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Baltimore Living

Best Monument

Confederate Women of Maryland Monument

Baltimore’s Civil War history is a tangled affair, what with our famously testy citizenry attacking Northern “aggressors” on Pratt Street as they were en route to Washington, D.C., a week after the war’s opening salvos at Fort Sumter, and our pro-Confederate sympathies prompting the federal government to jail Baltimore’s political leaders and declare martial law. The Pratt Street massacre was huge news at the time, prompting James Ryder Randall—a Marylander living in Louisiana—to write “Maryland, My Maryland,” which, despite its violently anti-Union message, remains the Free State’s official state song. This history, and its legacy, perhaps helps to explain why three out of Baltimore’s four Civil War monuments were erected to honor Confederates. The Confederate Women of Maryland monument rises above the squabbling, though, as it honors noncombatants who helped the wounded and dying. A gift to the city from the state of Maryland, the statue, designed by J. Maxwell Miller and completed in 1917, features two women, one wearing a cape and gazing away, the other kneeling as a fallen soldier leans upon her. It is a fitting reminder of the humanitarian impulses that war’s bloody sacrifices prompt, regardless of its tangled, misguided causes.

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