When Freemen Shall Stand

Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) was a Maryland lawyer and author who wrote the poem that became famous as the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner“, our national anthem. During the War of 1812, Key was aboard a British ship negotiating the release of American prisoners during the Battle of Baltimore and witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

Oh Say, Can You See?

The sights inspired him to write a poem called “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, which was later put to music and re-titled “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Key and his wife were buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery Frederick, Maryland and this monument was erected in his honor.

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park in Leesburg, Virginia

A small park and cemetery memorializes one of the most lopsided and controversial battles of the American Civil War.

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The Battle of Ball’s Bluff was fought on October 21, 1861 between Union forces commanded by Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone and Col. Edward D. Baker and Confederate forces commanded by Col. Nathan “Shanks” Evans near Leesburg, Virginia during the American Civil War. The battle was a humiliating defeat for Union forces, including the loss of a U.S. Senator, and led Congress to establish the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

After the First Battle of Bull Run ended notions of a quick Union victory, President Abraham Lincoln authorized Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan to form the Army of the Potomac and plan another advance into Virginia. Leesburg, Virginia was a strategic town on the Potomac River, so McClellan ordered Brig. Gen. George A. McCall to investigate Confederate troop movements in the area. McClellan was under the impression that Confederate Col. Nathan “Shanks” Evans had abandoned Leesburg, when in fact his withdrawal was temporary.

On the night of October 20, 1861, Col. Charles Devens of the 15th Massachusetts Infantry sent a patrol across the Potomac River to recon the area. A jittery officer sent word that he had seen a Confederate camp, so Devens sent a raiding party of 300 men across the river the next morning. Though there was no camp, Colonel and U.S. Senator Edward Dickinson Baker, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, ordered more Union troops to reinforce the 15th Massachusetts.

Continue reading “Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park in Leesburg, Virginia”

The Great Despair

This intimidating bronze figure in Green Mount Cemetery, 1501 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland is dedicated to John George Baetjer (1843-1915) and Mary Anna Koppelman Baetjer (1846-1920) and their family. Designed by Hans Schuler, a graduate of the Rinehart School of Sculpture, the seated woman is simply titled “Meditation”. J. George Baetjer, a lifelong Baltimore resident, was a successful dry goods merchant.

The Great Despair

Green-Wood Cemetery in New York City

Green-Wood Cemetery, at 500 25th Street in Brooklyn, New York City, was founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery, providing a garden-like resting place in the heart of the city for over 600,000 former residents. Its Gothic revival gates, designed by Richard M. Upjohn, were designated a New York City Landmark in 1966, and the cemetery itself was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. The Battle of Brooklyn was partially fought on (what became) its 478 acres.

Lady Lola Montez

Eliza Rosanna Gilbert (1921-1861), also known as “Lola Montez”, was an Irish performer who gained worldwide fame as a “Spanish dancer”. She was once mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who made her Countess of Landsfeld, but fled to the United States in 1848 after Ludwig’s abdication. After a scandalous tour in Australia, she returned to the US, where she died of syphilis.

The Goddess Minerva

This bronze statue to the Roman goddess Minerva, designed by Frederick Wellington Ruckstuhl, stands on Battle Hill over the Altar of Liberty, her arm outstretched to salute the distant Statue of Liberty across lower New York Harbor. She was unveiled in 1920 on the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, a key piece of which was fought on that very hill. Charles M. Higgins (1854-1929), an Irish-American ink merchant, erected the statue outside his family’s tomb.

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Tin Winged Angel

Majestic bronze angel memorial to Henry Landon Cabell (1858-1936) and Adah Wymond Cabell (1871-1954) and family in Hollywood Cemetery, 412 S. Cherry Street in Richmond, Virginia. Henry L. Cabell and his business partner Carter Wheelwright Branch founded a brokerage firm called Branch, Cabell and Co. in 1904. He was uncle to fantasy author James Branch Cabell.

Tin Winged Angel

In Death’s Sleep

Monument to Frances M. Pearce (1835-1854) and her infant daughter in Rosehill Cemetery, 5800 N Ravenswood Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Frances, only 18 years old, died in childbirth and her daughter followed a few months later. Her husband, Horatio O. Stone, commissioned this sculpture in their honor, to sleep under a thick layer of glass for all eternity.

Photo by Michael Kleen

For the Fallen Dreams

For the Fallen Dreams
Headstone of Terrence and Catharine McLoughlin, unfortunately fallen into disrepair, in St. Mary’s Cemetery on James Street, south of Clayton, New York in Jefferson County. Clayton is a quaint town along the St. Lawrence River with an antique boat museum and a few shops along the river. If you visit, don’t miss Koffee Kove Restaurant farther up James Street, downtown.