Hello all! Some much needed rain arrived last night, and an unseasonable cold and dampness continues to dominate Memorial Day weekend. The back of my truck looks like a swimming pool with all the rain that has fallen!
As we look forward to celebrating Memorial Day with nearly all of the Covid restrictions lifted, and we gather for those cookouts and gatherings we have been missing, let’s pause to remember our fallen veteran’s and family members who are missing from our families this year. Memorial Day, which began in the years following the Civil War as a day of remembrance for those who died in the Civil War, took on more prominence as towns began to erect monuments and have parades of former Civil War soldiers and sailors in the decades following the war. That tradition now honors all of those who went off to serve our country and did not return. While we celebrate with festivities, let’s pause also to remember those who gave their all, and take a moment to thank those who served and are still with us.
One of the more poignant items in our collection is a sword that once belonged to Lieutenant Albert Tilden of North Easton. Lt. Tilden, a member of the Easton militia company, enlisted as a corporal on April 22, 1861, in Company B, 4th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers (M.V.). He was discharged, and re-enlisted on September 25th with Company C, 26th Regiment, M.V. as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on July 22, 1862. The 26th Regiment saw service in the Shenandoah Campaign and fought at the battles at Winchester and Cedar Creek. It was at the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia that he was wounded on October 19, 1864. Shot through the lungs, Tilden lay on the battlefield until fighting ceased. He had been nearly stripped of everything. Tilden was taken to a field hospital, but died two days later, October 21st. His body was sent home, and he was buried in Stoughton, Massachusetts alongside his brother George Tilden, who was killed at Port Hudson, Louisiana, July 30, 1863.
Somehow, his sword survived, and remained with his family in Easton. The sword itself was made by the Roby Company of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. The blade is decorated with the Union Shield, drums and flags, vines, an eagle, and other symbols. The hilt is engraved with his name and regiment. Did Tilden carry this during the war? Is it a ceremonial sword made to commemorate his promotion to 1st Lieutenant? Perhaps one of our Civil War experts can shed some light on this. At one time the sword was owned by the family of Dr. Frank Tilden, who had a caretaker in his old age. The caretaker's son, Tommy Hegg, was given the sword as a child following the passing of Dr. Tilden, and later made sure it was returned to Easton. We are honored to have this remembrance of one of our Civil War soldiers in our possession. Thanks to Arielle Nathanson who took the attached photos.
With sincere thanks to all of our veterans, and with a deep gratitude for those who gave all,
Anne Wooster Drury