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Civil War Monuments
St. Johnsbury (1868)
Parrot Gun No. 126
Chamberlin Post No. 1, G. A. R.
By Sec. of Navy on Request of
Hon. W. W. Grout.
This Gun was in Service During
Civil War on U. S. S. Magnolia
Parrot Gun No. 107
Chamberlin Post No. 1, G. A. R.
By Sec. of Navy on Request of
Hon. W. W. Grout.
This Gun was in Service During
Civil War on U. S. S. Kanawha
In the warrant for the March meeting, the 6th day of March, 1866, an article was inserted in reference to the erection of a suitable monument commemorative of the soldiers of the town who were killed or died while in the service of the country during the late war.
Judge Morrill, of the Board of Selectmen, when this article was reached, called upon A. G. Chadwick to explain its object. In doing so Mr. Chadwick stated that there existed among many citizens of the town a disposition to contribute a portion of the funds necessary to provide a suitable monument, in memory of the soldiers of the town who had lost their lives in defence of the stars and stripes, and if the town, in its corporate capacity, would appropriate one-half of the amount desired, the other half could be secured in the manner suggested, from donations of private individuals.
It was thereupon "voted that a committee of three persons be appointed to ascertain the probable cost of a suitable marble monument, with a design for the same, and the amount, if any, which can be obtained by private subscriptions, and report at a subsequent meeting."
Horace Fairbanks, Gates B. Bullard and A. J. Willard were appointed agreeably to the foregoing vote.
At a special town meeting duly warned by the Selectmen, and holden on the 23d day of June, 1866, Mr. H. Fairbanks, in behalf of the committee appointed to take into consideration the subject of a soldiers' monument, submitted a plan for a monument which the committee deemed suitable and appropriate to honor our deceased soldiers. The committee did not report upon that branch of the resolution relating to the amount that might be raised by subscriptions. Their report was accepted and adopted.
On motion of George C. Barney, it was voted to instruct the Selectmen to raise a sum not to exceed ten thousand dollars, or so much thereof as should be necessary for the purpose of carrying out the report of the committee.
The committee appointed to provide a Soldiers' Monument entered upon negotiations, at an early day, with Larkin G. Mead, Jr., - a native of Vermont - for furnishing a suitable marble statue. Mr. Mead, then on a visit to his home, came to St. Johnsbury. A contract was executed with him. The statue was to be delivered at the City of New York for the sum of $5,000. It was to be executed at the artist's studio at Florence, and to be of the purest Italian marble.
The committee also entered into contract with Peter B. Laird, of West Danville, for supplying a granite foundation and pedestal, for the statute to rest upon. This was erected during the fall of 1867 and spring of 1868. The base and pedestal rise twelve feet from the ground. Upon each side of the pedestal is a tablet in the form of a shield, upon which are engraved the names of our soldiers who sacrificed their lives that their country might live. The monument is from a plan executed by E. Grebble, architect, of Philadelphia. It is located in the Court House grounds, four rods north of the north end of the Court House. In the summer of 1868, the statue "America" reached this country. It was inaugurated with imposing ceremonies, on the 20th day of August. During the previous day the statue had been raised, yet uncovered, to its place on the top of the monument. It is seven and one-half feet in height.
The ceremonies of the day were under the conduct of the Selectmen of the town - Calvin Morrill, J. H. Applebee and Sias Randall - and the Monument Committee - Horace Fairbanks, G. B. Bullard and A. J. Willard, with marshals and assistants. A procession headed by Gilmore's brass band of Boston, and consisting of Masonic organizations; a car drawn by six horses, containing thirty-six little girls attired in white, and representing the different States of the Union. Another car canopied by evergreens, with a young lady appropriately dressed, representing "Peace," officers and orators of the day; carriages containing disabled soldiers, friends of deceased soldiers, returned officers and soldiers, fire companies and citizens, marched through several streets of the village to the Court House grounds. There gathered around the monument the pre-arranged exercises of the occasion took place.
These exercises were commenced by introductory remarks by Hon. C. S. Dana, president of the day. The names of the deceased soldiers, inscribed upon the monument, were read by Major E. D. Redington. Horace Fairbanks, Esq., Chairman of the Monument Committee, standing near the monumental pile, announced that the Committee had completed the work assigned them, and unveiled the statue "america." Until this time it had been hidden from public view by a curtain of national flags. After a few moments of profound silence the "thing of beauty" was greeted by cheer after cheer from the assembled multitude. Thereupon the thirty-six misses representing the thirty-six States of our restored American Union, with floral offerings in their hands, filed around the monument, and as they did so deposited them upon its base.
Mr. Mead, the sculptor, was introduced to the assembly, and greeted with applause. Prayer was offered by Rev. John H. Woodward, Chaplain of the 1st Vermont Cavalry. Addresses, appropriate to the occasion, were made by Gov. Paul Dillingham and Hon. L. P. Poland. The ceremonies were interspersed with music by the band, and half hour guns fired from an eminence some little distance in a north-easterly direction. The salutes were fired under the direction of Captain Edward F. Griswold, who served three years in the Vermont Artillery.
The monument had been erected by the town, at an expense of eight thousand eight hundred and ninety-two dollars and forty six cents. An inscription upon the side fronting Main street indicates the purpose for which the monument is erected, to wit: "in Honor Of The St. Johnsbury Volunteers Who Sacrificed THEIR LIVES IN DEFENCE OF THE UNION."
Upon other parts the names of several of the most sanguinary battlefields where so many of our soldiers fell.
Upon the Tablet on the west side of the monument are inscribed the following names:
Lieutenant Colonel George E. Chamberlin, died of wounds.
Captain Edwin B. Frost, killed in action.
