Chapter 5: Marylanders in the campaigns of 1861.
became one of the Confederate States
by the vote of her people, May 24, 1861, the Confederate government, Mr. Jefferson Davis
, removed to Richmond
from Montgomery, Ala.
, and assumed the charge of military operations all over the Confederacy
The fixed idea of President Davis
was that the first necessity was to save the Confederate States
from invasion; for invasion, he argued, would demoralize the negro population and make inefficient the labor of the South
behind the armies, which must rely on slave labor for food and clothes.
Therefore the Confederate government undertook to cover the entire front, from the Chesapeake bay
to the western frontier.
In carrying out this strategy, armies were collected in Virginia
; at Aquia Creek
on the Potomac
; at Manassas Junction
, thirty miles from Alexandria
; at Harper's Ferry
, the junction of the Shenandoah
and Potomac and the mouth or entrance of the valley of Virginia
; and at Grafton
, west of the mountains on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad.
At Harper's Ferry
break through the Blue Ridge
and form a gorge of surpassing grandeur and picturesqueness.
once said in his notes of Virginia
that the view from Loudoun heights
on the Virginia
side was worth a voyage across the Atlantic
to see. The Virginians never got over it. Harper's Ferry
and Mont Blanc
It was an impregnable fortress of nature.
agreed with them—about the only thing he did agree with them about—and seized Harper's Ferry
as the base of his 50
proposed negro insurrection in 1859.
So the very first step taken in Virginia
, after secession was agreed to, was the seizure of Harper's Ferry
. Governor Letcher
ordered the volunteers of the valley there within five hours after the convention passed the ordinance of secession on April l7th, and about dusk on the 18th, the Second Virginia regiment, Colonel Allen
, with several detached companies and with James Ashby
's and Welby Carter
's troops of cavalry from Fauquier
, took possession of the place, with its workshops and machinery.
The Union officer that was posted there as the regular guard with a detachment of half a hundred infantry, retired after having set fire to the armory, where a large number of muskets were stored, and to the storehouses and machine shops.
The Virginians got in in time to save most of the buildings and the machinery, and a large lot of gunstocks was afterwards shipped to Fayetteville, N. C.
, for the Confederate
armory at that place.
Col. Thomas J. Jackson
, a professor of the Virginia military institute, was assigned to command the post, which the Virginia
authorities considered the one of greatest importance, responsibility and danger; for it was to protect the valley of Virginia
from the Potomac
to the North Carolina
troops were poured into the place.
, as we have seen, procured from Colonel Jackson
permission to rendezvous the Marylanders there and at the Point of Rocks
, and by June 1st had collected about five hundred men. As soon as Virginia
had joined the Confederacy
, President Davis
, equally impressed with the value and importance of this Thermopylae
, assigned to command it Gen. Joseph Eggleston Johnston
, the second in rank of the generals of the Confederate army.
ranked next to Lee
, but was his equal in experience in war. He was a Virginian by birth and blood, and knew all about the Virginia
fetish about Harper's Ferry
While the President
was pouring troops from Arkansas
, from Mississippi
, from Alabama
, from South Carolina
, into Harper's Ferry
knew that it was a trap, a deadfall, for the soldier who attempted to hold it. It was commanded on the east by the Maryland heights
beyond the Potomac
, and on the south by heights on the other side of the Shenandoah
The Confederate States
government was then offering every inducement for Maryland
to join it. It exempted Maryland
from its declaration of war against the United States
, and it was tender of her territory and her feelings.
When, therefore, Johnston
saw the absolute necessity of holding Maryland heights
, he saved the invasion of Maryland
by sending Marylanders to occupy the position.
He ordered Captain Johnson
with his eight companies, and Col. Blanton Duncan
with his First Kentucky regiment, to take the Maryland heights
, fortify and hold them.
They did so while Johnston
strained every nerve to strip Harper's Ferry
of everything that could be made of use to the Confederacy
By June 15th he had cleared out the place, brought the Marylanders and the Kentuckians from the mountains and evacuated Harper's Ferry
A large Federal army had been collected at Chambersburg, Pa.
, thirty miles to the north of Johnston
, under command of Major-General Patterson
For several days Patterson
had given signs of restlessness unmistakable to an old soldier of Johnston
's caliber, and the very day Johnston
moved out of Harper's Ferry
marched south from Chambersburg
The former moved to Charlestown, Va.
