Dracut

Dracut Civil War and Spanish-American War Memorial, photo courtesy of David Paquin and the Dracut Historical Society

Location: Costello Square, 1 Brown’s Lane, Dracut
Coordinates: 42°40’59.0″N 71°21’15.6″W
Date dedicated: July 4, 1929
Architect/design: Unknown

[Thanks to Suzanne Coburn for bringing this monument to our attention and for supplying historical information]

Dracut dedicated a memorial honoring “the men and women who served in the field and at home” during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War on July 4, 1929. It is located on a small park known as Costello Square bounded by Lakeview Avenue, Mammoth Road and Brown’s Lane. The square is named for James Francis Costello, a Dracut resident who served in the Philippine-American War, the Boxer Rebellion and World War I. He died in France in 1918. On the day of the memorial’s dedication, Perry D. Thompson, former mayor of Lowell, gave the oration. Frank Coburn, son of Frank Coburn Sr., Dracut’s last surviving Civil War veteran, unveiled the monument.[1] It is significant that the memorial also honors the women who “served…at home”. It is the only Massachusetts Civil War monument to explicitly do so.

Edmund Coburn of Dracut, a 21 year old farmer, was one of the first from the town to enlist at the start of the war was among the very first Civil War casualties. He served with the 6th Massachusetts Militia which was attacked by a pro-secessionist mob in Baltimore on their way to Washington on April 19, 1861. The unit is well-known for suffering the first combat casualties of the war. Three men from the 6th Massachusetts were killed and 36 were wounded. Private Edmund Coburn was hit by bricks during the melee and then shot in the hip by someone in the crowd. The bullet passed through his body and dropped into his boot. Coburn tried to limp along with his company but eventually had to take shelter in a store along Pratt Street.[2] He recovered and reenlisted with another regiment.

A total of 196 men from Dracut served in the Civil War.[3] At least 11 died–a definitive figure is not yet in evidence. This figure is derived from Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, which, while helpful, is typically not all-inclusive where casualties are concerned. Of these, two were killed in action or died of wounds (one at the Battle of Bethesda Church and another at the Third Battle of Winchester), one died in Andersonville Prison, and eight others died of disease.

[1] Lowell Sun, July 5, 1929, 12; Boston Herald, February, 15, 1931, 30.
[2] Silas Coburn, History of Dracut Massachusetts, etc., (Lowell: Press of the Courier-Citizen, 1922), 169.
[3] Coburn, pp. 171-174.