In the Merrimack Valley: Civil War Soldier Sumner Needham Remembered

Sumner Needham grave in the Bellevue Cemetery Lawrence, Massachusetts

In rememberance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Eagle Tribune is running a nine-part series exploring the important Merrimack Valley connections to the war and honoring the local soldiers who served. Today’s entry remembers Sumner Needham who along with Luther Ladd and Addison Whitney of Lowell and Charles Taylor – members of the Massachusetts Sixth Infantry – vicitms in the Baltimore Riot of April 19, 1861 – were the first to die in the Civil War.

Writer Alexandra Pecci notes in her article:

Needham was 33 years old. And although he died 150 years ago, the Lawrence Civil War Memorial Guard works to preserve his memory, as well as the memory of all the Lawrence troops who served. The group marches in the annual Baltimore parade remembering the riots, organizes a Civil War Weekend encampment every September on Lawrence Common, participates in re-enactments, and does volunteer maintenance work for the city’s cemeteries.

They also organize tours of Bellevue Cemetery, where visitors can see where Needham was buried.

A large granite monument erected by the city stands next to Needham’s grave. It calls him a “Loyal North,” saying that he “fell victim to the passions of a Secessionist Mob, during the passage of the Regiment through the streets of Baltimore marching in Defense of the Nation’s Capitol.”

Read the full article here at

2 Responses to In the Merrimack Valley: Civil War Soldier Sumner Needham Remembered

  1. EileenL says:

    Sadly the monument was restored a few years back and then vandals stole the cannon on top. Needham left a wife and a young son who I think was born after his death.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Henry Needham did leave a son- Sumner Henry Needham Jr.
    Hannah, his wife remained unmarried until her death.
    She was the City’s most beloved war widow.