Ludlow Soldiers’ Monument

Location: In front of First Church, 859 Center Street, Ludlow
Coordinates: 42°11’30.8″N 72°27’34.7″W
Date dedicated: August 15, 1867
Architect/sculptor/manufacturer: W. H. Flynt Granite Company of Monson, manufacturer
Number of names: 16 men who died in the war

[Addendum 5/15/2021: We were saddened to learn that the Ludlow Soldier’s Monument was struck by a car on May 13, 2021 and toppled. Ludlow Veterans Services is already spearheading an effort to return the monument to its original condition.]

Ludlow was the second town in Hampden County (after Brimfield) to erect a Civil War monument.[1] It is among the oldest in the Commonwealth, although there were more than a dozen towns that erected monuments in 1866 and 1867, so it stands in good company. The dedication proceedings were remarkably quiet and devout as compared to the countless other such events across the Commonwealth. There was no procession, no military formation, no drums, no flags.[1] Instead the people gathered in their church to reverently consecrate their dead, according to the Springfield Republican. It rained heavily that day, and this might have something to do with the staid nature of the proceedings (although numerous processions in other town took place in pouring rain). This notwithstanding, it does seem the Ludlow ceremony was unique. It is unclear what might account for this difference in custom. Perhaps, it being only two years after the war, the conventions and expectations for such ceremonies were still unclear. In years to come they would become more grand and remarkably standardized.

The monument itself is equally lacking in embellishments, entirely consistent with the earlier obelisk memorials of that time. It is made of granite from Monson, constructed by the W. H. Flynt Granite Company. It records the names of the 16 men from Ludlow who died in the war. A total of 100 from Ludlow enlisted.

The first man from Ludlow to sign the enlistment rolls, according to the Springfield Republican was Caleb Crowninshield, a 33 year-old laborer who became a private in the 27th Massachusetts Infantry. His name is inscribed on the monument. After serving two years, he was discharged, returned home, but soon reenlisted. During the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia, he was taken prisoner and sent to Andersonville Prison in Georgia. He died of disease there on September 15, 1864.[2]

Click to enlarge images:

[1] “Soldier’s Monument at Ludlow,” Springfield Republican, Aug 17, 1867, 4.
[2] Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Civil War

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