, the latter to Hagerstown, Md.
On June 17th, Patterson
crossed the Potomac
went into line of battle at Bunker Hill
, a place halfway between Martinsburg
The Confederates were delighted at the prospects of another battle of Bunker Hill
on the 17th of June.
But a large portion of Patterson
's army were sixty-day men, and when their
time expired they marched home, General Patterson
and the remnant of his troops following in such temper as they might to the Maryland
having recrossed the Potomac
fell back to Winchester
, where he proceeded to organize his incongruous troops into brigades and divisions.
One brigade, the Fourth, was formed of the First Maryland, the Tenth and the Thirteenth Virginia and the Third Tennessee, and Col. Arnold Elzey
of the First Maryland was assigned to command it. The Fourth and Third brigades constituted a division under the command of Brig.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith
The field officers of the First Maryland were commissioned to date from June 17, 1861.
The first duty the regiment was set to perform under its new field officers was on the day after the arrival at Winchester
On June 19th, Lieutenant-Colonel Steuart
was directed to return to Harper's Ferry
by railroad train and complete the destruction of the shops and Federal property left on the evacuation of the 15th.
This duty Colonel Steuart
executed with great intelligence.
Instead of burning up a great magazine of seasoned and shaped gunstocks, which he found abandoned, he loaded the whole outfit on a train of cars and hauled them back with his command to Winchester
The service was so valuable and so exceedingly sensible that the commanding general rewarded it with a special order of approbation.
and the Marylanders enjoyed the unique distinction of being probably the only command that was ever decorated by a special order for disobedience of orders
. General Johnston
had sent them on this detail with distinct and positive orders to burn everything burnable.
They brought off a trainload of most valuable plunder, and the commanding general honored them thus:
The Confederate strategy in the early part of 1861 was to hold armies, or army corps, within supporting distance of each other along the exposed frontier of Virginia
If one army was attacked the corps to the right and left of it was to move promptly to its assistance.
, after retiring beyond the Potomac
, was heavily reinforced and recrossed the river, threatening Johnston
, on the other hand, covered his front so thoroughly with cavalry patrols and pickets as to interpose an impenetrable veil between Patterson
On July 18, 1861, General McDowell
moved out of Alexandria
at Fairfax Court House.
retired behind Bull Run
McDowell on the 19th made a heavy reconnoissance in force and found Beauregard
The latter called on Johnston
He left Winchester
in the morning of the 18th and marched to Piedmont
, on the Manassas Gap railroad, whence his troops were hurried by rail to Manassas Junction
In the meantime McDowell
had thrown his right around Beauregard
's left, turned his position, and at daylight of the 21st attacked him, driving everything before him as he marched down the right bank of Bull Run
By midday the Confederates
were in retreat, their line broken and their position forced.
About noon, the Fourth brigade, Colonel Elzey
, arrived at the junction of the Manassas Gap
The command was at once disembarked.
's heavy guns were pounding away toward the east, the first hostile fire the men had ever heard.
They were formed: First Maryland on the right, Third Ten.
nessee, Tenth Virginia, Thirteenth Virginia.
By the time they were ready to move, Kirby Smith
rode up in a strain of tense excitement.
He assumed charge of the brigade.
The other part of his division was not up—‘The watchword is Sumter
, the signal is this,’ throwing his right hand to his forehead, palm outwards.
‘Go where the fire is hottest; forward march!’
The excitement of the first fight, the growing fire, the spreading volleys, braced up the men. At the order ‘double-quick’ they struck out in a trot, down by the junction, past the cluster of huts and houses, thence straight as the crow flies toward ‘where the fire was hottest.’
After a run of a few miles the column was halted to breathe and load.
Then on again.
Wounded men coming back cried, ‘Go back.
We are all cut to pieces.
You'll all get killed!’
But the Fourth brigade kept steadily on. As it passed a clump of pines on the right, a sharp volley from a squad of the Brooklyn Zouaves knocked General Smith
over the neck of his horse and Elzey
By that time the day had advanced to three or four o'clock. The field was dotted with retreating men, hurrying ambulances, flying wagons.
Just to the right was a squad of cavalry.
A shell burst over them and the cavalry scattered.
