Orange Soldiers’ Monument (Franklin County). See gallery below for additional photos.

Location: Central Cemetery, 85 Grove Street, Orange
Coordinates: 42°35’38.1″N 72°18’23.8″W
Date dedicated: July 4, 1871
Architect/design: Possibly Hallowell Granite Company

Construction on the Orange Soldiers’ Monument began in 1870 (thus the date on the facade), however it was not completed and dedicated until 1871. It is made from granite from Hallowell, Maine. Evidence indicating the manufacturer is presently lacking, however, it was likely made by the Hallowell Granite Company. The primary inscription reads, “Orange remembers her soldiers.”

The dedication ceremonies took place on the Fourth of July 1871.[1] William S. B. Hopkins of Greenfield gave the oration. A well respected lawyer, he had been Lt. Col. of the 31st Massachusetts Infantry and served during the Siege of Port Hudson and the Red River Campaign in Louisiana. His speech focused on Plato’s doctrine that a government reflected the character of its citizens. He praised the North’s tradition of popular education which he claimed made for more enlightened citizen soldiers who, as opposed to soldiers of Europe, willingly went back to their pre-war pursuits rather than form a permanent military class. It was a common theme at such dedications. It sounds somewhat trite from our modern perspective, however there was real and widespread fear that an unprecedented army of a million soldiers might choose not to disband and become a threat to democracy. Of course, in reality, the soldiers couldn’t have been more eager to go home.

The dinner which followed in Chase’s Grove was described by the Springfield Republican as “an old-fashioned celebration…a genuine one of the real old sort, with none of the features omitted or overdone.” One wonders what made for a banquet “of the real old sort” in 1871.

The monument records the names of 134 who served. Of these, 38 died in service. The name Woodward stands out among the list. Four Woodward brothers went to war. Two of them did not survive—Warner (who died of wounds received in the Battle of Poplar Springs Church in 1864) and Hiram (who died of disease at Cairo, Illinois).

[1] Springfield Republican, July 4, 1871, 5.

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