Norwich’s Civil War Regiment Honored with Plaque at Three Rivers
On Friday, October 13, officers of Sedgwick Camp No. 4, the Sons of Veterans of the Civil War, gathered at Three Rivers to dedicate a plaque honoring the 18th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. The plaque was discovered in a vault in Norwich City Hall and returned to the group. “As far as we can tell,” says City Historian Dale Plummer, “the plaque was intended for the former New London County Fairgrounds, but the 1938 Hurricane and development of the site for housing prevented its placement.”
Matthew Reardon, commander of the Officers of Sedgwick Camp No. 4, the Sons of Veterans of the Civil War, and director of the New England Civil War Museum, noted that the “home regiment” was made up of men from New London, Windham, and Tolland Counties, with officers and many of the enlisted men drawn from Norwich and its immediate vicinity. Mustered into service in August of 1862, the 18th Connecticut served primarily in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Before it was mustered out in June of 1865, it participated in the Battles of Winchester, New Market, and Piedmont, as well as 19 other engagements.
The ceremony began outside Three Rivers with an invocation by Rev. George Blair of the United Congregational Church and included a presentation of the United States and Connecticut Colors by the Norwich Police Color Guard and a Roll Call of the Battle Dead read by John P. Sullivan, a member of Sedgwick Camp No. 4. After the Roll Call, descendants of the regiment, including Alan Crane and Sullivan, spoke of their ancestors’ time in the regiment as well as their lives after the war. This was followed by remarks from Norwich Mayor Deberey Hinchey and Dean of Administrative Services Steve Goetchius of Three Rivers.
The group then proceeded inside to the plaque, which is mounted on the wall across from room C113. There Plummer explained the significance and sacrifice of the 18th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, saying: “We are gathered here to dedicate a plaque honoring the 18th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, local men who gathered near here prior to entering the Civil War, America’s deadliest conflict. The Civil War and its aftermath reshaped American life profoundly. It redefined who Americans were, and their civil rights.” His full remarks can be read here.
Reardon unveiled the plaque, and afterwards, it was dedicated by Dianne Daniels, President of the Norwich Branch of the NAACP. The ceremony concluded with a benediction from Father Robert Washabaugh of St. Mary’s R. C. Church.