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Introduction
1)
Title
Battle Monument (The)
2)
Town, State
Baltimore, MD
3)
ID #
1910
4)
Compilation Date (Initial)
October 19, 2011
5)
Compilation Date (Latest)
October 19, 2011
6)
Site Worked Last
October 31, 2012
Description
The Battle of Baltimore, Maryland, was a historic moment in the nation’s War of 1812. Just previous to this struggle in Baltimore, the country’s third-largest city, the British had invaded and burned Washington City. This battle memorial commemorates U.S. citizen-soldiers and military officers killed while successfully defending against attacks by British land and sea forces, mid-September, 1814. The British weeks earlier had bested American forces at the Battle of Bladensburg (August 24), also in Maryland, and at Washington City (August 24-25), where they burned the young republic’s still-rising capitol (with its Library of Congress), the White House, and other federal facilities. (The Navy Yard we ourselves destroyed.) Continuing these hostilities, British forces sailed further up Chesapeake Bay (they had blockaded the Bay previously) to attack Baltimore and punish its high seas privateers -- very many, very proud and fierce. The enemy fleet entered the Patapsco River September 11th. The memorial recalls that: on the 12th the British assaulted the city’s defenders at North Point, which was not successful; then, they bombarded Fort McHenry on the 13th and 14th (think “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key, “the bombs bursting in air” -- our national anthem) which attack, as we know, also failed. On the 15th, the news spread -- and the mayor of Baltimore city proclaimed -- that the British fleet, with its beaten soldiers and sailors, had weighed anchor and sailed from the harbor. The War of 1812 began June 18, 1812, with the U.S. declaring war against the British, chiefly over maritime issues of free trade and the impressments of U.S. sailors. The fighting started up along the U.S./Canada border, and it would conclude, formally, about five months after the Battle of Baltimore, February 18, 1815 (Treaty of Ghent, signed December 24, 1814: Battle of New Orleans, fought January 8, 1815).

• The commemorative work is a collaborative effort among its community sponsors and intendeds, the architect J. Maximilian M. Godefroy, sculptor Antonio Capellano and several carvers and stoneworkers. From the perspective of U.S. monument-making, the work appears a significant and enduring achievement, artistically and historically. Some 52 feet high, the monument’s core design elements include a statue of a woman representing Lady Baltimore (or, peace, according to Naylor) standing on a column of Roman fasces, themselves banded, strengthening, and designed also to display the names of the officers, noncommissioned officers and privates who died in the Battle of Baltimore. At the base of the column are two low reliefs with associated inscriptions; the south side tableau pictures the North Point invasion by the British, including the death of its leader, Major General Robert Ross, and the north side presents the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Taken together, statue, column, reliefs and other, especially symbolic, features are set upon a base in the form of an Egyptian tomb – here, a cenotaph. At ground level, an iron fence surrounds the neoclassical monument site. Scharf suggests that the monument acquisition process, starting March 1, 1815, came with two important hurdles – identifying the artist/sculptor and securing marble. According to Craven (pp. 60-61), Godefroy initially asked Giuseppe Valaperta, a notable and recently arrived Italian, to execute the female figure, to which Valaperta initially agreed, but when the marble was not forthcoming, he signed onto another job, under Benjamin Latrobe, in Washington City. (Following the 1814 burning of the federal city by the British, sculptors and carvers were in especially high demand.) Godefroy then asked Antonio Capellano, who according to Mantle Fielding’s was in New York at the time, to carry out the work. Capellano signed on in the autumn of 1816. Scharf’s History of Baltimore notes that after the services of Capellano were arranged, the marble was ordered from Italy: the SIRIS database indicates the stone is a Vermont marble: Craven indicates Godefroy and Valaperta had inspected quite satisfactory marble – as yet uncut, however – in a locale near Baltimore. (All three observations are possibly accurate.) In addition to the female statue, Capellano created the two low-reliefs on the lower end of the shaft and the griffins (in fable, an eagle’s head with wings attached to a lion’s body). Elsewhere, Capellano executed two panels on the front of St. Paul’s (just prior to the Monument work) and then worked on the Capitol in Washington City. Several carvers contributed to this monument: Elias Hore, J.G. Neale and S. Baughman. W. Attley was the memorial’s stone-mason. Principal designer Godefroy, a French émigré who settled in Baltimore in 1805, created the monument’s overall plan and design as well as its extensive narrative. (See Comments and Notes, below, for more on the work’s various symbolic elements.) Generally, the design is not atypical of early 19th century monument-making (see, for example, the Naval Monument Tripoli, USNA, Annapolis, ID# 1729.

• The monument stands at the south end of Monument Plaza (also called Monument Square or Monument Park), where Calvert and Lafayette Streets cross. Historically, this intersection has been a continuous observer of the city’s development. Its first court stood here, and the Declaration of Independence of this nation-to-be was first read from this site to Baltimoreans, July 23, 1776.

