Monday, November 14, 2011

Antietam visit: 'Old Simon' at National Cemetery

The Civil War memorial at Antietam National Cemetery, one of my favorite spots at the battlefield.
On a crisp fall day in October, I took this picture of the beautiful 44-foot Civil War monument at Antietam National Cemetery in Sharpsburg, Md. The monument was designed by a Hartford man, James Batterson, and formally dedicated on Sept. 17, 1880. The 21-foot soldier on the memorial was nicknamed "Old Simon" by local residents. His journey to Sharpsburg from the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 was delayed a few months when he fell into the Potomac River.

The remains of 4,776 Union soldiers -- about 1,800 whose names are unknown -- are buried at the cemetery, one of my favorite places at Antietam. Perhaps Justus Collins Wellington, whose body was not returned to his hometown in West Brookfield, Mass, is buried here under a gravestone marked "Unknown." A private in Company F of the 15th Massachusetts, Wellington was killed in the fight in the West Woods.

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