Mendon Soldiers’ Monument, Worcester County. See gallery below for additional images.

Location: Hastings and Maple Streets, Mendon
Coordinates: 42°06’17.5″N 71°33’22.3″W
Date dedicated: October 22, 1891
Architect/design: Boston Stone Company of Worcester

Mendon’s Civil War monument was donated to the town by Austin Wood. He and two others were appointed to a town committee to oversee the construction of the monument to be built, according to town records, “in memory of the soldiers belonging to this town who have died in the service of our country in the war for suppressing the Slave-Holders Rebellion.” It records the names of 19 men who died in the war. Overall, 156 from Mendon served in the Civil War.[1]

The dedication exercises took place on October 22, 1891 with a large procession, the presentation of the monument, and a dinner following. The orator of the day was Rev. Carlton A. Staples of Lexington who gave his remarks at the dinner.[2]

Mendon men served in many regiments but two of the largest groups served with the 25th Massachusetts (17 men) and the 51st Massachusetts (23 men). The 25th Massachusetts formed in September 1861 and served for three years in North Carolina and Virginia. The 51st Massachusetts formed in September 1862 and served for nine months in North Carolina.

Among the war dead was Corporal Benjamin H. Smith, a 45 year old bootmaker who served with the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Drury’s Bluff on May 16, 1864 and brought to Andersonville Prison. He died there on March 1, 1865. According to a local historian, he gave his journal to a friend, asking that it be given to a Massachusetts soldier and who might bring it to his wife. Allegedly, the journal found its way into the hands of Private William D. Cole, a member of Smith’s company and his neighbor back in Mendon. After his exchange and safe return home, Private Cole gave the journal to Smith’s wife. This was apparently the first news she had received of her husband’s fate since his capture the previous year.[3]

[1] G. B. Williams, “Mendon,” in History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Duan Hamilton Hurd, ed., (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1889 ), 381.

[2] Boston Journal, October 23, 1891, 5.

[3] “From Dr. Metcalfe’s Annals of Mendon,”

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