On June 13, 1907, the General Assembly of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth approved the construction of a monument to commemorate the role of the 67th, 87th, and 138th Pennsylvania volunteer infantry regiments in the Battle of Monocacy. During the Battle of Monocacy, the 87th Pennsylvania was positioned on the Thomas Farm between the 10th Vermont and the 14th New Jersey, where they experienced some of the battle's heaviest fighting. Some members of the regiment held strategic sniping positions inside the Thomas House. The 138th Pennsylvania was initially held in reserve until going into position on the extreme left of the Union line at the Thomas Farm. The 67th Pennsylvania did not fight in the Battle of Monocacy; they were part of a "missing brigade" that was held up at New Market, Maryland (near Monrovia, Maryland).
The legislature authorized funds for the monument and the creation of a commission of three persons, known as the Monocacy monument commission to be appointed by the governor.1 The governor appointed one man from each regiment: Captain William H. Lanius represented the 87th, Captain Robert T. Conrwell for the 67th, and Private William Coppleberger for the 138th. The commision unveiled their monument on November 24, 1908, with nearly 200 veterans present for the ceremony.
The Pennsylvania Monument was the second monument to be constructed on the battlefield at Monocacy Junction. New Jersey had dedicated the first monument in 1907. At the time of the dedication, New Jersey Monument Commissioner Major John C. Patterson had predicted that the New Jersey Monument would be the first of a number of monuments to be erected on the fields near Frederick including ones to Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Ohio.2 While Pennsylvania and Vermont would eventually construct monuments on the field, but Ohio did not.
The location for the monument was selected on March 16, 1908, by Capt. W. H. Lanius and Capt. Robert T. Cornwell with the help of Maj. E. Y. Goldsborough who also fought at Monocacy. “The site is on the east side of the Georgetown Pike, nearly opposite of the Araby Church, and consists of half an acre of land, part of the property of Mrs. Kate Cavanaugh.”3
The commission engaged the Smith Granite Company of Westerly, Rhode Island, to build the monument. Mr. H.E.Shenton was in charge of the project for the company. The commission selected Blue Westerley and Red Westerley granites for the monument. The finished monument stands 35-feet high on a 10-foot-square base. The top of the base supports a polished die with four Doric columns supporting a cylindrical shaft with a carved cap. At the top is a polished ball, 3-feet 6-inches in diameter, bearing the VI Corps' symbol—a Greek cross. The tablet on the west side of the base is dedicated to the soldiers and reads:
Erected by the Commonwealth of Penna in commemoration of the bravery, sacrifices, and patriotism of the 67th, 87th, and 138th regiments that fought on this battlefield July 9, 1864.
Commissioners Wm. H Lanius, Capt. Co. I. 87th
Robert T. Cornwell, Capt. Co. I 67th
Wm. Coppleberger,Priv. Co. A. 138th
The commission gave the Smith Granite Company a very short schedule to construct and install the monument. On November 23, 1908, the Frederick News newspaper reported that “at noon today the workmen were still at work upon the monument, but had only to complete the leading of the joints, and wash it down, to have it ready for the unveiling tomorrow.” Photographs from the dedication show uneven ground around the monument and reveal that the site was still under construction.4
In addition to paying for the construction of the monument, the legislation also provided for the transportation of veterans to the dedication ceremony via train. Veterans were to make application on forms addressed to Thomas J. Stewart, Adjutant General of Pennsylvania by November 12, 1908. These forms were distributed by Adj. Gen. Stewart, Harrisburg, Capt. William T. Ziegler, Gettysburg, and John H. Sheads, Gettysburg.5
November 24, 1908, the veterans arrived by special train leaving at 9:00 AM from York, Pennsylvania, and arriving at the Northern Central depot at 11:00 AM where they were met by Mayor George William Smith, Major E. Y. Goldsborough Jr. (writer of the 1898 book Early's Great Raid, He Advances Through Maryland, Battle of Monocacy), and Mr. Joseph D. Baker and the Reynolds Post of the Grand Army Republic escorted by the Braddock Heights Band. A delegation of the Daughters of the American Revolution under regent Mrs. R. H. Markell was accompanied by 800 public school children (school had been canceled for the occasion).6
The nearly 200 survivors from the 67th, 87th, and 138th Pennsylvania regiments and a large assemblage of Frederick citizens were addressed by many figures that day at the 12:30 PM unveiling. The unveiling ceremony started with a prayer from Rev. Osborne Ingle of All Saints Episcopal Church and a brief welcome from Mayor Smith after which he sung “The Star-Spangled Banner” with the audience joining in.7
Following this Capt. Lanius, chairman of the monument commission and member of the 87th PA, presented the monument to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a short speech in which he “quoted from General Grant’s memoirs a passage referring to the importance of the Battle of the Monocacy as a factor in the saving of the national capital.”8
Pennsylvania Lieutenant-Governor Murphy accepted the monument on behalf of the state regretting that Governor Stuart was unable to attend. The Lieutenant-Governor remarks “paid a high tribute to old soldiers, which, he said, had preserved the Constitution and rights of the people” and that “what you did here, will live long after yonder noble shaft has disintegrated and become a shapeless mass of clay.”9
At this point the Braddock Heights Band played a selection preceding Capt. Cornwell’s speech in which he thanked the legislature for the appropriation of $5,000 dollars for the monument’s construction of which $4,965.88 was spent. He then “reviewed the battle and said it was the means of saving Washington from the enemy.”10
“The stand made by General Wallace with the veterans of Rickett’s Division, with about 3,000 militia, held Early back until the Sixth Army Corps could come to the defense of Washington” – stated Capt. Cornwell.11
Maj. Goldsborough of Frederick, who made arrangements with the monument commission for the occasion, alongside other field officers from the engagement spoke on the intricacies of the battle.12
Through the ceremonies Mr. George R. Rodock, president of the Business Men’s Association, as well as Mr. Baker, and other prominent citizens showed their support for the Frederick route of the proposed Lincoln Memorial Boulevard. Additionally, the Araby Church had set up a lunch counter across from the monument.13
Jacob Ritchey, a member of Co. E of the 138th PA, recalls of the dedication as such:14
“To say we had a fine time is putting it very mildly. It was the time of our lives…the old, grizzled veterans grasped each other’s hands as though they were to make up for lost time and now intended to hold on, never to let the old comrade get away again, while tears of gladness bedimmed the eye, showing the heartfelt joy at meeting again, for most of us the last time on earth.”
