Shrewsbury

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Shrewsbury Soldiers’ Monument (Worcester County). See gallery below for more images.

ShrewsburyLocation: Town Common, 5 Church Road, Shrewsbury
Coordinates: 42°17’48.5″N 71°42’50.3″W
Date dedicated: constructed 1869 (dedication date unknown)
Architect/contractor/sculptor: Tateum & Horgan
Number of names: 29 who died in the war

Details on Shrewsbury’s Civil War monument have been difficult to uncover. The dedication date is not evident in newspapers of the period nor in other records. An article in the November 4, 1869 issue of the Massachusetts Spy informs us that the location of the monument has been selected, the base has been installed, and the construction of the obelisk was expected imminently. However, accounts of the Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day) exercises the following spring (when one might expect a dedication) do not mention a monument. It may be that there was no dedication ceremony–although that would be highly unusual for a Massachusetts monument.

The monument was designed and constructed by Tateum & Horgan Marble Works of Westborough (later Worcester). They constructed an identical obelisk in Westborough the same year. The company was established by Thomas Edward Tateum (1831-1887), born in Maine and a resident of Westborough by the time of the Civil War. These appear to be the only two soldiers’ monuments built by the company. The primary inscription on the Shrewsbury monument reads, “In Honor of Our Soldiers – They Fell in the War of 1861-65 – We Cherish their Memory.”

The first group of men from Shrewsbury to enlist were 12 members of the Westborough Rifle Company, a local unit which formed in April 1861, just after the firing on Fort Sumter. This unit was mustered into federal service on July 16 as Company K of the 13th Massachusetts Infantry. About 100 men from Shrewsbury served overall. The fate of these 12 gives an indication of the intensity of the combat record of the 13th Massachusetts which was part of the Army of the Potomac. Only one of the 12 escaped the war unscathed–and most likely because he became a regimental musician. As for the others, nearly all suffered combat injuries or were killed in action: one wounded at Second Bull Run, two wounded at Antietam, one killed at Antietam, two wounded at Gettysburg, two died of wounds after Gettysburg, two taken prisoner at Gettysburg (one of whom died as a prisoner), and one discharged due to disability. Overall, the casualty rate for this cohort is extraordinary.[1]

The Shrewsbury monument was restored and rededicated on October 26, 2019. Reenactors representing the 13th Massachusetts participated in the ceremonies.

Click to enlarge images:

[1] Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines of the Civil War, vol. 2, 125-130.

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