Location: Town Common, 697 Pleasant Street, Paxton
Coordinates: 42°18’41.2″N 71°55’39.6″W
Date dedicated: July 1, 1871
Architect/Sculptor/Manufacturer: H.C. Roche Co. (manufacturer)
Number of names: 21 lost in the war
Paxton was a small town of 725 people (370 white men, 354 white women, and one freed African-American woman) at the outbreak of the Civil War. Of her men and boys who went off to war, 21 never returned.
One such man was 41 year-old George R. Hubbard who ran a boot-making shop in town. In January 1864, he enlisted as a private with the 57th Massachusetts Infantry, one of the ‘veterans’ regiments’ made of those who had already fought, but whose units had disbanded at the end of their terms of service.
The 57th departed in April of ’64 for the seat of war in northern Virginia, where they joined the Army of the Potomac for the Overland Campaign–the bloodiest running, protracted fight in all the war. The 57th saw action at Spotsylvania, North Anna, and the investment of Petersburg throughout May, June, and July. On the 30th of July, they were one of the first regiments that charged into the infamous Crater and subjected to intense Confederate fire once trapped within. The 57th Massachusetts suffered one of the highest loss rates in the Union army in the whole of the war.
Hubbard never lived to see the disaster at the Crater. On July 24 while serving in the trenches, we was wounded by a ball from a Confederate sharpshooter. He died of his wounds three days later. The Sons of Union Veterans have no registration of his grave site.
Paxton’s monument to the war stands on the corner of Church, Richards, and Pleasant St on a small common. It is flanked on all four sides by cannons sunk into the ground, muzzles down. The placement of these guns in this fashion was a symbol of restored peace, akin to ‘turning swords into plowshares’–something that Hubbard and twenty other Paxton men were unable to do.