Captain Edwin J. Morrill, killed while prisoner.
Captain Joseph W. D. Carpenter, killed in action.
Lieutenant John W. Ramsay, killed in action.
Lieutenant Dustin S. Walbridge, died of wounds.
Sergeant Lorenzo D. Farnham, died in rebel prison.
Sergeant John S. Kilby, died of wounds.
Sergeant Orange S. Lynn, died of disease.
Sergeant Darwin J. Wright, died in rebel prison.
Sergeant Benjamin Waldron, died of disease.
Sergeant Erastus M. Dunbar, killed in action.
Sergeant Lanson E. Aldrich, died in rebel prison.
Upon the Tablet on the south side are inscribed the following names:
Corporal John N. Copeland, killed in action.
Corporal Michael Foley, died of disease.
Corporal Albert F. Felch, died of disease.
Corporal Ephraim P. Howard, killed in action.
Corporal Nathan P. Jay, died in rebel prison.
Corporal George T. Kasson, killed in action.
Corporal William Norris, killed in action.
Corporal Harrison W. Varney, died of disease.
Corporal Henry C. Voodry, killed in action.
Corporal Charles W. Hill, killed in action.
Orange H. Ayer, died in rebel prison.
Jacob S. Archer, died of disease.
Leonard N. Bishop, died in rebel prison.
Simeon S. Bean, died in rebel prison.
Joseph Baker, died in rebel prison.
Rozerne E. Bacon, died in camp.
Stephen Currier, killed in action.
Franklin Caswell, died in rebel prison.
Oscar H. Cummings, died of disease.
Lewis A. Clark, died of disease.
Felix Cunneuille (Cenneville,) killed in action.
Jacob Chapman, killed on railroad.
Upon the Tablet on the east side are inscribed the following names:
Royal G. Mansfield, died of disease.
Samuel W. Marden, killed in action.
Hiram T. Page, died of disease.
Elisha S. Palmer, died in rebel prison.
Charles A. Picard, died of disease.
Solon W. Pierce, died of disease.
Ira L. Powers, died of disease.
George N. Richardson, died of disease.
Martin Rosebrook (Rosebush,) died of wounds.
William J. Rogers, died of disease.
Albert S. Stockwell, died in rebel prison.
William H. Sherman, died of disease.
Edwin W. Stewart, died in rebel prison.
Joseph St. Pierre, died in rebel prison.
Paschal P. Shores, killed in action.
Andrew Sturgeon, died in rebel prison.
George Smithson, died of disease,
Theron W. Scruton, died of disease.
Davis Towle, died of disease.
Whipple A. West, died of disease.
Alfred Ward, died in rebel prison.
Henry C. Wright, killed in action.
Upon the Tablet on the north side are inscribed the following names:
James Uonnell (O'Donnell,) died of disease.
Nathan L. Davis, died of disease.
Julius Dupluse, died of disease.
John Donovan, died of disease.
Alvin Duff, died of disease.
Denison Day, died of disease.
George L. Fairchild, died in rebel prison.
Samuel Forrest, died of disease.
Silas Forrest, died in rebel prison.
Edward French, died of wounds.
John Green, died of disease.
Charles J. Goodnough (Goodenough,) died of disease.
Russell A. Hutchins, died of disease.
William Hannet, died of disease.
Obed S. Hatch, killed in action.
Oscar F. Hayward, died of disease.
Orville W. Hutchinson, died of disease.
Abel W. Hawkins, died of disease.
Patrick Howard, died of wounds.
John Howard, died in rebel prison.
George F. Harroun, killed in action.
Thomas Kidder, died of disease.
Daniel S. (F.) Lee, died of disease.
Alonzo McGaffey, it has been ascertained since the names of deceased soldiers were recorded on the monument, died of disease at Ship Island. The Adjutant General's Report of 1864 accounted for him as discharged June 3, 1863. The same Report of a later date says he died June 3, 1863. The true date of his death is, probably, May 7, 1863.
William E. Parrish, accounted for by Adjutant General's Report as sick in General Hospital, July 13, 1865, was, without much doubt, wounded in battle of the Wilderness. After receiving two or three wounds he was taken prisoner. It is reported that he was taken to Andersonville, but while the fact of his death is not doubted, the time and place thereof is somewhat uncertain.
John G. Jones, taken prisoner at Fair Oaks, October 27, 1864, is accounted for by the Adjutant General's Report, as "supposed dead." Inasmuch as no additional intelligence has been obtained of him, after the expiration of several years, it is reasonable to conclude that he died in the hands of the rebels.
It thus appears, from this sad record, that of the three hundred and forty-eight soldiers who rendered service for the town, in the war to preserve the Union of the States, as established by the fathers, eighty laid down their lives. This number includes the names of McGaffey, Jones and Parrish, not now on the monument, and excludes Ramsay, French and Harroun, who, though residents or natives of the town, rendered service to the credit of other towns. The reason the three former names were not inscribed in the roll of honor on the monument, was, the fact of their decease, at the time, had not been clearly ascertained. A considerable number of the three hundred and forty-eight volunteers for the town re-enlisted and therefore counted upon more than one quota the town was called upon to fill.
"Yon faithful herald's blazon'd stone
With mournful pride shall tell,
When many a vanished age hath flown,
The story how ye fell;
Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight,
Nor time's remorseless doom, Shall mar one ray of glory's light
That gilds your deathless tomb."
Monument photograph courtesy of Georgeana Little; cannon Courtesy of Peter Flood,woodcut and additional information from Albert G. Chadwick, Soldiers' Record of the town of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-5, (C. M. Stone & Co., St. Johnsbury, Vt., 1883), pp. 204-210.