Civil War Monument
On July 3, 1868, the men of Granby went to the Green to help erect the new Soldiers’ Monument. The Green at that time was a rather barren area. It had been a swampy frog pond until local farmers drained and filled the land in preparation for the monument.
The statue represents a soldier standing at ease. Both hands rest lightly upon his musket, his head is slightly inclined forward, and his countenance wears a thoughtful expression as if remembering his comrades “who succumbed in the fiery ordeal through which he has passed.” Later statues in the state stood straighter, were more heroic, and were not as sorrowful as ours.
A Bit More:
Today we call it the Civil War Monument, but the Granby citizens of 1868 called it the Soldiers’ Monument. The war, so recently fought, was not called the Civil War at that time. It was called the War of the Great Rebellion.
The dedication the next day on July 4, was a somber affair. The war had ended only three years earlier. Sorrows were still too fresh and losses were still too painful for this to be a joyous celebration.
The dedication included speeches and was followed by a collation (or dinner), which was served after the speeches and consisted of a clam bake, strawberries and ice cream, lemonade and candies.
The Civil War brought sorrow to many Granby homes. The town was small, only 1720 people. Enlistment records show 153 recruits, exactly half of the men between the ages of 18 and 45 living in Granby at that time. The casualty rate was horrendous - 48 Granby soldiers died in the war, and many more died soon after the war, from injuries or disease.
The inscription on the monument still tells the story.
THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED BY
IN COMMEMORATION OF THE BRAVE MEN
FROM THE TOWN OF GRANBY
WHO LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES FOR THE UNION
IN THE WAR OF THE GREAT REBELLION
Erected July 4, 1868
The soldiers who died were not just numbers; they were friends and family of almost everyone in town.
It is Leland Barlow who died in Andersonville Prison, but lives on in his letters and diaries. It is young Roswell Allen, who enlisted at 17, filled with patriotic fervor. He died six months later from an enemy worse than the rebel soldiers - disease and inadequate care.
It is Roswell’s brother Elbert Allen who contracted tuberculosis in the war. He had been studying medicine at Yale until illness forced him to return home in July 1868. He married his betrothed, Emory Barlow, in late August, and two days later, the bride became a widow.
It is Lewis Holcomb, a poet quoting romantic, who returned from Andersonville “almost a skeleton.” “We nursed him back to life,” said a boyhood friend, Frederick Williams, “only to return to the army, unfit.” The war was over, he had survived Andersonville only to die one month before his regiment was mustered out.
It is Richard Henry Lee, who died of tuberculosis at 35, leaving a wife and two young daughters. Andersonville continued to kill prisoners even though they were free.
And it is George Elkey, an African-American who lived at 24 Notch Road and worked for Riley and Maria Spring Dibble. He married Susan Freeman in 1863 and they had a little girl named Georgia Anna. He was made a Corporal in the 11th US Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment. George and his cousin Henry Elkey both died in the war.