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A monument next to the Fort Griswold battlefield  honors Groton’s Civil War veterans.

The Gray Soldiers’ Monument was a posthumous gift by Robert A. Gray, a Groton native and Civil War veteran who received a Medal of Honor for courage during fighting at Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia.

The monument, which features an infantryman standing atop a granite base, bears a dedication on its front (south) face reading,  “Erected by Robert A. Gray and dedicated to the memory of his brave comrades who offered their lives for their country in the war of 1861-1865.”

The south face also bears the Connecticut and United States shields near its base, and also honors the battle of Fredericksburg, Va. The east face honors the battle of Port Hudson, La. Gettysburg is listed on the north face, and Drewry’s Bluff is honored on the west face.

The monument was dedicated July 4, 1916, thanks to a posthumous donation. Robert A. Gray, a Groton stonecutter, had served with the 21st Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry. Gray was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing an injured officer during fighting at Drewry’s Bluff.

The Soldiers’ Monument, near the corner of Park Avenue and Smith Street, stands almost in the shadow of the Groton Battle Monument and museum in Fort Griswold State Park.

The monument was supplied by the Smith Granite Works in nearby Westerly, R.I., and may have been among the last Civil War monuments purchased from the firm.

Gray’s unit is honored with a monument in downtown New London’s Williams Memorial Park.


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