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Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

A Tribute to Our Unsung Heroes

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In 1986, William Donald Schaefer had a small plaque placed at the west end of War Memorial Plaza. The monument honors the members of the Baltimore community who have “unselfishly given their time, labor and talents to help improve the quality of life in our community without ever seeking reward or recognition.”

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June 10th, 2009 at 7:19 am

Grove of Remembrance in Druid Hill Park

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Location: Beechwood Drive near the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Planted in 1919, The Grove of Remembrance (or Memorial Grove Oaks) honors those who fought in World War I. Two markers stand at the entrance of the thicket, one showing dedication information and the other displaying a map of the woodland area. One tree was planted for every state, the city of Baltimore and Woodrow Wilson. As the years went by more trees were planted marking each subsequent American War. It is said to be the oldest living memorial in the United States.

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June 9th, 2009 at 9:26 am

5th Regiment Servicemen Memorial

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Location: 219 West 29th Division Street

Outside of Maryland’s 5th Regiment Armory, within the property’s fence line, is a servicemen memorial. The monument is just off Howard Street and Bolton Street in Baltimore. On the armory building itself is Hans Schuler’s To the Glory of Maryland. Across the street is Congressional Medal of Honor Park containing the Hamman-Costin Monument.

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June 7th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

WWII Servicemen Memorial in Medfield

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This WWII Servicemen Memorial stands near Weldon Circle in the Medfield Community of Baltimore. The inscription on the back reads: “freedom of worship and speech, freedom from fear and want,” while the front states: “to the men and women of this community who served during the second world war, that freedom and justice might prevail.”

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June 6th, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Military Courage Statue in Mount Vernon

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Cathedral Street & W Mount Vernon Place (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 50.82″ N 76° 37′ 1.01″ W

History

A replica of Paul Dubois’ Military Courage statue stands at the west end of Mount Vernon Place, facing Cathedral Street. A gift of William Walters, the famous Baltimore art collector, the cast was installed at the historic park in 1885. Strongly influenced by the Italian Renaissance, Dubois modeled Military Courage after Michaelangelo’s statue at the tomb of Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence. Three other statues were sculpted along with Courage, entitled Faith, Meditation and Charity, the set serving as pillars for the tomb of General Jucault de Lamoricière in Nantes Cathedral, France.

Notes

Looking south from the statue you’ll find the Garrett House, the former residence of Robert Garrett II, once a prominent President of the B & O Railroad. The forty room mansion spans multiple row-houses and is the work of acclaimed architect Stanford White. Contracted by Garrett and his wife, in 1884, to remodel and combine the homes the couple had recently purchased, White spent the next nine years creating the lavish residence. Since 1961, the Engineer’s Society of Baltimore has owned and maintained the property.

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June 2nd, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Wells & McComas Monument in Old Town

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E Monument Street & N Aisquith Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 52.66″ N 76° 36′ 6.84″ W

History

Daniel Wells and Henry McComas were apprentice saddle makers in Charm City during the War of 1812. By 1814, the teenagers were part of Captain Edward Aisquith’s Militia Rifle Company, preparing for an eventual English attack. After successfully sacking Washington DC, including the White House, The British decided to swing by Baltimore in hopes of eliminating the pirates and privateers stationed in the notorious port. General Robert Ross was in command of the invading land troops that approached the town’s western boundaries in September of 1814. Ross had a military background spanning 30 years and had served in the Napoleonic Wars.

As the Aisquith Company positioned itself on the North Point Peninsula, an area fortified a year earlier in fear of an impending British invasion, General Ross, noticing the American positions, found refuge on the local farm of Robert Gorsuch. Here he had breakfast cooked for him while waiting for the rest of his army to arrive. Brigadier General John Stricker, in charge of the 3,000 plus soldiers advancing the British land assault, ordered a group of 230 men with one cannon to flush General Ross out of the Gorsuch farm. Wells and McComas were a part of this small brigade, their defining moment arriving swiftly.

Riding on a white horse (or a black horse, depending on the source), General Ross was shot in the battle, mortally wounded by the American Militia. Daniel Wells and Henry G. McComas have been given equal credit for the historical deed, each sacrificing their life in the progress. Another American soldier was shot at the scene, 24 year-old Aquila Randall, credited with being the first United States fatality of the Battle of North Point, was found near the bodies Wells and McComas, all three had fired their weapons.

Noted local poet and Baltimore historian Christopher T. George has shed light on the possibility a sniper, and not Wells and McComas, killed General Ross at the Battle of North Point. As a reference George cites a passage in the book The British Invasion of Maryland, 1812-1815 by William Matthew Marine. The volume contains a conversation between an American, Henry Wilson, and an English gentleman claiming to have been General Ross’s aide de campe at the Battle of North Point. The British soldier reports that Ross’s mortal wound was “caused by a musket ball and a buck-shot”, his testimony running counter to the notion the wound was caused by musket ball only. The Independent Blues militia of the 5th Regiment used this modified method, loading ‘buck and ball‘, for their weapons. George also wrote that: “the unit’s commander, Capt. Aaron R. Levering [of Independent Blues], is alleged to have seen an officer ride up at the head of the enemy line. He is deported to have ordered his men, ‘Take good aim, there’s an officer.’ The militiamen saw the British officer fall from his horse and from the description of his uniform it was thought that it was Ross.”

