At the age of thirty-six, Saint-Gaudens saw this as his chance to create an important
equestrian figure, as most sculptors might have. His first pencil and clay sketches
depict this conception. Shaw's parents, however, felt it presumptuous to represent a
young colonel in the context traditionally reserved for generals, and Saint-Gaudens
then came up with the idea of placing his equestrian figure "with his troops in a bas
relief." As Saint-Gaudens later wrote, "I made a sketch showing this scheme...and the
monument as it now stands is virtually what I indicated."
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Early drawing for The Shaw Memorial, about 1882, Dartmouth College Library