of 15 cadets who lost their lives during the Civil War the Corps purchased a lot at Mount Auburn (Lot 3215, Lawn Avenue) and raised funds for a cenotaph designed by Boston architect Theodore Colburn.

On each side of the capstone rising up from the pedestal is the Corps’ motto: “Monstrat Viam,” meaning “It points the way,”  An eagle, the national symbol of freedom and courage, perches on top.  Each side of the pedestal bears the name of a major American conflict from the French and Indian War to World War II.  Marble panel inserts are incorporated into each side of the pedestal.  Two panels record the names of the cadets who died in the “War of Rebellion;” the front panel bears the coat of arms of the State of Massachusetts; and the reverse side depicts the coat of arms of the United States with the inscription, “Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori,” which translates as “It is sweet and honorable to die for one’s country.”

A docent leads a tour group, 2015.

Memorial Day Wreath-laying ceremony, 2010.







From The Art of Commemoration and America’s First Rural Cemetery (2015) by Melissa Banta with Meg L. Winslow.

About the Author: Jessica Bussmann

Education & Volunteer Coordinator

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    • Jessica Bussmann says:

      Hi Peter, thanks for pointing out this error. It was poorly worded and we’ve changed the article text. The Corps decided in November 1865 to honor the soldiers who died and then purchased the lot. The men died at various points in the war. Thanks for your close reading!

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