American Civil War Monuments
Antietam National Military Park
Monument of the 15th Massachusetts Volunteers
At the Battle of Antietam the 15th Massachusetts took part in a very unsuccessful attempt by the Union high command to break the Confederate line in the West Woods. The 15th was one of 4 regiments in Gorman’s Brigade, Sedgwick’s Division, Sumner’s II Corps. Sedgwick had his 3 brigades march into battle by brigade front, with each brigade within 75 feet of the one to it’s front. In other words, it was one huge, compact force which left little room for maneuvering. This huge mass of 5437 men basically walked into an ambush by the Confederate brigades of Paul Semmes, George “Tighe” Anderson, Robert Ransom, William Barksdale and Jubal Early. The 15th Massachusetts went into battle with 582 men and suffered 318 casualties in a space of about 20 minutes. Sedgwick’s Division as a whole suffered 59% casualties. The monument features a wounded lion, still roaring and its right paw raised in defiance.
photo and text courtesy of LCWRT member Charlie Moore