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Civil War's Hardest Battle Soon to be Commemorated

Washington Monument. Battle from Ohio perspective. Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


First Monument to Washington

The first monument to George Washington was erected and completed atop historic South mountain within 24 hours by the Odd Fellows and citizens of Boonsboro, Md., at a fourth of July celebration in 1827. Originally 20 feet high and constructed of dry stone, without mortar. The above photo was taken by Recker, the first photographer of Hagerstown, Md., in 1882, after the monument had been reconstructed, 35 feet high, with a canopy. In 1936 it was made a permanent edifice by the CCC and the state of Maryland, and floodlighting makes it visible for many miles west on U. S. 40.

Civil War's Hardest Battle Soon to Be Commemorated

The bloodiest single day's battle ever fought on the American continent, (the result of a scrap of paper, wrapped around three cigars, and tied with a piece of string), which gave President Abraham Lincoln the courage to issue the Emancipation proclamation, and decided the fate of a nation, will be restaged on its seventy-fifth anniversary by the National Antietam commemoration near Hagerstown September 17.

The paper, found lying in the dust by the roadside at Frederick, Md., where General George B McClellan, commander of the Federal army of the Potomac had just encamped September 13, 1862, was "Order No. 191" by General Robert E. Lee, dividing his army of Northern Virginia into four divisions, separated by mountains and streams.

Brings Battle
The finding by McClellan of the "Lost Order" brought on the Battle of Antietam ... bloodiest single day's struggle ever to take place on the continent of the Americas. With this information the history of a nation was changed at the high-tide of the Confederacy, for had Lee gained a decisive win, Antietam, within three days he would have been in Washington to dictate terms of peace, placing the Confederate states of America among the independent nations of the world.

Here the 11th Ohio regiment was immortalized in the siege and capture of Burnside Bridge, and its commander, Lieut. Col. Augustus H. Coleman made the supreme sacrifice, with the valiant aid of Lieut. Col. Clark's 36th Ohio. Here it was that Col. Sawyer's 8th Ohio, supported by Major James Conly's 23d Ohio, forded Antietam creek waist deep, took the crest of the hill at the point of the bayonet—with the 8th losing 162 of the brave 341 from the Buckeye state.

Background Laid
Such is the background for the 75th anniversary and reenactment of the Battle of Antietam, by 5,000 troops from three states on the original site at Sharpsburg, near Hagerstown, September 17, with preparations going forward for at least a quarter million people as visitors.

Antietam occupies a unique place in the nation's history in that neither side could claim victory—that Maryland was the only state that had troops on both sides. Two young soldiers, each of whom were to become President of the United States, distinguished themselves in the battle. These two were natives of Ohio ... Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley.

The "Bloody Lane" or middle phase of the battle, was a victory by Federal enfilade that met such stubborn Confederate resistance that nearly 5,000 were killed in less than 30 minutes. Here, the re-enactment of the Antietam battle brings together in reunion the ever thinning ranks of the blue and the gray for the last time.

President Roosevelt is expected to view the scene. With a two week's celebration Washington county, Maryland, first to be named after George Washington, will depict in 32 episodes of mammoth pageantry its 200 years, with the 175th anniversary of Hagerstown; the 150th anniversary of James Rumsey's steamboat—recognized as the first by Washington. The exposition, similar to but larger than "The Wings of a Century" at the Chicago World's Fair and the "Parade of the Years" at Cleveland, will be called On Wings of Time, running from September 4 to 17.


Dayton Ohio Herald

Dayton Daily News

Used with permission of the Dayton Daily News

The photographer of the Washington Monument was E. M. Recher, not Recker as listed here. He had a "Skylight Gallery" in Hagerstown as early as 1860.


Collection Location:
Western Maryland Room, Washington County Free Library.

Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862: Centennial celebrations, etc

Washington County (Md.), 1937.

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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