The monument in Highland Cemetery is the first in the United States on a burial plot to honor the dead of both Union and Confederate armies. This is very fitting because there are those who say that Montana was settled by the Confederate Army in retreat.

Completion of the project for veterans took five years.

Before 1895, many of the soldiers who came to Montana following the Civil War were buried on the hillsides surrounding the city and in Potter’s field at Highland Cemetery.

The Army post decided to purchase a suitable plot of ground to move both the blue and the gray soldiers’ remains. In 1895, John J. Hall was the first veteran interred there.

The cannon came from Bedloe’s Island in New York where the Statue of Liberty now stands. It was cast in 1858 and was mounted in the Union fort at Norfolk, Virginia. At the beginning of the Civil War, the Confederates captured the fort and used the gun against the Union forces until the latter regained control two years later.

When the memorial was dedicated in 1901, a steel box with many articles of historic interest was placed in the barrel of the gun. A turned iron plug was then sledged into the muzzle to seal it in forever.