** The complete 16-picture gallery for this monument can be found HERE
This monument is also referred to as the 2nd Brig, 2nd Div, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac. The Philadelphia Brigade obelisk is located off the Hagerstown Turnpike (Dunker Church Road) in the area known as the West Woods. It stands in the center of a roundabout. This area is part of the Antietam Auto Tour and is designated as stop no. 5. The obelisk is 73 feet, making it the tallest monument at the battlefield. It is composed of granite and was dedicated by the Commonwelath of Pennsylvania on September 17, 1896. There are inscriptions on all four faces which read:
(east or front face):
September 17, 1862
Loss - 545 men
was mustered into the
U.S. Service in 1861
under the first call for
300,000 three year volunteers.
Total enrollment 1861 - 1865
(west face or rear):
One hundred and sixth
took part in the operations
battles and skirmishes
of the Army of the Potomac
from Balls Bluff to Appomattox
during term of service 1861 - 1865
Total Loss 3409 men
Army of the Potomac
Additionally, there is an interpretive on the outer edge of the rotary which bears the following information about the unit and the monument:
During the fighting in the West Woods, the Philadelphia Brigade, commanded by Gen. O.O. Howard, lost more than 550 men in about twenty minutes of combat. Thirty years later the Philadelphia Brigade Association purchased eleven acres for their monument. The veterans decided to use the excess property around the monument to establish a public park. They planted trees, erected a gate, and in 1896 dedicated a monument in what is known today as Philadelphia Brigade Park. Over seventy feet tall, the Philadelphia Brigade Monument is the tallest monument on Antietam National Battlefield.
"They poured their blood out like water, and we must look to God and our country for a just reward."
Gen. O.O. Howard, Commander of the Philadelphia Brigade
"My comrades of the Philadelphia Brigade...you have erected a magnificent monument in honor of the private soldier who laid his life on the alter of his country in the time of need. No one could do more, and, therefore none more deserving of this honor. You have fittingly placed it on the field where so many brave comrades fell, and the imperishable nature of it is a guarantee that it will remain long after we have all passed away."
Capt. John E. Reilly,
monument dedication, September 17, 1896
From 1890s to 1960s veterans’ organizations erected monuments to commemorate the people and actions associated the Battle of Antietam (16-18 September 1862). The Philadelphia Brigade Monument contributes to the National Register District under Criterion A with the period of significance 1800-1899. The monument is designated as structure number 106.
The Philadelphia Brigade Monument is significant under Criterion A because of its association with the commemoration of the Battle of Antietam. The monuments and markers at Antietam represent a wide sampling of late 19th and early 20th century military memorialization from the period when such monumentation was in its heyday.
This monument marks the location in the West Woods where the brigade faced intense enemy fire. The division marched from Pry Farm, crossed Antietam Creek, and the Cornfield before entering the West Woods at about 8 AM on 17 September 1862. In and around the woods, the command was stuck by three Confederated units, and virtually decimated. Over 2000 of of the 5000 who marched into the Woods did not survive the battle.
The Philadelphia Brigade Monument was dedicated on 17 September 1902, and and listed on the National Register on October 15, 1966, with a confirmation National Register form updated and approved by the Keeper on February 10, 1982. There are a total of 19 monuments and markers dedicated to the Pennsylvania troops at Antietam.
Short Physical Description
The Philadelphia Brigade, is located in its own park. It consists of a 73’ tall smooth granite obelisk atop a four-tier base with inscriptions on all four sides. The bottom tier is rough-dressed. A clover leaf, the badge of the 2nd Army Corps, is in relief on the lower part of the obelisk.
The Philadelphia Brigade Monument is located in the center of Philadelphia Brigade Park, at the end of a tree-lined drive. The park is an ll-acre plot, also known as the “West Woods,” west of Hagerstown Turnpike.
The monument consists of an obelisk on a pedestal of Barre, Vermont granite and a three-tiered base. It rises to a total height of 73’ tall. The first tier of the square base is made of rough-dressed granite, while the two upper tiers are smooth. A bronze replication of the Pennsylvania coat-of-arms is located in the center of the third tier on the east elevation. The pedestal on this elevation reads: "THE/ PHILADELPHIA BRIGADE FOUGHT HERE/ SEPTEMBER 17, 1862/ LOSS - 545 MEN/ SECOND BRIGADE."
Long Physical Description
nscribed in the north elevation of the pedestal is the text: “THE/ PHILADELPHIA BRIGAD/E WAS MUSTERED INTO THE/ U.S. SERVICE IN 1861/ UNDER THE FIRST CALL FOR/ 300,000 THREE YEAR VOLUNTEERS./ TOTAL ENROLLMENT 1861 – 1865/ 5320 MEN/ SECOND BRIGADE.”
The west elevation reads: “THE/ PHILADELPHIA BRIGADE/ ORGANIZATION/ 69TH/ - 71ST/ - 72ND/ - 106TH/ REGIMENTS OF/ PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY/ SECONDCORPS”
The inscription on the south elevation of the pedestal reads: “THE/ PHILADELPHIA BRIGADE/ TOOK PART IN THE OPERATIONS/ BATTLES AND SKIRMISHES/ OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC/ FROM BALLS BLUFF TO APPOMATTOX./ DURING TERM OF SERVICE 1861 – 1865/ TOTAL LOSS 3409 MEN/ ARMY OF THE POTOMAC”
The obelisk towers above the pedestal and overhanging capstone. On the lower end, east elevation of the obelisk is a relief carving of the badge of the 2nd Army Corp, a three-leaf clover. There are two bands of etching at near the top and base of the obelisk.
The monument has a few open joints, mold, and a chip in the northeast corner of the base.
1. NRHP Nomination Form
2. Stone Sentinels
3. Virtual Antietam
4. Historical Marker Database
5. National Park Service