A Lion’s Grip

A Lion's Grip
I found this vintage door knocker on a wall on King Street in Alexandria, Virginia.

Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland

Green Mount Cemetery, at 1501 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, was dedicated in 1839 and contains the remains of approximately 65,000 former residents. While not as large as other rural cemeteries, Green Mount’s Gothic Revival structures and funerary art and sculpture are a sight to behold. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Elijah Jefferson Bond (1847-1921)

Elijah Jefferson Bond (1847-1921) was a lawyer and inventor who patented a “spirit board”, or ouija board, in 1890. He served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and was a co-founder of the Kennard Novelty Company, which produced ouija boards for the growing Spiritualist movement. Bond married a Maryland woman named Mary Peters, and the couple had one child. They were buried in an unmarked grave until 2007, when an admirer located it and raised funds for this unique headstone.

Lawrason Riggs (1814-1884)

The bronze figure of a woman wrapped in a thin, flowing gown mourns over the graves of Lawrason Riggs (1814-1884) and Mary Turpin Bright Riggs (1837-1919) and their family. Mary, the daughter of Sen. Jesse D. Bright, was Lawrason’s third wife. Their Art Nouveau-style sculpture, titled “Memory” and installed in 1911, was designed by Hans Schuler, a graduate of the Rinehart School of Sculpture.

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Washington’s Tenement House

This house at 123 S Pitt Street in Alexandria, Virginia was built in 1763 by future President George Washington as a tenement, and was willed to his wife, Martha, upon his death in 1799. In 2017, owner Rick Garcia excavated an old well and cistern he discovered while renovating and found numerous historical artifacts.

Washington's Tenement House

Delicate Touch

This beautiful bronze neoclassical relief of a woman laying flowers in Green Mount Cemetery, 1501 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, is dedicated to lawyer Harry Norman Baetjer (1882-1969) and his wife, Katherine Bailey Bruce Baetjer (1881-1923). The couple had four children, including 2Lt Edwin George Baetjer, II. Edwin was killed in action aboard a B-29 when it crashed in China after a bombing raid over Anshan in what was then the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo.

Katherine Bailey Bruce Baetjer (1881-1923)

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.

John George Baetjer (1843-1915)

The Battle of Trenton, New Jersey

George Washington’s daring raid across the icy Delaware River revived his battered army’s spirits and prevented total disaster for the Patriot cause. Today, the Capitol of New Jersey commemorates Washington’s 1776 victory.

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The Battle of Trenton was fought on December 26, 1776 between American forces commanded by General George Washington, Major Generals Nathanael Greene and John Sullivan, and Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer, and British forces commanded by Col. Johann Rahl in Trenton, New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was an American victory and a much-needed boost to Patriot morale.

After a string of defeats around southeastern New York and Long Island, George Washington’s army withdrew across the Delaware River to lick its wounds. Washington was joined by several other prominent American commanders, who needed a victory to hold together their ragtag band of militia over the winter. The victorious British commander, Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis, spread his army along the east bank of the Delaware to await the spring.

Washington decided to attack an isolated contingent of approximately 1,500 Hessian mercenaries camped at Trenton. A driving snowstorm prevented some of his plan from being implemented, but Washington crossed the icy Delaware under cover of darkness with 2,400 men. The Hessians, thinking victory was at hand, had spent Christmas celebrating and hadn’t provided proper security. As a result, they were caught off guard in the town streets.

After a running battle, Hessian Col. Johann Rahl made several attempts to organize his men and counter attack, but was mortally wounded. The remaining Hessians surrendered. Relatively light American casualties sweetened Washington’s victory. The Patriots lost only four killed and eight wounded to the Hessians’ 40 killed, 66 wounded, and 918 captured.

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Princeton Battlefield State Park

In 1777, a daring maneuver by George Washington surprised and defeated an isolated British force near modern-day Princeton University, reviving American hopes for independence. Today, the battlefield is preserved as a New Jersey state park.

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The Battle of Princeton was fought on January 3, 1777 between American forces commanded by General George Washington, Major Generals Nathanael Greene and John Sullivan, and Brig. Gen. Hugh Mercer, and British forces commanded by Brig. Gen. Alexander Leslie and Col. Charles Mawhood at Princeton, New Jersey during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was an American victory, and although American forces withdrew in the face of British reinforcements, they effectively freed the state from British control.

After his victories in southeastern New York, British Lt. Gen. Charles Cornwallis had strung his army along the Delaware River to await the spring, but a successful surprise attack by George Washington on Trenton on December 26 stirred him to action. Cornwallis steadily maneuvered Washington into a precarious position. Rather than risk defeat in another standup fight with Cornwallis, Washington took 4,600 men on a nighttime march north to attack an isolated garrison at Princeton.

Washington met British Col. Charles Mawhood and 800 of his men 1.5 miles west of Princeton. Mawhood was heading toward Trenton when the opposing forces met. His men fired one volley and charged with bayonets, Maj. Gen. High Mercer was mortally wounded, and the Patriots fell back. General Washington arrived with reinforcements in the nick of time.

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Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park

If patriot-turned-traitor Benedict Arnold’s reputation wasn’t already bad enough, the massacre of American forces at Fort Griswold earned him a particularly reviled place in American historical memory.

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The Battle of Fort Griswold (or Battle of Groton Heights) was fought on September 6, 1781 in Groton, Connecticut, between the American garrison commanded by Lt. Col. William Ledyard and British forces commanded by Patriot-turned-loyalist Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold and Lt. Col. Edmund Eyre during the Revolutionary War. The battle was a British victory; Fort Griswold was seized and New London burned, but the British did not achieve any long term gains. The British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia a month later effectively ended the war in the Continental US.

Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold’s raid on New London, Connecticut was an attempt to divert General George Washington from attacking Lord Cornwallis’s army in Virginia. Arnold, who was from the area, believed Fort Griswold, across the Thames River from New London, was only partially constructed and would not be difficult to seize. By the time he realized his mistake, Lt. Col. Edmund Eyre’s assault force had already engaged the fort and it was too late to recall them.

Eyre attempted to persuade the fort’s 150 defenders to surrender, but they vowed to fight. The first British assault was scattered by artillery. Major William Montgomery then stormed the fort at a sparsely-defended point, but was killed by a freed slave named Jordan Freeman. Montgomery’s men opened the gate from the inside, and the garrison attempted to surrender.

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