NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Grand Army Plaza

General Gouverneur Kemble Warren map_it

History

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This sculpture by Henry Baerer (1837–1908) honors the distinguished Union Army general Gouverneur Kemble Warren (1830–1882). It is one of three Civil War monuments that grace this oval plaza and entryway to Prospect Park, which was first laid out in the 1860s and dedicated in 1926 to the Grand Army of the Republic (the Union Army in the Civil War).

General Warren was born in Cold Spring, in Putnam County, New York. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1850. Before the Civil War, he helped the Army Corps of Engineers survey areas west of Mississippi, oversaw rapids and canal improvements, and taught mathematics at West Point.

Warren was named Lieutenant Colonel of the Fifth Regiment in New York in 1861, and fought at Big Bethel, Virginia. Later, as Captain, he led the Yorktown siege of 1862, and was engaged in combat at Malvern Hill, Harrison’s Landing, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Centreville, and Fredericksburg. He was appointed Brigadier General in September 1862, and named Chief Topographical Engineer of the Army of the Potomac in 1863. At the famous battle of Gettysburg in 1863, he was wounded at Little Round Top, and a monument was later placed there to commemorate his valor.

Warren subsequently served as the chief engineer and the commanding officer at numerous battle sites, though his actions were questioned at Five Forks in Virginia. One account said Warren “made victory decisive there,” but General Philip Sheridan, feeling that Warren was negligent in his duties, relieved him of his station. Though a court of inquiry exonerated Warren of Sheridan’s charges 14 years after the war, Warren was said have been broken personally and ruined professionally. Warren remained in the armed services as a Lieutenant Colonel of Engineers until he died in Newport, Rhode Island on August 8, 1882.

This sculpture was commissioned in 1896 at a cost of $10,000 by the G.K. Warren Post, No. 286, G.A.R. and dedicated on July 4 of the same year. The bronze statue depicts Warren standing in full military garb, with field binoculars in hand. The artwork closely resembles Warren’s monument at Gettysburg, and the rough-hewn granite pedestal is taken from stone quarried at Little Round Top.

Sculptor Henry Baerer was born in Kirscheim, Germany, and came to the United States in 1854. He was especially well-known as a portrait sculptor, and contributed six sculptures to the parks of New York City, including statues of composer Ludwig van Beethoven in Prospect and Central Parks, and a bust of industrialist Conrad Poppenhusen (1818-1883) in College Point, Queens.

In 1938, the city monuments crew cleaned and repatined the sculpture and bronze tablet set within its base. Having since suffered more than 60 years of exposure to the elements, the sculpture was conserved in 2001.

General Gouverneur Kemble Warren Details

  • Sculptor: Henry Baerer
  • Description: Standing figure (over life-size) on pedestal, two plaques
  • Materials: Bronze, Conway green granite
  • Dimensions: Overall dimensions H: 17'6" W: 8' D: 8'
  • Cast: 1893
  • Dedicated: June 26, 1896
  • Foundry: Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co. New York
  • Donor: G.K.Warren Post #286 , N.Y. Department of the G.A.R.

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namings often in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, but not necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the year listed reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

Directions to Grand Army Plaza

  • Grand Army Plaza Newstand
  • Arch in Grand Army Plaza
  • Fireworks in Grand Army Plaza

Grand Army Plaza Weather

  • Mon
    Sunny
    62°F
  • Tue
    Showers Likely
    68°F
  • Wed
    Slight Chc Showers
    62°F
  • Thu
    Sunny
    62°F

7-day forecast

Was this information helpful?