Running over two lines lying in ranks on the ground, still Elzey
pressed on to the left.
Entering a wood, beyond which was heavy musketry firing, he formed line of battle.
Smith at Manassas
had detached A. P. Hill
with the Thirteenth Virginia to hold one of the fords of Bull Run
With three regiments remaining Elzey
pressed straight to the front.
Getting nearly through the wood, he halted inside the edge of it. In front were a branch and a worm fence; beyond it an open field gently rising for four hundred yards into a considerable elevation.
On the ridge stood a line of battle.
Uniforms were no designation, as the line showed no colors.
to his aide-de-camp, Charles Couter
, of Prince George's,
, give me a glass—give me a glass, quick.’
Just at that instant the breeze blew out the flag on the hill.
It was the stars and stripes.
, and the whole line delivered its volley.
had six companies of Mississippi rifles and three companies of bayonets.
But over the fence the whole line went with a yell—up the hill—through the Yankee
line, or rather where it had been.
It had gone, dissolved into mist.
pressed right on. He was behind McDowell
's right and he never stopped to draw breath.
The whole Union line crumpled up, and First Manassas
was won. As the Maryland
colonel rode proudly down on the right of his line, Beauregard
dashed up, filled with enthusiasm— ‘Hail!
of the day!’
and in a moment President Davis
came up with General Johnston
. ‘General Elzey
, I congratulate you,’ said the man who made generals.
was promoted brigadier-general, Steuart
lieutenant-colonel, and E. R. Dorsey
Company C, major—all to date from July 21st, the day of the great victory.
The First Maryland was pushed on in pursuit of the rout over the Stone bridge
and along the turnpike until dark, and then hastily recalled to Blackburn's ford to meet an apprehended attack.
Next, moving at daylight, it went out with the First Virginia cavalry under Col. J. E. B. Stuart
to Fairfax Court House, when, for the first time, the extent of the disaster to the Union
army was understood and appreciated.
During the night of the 21st no one had any idea of the ruin and rout that overwhelmed the enemy.
On the march of the 22nd, J. E. B. Stuart
, an, Indian fighter, could not believe his eyes, nor the reports his scouts brought him. The roads, the woods, the fields were filled with inconceivable debris—overturned carriages, ambulances, artillery limbers, lunch baskets, champagne, even gold pieces
were found, and Stuart
suspected it was a ruse to lure him into an
As the morning wore on, however, the thing became too plain to doubt, and Fairfax Court House settled it. The court house and yard were packed full of new tents, new overcoats, new uniforms.
The infantry went into camp, and cavalry scouts pursued their way down to the suburbs of Alexandria
, and by night Stuart
reported to Johnston
that there was no organized force south of the Potomac
This is no place to discuss the reasons why the Confederates
did not take Washington
on the 23rd of July, 1861. Two days march would have brought them to the Long Bridge
, J. E. B. Stuart
could have occupied it by noon of the 22nd, and the army could have marched comfortably over it. It is easy to see all this now. It was not so apparent on the 22nd of July.
The Fourth brigade, Colonel Elzey
, reached the Court House
the afternoon of the 22nd, where the First Maryland had preceded them, and the command went into camp at Fairfax Station, a few miles distant.
The whole army passed the rest of the summer in drills, in marches, in sudden alarms, in being instructed in the duties of a soldier—first and most important of which is to know how to make bread.
Bad cooking that summer killed more than Yankee bullets.
But the Marylanders were full of spirit.
They sang, they yelled, they shouted, they romped like a pack of schoolboys, and they were pets in the army.
If a quick march was to be made, the Marylanders were sent on it. If a surprise was planned by J. E. B. Stuart
and the cavalry, the Maryland
regiment was ordered to support him, and to this day the survivors remember an eighteen-mile march through the rain and mud to catch a regiment of Yankee cavalry at Pohick Church, which had strayed that far into the woods and which Stuart
proposed ‘to lose’ with the help of the First Maryland.
They mustered seven hundred and twenty rifles and muskets.
Their uniform was a French kepi (a little gray cap), a natty gray roundabout,
collar and sleeves bound with black braid, and a similar stripe down the gray trousers.
They were all boys The age of the First Maryland rank and file would not have averaged nineteen, nor their height over five feet eight, nor their weight above one hundred and thirty-five pounds. They were generally beardless boys, with the spirits, the enthusiasm, the devotion of boys.
