Granby

Granby

GranbyLocation: Granby Free Public Library, 297 East State Street, Granby
Coordinates: 42°15’41.1″N 72°30’32.7″W
Date dedicated: May 31, 1909
Architect/sculptor: Unknown

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. The plaques were originally installed in Kellogg Hall, the town’s old municipal building (now owned by the Granby Preservation Society). They were dedicated on Memorial Day, May 31, 1909 and presented to the town by committee chair Elliot J. Aldrich, a prominent businessman, woolen mill owner and politician who lived in Granby and later Hadley. As chairman, Aldrich coordinated the effort, generously supported it, and successfully sought donation from others to fund the memorial. Judge Luther White of Chicopee, a native of Granby, gave a short address during the ceremonies regarding the war and the men Granby sent to the front.[1]

One of the names on the memorial is that of Albert Whiting. Whiting was a 19 year-old carder (working flax, cotton and wool) when he enlisted on the 1st of August 1862. He arrived as a replacement for losses to the 27th Massachusetts. He served uneventful duty in North Carolina for much of 1863 and then his unit was shipped to Newport News Virginia, where they joined the Army of the James. Whiting and the 27th participated in the failed forays towards Yorktown and Williamsburg in May 1864, and from there, to the Bermuda Hundred campaign.

Whiting’s luck would turn during the Battle of Proctor’s Creek 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, threatening both Richmond and Petersburg. However, Butler moved slowly, allowing time for Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard to move a large force into position to oppose him. At Proctor’s Creek, Beauregard badly defeated Butler’s army.

In the fight, the 27th Massachusetts (which numbered about 700 before the battle) lost 17 killed or mortally wounded, and 259 taken prisoner–including 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. His 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.

[1] Springfield Republican, May 28, 1909 and June 1, 1909.

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