John Eager Howard (1752-1827) was George Washington’s chief of staff and Maryland’s most distinguished Revolutionary War hero. In the battle of Cowpens in South Carolina in 1781, he led his men into the threatening line of the enemy, exhibiting great military valor, and as a result was credited with bringing about a victory.
The Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City, created in 1899 for « public and educational purposes and especially to provide adequately for sculpture and pictorial decoration for public buildings, streets and open spaces in the city of Baltimore and to help generally beautify the city, » set about erecting statues to men who had played an important part in the history of Maryland. Since John Eager Howard had not been chosen to be memorialized in bronze for the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol-Charles Carroll and John Hanson were chosen instead-which members of the Municipal Art Society thought was a mistake, the first monument the society presented to the city was of Howard at the moment of his greatest wartime victory.
To create an equestrian monument of Howard, the society commissioned one of the foremost French sculptors of the nineteenth century, Emmanuel Frémiet. Next to Barye, who was an early rival, Frémiet was considered the finest French animalier. He received his first public commission at the age of 25 and is best known for his 1874 equestrian monument to Jeanne d’Arc in the Place des Pyramides in Paris.
Source: Outdoor Sculpture in Baltimore