Maryland's Gettysburg monument

August 30, 1993

One of the crucial battles of the American Civil War occurred just a few miles north of the Maryland border -- the legendary Mason-Dixon line that delineated North from South -- in the little town of Gettysburg. And yet 130 years after that historic battle, ,, Maryland remains the only one of the 29 states with soldiers on the field that has not erected a memorial honoring its citizens.

Thirty-five hundred Marylanders participated in the three-day battle at Gettysburg, which marked Gen. Robert E. Lee's northernmost drive of the war. For the Marylanders involved in that battle, the war was a true civil war -- brother fighting brother, boyhood friends trying desperately to kill each other, neighbors on different sides of a bloody confrontation.

Citizens for a Maryland Monument at Gettysburg has been trying for three years to raise enough money for a commemorative work. It is still $62,000 short of the money needed to place a bronze statue atop a piece of Port Deposit granite on Taneytown Road, overlooking Culp's Hill, where many of the 20,000 Maryland Union forces and 12,000 Confederate forces fought one another.

Time is running short, though, to raise the necessary funds in time for an October 1994 unveiling. Lawrence M. Ludtke of Houston was chosen in a national contest to serve as sculptor. He must begin his work soon to meet the deadline.

The sculpture is designed to stress the healing aftermath of the bloody battle. As Mr. Ludtke described it, "The two figures, one Confederate and one Union, emerge from the chaos of the rubble-strewn battlefield in a search for shelter from the turmoil around them. The Confederate soldier holds his torn left leg in a tight grip, grimacing in pain, looking outward for respite.

"The Union soldier, even though his right arm is bandaged and useless, is helping support the struggling Confederate soldier by gripping his belt with his left hand. The Union soldier is obviously in shock and is being encouraged by the helping right hand of the Confederate soldier that is placed gently on his back. . . .

"I have tried to show, through the dependent attitude of both men on the other the symbolism of the eventual healing of the wounds caused by the waging of war of Americans upon their brothers."

James Holechek, a retired Baltimore advertising executive, is heading the drive to give Maryland its own monument on the Gettysburg battlefield. Gov. William Donald Schaefer has taken a personal interest, too. But so far, "corporations haven't exactly been breaking down our doors to make gifts," as Mr. Holechek put it. Perhaps it is time for ordinary Maryland citizens to lend a hand.

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