BRATTLEBORO — An event is taking place on Juneteenth to correct a long-standing Civil War monument on The Common. A new plaque will be placed beside the existing monument to honor soldiers unrecognized originally due to racial and class issues of the time.
The dedication ceremony will be held on the Brattleboro Common at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 19, known as Juneteenth, the annual recognition of the day when the news of the Union victory and enforcement of Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas.
The project is the culmination of over two years of work in the community spearheaded by years of research by Brattleboro Area Middle School students under the direction of teacher Joe Rivers with the cooperation and support of the Brattleboro Historical Society.
The students have been working with the Historical Society to review the Revised Roster, local Civil War era newspapers and the website vermontcivilwar.org to establish an accurate count of soldiers and sailors who served Brattleboro during the Civil War. The research discovered that eight of the soldiers who signed on as substitutes died during the war or as a result of sustaining medical conditions during the war.
Peter Elwell, former town manager, said, “The plaque is corrective because it provides recognition for soldiers who were excluded from the original monument, soldiers of color and substitute soldiers who served in place of wealthier residents who were allowed to pay money in order to avoid military service. The plaque is interpretative because it provides history and context to help people understand how the original omissions happened and how the corrections came to be.”
Several speakers will address the importance of the new monument: Peter Elwell, Priya Kitzmiller, Avery Bennett, Anabelle Thies, Joe Rivers, Curtiss Reed, Jr., Ian Goodnow and Mel Motel.