Notes

In 1854, a committee gathered with the notion of erecting a monument to Wells and McComas. On September 10, 1858, after securing and investing the funds for the project, the bodies of the teen militiamen were exhumed and placed in the Maryland Institute. Thousands of people visited the coffins during the three days leading up to September 12th, the anniversary of the Battle of North Point, when the official cornerstone for the memorial was laid. On that day, the bodies of Wells and McComas were paraded to Ashland Square, the site of interment, and placed below the obelisk’s foundation in ceremonial fashion. The 21-foot monument was finally completed in 1873 and is made of Baltimore County marble. The Obelisk portion, resting on a two-step granite pedestal is comprised of two large pieces of marble, weighing 14 and 8 tons respectively.

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June 1st, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Baltimore’s War Memorial Building

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N Gay Street & E Fayette Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 26.85″ N 76° 36′ 31.96″ W

History

Construction on the War Memorial Building at 101 North Gay Street began in 1921, and was completed four years later. The massive monument to Maryland’s soldiers that died in World War I is the work of Laurence Hall Fowler, a local architect who’s design won a competition held by officials for the commission. Directly across from Baltimore’s City Hall, the lot was chosen as part of the 1910 Olmstead plan to focus the city’s more important buildings into a civic plaza.

Flanking the Neoclassical edifice are two aquatic war horse sculptures created by by Edmond R. Amateis that are said to depict “the might of America crossing the sea to come to the aid of the Allies.” Made of Indiana limestone, the horses, when viewed up-close, display fossils of marine organisms. Along the sides and back of the building are German cannon confiscated during WWI. In 1977, the memorial was rededicated to honor the state’s lost from both World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Notes

Inside the building is an impressive banquet hall occupying the top floor. With high ceilings and room for hundreds of people, the vast open space is used for various events. Usually occupied by veteran’s groups and city or state politicians (the memorial is owned jointly between Baltimore and Maryland), the location has recently been used for fashion shows and movie sets. A large mural depicting the “sacrifice to patriotism,” painted by Charm City artist R. McGill Mackall, covers the back wall. Throughout the auditorium are the names of the 1752 Maryland fatalities of WWI.

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May 30th, 2009 at 9:54 am

John Eager Howard Monument in Mount Vernon

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Madison Street & Washington Place / N Charles Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 54.32″ N 76° 36′ 56.75″ W

History

Dedicated on January 16, 1904, this lively equestrian statue of Maryland’s own John Eager Howard was executed by artist Emmanuel Fremiet. It was a gift of the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City and stands on land once part of Howard’s estate. Fremiet, a renowned animal sculptor of the time, is also well known for his equestrian statue of Joan of Arc in the Place des Pyramides of Paris. Howard served under George Washington as a Colonel in the Continental Army, hence his placement just north of Washington’s spire in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood.

Howard distinguished himself militarily at the Battle of Cowpens, where he lead a bayonet charge that turned the tide of battle. That act of valor is commemorated at another monument to Eager nearby on Centre Street. Howard County, Maryland, is named after him, as are Howard & Eager Streets in Baltimore City. Howard sat as a member of the Continental Congress in 1788, served as governor of Maryland for three consecutive one-year terms, was state senator, United States congressman and United States senator and lost the vice-presidential election in 1816. He is buried in Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery.

Notes

On the back of the monument is a replica of the medal granted Howard by Congress for valor at the Battle of Cowpens, along with a panel showing a Continental officer riding down a British soldier.

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May 29th, 2009 at 9:59 am

George Washington Statue in Druid Hill Park

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Hanlon Drive & Mansion House Drive (Street View)

GPS: 39° 19′ 3.00″ N 76° 38′ 33.60″ W

History

This statue was constructed in 1857 in Rome by the American artist Edward Sheffield Bartholomew at the behest of Noah Walker, a Baltimore businessman. Walker had the statue installed in a niche within the facade of his West Baltimore Street clothing business, at what came to be known as the Washington Building. The statue was originally installed on the second floor and was lit at night by a circle of gaslights. An 1871 sketch of its original appearance can be found here. When Walker died the statue was donated by his family to the city and was moved to Druid Hill Park. Initially the statue was placed on a small pedestal that has since been upgraded. Enoch Pratt, the philanthropist after whom Baltimore’s library system is named, donated the structure in which it now rests. The monument is next to the old Promenade entrance.

Notes

Bartholomew’s Washington statue is one of many monuments dedicated to America’s first president. Aside from the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon, there is also a Washington Bicentennial marker near the Basilica. And compatriots of Washington’s like Lafayette and Pulaski are also memorialized in Baltimore City.

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May 28th, 2009 at 10:06 am

John Eager Howard Bayonet Monument

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W Centre Street & N Howard Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 47.46″ N 76° 37′ 13.49″ W

History

Just west of the Centre Street light rail stop on Howard Street, which was named after him, this 1985 monument is by artist David Gerlach and is one of two monuments to the Revolutionary War hero and statesman John Eager Howard. The other more classical equestrian monument to Howard lies at the north end of the park above the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon. Howard became recognized for his gallantry at the Battle of Cowpens on January 17, 1781 with a bayonet charge which helped secure the American victory. The sculpture was installed as part of the Market Center Redevelopment.

Notes

The park this memorial sits in was once part of Howard’s expansive 260-acre Baltimore estate, which he split up and gifted to various civic causes, religious groups, Lexington Market and even the land for the Mount Vernon Washington Monument. The monument consists of three stylized figures, two of whom are pointing rifles which once had bayonets affixed to them. The figure of Howard points off to the distance, as if ordering the men to charge. At one time his pointing hand held something, presumably a sword or pistol by the way the hand is sculpted. In addition to the missing elements, the figures are also scrawled with graffiti. Howard is buried in Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery, which is not far away.

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May 28th, 2009 at 10:01 am