Location: Across from 503 Plymouth Street, Halifax
Coordinates: 41°59’26.2″N 70°51’42.1″W
Date dedicated: July 4, 1867
Number of names: 24 men who died in the war
An early monument in a rural town, the Halifax memorial is located across from the Halifax Congregational Church on Plymouth Street. Dedicated on July 4, 1867, it bears the names of 24 men lost in the war. Although not the first in the Commonwealth, the Halifax monument was the first built in Plymouth County and among the earliest in the state. Mrs. Aroline Soule, who had been active with the Unitarian Church and soldier’s relief efforts during the war, was the moving spirit behind the fundraising. She had lost a son to the war, Charles W. Soule, who died in New Bern, North Carolina in 1862. She wanted a fitting monument to honor his memory and others from the town who had been lost.
When he enlisted as a private on September 23, 1862 for nine months service in the 3rd Massachusetts Militia regiment, Company A, Charles Soule was 17 years old and helping on his father’s farm in Halifax. He was about 3 months shy of 18, the required age for enlistment. The mustering officers evidently looked the other way on this. On October 22, 1862, the regiment was rushed off, before they were issued muskets, and shipped to New Bern, a Union foothold on the North Carolina coast. The regiment served garrison duty near New Bern and in other locations on the coast during the latter months of 1862. At some point in November, Private Charles Soule was hospitalized due to typhoid fever. He died on December 2, 1862 in Academy Hospital (a preparatory school converted to a hospital and today a museum). He had turned 18 just five days before.