Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 05-09-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | MAY 9-15, 2019 SMITHFIELD 3 Typhoid fever, dysentery, and other diseases killed a majority of the 7th Rhode Island Infantry unit while serving in Mississippi during the Civil War, which is where the surviving members decided to lay a memorial for the fallen brethren on Veterans Day in 1908. More than a century later, on April 13, 2019, three tornados hit Vicksburg, Miss., and one made con- tact with the statue, tearing down the bronze depiction of a soldier tossing away his rifle to raise fallen flags, throwing it off its base and onto the ground. The granite base was also damaged. Now, the park is seeking help rais- ing the $20,000 needed to repair the base and reinstall the bronze statue. A donor pledged a dollar-to-dollar match to assist in the renovation. Of the more than 400 memorials in the Vicksburg National Military Park, the Rhode Island monument was the only to fall over in the park, said his- torian Robert Grandchamp. As the only Rhode Island unit to fight in Vicksburg, the 7th fought in the battle of Vicksburg from May to July of 1863, helping in the decisive battle that gave the Union control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy. Many members of the 7th, raised in 1862, called Scituate, Smithfield, Foster and Glocester home, said Grandchamp. Mostly farm boys and mill workers ages 15-30 from the rural parts of Rhode Island, the infantry suffered as much from dis- eases and sickness as from battle, he said. "They returned to Mississippi basi- cally a skeleton of what they were before they went," Grandchamp said. "The flower of Rhode Island was cut off in the prime of its youth," he added. The 7th infantry traveled across the south chasing Confederate guerillas through Kentucky, mov- ing to Virginia for the battle of Fredericksburg in Dec. 1862, and the battle of Jackson on May 14, 1863. After three years fighting the Civil War, the 7th returned home with only a few of the 1,200 men who had left. Originally from Cranston and now living in Vermont, Grandchamp became interested in Rhode Island Civil War history when he traced his genealogy to his great-great-great uncle Alfred Sheldon Knight of Scituate, who died while serving in the 7th Infantry. He said due to the youth of many Civil War soldiers, relatives are often related through brothers and sisters of the deceased. Costing $5,000, the Rhode Island Veterans Association assisted in creating the monument, erected in Vicksburg in April 1908. Grandchamp said members of the 7th felt Vicksburg was the toughest campaign they had fought along the way. "It was absolutely horrendous," he said. "That's where the 7th wanted to put the monuments. They wanted people to know, yes, we were there," Grandchamp said. As a member of the Friends of Vicksburg, Grandchamp said nation- al parks are losing funding, and rely more and more on donations and volunteers. "Speaking as an outsider, the park service cannot do this with govern- ment funds. They need donations to put that back up," he said. To donate, visit www.friendsofvicks- burg.org . Funds being raised to fix tornado-damaged monument with local ties By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer jackie@valleybreeze.com 9 Powder Hill Road (Off Rt. 123) Lincoln, RI 401-728-5903 www.RhodyRug.com Open Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-4 p.m. VISIT OUR FACTORY OUTLET STORE! S STANLEY TREE Since 1986 • Professional High Quality Service At Reasonable Rates • Licensed Arborists • Serving RI & Nearby Mass. • Our Team Of Professionals Is Fully Equipped To Handle Your Job In A Safe Efficient Manner N. Smithfield, Office Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Affordable Solutions for Your Tree Problems Fully Insured Free Estimates 401-765-4677 www.StanleyTree.com Tree Removal Pruning Cabling Brush Mowing Stump Grinding Crane Service Plant Health Care Spraying/Fertilization TREE REMOVAL EXPERTS Affordable Solutions for Your Tree Problems Stump Grinding Plant Health Care Spraying/Fertilization TREE REMOVAL EXPERTS

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