Veterans at the Dedication
Newspapers mention many veterans present at the dedication. Spelling often varied between newpapsers, photos from regimental histories, or other sources.15
Breveted Brigadier General Harry Lloyd White – 67th PA
Lieutenant-Colonel James A. Stahle – 87th PA
Major Finaly L. Thomas – 87th PA
Maj. Edward Yerbury Goldsborough, Jr. –General E. B. Tyler's staff
Chaplain D. C. Eberhart – 87th PA
Chief Surgeon Dr. D. G. McKinney of Frederick, MD. – 87th PA
Captain William H. Lanius of York, PA. – 87th PA
Captain Louis Maist of Minnesota – 87th PA
Captain Gentzler of Oregon
Captain James Acair of N.Y. – 87th PA
‘Captain’ [Corporal?] William T. Ziegler – 87th PA
Captain Calvin Gilbert – 87th PA
Captain Robert T. Cornwell – 67th PA
Lieutenant Charles Stoltman – 87th PA
Lieutenant Alexander Strickler – 87th PA
Lieutenant B. F. Frick – 87th PA
Lieutenant Issac Wagner
Lieutenant John Fohs – 87th PA
Lieutenant James H. Blosser – 87th PA
Perry Tawney – 87th PA
George Johns – 87th PA
C Wm. Sheads – 87th PA
Wm. H. Rupp – 87th PA
George Warner – 87th PA
John H. Sheads – 87th PA
James G. Frock – 87th PA
Edward Deatrick – 138th PA
W. Frank Cline – 138th PA
David Kitzmiller – 138th PA
Mark Hamilton – 138th PA
I. H. Moore – 138th PA
William Coppleberger – 138th PA
T. P. Stephens – 67th PA
Alex P. Watson – 67th PA
Isaac Beck – 67th PA
1.Frederick News, February 26, 1907, pg. 4. 2. Baltimore Sun, July 11, 1907, pg. 11 & Hagerstown Mail, August 2, 1907 Page 5 3. Frederick Citizen, June 19, 1908, pg. 1 & Frederick News, September 17, 1908 pg. 5. 4. Thurmont Catoctin Clarion, November 26, 1908 pg. 6 ; Frederick News, Nov. 23, 1908, pg. 5 & Frederick Citizen, November 27, 1908 pg. 5. 5. Conshohocken Recorder, October 20, 1908 pg. 7; Indiana Progress, October 21, 1908 pg. 4 & Gettysburg Compiler, October 28, 1908 pg. 12 6. Baltimore Sun, November 25, 1908 pg. 5. 7.Conshohocken Recorder, December 1, 1908 pg. 2. 8. Frederick News, November 24, 1908, pg. 5. 9. Baltimore Sun, November. 25, 1908, pg. 5 & Conshohocken Recorder, December 1, 1908, pg. 2. 10. Baltimore Sun, November 25, 1908, pg. 5 & Hagerstown Mail, August 2, 1907 pg. 5 & PA State Archives, Monocacy Battlefield Monument, 1964-1980 (folder #18-16) Carton 56, Item 16, A1401701 11. Frederick Citizen, November 27, 1908, pg. 5. 12. Philadelphia Inquirer, November 25, 1908 pg. 6. 13. Frederick News, November 23, 1908 pg. 5. 14. Altoona Mirror, December 2, 1908 pg. 5. 15. Frederick Citizen, November 27, 1908 pg. 5 & Gettysburg Compiler, November 25, 1908 pg. 1.
Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg, PA: B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869.
Haugh, Chris. “Archeologists & Goldsboroughs.” Mount Olivet Cemetery, April 25, 2020. http://www.mountolivethistory.com/stories-in-stone-blog/archeologists-goldsboroughs.
Lewis, Osceola. History of the One Hundred and Thirty-Eighth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1992.
“Maryland Room.” Frederick County Public Libraries, June 23, 2021. https://www.fcpl.org/content/maryland-room.
Prowell, George Reeser. History of the Eighty-Seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers: Prepared from Official Records, Diaries and Other Authentic Sources of Information. Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1994.