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Dedication of the Maryland Monument at Antietam

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May 30,1900

The only monument on the Antietam Battefield dedicated to soldiers from both sides of the Civil War, the Maryland Monument was dedicated on May 30, 1900, by President William McKinley—a veteran of the battle himself.  The state of Maryland had enacted a bill to "form a commission of nine persons, six of whom shall have served in the Union Army, and three of whom shall have served in the Confederate Army, and all of whom shall have participated in the battle of Antietam." Those men were:

  • Benjamin F. Taylor, 2nd Maryland Infanty, Union
  • Joseph M. Sudsburg, 3rd Maryland Inafantry, Union
  • George R. Graham, 5th Maryland Infantry, Union
  • William Gibson, Purnell Legion, Union
  • William H. Parker, Battery A First Maryland Light Artillery, Union
  • Theodore J. Vanneman, Battery B First Maryland Light Artillery, Union
  • Henry Kyd Douglas, Staff Gen. Thomas J. Jackson, Confederate
  • Osmun Latrobe, Staff Gen. James Longstreet, Confederate
  • William F. Dement, First Maryland Battery, Confederate

Some 20,000 people attended the dedication ceremony. With the presidental party at the dedication ceremony were former Confederates James Longstreet, "Fighting Joe" Wheeler, Henry Kyd Douglas.
 

Address of President William McKinley
 

Mr. Chairman and My Fellow Citizens:

I appear only for a moment that I may make acknowledgment of your courteous greeting and express in a single word my sympathy with the patriotic occasion for which we have assembled to-day.

In this presence and on this memorable field I am glad to meet the followers of Lee and Jackson and Longstreet and Johnston with the followers of Grant and McClellan and Sherman and Sheridan, greeting each other, not with arms in their hands or malice in their souls, but with affection and respect for each other in their hearts.

Standing here to-day, one reflection only has crowded my mind— the difference between this scene and that of thirty-eight years ago. Then the men who wore the blue and the men who wore the gray greeted each other with shot and shell, and visited death upon their respective ranks. We meet, after these intervening years, as friends, with a common sentiment,— that of loyalty to the government of the United States, love for our flag and our free institutions, —and determined, men of the North and men of the South, to make any sacrifice for the honor and perpetuity of the American nation.

My countrymen, I am glad, and you are glad also, of that famous meeting between Grant and Lee at Appomattox Court-House. I am glad we were kept together —aren't you? (cries of ''Yes !")— glad that the Union was saved by the honorable terms made between Grant and Lee under the famous apple-tree; and there is one glorious fact that must be gratifying to all of us— American soldiers never surrendered but to Americans!

The past can never be undone. The new day brings its shining sun to light our duty now. I am glad to preside over a nation of nearly eighty million people, more united than they have ever been since the formation of the Federal Union.

I account it a great honor to participate on this occasion with the State of Maryland in its tribute to the valor and heroism and sacrifices of the Confederate and Union armies. The valor of the one or the other, the valor of both, is the common heritage of us all. The achievements of that war, every one of them, are just as much the inheritance of those who failed as those who prevailed; and when we went to war two years ago the men of the South and the men of the North vied with each other in showing their devotion to the United States.

The followers of the Confederate generals with the followers of the Federal generals fought side by side in Cuba, in Porto Rico, and in the Philippines, and together in those far-off islands are standing to-day fighting and dying for the flag they love, the flag that represents more than any other banner in the world the best hopes and aspirations of mankind.