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1815–1825, Maximilian Godefroy. Monument Sq, N. Calvert St., between E. Fayette and E. Lexington sts.
  • (Photograph by Lisa P. Davidson)
  • (Photograph by Lisa P. Davidson)
  • (Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie)

Designed to commemorate the thirty-nine Baltimoreans who died during the War of 1812 British attack on Baltimore on September 12–14, 1814, this is the earliest significant war memorial in the nation. It was constructed concurrent with the Washington Monument, inducing President John Quincy Adams to proclaim Baltimore the Monumental City. The success of the monument’s design, combining neoclassical with Egyptian motifs, is demonstrated by its use as the city’s official emblem. As a French immigrant Godefroy was likely influenced by the popularity of the latter style in France, sparked by Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt in 1798–1799.

The thirty-nine-foot-high marble monument encompasses a base resembling an Egyptian cenotaph, a column carved in the form of a Roman fasces, and an allegorical statue of Lady Baltimore. The eighteen rusticated marble layers of its base symbolize the states within the union at that time. False doors enhance its tomb-like appearance, suggesting Egyptian themes of dignity and eternity, with black marble inscriptions guarded by griffins, the symbol of immortality. The cords that bind the fasces, the Roman symbol for unity, bear the names of the thirty-nine dead. Lady Baltimore wears a victory crown and holds in one hand a laurel wreath, a symbol of glory, and in the other, a rudder, a symbol of navigation or stability. The figures were crafted by Italian sculptor Antonio Capellano. It is situated in Monument Square, fronting the Baltimore City Courthouse.


Dilts, James, and John Dorsey. A Guide to Baltimore Architecture. 3rd ed. Centreville, Maryland: Tidewater Publishers, 1997.

Hayward, Mary Ellen, and Frank R. Shivers, Jr. The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.

Hunter, Wilbur Harvey. “The Battle Monument,” HABS No. MD-185. Historic American Buildings Survey, National Park Service, 1959.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie



  • 1815


What's Nearby


Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, "BATTLE MONUMENT", [Baltimore, Maryland], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Maryland, Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022, 176-176.

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