Granby

Granby

Location: Granby Free Public Library, 297 East State Street
Coordinates: 42°15’41.1″N 72°30’32.7″W
Date dedicated: Unknown
Architect/sculptor: Unknown
Number of names listed: 87 out 112 who served

Granby (Hampshire County) has a monument to its Civil War soldiers that resides inside their new library–it a pair of plaques listing the names of the men from Granby who served in the war, with the names of two Spanish-American War veterans added after 1898.

One of the names on the memorial is that of Albert Whiting. Whiting was a 19 years old carder (working flax, cotton and wool) when he enlisted on the 1st of August 1862. Whiting arrived as a replacement for losses to the 27th Massachusetts– a unit part of Burnside’s North Carolina expedition– late in the year, and would have sat idle in New Bern with the rest of Burnside’s corps through much of 1863. In October, Whiting and the 27th were shipped out of North Carolina and to Newport News Virginia, where they joined the Army of the James.

Over the course of the winter, Whiting is listed as having reenlisted with the army. Whiting and the 27th participated in the failed forays towards Yorktown and Williamsburg in May 1864, and from there, to the Bermuda Hundred campaign where they saw action again at Port Walthall Junction and Arrowfield Church.

Whiting’s luck would turn at Drury’s Bluff on May 16th. As part of Benjamin Butler’s force, the 27th Mass was positioned along the Peninsula in Virginia, only sixteen miles from the Confederate capital at Richmond. It was meant to serve as a secondary front to Grant’s Overland Campaign, engaged with Lee in the Wilderness, threatening both Richmond and Petersburg (itself a critical rail hub to Richmond and Northern Virginia)– but Butler, on positioning himself between the cities, rather than marching unopposed by any rebel force, sat idle for a week, squandering a crucial opportunity. While he idled, P.G.T. Beauregard brought up a force of 18,000 Confederates to launch a surprise attack against Butler’s 16,000, with the aim of severing their connection to supply and retreat at the Bermuda Hundred. Beauregard soundly defeated Butler, halted his movement towards the rebel capital, and sent Butler reeling backwards– though did not manage to sever his retreat.

In this fight, the 27th Mass lost of their pre-fight strength of about 700, 17 killed or mortally wounded, and 259 taken prisoner — including their brigade commander General Charles Heckman and Private Albert Whiting.

Whiting was transferred to the notorious prison at Andersonville Georgia, where he endured the horrific living conditions there, including little to no shelter, and starvation. Though unwounded when he arrived, Whiting died on the 5th of September 1864. Cause of death is not listed.

Whiting remains interred at Andersonville National Cemetery in Grave #7902, and his name resides on the first panel of Granby’s wall of honor.

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