Antietam National Battlefield

Antietam National Cemetery - Private Soldier Monument

Modern photo of Private Soldier Monument at Antietam National Cemetery
Private Soldier Monument at Antietam National Cemetery
Civil War Trust

Quick Facts

Location:
Sharpsburg, MD
Significance:
Centerpiece of Antietam National Cemetery, dedicated to the Union soldiers who fell in the battle
Designation:
National Park, National Register of Historic Places, HABS/HAER/HALS

The Private Soldier Monument, a colossal structure of granite standing in the center of the Antietam National Cemetery, is more than 44 feet tall, weighs 250 tons, and is made up of 27 pieces. The soldier, made of two pieces joined at the waist, depicts a Union infantryman standing "in place rest" facing to the north and home. The soldier itself is 21½ feet tall and weighs about 30 tons. Designed by James G. Batterson of Hartford, Conn., and sculpted by James Pollette of Westerly, R.I., at a cost of over $32,000, the "Private Soldier" first stood at the gateway of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. It was disassembled again for the long journey to Sharpsburg.

On September 17, 1880, the statue was finally in place where it was formally dedicated. The journey of "Old Simon," as he is known locally, had been delayed for several months when the section from the waist up fell into the river at Washington, D.C. When retrieved, it was transported on the C&O Canal, and dragged by using huge, wooden rollers through Sharpsburg to the cemetery. The inscription on the monument reads, "Not for themselves, but for their country."