• The monument’s lead sponsors were, primarily, the city’s citizens and residents and especially those who had in some way been directly connected to the Battle of Baltimore. On at least two occasions, city government provided limited support-financing for the initiative as well as the public site itself. In the year 1827, the city council adopted the monument as the city’s official symbol. The Battle Monument is designated a Baltimore City Landmark; also, it is listed, as of June 4, 1973, on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP Ref No. 73002181). The Monument was dedicated/unveiled in 1825; a number of writings so assert, and this is the date carried in this database. However, at this point the writer cannot identify a primary source that documents this year, much less the month and day. On the other hand, the writer’s search for primary sources has also been limited. One secondary source gives December, 1825; and another, “late in 1825.” The work was, according to Rusk, “completed in the latter part of 1825.” (p. 10) Interestingly, the centennial plaque on the front of the Monument replicates Scharf, who in his Chronicles, p. 403, writes the following under the year 1822: “The statue was placed on the ‘Battle Monument’ on the 12th of September, according to the plan and ceremonies adopted by the Building Committee.’ Scharf makes this assertion again in his “History,” p. 269, then adds: “The Council, March 5, 1825, made another appropriation of four thousand dollars, and the (monument) committee…reported in December, 1825, that the monument had been completed.”
Content
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1)
Self-sacrifice
2)
War Dead or those Serving and Dying
3)
Not Applicable
4)
Male and Female
5)
Caucasian
6)
War of 1812
Design
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1.)
Man-made
2.)
Inscription/Text Design
Integrated
3)
Historic structure
4)
Stone/rock
5)
Large
8)
Text available, partial
9)
Yes (see below)
9.1)
Image numbering/location
2700-708.1, 2700-708.2, 2700-708.3, 2700-708.4, 2700-708.5, 2700-708.6, 2700-708.7, 2700-708.8, 2700-708.9, 2700-708.10
10)
Design Preservation
11)
Inscript. Separate from M|M
No
12)
Designers
12.1)
Designer 1
Artist/Artistic Group: Godefroy, J. Maximilian
12.2)
Designer 2
Artist/Artistic Group: Capellano, Antonio
13)
Fabricators/Builders
Known
13.1)
Fabricator/Builder 1
W. Attley 
13.2)
Fabricator City
Baltimore 
13.3)
Fabricator State
MD 
13.4)
Fabricator Country
United States 
13.5)
Fabricator/Builder 2
Steve Tatti (SAT, Inc)
Setting
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1)
Architectural space
3)
Appearance/Setting
Completed
3.1)
Appeal of the Item
6 Very Good
3.2)
Setting appears appropriate
5 Good
3.3)
Traffic near for access, distanced for appreciation
4 Satisfactory
3.4)
Visualization and panorama
4 Satisfactory
3.5)
Opportunity to view, to enjoy the item
5 Good
3.6)
Overall Averaged Score
4.8 Good (Given a 1.0 - 7.0 Range)
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4)
March 01, 1815
5)
December 1825
7)
Not Entered
10)
Other Monuments on Site
11)
Satisfactory
12)
Local government
Themes
1)
MonumentsandMemorials.com Themes
No Perceived Theme Match
2)
National Historic Landmark Themes
P & M: 1783-1830
Demography
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1)
File Number
47
2)
Town/City
Baltimore
3)
County
Baltimore
4)
District
Intentionally Blank
5)
State
MD
6)
Zip
21202
7)
Country
United States
8)
Latitude (GPS)
39.2907110000
9)
Longitude (GPS)
-76.6124990000
10)
Intersecting Street 1
Calvert St
11)
Intersecting Street 2
Fayette St
12)
Additional Identifier 1
Battle Monument Square (Plaza/Park)
13)
Additional Identifier 2
15)
Man-made
16)
16.1)
Citizens/residents
16.2)
Government, Local
17)
Washington to Lincoln|1789-1865
18)
Compilation Date (Initial)
October 19, 2011
19)
19.1)
Site Survey
19.2)
Government Materials
19.3)
Website
20)
Compilation Date (Latest)
Not Entered
21)
Compilation Technique (Latest)
22)
Source Originator
monumentsandmemorials.com
Comments and Notes
CONTENT: Race/Ethnicity – Caucasian. Mainly, the statue itself looks Caucasian. At this writing, backgrounds for the combatants killed and honored are not yet known to the author.
DESIGN [1]: Artists (continued) -- The SIRIS database for this work, IAS 75005996, also lists three carvers: Elias Hore, J.G. Neale, S. Baughman.
