Westfield

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Westfield Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Hampden County)

Location: Park Square, 1 Elm Street, Westfield
Coordinates: 42°07’12.3″N 72°44’57.9″W
Date dedicated: May 31, 1871
Architect/contractor/sculptor: Melzar Hunt Mosman, statue; Ames Foundry, casting
Number of names: 66 men who died in the war

The primary inscription reads, “Wesfield Honors the Memory of Her Sons Who Have Fallen in Defense of Liberty, Union and Independence, 1861-1865.” The statue was produced by Melzar Hunt Mosman (1843-1926) and cast at the Ames Foundry in Chicopee, a large company which made a shift after the war from producing cannons to producing monuments. Mosman had served in North Carolina and Mississippi and nearly died of fever during the Siege of Vicksburg. He is responsible for the statues adorning the Civil War monuments in Hyde Park, Northampton and Saugus (among other places) as well as numerous Spanish-American War monuments.

Kilpatrick, Hugh
Maj. Gen. Hugh Kilpatrick

Major General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, a former calvalry commander and a fiery personality known for rash decisions on the battlefield (which at times produced victories and at others resulted in tragedies) gave the oration of the day. How this major figure, a controversial yet still popular general, came to Westfield is unclear as he had no particular Massachusetts ties. He attracted a colossal crowd. His speech mainly targeted former Confederate President Jefferson Davis who had recently garnered praise for a stirring address made in Augusta, Georgia. Davis, Kilpatrick asserted, ought to have already “passed from the gallows” to which the crowd cheered. He went on:

“I am willing, for one, to forget the past when the rebels cease to remind me of it, and not before. Comrades, the time may come when an ungrateful public may forget all those bloody years of war, when the traitor will be applauded and his crimes forgotten…when no distinction will be made between the traitor and the patriot…when towering monuments rear aloft from the Capitol Square erected by Southern pride to honor the memory of her false-hearted sons…this may come with time, but by the eternal God, not if we can prevent it!”[1]

Tremendous applause followed. Though a Cincinnati paper described Kilpatrick’s address as “on the rampage,” one has only to read some of the more reconciliationist orations in Massachusetts of the 1890s and beyond to see that much of what Kilpatrick predicted indeed came to pass.[2]

 

[1] “Westfield Soldiers Monument. the Dedicatory Address by General Kilpatrick,” Boston Daily Advertiser, Jun 01, 1871, 1.
[2] “Dedication of a Soldiers’ Monument, Kilpatrick On the Rampage,” Cincinnati Daily Enquirer, Jun 01, 1871