Benjamin Welch Owens, left his West River farm to join Confederate forces during the Civil War. Owens was among the tens of thousands of men from Maryland who made their way south. He enlisted on June 3, 1863, joining the 1st Maryland Flying Artillery, C.S.A., which was composed of men from southern Maryland, the Eastern Shore, and Baltimore. Less than two weeks after Owens enlisted, his unit engaged Union forces on June 15 at Stephenson's Depot near Winchester, Virginia, during the Gettysburg Campaign. Owens defended a key railroad bridge alone after the other members of his gun crew were killed or wounded. He continued to hold his ground and serve his gun until help arrived, in an outstanding example of courage during the war in Virginia.
Pvt Owens returned to Anne Arundel County after the war and was appointed deputy county clerk. He died in 1917 at the Confederate Soldier's Home in Pikesville, now the site of The Maryland State Police Headquarters, at age 81. Owens was awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor posthumously by the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1993, one of only 43 men, and the only Marylander, to receive it. (Because of political and economic difficulties, the Confederate government never awarded medals but instead published "rolls of honor" periodically.) This 12-foot bronze memorial, created by Texas sculptor Ron Moore, was erected in Lothian, south of Annapolis, Maryland, with private contributions on land owned by Mt. Calvary Southern Methodist Church.
Benjamin Welch Owens
On June 19, 1863, during the War Between the States (1861-65), Private Owens of the 1st Maryland Artillery, Confederate Statues of America, performed heroically at the Battle of Stephenson's Depot. Owens, born and raised in West River, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, single-handedly held off the Union forces, continually firing his cannon after his compatriots had been wounded. General Robert E. Lee would call this battle "The Thermopylae of the War". For this action Owens was posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor. Benjamin Welch Owens represented all the Maryland boys who fought for "a war of ideas, political conceptions, and loyalty to ancient ideals of English freedom."
Erected June 19, 1999.