Sturbridge Soldiers’ Monument (Worcester County). See below for additional images.

Location: In front of Library, 306 Main Street, Sturbridge
Coordinates: 42°06’29.4″N 72°04’49.1″W
Date dedicated: May 30, 1872 (built 1871)
Architect/designer/manufacturer: Unknown

The soldiers’ monument in Sturbridge was essentially complete in November 1871, according to newspaper reports, though not dedicated until the following year.[1] Scheduling such events on the Memorial Day following completion was common, resulting in a delayed dedication. Details regarding the creation or dedication of the monument are scarce.

A portion of the dedication oration given by Captain David Wight, a leading citizen of the town, survives. Not surprisingly, he waxed poetic about the “sacred purpose” and “eternal nature” of the monument, but took an abrupt turn to a more embittered tone in describing what the monument stood for. “May it stand there a perpetual memento,” he said, “to the memory of these young men and proclaim by its presence this inalterable sentiment to the town: Eternal Hatred to Treason.”[2] It was not uncommon for dedication speakers during the five or so years following the war, when emotions still ran high, to be blunt in laying blame and calling out treason.

Twenty-seven names of those who died are recorded on the monument. Men from Sturbridge served in many different Massachusetts regiments. The two largest groups were 16 men who served with the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry and 31 men who served with the 51st Massachusetts Infantry.[3] The men who belonged to the 22nd Massachusetts (which was mostly a Boston regiment) were recruited by Sgt. David Walker of Southbridge who recruited a significant number of Worcester County men for Company K of the 22nd Massachusetts.[4] The 22nd Massachusetts was a three-year unit that saw heavy combat with the Army of the Potomac. Five out of the 16 Sturbridge members were killed in action or died of wounds. The 51st Massachusetts was a nine-months Worcester County unit that served in relatively minor expeditions in North Carolina and Maryland. All 31 of the Sturbridge enlistees survived the war.

The monument was rededicated in 2002.

Memorial Tablets
Location: In Town Hall, 308 Main Street, Sturbridge
Coordinates: 42°06’30.9″N 72°04’50.8″W
Date dedicated: 1888
Architect/designer/manufacturer: Unknown

In 1888, the town installed four marble tablets in town hall, each bearing the inscription “Defenders of the Union from Sturbridge, 1861 – 1865” and listing all those who served. Later, two more tablets were added for those who served in World War I. These tablets are today in the second floor meeting room in the town hall building.

[1] Springfield Republican, November 6, 1871, 8; “Sturbridge,” Springfield Republican, June 4, 1872, 2; National Aegis, June 8, 1872, 3.

[2] “Soldiers Monument, Sturbridge,” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System,

[3] Levi Chase, “Sturbridge,” in History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Duan Hamilton Hurd, ed., (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1889 ), 115.

[4] John Lord Parker, Henry Wilson’s Regiment: History of the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry (Boston: Rand Avery Company, 1887), 588.

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