The Great Battles

Lesser-known Fights and Other Sites

Stone Sentinels

Civil War History As Told by Battlefield Monuments and Historical Markers

From 1861 to 1865 great armies fought in a terrible Civil War for competing visions of America. The places they clashed - Gettysburg, Antietam, The Wilderness - are written in blood in our nation's history. Today the armies are long gone, but they left behind sentinels that guard their memory, messages carved in stone for future generations.


Stone Sentinels tours the battlefield monuments and historical markers that tell of America's Civil War in the East. Photographs, text of the inscriptions, maps and background information put them into context and help fill in the story.

150 years ago • The Battle of Globe Tavern

On August 18-21, 1864, as the Siege of Petersburg enters its third month, Federal troops reach the Weldon Railrod at Globe Tavern and cut the next to the last rail line reaching Petersburg. The Confederates launch a series of attacks which maul the Federals of Crawford's Division but cannot throw the Federals back from the railroad. On August 21 they launch one more attack against the Northern front and flank. It failed because of faulty intelligence on the location and strength of the Union line. Hagood's South Carolina Brigade lost 65% casualties, memorialized by a monument on the battlefield. The Federals remain across the railroad and throw up a strongpoint, Fort Wadsworth, that becomes the left anchor of their siege lines for the next two months.

State of Maryland monument at Antietam
State of Virginia monument at Gettysburg

Antietam, or Sharpsburg
Over 300 monuments and markers commemorate the single deadliest day of American military history.

Robert E. Lee's greatest victory and Stonewall Jackson's last fight, it was the deadliest battle of the war until two months later at Gettysburg.

Over 1,200 monuments and markers remember the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and one of the turning points of history.

Battle of the Wilderness monument

Spotsylvania Court House sign
Harpers Ferry from Maryland Heights

The Wilderness

The opening battle of Grant's 1864 campaign was a confused stalemate. But Grant refused to admit defeat and kept pushing on to Richmond.

Spotsylvania Court House

Grant's 1864 campaign continued with what may have been the most violent clash of th Civil War.

Harpers Ferry
Its siege and capture by 'Stonewall' Jackson was the largest surrender of U.S. troops until World War II.

State of Virginia monument at Gettysburg

North Carolina monument at South Mountain

Massanutton Mountain in th Shenandoah Valley

Brandy Station
The largest cavalry battle of the war marked the beginning of the Gettysburg campaign.

South Mountain
The prelude to Antietam took place in three strategic passes through Maryland's South Mountain.

Shenandoah Valley
A beautiful region of mountains, farms and streams, it was also a battleground at Front Royal, Winchester, New Market Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek.

About the Author • ©2007-2014 Steve Hawks