Three Newport monuments honor local Civil War veterans

Local women paid for two of the three veterans’ monuments in Newport, a town (3,133 residents in 2020) located at the modern crossroads of central Maine, the “Newport Triangle” where Interstate-95 meets routes 2, 7, 11, and 100. Those two monuments (and later the third) honor Newport’s Civil War veterans, in part or in whole.

In 1931 Woman’s Relief Corps No. 65 funded a three-war monument erected on the Main Street bridge in Newport, Maine. (Brian F. Swartz Photo)

Tired of traveling north to next-door Corinna to participate in GAR meetings, some 20 Newport veterans established the H. G. Libby Post, No. 118, GAR in 1884. The post took its name from Hollis Gardner Libby, a 22-year-old Newport bricklayer who traveled to Bangor (probably via the Maine Central Railroad) to enlist in the 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment.

The illiterate Libby appeared before Justice of the Peace Charles P. Stetson on April 25, 1861, did “solemnly swear, that I will bear true faith and allegiance” to the United States, and drew an X on his enlistment paper. Someone (possibly “Recruiting Officer” Thomas A. Taylor) wrote above and below the X that Libby had made “his mark.”

Tall for the era, he stood 5-10 and had brown eyes, brown hair, and a florid complexion. Private Libby mustered with Co. F, 2nd Maine on May 28, 1861. Surviving First Manassas and the Peninsula Campaign, he was shot and wounded during the late August 1862 battle of Groveton. Libby died in a hospital at Willetts’ Point, New York on September 17. 1862. He was “the first Newport volunteer to lay down his life” in the Civil War, according to local historian Arthur W. Lander.

In 1932 Woman’s Relief Corps No. 65 funded the Civil War monument erected in Riverside Cemetery in Newport. (BFS)

Newport ultimately sent 177 men into the military, “or one of every eight of the population at that time.” Of that number, 148 men enlisted (the draft swept up the rest one way or another), and 62 men “were either killed in action, died in prison or of wounds, or were discharged by disability before the completion of their terms of service,” reported Lander.

Beyond the blood and lives, Newport paid a wartime economic price. Maine law required cities and towns to financially support soldiers’ families when necessary (not all municipalities did so). With the 1863 draft came the Lincoln Administration’s mandate that each city and town (and even unorganized territories) provide a specific number of recruits. Municipalities offered bounties to entice men to sign up; Newport was no exception.

To “contribute money and supplies in aid of its volunteers and their families,” Newport “expended” $27,107.80 “during the four years of the war,” Lander noted. “The bulk of this large sum” was “paid in bounties to those who enlisted.” This sum equals about $993,230 in 2023.

Newport residents also provided Maine soldiers (probably the local boys, mostly) “hospital stories, clothing, etc.” worth around $1,750 (about $64,120 today), Lander reported.

Eighteen Newport women organized the Woman’s Relief Corps, No. 65, GAR on December 31, 1894. Its members started raising funds in 1909 to erect “a suitable monument in honor of the brave sons of Newport who sacrificed their lives in defense of the Union,” Lander noted. Incorporating the effort as the Newport Monument Association in 1912, the members saw the Great War sideline their fund-raising.

In 2010 residents of Newport, Maine dedicated the Newport Honor Roll, which lists the town’s men and women who served in several conflicts, including the Civil War. (BFS)

Another monument came first. Newport’s recent history with sending men to fight in the Spanish-American War, the Philippine insurrection, and the Great War spurred donations for No. 65’s efforts to erect a three-war monument on the Main Street bridge spanning the East Branch of the Sebasticook River. Dedicated in 1931 and inscribed “In Honor Of Those Who Served Their Country On Land And Sea,” this monument honors the local men who fought in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and Philippine insurrection, and the Great War. A bronze symbol and the specific years identify each conflict.

But the No. 65 ladies were not done. They finally raised enough money to erect a granite Civil War monument in the Riverside Cemetery in 1932. Located on the Cemetery Road, Riverside is near the Sebasticook.

The monument’s front is inscribed with GAR symbols and the words “1861-1865 In Memory Of Civil — War Veterans.” An inscription also notes that the “H. G. Libby Woman’s Relief Corps No. 65” erected the monument, which needs a light cleaning today.

In 2010 Newport residents dedicated the Newport Honor Roll, a veterans’ memorial incorporating three large polished black stones set on a light gray granite base. The stones are inscribed with the names of Newport veterans who served in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and from 1976 until today. A white inscribed star identifies each veteran who paid the “supreme sacrifice” while defending the United States.

The Newport Honor Roll stands in Riverwalk Park, just off Main Street and close to the bridge monument.

Sources: Hollis G. Libby Soldier’s File and Hollis G. Libby enlistment paper, Maine State Archives; Mitchell, William H., A Brief History of Newport, Maine, 1814-1914, Arthur W. Lander, Newport, ME, 1914, pp. 45-46


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Brian Swartz can be reached at He enjoys hearing from Civil War buffs interested in Maine’s involvement in the war.

Brian Swartz

About Brian Swartz

Welcome to "Maine at War," the blog about the roles played by Maine and her sons and daughters in the Civil War. I am a Civil War buff and a newspaper editor recently retired from the Bangor Daily News. Maine sent hero upon hero — soldiers, nurses, sailors, chaplains, physicians — south to preserve their country in the 1860s. “Maine at War” introduces these heroes and heroines, who, for the most part, upheld the state's honor during that terrible conflict. We tour the battlefields where they fought, and we learn about the Civil War by focusing on Maine’s involvement with it. Be prepared: As I discover to this very day, the facts taught in American classrooms don’t always jibe with Civil War reality. I can be reached at