FITZWILLIAM IN THE CIVIL WAR
SOLDIERS MONUMENT

The 1860s saw a nation torn asunder and even small towns like Fitzwilliam could not avoid the dark shadow of the Civil War. When President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers in May 1861, 18 Fitzwilliam men immediately enlisted for a three month tour of duty. These men served as the first wave; during the four years that comprised the Civil War, 161 men dedicated themselves to the Union's efforts. Serving anywhere from nine months to four years, these men fought in 11 New Hampshire regiments and even in regiments from other states. Unfortunately, no war is without casualties. Thirty-six men died while enlisted and many of the wounded died shortly after returning home.

Fitzwilliam's residents believed strongly in the Union and did all they could to help in the war effort. The Ladies' Association collected clothing, food, medicine and other comforts for the soldiers. These donations came from individuals who were already struggling with the effects of the war economy. With the men away at war, many farms were unable to produce their regular yields and inflation became a major concern. Prices in New Hampshire rose to $.35 per pound for sugar, $.50 per pound for butter, and $1.50 per gallon for kerosene, a household necessity. Taxes rose as well, and the town decided to give financial help to the families of servicemen. By the end of the war, the town had spent $27,547, a considerable expense for those days.

The Soldiers' Monument on the village common (see above), dedicated July 4, 1871, honors the memory of Fitzwilliam residents who served in the Civil War.

Source: The Story of Fitzwilliam by Richard G. West. 1976. 68 pages
Published by the Fitzwilliam Committee of the American Revolution Bicentennial
Available in the Fizwilliam Town Library
Copyright © 2001, Frank Bequaert; 1976 Richard West

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