Stevenson, a member of the New England Guards, a militia company in Boston, was promoted to major and assigned to Fort Independence until the battalion was formed into the 24th Volunteers, and he was appointed the first colonel in 1861. After several prominent commands, including service at Fort Wagner, SC, in July 1863, he was noted for exceptional bravery, and placed in command of the First Division of the Ninth Corps. In May 1864, after fierce engagement at the Battle of the Wilderness, he moved with General Hancock to Spotsylvania. There, he established his lines close to the Confederates and was killed on the Fredericksburg Road.
Bela Pratt studied at Yale, with Augustus Saint Gaudens at the Art Students League, New York, and at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris; for many years he taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His works ranged from medals and portrait busts to bas-reliefs and major public monuments, such as the Civil War Army Nurses Memorial, also in Nurses Hall, which drew on his refined technique, naturalism, and restrained sentiment.
Although he died in battle at age twenty-eight, Stevenson is depicted in this memorial as an assured but older man, perhaps as a way of communicating his experience and leadership. Here, he has dismounted from his horse and stands with his field glasses in hand ready to survey the lines. Pratt's skillful modeling of the bronze communicates the detailed scene in a relief less than four inches deep.