|from “A History of Massachusetts In The Civil War,” Vol. II, by William Schouler, Late Adjutant-General of the Commonwealth. Pages 630-631, Boston: E. P. Dutton & Co. Publishers, 185 Washington Street. 1871.)|
1861. The news of the attack upon the Massachusetts Sixth Regiment in Baltimore, April 19, 1861, was received in Grafton on the morning of the 20th, and caused great excitement. The selectmen called an informal meeting at the town hall in the afternoon. Messengers were sent to different parts of the town to notify the inhabitants. At four o’clock P. M. the large hall was filled with citizens. Benjamin Smith, a soldier of the Revolution, ninety-eight years old, was present and took a seat on the platform. Several patriotic speeches were made, and resolutions adopted for the immediate formation of a military company; and selectmen were requested “to call a legal town meeting at the earliest possible day,” to provide means for equipping and drilling the company.
A warrant for a meeting on the 29th was issued the same evening. A very full meeting was held on the 29th, at which it was voted to appropriate four thousand dollars as a fund for organizing the company; each member was to receive one dollar a day while engaged in drilling, and when called into active service each was to receive from the town the same monthly pay as he received from the government.* A company was immediately formed, which afterwards became Company G, of the fifteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, for three years service. A committee of thirteen was chosen from different sections of the town to whom, in connection with the selectmen, was given the management of war matters, which continued during the years of the rebellion.
* It having been ascertained that the monthly pay could not be legally assessed, it was not paid after the men had mustered in. The vote, however, shows the liberal and patriotic spirit of the people.