Thursday, May 04, 2017

Antietam Then & Now: 15th Massachusetts monument

                                           HOVER ON IMAGE TO SEE "NOW" PHOTO.
        THEN: Unknown photographer,  Sept. 17, 1900 | NOW: John Banks, April 29, 2017.

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On  Sept. 17, 1900,  a 12-foot-high granite monument honoring the 15th Massachusetts was dedicated on the ground where the regiment had spilled so much blood 38 years earlier.  The same time the Massachusetts boys had initially been engaged in the West Woods at Antietam -- 10 a.m. -- was chosen for the ceremony, a grand event attended by scores of veterans as well as their families. On the reverse of the monument, the names of 15th Massachusetts soldiers and Andrew's Sharpshooters who were killed or mortally wounded at Antietam are inscribed on a bronze plaque:

Private Justus Wellington, a 24-year-old shoemaker who had survived the Battle of Ball's Bluff almost a year earlier by swimming across the Potomac ... Private Zadoc Batterson, a married machinist with  two young children ... Private George Adams, who was shot in the arm and breast and died Oct. 7 in Frederick, Md. ... Private Orlando Bachelder, whose father never got over the 18-year-old soldier's death. ... Sergeant Jonathan Stow, who lost a leg and died 14 days after the battle. ... Captain John Saunders, whose field glass and revolver he carried at Antietam have been taken back to the battlefield by a Civil War collector.

117 soldiers in all.

General John Kimball, who commanded the regiment as a colonel at Antietam, delivered an oration that late-summer day.

"We are gathered on this great battlefield of the Civil War to dedicate this monument," the 72-year-old veteran said, "the voluntary and generous gift, I am proud to say, of the few surviving members of the 15th regiment infantry, Massachusetts volunteers, to the memory of our loved comrades who gave up their lives, and whose great heroic spirits went up to God from this field through the fire and smoke of battle."

Today, the "Wounded Lion" monument, tucked on a hill above busy Maryland Rt. 65, is rarely visited. That's a shame -- it's easily the best on the battlefield.

Soldiers killed or mortally wounded are listed on a bronze plaque on the back of the monument.

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-- Boston Herald, Sept. 19, 1900.


  1. Is there an online listing of these 117 soldiers??

    1. Yes: