Saturday, September 12, 2015

Civil War Remembrances in Winsted, CT

It's been a busy few days for us attending the Civil War commemoration ceremonies. It was actually a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Winsted Soldiers' Monument. 

My husband, George, is a Civil War buff. I am okay tagging along, some things are interesting to me and some are not. It always seems that there are a couple of little things that jump out at me and then my mind wanders wanting to know more about those things and I tell myself I will research more when I have a chance.

Over the last few days we have attended a cemetery walk where we were told about the local men who signed up for the Civil War from Winsted, at another venue we heard Lincoln speak, attended a book talk at Whiting Mills (our first time there), were entertained with music from the Civil War at the library and attended the ending ceremony at the monument.

The highlight of these days for me, was seeing Howard Wright as Abraham Lincoln once again. It made us feel as if we were in the presence of Lincoln and enlightened us to his humor and his intelligence and made us long for such a great president again. I hope to write another post about Lincoln later as it brought up many good points relevant to today.

It was interesting hearing a local author, John Banks, from Avon, CT speak about his very specific book, "Connecticut Yankees at Antietam". My husband is most fascinated by Antietam, so this is up his alley. Mr. Banks has a second book on Connecticut and the Civil War coming out soon.

We almost didn't go to the "Greatest Hits of the Civil War' held at the Beardsley & Memorial Library but we made it and it was quite entertaining. Rick Spencer has a soothing voice and played banjo and guitar. He told the history of the songs singing ones representing both sides of the war. He does other historic period songs and we would go see him again.

There was a good turnout for all these events, but it all paled in comparison to realize that almost 20,000 people were at the dedication of the Soldiers' Monument in 1890. They came from all over the state via special trains. 

A couple of things we noted, Winsted is one of three towns in Connecticut that have three civil war monuments. Also the Soldier's Monument is the 2nd highest in the state, beat out by the Arch in Hartford. I can remember my high school days at Gilbert on the third floor being able to see the statue off in the distance. My husband thinks it probably can no longer be seen from there. I will have to find out. It lent itself to daydreaming in English class. 

If I were a Civil War buff, I could say so much more, but I can only mention a couple of items that made me ponder. I believe it was William F. Cogswell that our cemetery guide told us was actually from Barkhamsted and that he was a black man but was enlisted in a white regiment. I find it curious that there was a black family in Barkhamsted back then and wonder how they came to live here. 

Another thing that was mentioned in passing but took up residence in my mind was that there were orphanages that were opened because of the Civil War. I am curious how many orphans the war produced but have not yet found any numbers on line but there were several orphanages. Sadly, some children had not lost both parents, but in some cases, the mother may not have been able to bring them up without a husband and gave them up to the orphanages. I will have to read more on this, but from what I have read, these were not like the ones negatively portrayed in movies. 

Now, I have your mind wandering like mine did. I will leave you now with more pictures of the festivities.

The Gilbert School Band marching up the steps to the monument.

Civil War Reenactors entering

Happy Birthday, Soldiers' Monument!

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