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Students rededicate Civil War Monument at BUHS

By HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN / Reformer Staff

Posted: 09/22/2011 03:00:00 AM EDT

Members of the American Legion Post 5 Color Guard unveil the Civil War Monument with the help of students during the rededication ceremony. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer)

Thursday September 22, 2011

BRATTLEBORO -- On Sept. 21, 1861, a group of Brattleboro's children gathered on what is now the Brattleboro Union High school property.

They were sworn in as members of the 4th Vermont Regiment and soon left to fight in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, some of the town's children met again, on the same patch of land, to honor the men and women from the area who served in the Civil War, and to rededicate a granite monument which was unveiled on the same grounds 105 years ago, on Sept. 21, 1906.

A George Houghton image from A Very Fine Appear­ance by Donald Wickman. Sitting: Sergeant Nelson H. Cole, Larkin Mead, Corporal Frank G. Paddleford, Sergeant Henry H. Prouty, Private Charles J. Stockwell. Standing: Private John P. Ripley, Private Albert D. Kendall. All from Brattleboro, Gaines House. (Courtesy of The Vermont Historical Society)

"Today we honor the legacy of this land, the old camping ground, and the military hospital," BUHS Assistant Principal Chris Day said during Wednesday's ceremony. "This land, presently populated with thousands of people engaged in the promise of public education, was once a hospital and military camp where thousands of people engaged in efforts to defend our Union of States. This site was then, and continues today, as hallowed ground."

Hundreds of high school students, area veterans and residents attended the ceremony, which closely followed the ceremony that was held at the same site, 105 years ago, to dedicate the granite monument that still stands in front of the high school.

At the ceremony Wednesday, Day explained that the BUHS property was the site of a military camp, and then a hospital.

Vermont's 4th Regiment, along with nine other regiments, mustered at the Brattleboro camp before heading south.

Day said it is estimated that 40 percent of the 35,000 Vermont soldiers who fought in the Civil War trained in Brattleboro before leaving.

Later, a U.S. military hospital was built on the land between what is now the Town Garage and the BUHS tennis courts, and more than 4,500 soldiers received care there during the war.

"Let us honor those who have come before," Day said. "Let us revere this land where many have sacrificed blood and treasure."

The Defenders of the Union monument was created by sculptor Allen George Newman out of granite quarried in Dummerston.

At the 1906 ceremony U.S. Congressman Kittredge Haskins, who was born in Dover, gave a speech and BUHS student Brian McCarthy read a part of it Wednesday.

"One hundred years, yea many hundred years will pass away and other assemblages may gather here," McCarthy said, reading from the historic speech. "That assemblage standing where we stand today, may commune with us, though long since passed away, through this patient sentinel, and be made to feel the thrill and catch the heart beat of all those present on this occasion."

The event Wednesday was held with all of the traditions of a military ceremony.

Taps were sounded, there was flag ceremony and the American Legion Band played The National Anthem.

After the ceremony, Brattleboro Area Middle School history teacher Joe Rivers, who helped organize the ceremony, said it was important to introduce the BUHS and BAMS students to the military traditions.

"We wanted to honor the memory of what had come before," Rivers said after the ceremony ended. "We want people to realize that this is still pertinent today. Equal rights for all is something the country is still pursuing today."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.

A George Houghton image from A Very Fine Appear­ance by Donald Wickman. Sitting: Sergeant Nelson H. Cole, Larkin Mead, Corporal Frank G. Paddleford, Sergeant Henry H. Prouty, Private Charles J. Stockwell. Standing: Private John P. Ripley, Private Albert D. Kendall. All from Brattleboro, Gaines House. (Courtesy of The Vermont Historical Society)

 

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