DESIGN [2]: Sculptor J. Maximilian M. Godefroy -- Born in Paris 1765, and apparently well educated, Godefroy, later, managed to get cross-wise with Napoleon’s secret police. They imprisoned him (1803-1805), then released him but only on the stipulation that he emigrate to the U.S. Godefroy arrived in Baltimore in December, 1805, and for the next 14 years he taught and designed – e.g., St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel (1806), the Battle Monument (1815), the Unitarian Church (1819). And there were others. Scharf (in his Chronicles, p. 387) characterized Godefroy as “a distinguished architect of the day.” In 1808 he married Eliza Crawford Anderson, English-born, a writer and editor. The financial depression of 1819 stranded the architect professionally. So that he could work -- yet with the construction of his Battle Monument still six years from completion – he and his wife removed, first, to England and then to France. (His wife’s 13 year old daughter by a previous marriage died while the three were literally sailing from Baltimore’s harbor.) While his London architectural efforts were later destroyed in the Second World War, a number of his French works still stand. Godefroy died, at age 83, in Montmartre, 1848.
DEDICATION COMMENT: Some believe this Battle Monument work is the first memorial to honor the common soldier (however the term might be defined; but for here, broadly). Its start dates to March 1, 1815; it was dedicated/unveiled in December, 1825. Note, however, that on Bunker Hill, Boston, there is a monument entitled, by this database, Warren and Associates (ID#1875), and this monument honors Major-General Joseph Warren (1741-1775) and 114 other colonists (his “Associates”), killed at the battle of Bunker Hill, Charlestown, Massachusetts, June 17, 1775. This Warren, a Tuscan pillar, was dedicated December 2, 1794, on Bunker Hill. Further, the contractual intent of its sponsors, then, was that when today’s Bunker Hill memorial (here, called Bunker Hill Monument (from Warren & Associates), ID #1871) were to be completed – and it was completed, and dedicated, June 17, 1843 – this original Warren and Associates monument was to become a part of and be placed within the continuing and extending monument works. This did happen; it is, in model form, a part of the Bunker Hill Monument, as one enters the stairs at ground level. The difference between the Baltimore and the Boston works, to this writer, is in the commemorative language of the two memorials. The Warren styles the 114 soldiers as Warren’s “Associates,” while the Battle Monument lists the names of the 39 fallen, privates as well as non-commissioned and officers. If this distinction should make the difference, then the Baltimore claim may prevail relative to the Bunker Hill Monument (from Warren & Associates).
SETTING: Design Development -- The Start of the acquisition is taken to be March 1, 1815, when the city’s Committee on Vigilance and Safety, which coordinated the defense of Baltimore during the British assaults, “determined to lay the cornerstone of a monument to those who had fallen at North Point and at Fort McHenry on the first anniversary of the foe’s repulse.” (Rusk, pp. 10-11) Scharf (in History, p. 267) identifies the subcommittee members who moved the project forward, viz., James A. Buchanan, Samuel Hollingsworth, Richard Frisby, Joseph Jamison, Henry Payson. The subcommittee supervised the preparation and laying of the cornerstone. On 9/12/1815, as planned by the Committee and to a great deal of fanfare, the cornerstone was laid, in a ceremony witnessed by Edward Johnson, mayor, as well as the conflict’s critical military defenders and leaders -- Smith, Stricker and Armistead.
SITE DEVELOPMENT: The monument was rededicated in 2005, according to information on the city’s website. This information is also posted at the monument site. In anticipation of the upcoming bicentennial of the authoring of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and of the War of 1812, the city’s Commission for Historical & Architectural Preservation is having the work restored; Steven Tatti, S.A.T., Inc., conservator and team leader, is performing the work.
SITE MAINTENANCE: Local government – City of Baltimore.
LEAD SPONSOR(S): Local government – Baltimore city council. Indeed, in the year 1827 the city council adopted an image of the monument as the municipality’s official symbol.
SOURCES: Robert L. Alexander, “Godefroy, Maximilian.” American National Biography Online Feb. 2000, retrieved 10/19/2011; Wayne Craven, Sculpture in America, pp. 59-61, 66; Eshelman, Sheads and Hickey, The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake, Chaps 1-3, 5; Historic American Buildings Survey, number HABS MD-185, Battle Monument. Library of Congress; Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers, p. 139; Henry Naylor and Caroline Naylor, Public Monuments & Sculpture of Baltimore: An Introduction to the Collection; Dorothy Mackay Quynn, “Maximilian and Eliza Godefroy,” Maryland Historical Magazine, Vol. 52, No. 1, March, 1957, pp. 1-34; William Sener Rusk, Art in Baltimore, pp. 10-13; John Thomas Scharf, The Chronicles of Baltimore. Baltimore: Turnbull Brothers, 1874. John Thomas Scharf, History of Baltimore City and County, pp. 265-281; Wikipedia, “War of 1812.”
COMMENT: The Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress) notes as part of its 1958 survey and report activities that “the monument, the griffins, and the two sculptured reliefs on the shaft are by Antonio Capellano, and are among the oldest existing monumental sculptures in the nation.” (Source: HABS MD-185)



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