Winchendon

IMG_0600 (2)
Winchendon Soldiers’ Monument (Worcester County). Also see photo gallery below.

WinchendonLocation: Monument Park, 51 Murdock Avenue, Winchendon
Coordinates: 42°41’06.8″N 72°03’07.0″W
Date dedicated: October 16, 1889
Architect/sculptor/manufacturer: E. L. Smith & Co. of Barre, VT, construction; Melzar Hunt Mosman, Chicopee Bronze Works, statue casting; based on a statue carved by Martin Milmore
Number of names: 56 men who died in the war

The Winchendon monument makes for an impressive sight–and its grand scale is somewhat surprising given the relatively small size of the town (particularly in the 19th century). The Gilman C. Parker Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic began fundraising for the monument several years before the project was realized. After the post raised $1,200, the town stepped in and appropriated the necessary amount to reach the cost of $5,000.[1] The contract for the design and construction of the monument was awarded to E. L. Smith & Co. of Barre, VT. The stonework is made from Barre, VT granite. The names of four battles are carved into the shaft–Gettysburg, Chantilly, Antietam and Wilderness–battles during which Winchendon lost numerous sons.

IMG_0607 (2)Chicopee Bronze Works, owned and managed by Melzar Hunt Mosman, produced the statue. The sculpting work has also been attributed to Mosman, however he was the caster, not the sculptor. The statue is a very slightly modified version of the Woburn soldier sculpted by Martin Milmore, one of Boston’s finest sculptors and the New England pioneer of the “standing soldier” monument form. The Winchendon statue is nearly identical excepting a different head and facial features. Altering the face of a sculpture for the sake of uniqueness was a relatively common practice (for example, also seen in Easton and Sharon). Mosman also cast the Woburn soldier (back when he ran the Ames Foundry).[2] He may have held the rights to the statue after Milmore sculpted it or perhaps after Milmore’s death in 1883, six years before the Winchendon statue was produced. It is a fine statue and an excellent example of Milmore’s work.

Nine men from Winchedon who volunteered shortly after the war began formed the first group from that town to be mustered into service. They served with the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry through the some of the most harrowing campaigns of the war. Of these nine, one was killed in action (Corp. Frederick Maynard), two were discharged due to wounds, three were discharged for unspecified reasons (likely illness), and four returned home at close of the war.[3] Winchendon men served in many other units–the largest group of them consisting of 26 men who enlisted with the 15th Massachusetts Infantry.

Parker, Theodore K.
Capt. Thomas K. Parker

Among the first group who became part of the 2nd Massachusetts was one of the town’s most singular war heroes, Capt. Thomas K. Parker. A nineteen year-old machinist when the war began, Parker was mustered in as first sergeant of his company. He was taken prisoner near Winchester, Virginia on May 24 or 25, 1862 and later paroled. He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant in October 1862 and 1st lieutenant in March 1863. He was wounded during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. He became Captain of Company G of the 2nd Massachusetts on May 24, 1864 and was mustered out in July 1865. Twenty-three years later, he served as Chief Marshall of the procession during the monument dedication ceremonies.[4]

Click to enlarge images:

[1] The Boston Globe, August 5, 1888
[2] “Report of the Committee on the Soldiers Monument,” Town of Woburn Annual Report, (Woburn: Middlesex County Journal Press, 1870), 99.
[3] Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines during the Civil War,, vol. 1.
[4] Boston Globe, October 17, 1889, 2.

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