Monday, September 05, 2011

Civil War under my nose: Simsbury, Conn.

The Civil War memorial in Simsbury, Conn., just off Route 10.

Joseph R. Toy is one of 194 names etched
on the Simsbury Civil War memorial. Toy
died of disease in 1862.

Visit almost any small town in Connecticut and you're bound to stumble upon a Civil War memorial. Western Connecticut, in particular, is rich with Civil War history.

In Simsbury, about 15 miles from Hartford, the Civil War memorial is just off Route 10, near the Farmington Trail path and Abigail's restaurant, which dates to 1780 and, of course, is haunted. Runners and cyclists probably seldom venture off the trail for a peek at the gray granite war memorial that was dedicated before a crowd of 2,000 on a rainy Fourth of July in 1895. (1)

Out of a population of about 2,400, 217 men from Simsbury served in the Union army. Thirty-five of them died -- 10 in combat, eight as prisoners of war and 17 of disease -- in places such as Sharpsburg, Md., Andersonville, Ga., Drewry's Bluff, Va., and Kinston, N.C. (2)

Joseph R. Toy, a captain in Co. H of the 12th Connecticut Infantry, is one of those 35 unfortunate Simsbury sons who gave his life to the Union. Toy, whose name is etched on the left side of the memorial, died of disease on June 21, 1862, probably while serving near New Orleans.

(1) Connecticut's Civil War Monuments web site
(2) American Civil War Research Database

A modern plaque, dedicated in 1995, sits at the front of the memorial.

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