Duxbury Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument (Plymouth County)

DuxburyLocation: Mayflower Cemetery, 774 Tremont Street, Duxbury
Coordinates: 42°01’57.6″N 70°41’35.0″W
Date dedicated: May 30, 1872
Architect/Sculptor: Peter Blessington, design
Number of names: 37 men lost in the war

The primary inscription reads, “Memoria in Eterna, The Soldiers and Sailors of Duxbury who Gave their Lives for their Country in the War of 1861.” It was built at a cost of $2,500. The eagle atop the column grasps a snake and broken chains in its talons–symbolizing the defeat of treason and the institution of slavery. Peter Blessington, a stone carver of Boston with a showroom on Cambridge Street, designed and manufactured the monument. It is similar to the Plymouth monument which Blessington also designed.

Weston, Deborah BThe fundraising was coordinated by the Ladies Association, referred to by the Duxbury GAR post adjutant as “The Willing Workers.” The president of this association was Deborah Brownell Weston (1821-1907), widow of the Hon. Gershom B. Weston (he had been a leader of recruitment and a dedicated supporter of Duxbury soldiers). During the war, Deborah B. Weston had been an Associate Manager of the New England Women’s Auxiliary Association, supporting the efforts of the United States Sanitary Commission. Her organization raised the full amount for the monument through public subscription.

During the dedication ceremonies, Capt. Henry B. Maglathlin of the 4th Massachusetts Infantry gave the introductory remarks. The key speaker was Judge Thomas Russell of Boston. A prayer was offered by Rev. Frederick N. Knapp of Plymouth who had played a remarkable role during the war as head of the Special Relief Department of the U.S. Sanitary Commission.

Of the roughly 215 men from Duxbury who served in the Civil War, 53 served together in the so-called “Duxbury Company”–the pride of the town. These men formed the bulk of Company E of the 18th Massachusetts Infantry. Serving in the Army of the Potomac, these men fought in some of the largest and best-known battles of the war. Their heaviest engagement was the Second Battle of Bull Run during which the regiment charged across Dogan’s Pasture, briefly broke through the Confederate lines on the now-famous unfinished railroad, and were forced to retreat under heavy fire. Duxbury suffered nine casualties that day, about one-fifth of their men serving in the field at that time.[1]


[1] “Second Battle of Bull Run: Duxbury’s First and Most Severe Casualties,” Duxbury in the Civil War, August 30, 2012

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