Millbury

Millbury Civil War Monument (Worcester County). See gallery below for more images.

Location: In front of municipal offices, 127 Elm Street, Millbury
Coordinates: 42°11’23.0″N 71°45’47.8″W
Date dedicated: May 30, 1880
Sculptor/manufacturer: John Evans, Boston
Number of names: 29 men who died in the war

The Millbury plaques are a noteworthy example of the successful salvaging and reinstallation of a Civil War memorial. They were originally installed the old Millbury Town Hall, a handsome, gothic Victorian building, completed in 1880. It stood not far from this spot, on the corner of Elm and South Main Streets. Soon after the completion of the building, the eight memorial tablets of white marble were installed in the main vestibule. This work was finished on May 28, 1880 just in time for Memorial Day observances. They were manufactured by the carving company of John Evans of Boston–one of the premier stone and wood carvers at that time. His ornate carving work can be seen in many buildings including Trinity Church in Boston, Harvard’s Austin Hall, several major libraries and many private mansions across the country.

Millbury Old Town Hall

The two largest tablets were placed on either side of the main entrance. The inscriptions read, “​1861 to 1865. To perpetuate the memory of the men of Millbury who gave their lives to maintain the great principles of popular government and constitutional liberty, these tablets are erected by their fellow townsmen and surviving comrades. The Union preserved by such sacrifice and cemented by such blood is the noblest and most enduring monument to its defenders.”

In 1971, fire destroyed the building. Fortunately, the tablets were salvageable, although damaged. They were preserved by the Millbury Historical Society and mounted in a new brick outdoor entablature and rededicated on November 10, 2002.

In all, 346 men from Millbury served during the war. Of these, 29 did not survive and their names are inscribed on the four memorial tablets. Millbury men served in many regiments but the two largest groups consisted of 43 men who served in the 15th Massachusetts Infantry and 33 who served in the 25th Massachusetts. Both of these were Worcester County regiments. The 15th Massachusetts was part of the Army of the Potomac and saw action in some of the largest battles of the war.[2]

[1] Worcester Daily Spy, May 29, 1880.
[2] Centennial History of the Town of Millbury, Massachusetts, (Millbury: Town of Millbury, 1915), 164-174.

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