The new Plaza will be located on the Mall in Downtown Brunswick will honor veterans for their service. Contributed / veteransplaza.info

BRUNSWICK — Peleg Tallman was just 12 years old when he left home to join the Revolutionary War effort. He would serve on five different American privateers, be captured four times by the British and lose an arm before settling in Bath, where he’d go on to become the richest man in Maine. 

Tallman is one of more than 400 veterans who will be honored next week when Brunswick’s Veterans Plaza, a monument organizers say is “long overdue,” is officially unveiled. The group is hosting a dedication ceremony Wednesday, which will be livestreamed for the public to watch from home due to coronavirus. 

The design for the $500,000 monument includes 445 engraved granite “honor blocks” honoring specific veterans with their names, branch and dates of service or conflict fought in, but not their rank. 

The new plaza incorporates the existing downtown monument, which has been turned 180 degrees, as well as a separately funded purple heart monument. Twelve sentinel posts surrounding the plaza will represent the 12 recognized major American conflicts spanning from the Revolution through the Global War on Terror.

Tallman, serving in the country’s first official war, joined the effort around 1776 to serve aboard warships as a powder boy, moving gunpowder from the hold to the guns in battle, according to a veteran profile written by organizers of the veterans plaza project. 

On his fourth ship, the USS Trumbull, he replaced his wounded superior officer in battle and was hit with enemy grapeshot, which shattered his shoulder blade and joint, forcing surgeons to amputate his left arm.

After the war, Tallman served as a shipmaster. In 1790, he married Eleanor Clark and had 10 children. They owned a farm in Woolwich and a three-story house in Bath on the site of what is now Bath’s waterfront park. He worked for years in the shipping business and, though he was not formally educated, was appointed to the Bowdoin College board of overseers in 1802, according to the profile. He also served in the Maine and Massachusetts state houses and in the US Congress, as president of banks in Wiscasset and Bath and owned a great deal of real estate. At his death in 1840 he was said to be the richest man in Maine. 

Nearly 60 years later, Frank C. Talbot, also a Bath man, joined the crew of the battleship USS Maine. In January, just a month after he joined, Talbot wrote to his family to tell them how much enjoyed life as a sailor on the Maine, which was headed for Cuba, then still a colony of Spain and in the middle of a civil war for independence. 

The ship was docked in Havana in February 1898 when it exploded. 

Talbot was among more than 250 sailors and crew members who died in the sinking of the USS Maine, an event that contributed to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War just two months later. 

Tallman and Talbot, though they each served well over 100 years ago, will be honored with other veterans for their service in the new Veterans Plaza, slated to be unveiled on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. 

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