Two allegorical female figures at the top represent America weeping on the shoulders of History over the loss of her naval defenders during the Civil War. History holds a book where she records the names of heroes.
The figure of Victory stands halfway up the western side of the monument. She holds a laurel wreath and an oak branch over the infants Neptune and Mars, who sit on ledges below her feet. Thus, Victory crowns the sacrifices of the men who carried on the naval warfare of the Civil War. Peace is depicted on the east side of the monument by a neoclassical statue flanked by cherubs. In her right hand she holds the olive branch. A dove resting on a sheaf of wheat, a horn of plenty, and broken ground represent agriculture. On the other side are symbols of science, literature and art. A quatrefoil basin surrounds the forty-foot memorial with fountain jets on each side. The sculpture was erected by the government with contributions from Navy personnel under a Congressional Act approved July 31, 1876 (19 Stat. 114). It was sculpted and carved in Rome in 1877 and dedicated in the same year. The memorial is located on a small traffic island directly below the west Capitol grounds at the intersection of 1st Ave., N.W. and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Reservation 202A.
Erected 1877 (Franklin Simmons, sculptor; Edward Clark, architect)
National Register: September 20, 1978