Soldiers’ Memorial Tablet
Location: In Town Hall, 525 Canton Avenue, Milton
Coordinates: 42°15’14.3″N 71°04’46.6″W
Date dedicated: Unknown, possibly May 1879
Carver/Manufacturer: Unknown

According to an early publication by the Milton Historical Society, 287 men from Milton served in the war. The first volunteer was Algernon S. Badger who served with the 6th Massachusetts, a unit well known for taking the first battle casualties of the war during the Baltimore Riot on April 19, 1861.[1]

The memorial tablet was created for Milton’s old Town Hall, built in 1878 and dedicated in 1879. It adorned the exterior vestibule of the imposing brick structure, accessed via a wide brownstone arch. The tablet was blank when the building was dedicated. Apparently the names had been engraved by Memorial Day 1879 though it is unclear if there was any separate dedication observance for the tablet itself. When the present Town Hall was built directly behind the old in 1970, the tablet was transferred to the new lobby before the old building was demolished in 1971. The inscription reads, “The Town of Milton has erected this tablet in memory of her citizen soldiers who died in defence [sic] of the Republic.” It lists 25 men who died in the war.

Lt. Huntington F. Wolcott

Among these is Lt. Huntington F. Wolcott, for whom the local Grand Army of the Republic Post No. 102 was named. As the honor would suggest, Lt. Wolcott was particularly admired among his comrades and deeply mourned among his family, friends and the community at large. He enlisted at age 18 in October 1864 and was assigned to the 2nd Massachusetts Calvary, serving in the Shenandoah Valley. Later he was transferred to the staff of Major General Alfred Gibbs. A lengthy passage of glowing praise for Lt. Wolcott’s service is included in Albert Teele’s The History of Milton, Mass.[2] Wolcott survived severe combat, particularly during the closing phase of the Siege of Petersburg. He survived to participate in the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington weeks after the war’s end. Sadly, when he returned home to Milton, he was laid low with malarial fever contracted while in service and died at home on June 9, 1865.

Civil War Monument
Location: In front of Town Hall, 525 Canton Avenue, Milton
Coordinates: 42°15’12.9″N 71°04’47.1″W
Date dedicated: October 7, 1934
Architect/contractor/sculptor: Thomas F. McGann Company, bronze work

In 1934, town meeting unanimously voted to appoint a committee to arrange for the creation of an exterior Civil War monument. During public committee meetings there was apparently some disagreement over the design concept for the monument. The existing design was approved by a majority vote of the local Art Commission. The boulder was obtained from the Blue Hills Reservation, a gift of the Metropolitan District Commission. The eagle was cast by the T. F. McGann & Co. of Boston. It was dedicated on October 7, 1934. James Byrnes, the town’s last surviving Civil War veteran, attended the ceremonies and conducted the GAR dedication ritual.[3]

Byrnes was 18 years old when he enlisted with the 62nd Massachusetts Infantry in April 1865. The regiment was still training at Readville when the war ended. Although he did not see combat, Private Byrnes signed up as soon as he was legally able, enrolling in time to become a member of the last infantry regiment formed in Massachusetts during the war. He was 87 at the time of the dedication.

The monument’s inscription reads, “In grateful memory of our citizens who served in the Civil War, 1861-1865.”

[1] Milton Historical Society, The Milton catechism; an outline of the history of Milton, Massachusetts (Milton: Milton Historical Society, 1910), 46-47.

[2] Albert Kendall Teele, The History of Milton, Mass, 1640 – 1877 (Boston: Press of Rockwell and Churchill, 1887), 454-455.

[3] “Report of the Civil War Memorial Committee,” Town of Milton 98th Annual Report, 1934 (Melrose: Melrose Free Press, 1935), 117.

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