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Plaque honors Civil War camp; Recognition for soldiers.

Byline: Amanda Francoeur

WORCESTER - People running, walking their dogs and enjoying the weather stopped Saturday morning to watch the unveiling of a memorial plaque at the site of the former Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds Civil War Camp, now called Elm Park.

Members of the Civil War Round Table of Central Massachusetts said the camp and the Civil War soldiers who once trained there have not received the recognition they deserve, so the dedication was an attempt to create more awareness.

And it definitely stirred up a lot of attention Saturday. It was hard not to notice soldiers from the 181st Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard holding flags, members of the AA Sherman Sons of Civil War Veterans Fife and Drum playing instruments and the 10th Massachusetts Battery, North-South Skirmish Association firing three shots from their muskets high into the air in a 21-gun salute.

"It's a big event," said Mark W. Savolis, vice president of the round table. "There hasn't been a recognition of the Civil War camp for decades now."

The historical marker that was unveiled was an investment that began five years ago on the Russell Street side of the park, according to Ronald I. Borjeson of the round table's executive board.

"We have unveiled a plaque which is dedicated to the soldiers who served our country during the Civil War, soldiers that came from Worcester and trained here at Camp Lincoln and Camp Wool, which was located here at Elm Park," round table President Garry Hollands said.

From August 1861 into the summer of 1862, in reply to President Abraham Lincoln's call for troops, the 21st, 25th, 34th and 36th Massachusetts regiments - a total of 5,205 soldiers - passed through the camp. First known as Camp Lincoln in honor of the president and of Gov.

Levi Lincoln, it was later named Camp John E. Wool for Gen. J.E. Wool.

"The Worcester regiments were major players in three major battles - Cold Harbor, Fredericksburg and Drury's Bluff - and took heavy hits there, too," round table Member Jack M. Sweeney said. "So the memorial is significant."

As a result of the battles, 1,079 soldiers of the four regiments lost their lives.

According to the round table members, the plaque is one of only three memorials in Worcester in remembrance of residents who were soldiers in the Civil War. The other two are the Soldiers Monument at the Worcester Common and a statue of Gen. Charles Devens at the former Worcester Courthouse.

"This is the third, and we hope to keep it going," Mr. Borjeson said. The next places where he would like to see memorials placed, he said, would be the site of the former Dale General Hospital on Providence Street and the location of three more former army camps on Cambridge Street.

"There will now be one more visible site that will serve as a reminder of what the city and its residents accomplished during those tragic times almost 150 years ago," Mr. Savolis said in his speech.

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: Gary Hollands, left, of Boylston, president of the Civil War Round Table of Central Massachusetts, and Mark W. Savolis, of Thompson, Conn., vice president of the group, talk next to a new Civil War plaque at Elm Park after the unveiling ceremony Saturday morning.

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Apr 28, 2008
Words:555
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