Fred B. Shoken
100 Block, Calvert St., N., Baltimore, Baltimore City
The 52-foot high marble Battle Monument which is located at the southern edge of Monument Square features an Egyptian base surmounted by a shaft with Roman detailing, and is capped by a statue of Victory. The monument stands on a marble platform surrounded by a decorative iron railing. The base is made up of 18 layers of marble designed as an Egyptian tomb with blank openings and winged disc ornamentation. Four griffins are perched over the base. At the bottom of the shaft, which rises from the base, are two bas reliefs of the Battle of North Point and the Bombardment of Fort McHenry. The shaft is sculptured to resemble a fasces, made of vertical rods held together by broad bands at the top and bottom displaying the names of 36 soldiers who died in the defense of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Engraved at the top of the column are the names of the three officers that died in the battle. The statue itself, a "Lady Baltimore" holding a wreath of victory, is flanked by a cannonball and antique rudder on the left, and a bronze laurel wreath and eagle on the right.
Battle Monument is second only to the Washington Monument as the finest early monument in Baltimore and one of the reasons Baltimore was called "the Monumental City." It is significant for its Egyptian Revival architectural design and as a democratic monument displaying all the names of those who died in the Battle of Baltimore, regardless of rank. It was designed by Maximilian Godefroy, an important early architect in Baltimore. The sculptor of the statue was Antonio Capellano, the artist of the bas reliefs of Christ and Moses on St. Paul’s P.E. Church. The monument is rich in symbolism: the 18 layers of marble at the base represent the 18 states in the Union at the time of the battle; the columns is made up of staves or rods, a symbol of unity held together by the bands inscribed with the names of those who fell in the battle; the statue holds a wreath of victory standing next to the eagle, the symbol for the United States; and in her left hand is a rudder, symbolizing stability. Although the surroundings of the Battle Monument have changed a great deal since 1825, it remains an impressive monument and a centerpiece of Monument Square. It is the most important monument in the Financial District and the oldest structure in this part of the downtown area.