When Civil War Gen. William Tucumseh Sherman marched South in 1864, announcing, “I intend to make Georgia howl,” he had Gen. Grenville Dodge helping to put the squeeze on the Peach State.
A graduate of Norwich University, Dodge went all the way to Atlanta before he was sidelined after getting shot in the head. An engineer who pioneered in the field of military intelligence, he was later made commander of the Department of Missouri and after the war worked closely on construction of the transcontinental railroad.
At one point, while being chased through the Black Hills by an Indian war party, he found a key route. Dodge was one of those who left his mark in taming the wild West. In fact, the famous cow town Dodge City, Kansas, was named after nearby Fort Dodge, which was named after him. He was later a congressman from Iowa.
And why should you care? Because Dodge is about to leave his mark in downtown Peabody.
And it’s about time — after all, Dodge got his start here in what was then known as South Danvers. The site of his former residence will be part of a guided, hourlong tour of downtown Peabody’s past led by local historian Bill Power on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 3 p.m. The high point will be the dedication of a plaque marking the general’s home.
The tour is free to anyone who wants to go. It’s sponsored jointly by the Peabody Downtown Association, the Peabody Historical Commission and the Peabody Institute Library. Power, who has worked for both the commission and the Historical Society, will take anyone interested from City Hall to the Peabody Institute Library, discussing along the way 10 historic sites like the Dodge home and the Civil War monument in Peabody Square.
That’s not much ground, but Arthur Gordon of the Downtown Association points out that there is such an abundance of history in Peabody that you can’t cover it all in one sweep.