CRANBURY — From the first call for volunteers in 1861 through the end of the Civil War, Cranbury and its adjoining rural communities contributed hundreds of volunteers to over a dozen New Jersey volunteer regiments. These men fought in most of the famous battles of the war, including the Peninsula Campaign, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Monocacy, Winchester and Cedar Creek.
In the immediate aftermath of the war, local pastor and abolitionist Reverend Joseph Gaston Symmes, who encouraged and supported local volunteers and their families throughout the conflict, was responsible for the construction of a monument to Cranbury’s Civil War dead. That memorial is now located in Brainerd Cemetery behind the First Presbyterian Church on South Main Street.
On June 11, the town of Cranbury will dedicate a new monument to those long ago soldiers who went forth from New Jersey to preserve the Union. Made possible by the support of numerous individuals and organizations who donated time, money and talent to the effort, it will be unveiled in Cranbury’s Memorial Park.
Ceremonies will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a concert by Beck’s Brass Band of Philadelphia, an organization that performs Civil War era music with original 19th century instruments. The subsequent dedication program at 11 a.m. will include descendents of Civil War soldiers, local historians and political figures and will conclude with a formal blessing of the monument by Father David Moreno, in his living history persona as a Union army chaplain.
Following the dedication, there will be another band concert. A Civil War exhibit at the Cranbury Historical Society and a living history encampment will be open for public visitation and lunch and refreshments will be available at the Cranbury fire house. A walking tour of old Cranbury will also be offered to visitors. For further details, see: http://on.fb.me/NJCWMonument
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