A large per cent were gentlemen by birth and culture.
All were gentlemen at heart and principle.
Exiles from home, volunteers to help a friend, staking life for love, they must of necessity have been impressed with an ardent sentimentality and a devotion beyond the ordinary standard of humanity.
Around the camp-fires, on the lonely picket, on the march, what recollections of home did they not carry with them, the lengthening chain that time nor distance ever breaks.
During the summer they became well drilled.
They believed they were the best drilled corps in the army—in either army—in any army for that matter, for the Marylander never loses anything by diffidence or self-depreciation.
He always thinks as well of himself as any one ever thinks of him. Beauregard
said they marched like Frenchmen.
This set them up; but more knowledge would have restrained their self-conceit, for no Frenchmen have ever marched or moved as brightly as they did. Beauregard
's compliment was to his own people, not to ours.
Joseph E. Johnston
's wife was a Maryland woman, and he, tough old soldier as he was, had a tender spot in his heart for Marylanders, and whenever they passed him at review or on the march, he always had a pleasant word to say about them.
It is due to the truth of history to say that during the summer
of 1861 the first Maryland regiment became as conceited a set of young blades as ever faced a battery or charged a line of battle.
Variety is a virtue in a soldier.
wanted a line of Yankee posts along the Potomac
It required dash, quickness, unfailing
J. E. B. Stuart
and some troops of cavalry and the First Maryland were sent to do it. Of course they did it, and for a month or two they watched the dome of the Capitol
and the marchings up and down of McClellan
, in front of Alexandria
Peaches were ripe.
They liked peaches.
held a fine peach orchard in front, so they drove them out, and ate their peaches.
had some fine beef cattle.
drove in their pickets, went inside their lines and got their cattle out and ate them.
There was also an assortment of sows and little pigs over there.
They went over and got them and had roast pig. In August and September roasting ears are very fine, but require selection to get the tender kind.
Just beyond Mason's hill, between the lines, was a cornfield of probably an hundred acres. The Federals held one side, the Marylanders the other, and every morning when the foragers started out to find chickens, ducks, tomatoes, for their messes, the whole command would turn out, deploy themselves as skirmishers, sweep the cornfield, drive in the gentlemen in blue, and pick their roasting ears at their ease.
The picket at Munson
's and Mason
's hills was a picnic, and when their tour of duty—three days—was out, they would petition to be allowed to take the place of their relief and serve double time.
Such a curious request was always granted.
But the service was good for them.
It taught them alertness, promptness, obedience and coolness, for their little skirmishes were not always bloodless and always were spliced with danger.
On a dash on Munson's hill—a mile from their post at Mason
's—they struck a more obstinate antagonist than usual, who killed Fountain, of Company I, and wounded Hugh Mitchell
, first lieutenant
of the same company, like Achilles
in the heel, and lamed him for life.
But the Marylanders, like Colonel Washington
at Fort Necessity
, thought ‘there is something charming in the sound of a bullet,’ and they delighted in that daily music.
After the seizure of Maryland
by the Union
troops, the process of manacling her went on with celerity and efficiently.
A Union regiment, the First Maryland, was recruited with John R. Kenly
had been major of the Maryland
-District of Columbia battalion in the Mexican
war, and had served with honor to himself, his command and to his State.
, where Colonel Watson
commanding was killed, Major Kenly
brought out the shattered remnants of the battalion with great coolness and courage, and no man of his rank came out of that war with more reputation than Major Kenly
He had experience, he had gallantry, he had ability, and he was devoted to the Union
But with this devotion he was above narrow bigotry, which refuses to recognize sincerity, honesty, or unselfishness in his opponent.
With a heart absolutely devoid of self-seeking, ignorant of dishonor, or dishonesty, Colonel Kenly
furnished as pure a character and as high a type of patriotism as served on either side in that war. He believed it his duty to stand by the Union
He did so like a soldier, like a man of honor, like a patriot, but no act of his ever stained his career, and he left no spot on his escutcheon.
He was truly ‘without fear and without stain.’
But in pressing the policy initiated by Ben Butler
, the Federal
authorities promptly carried out the latter's ideas.
The ‘State’ of Maryland
, where religious liberty and free thought were born in this world, was converted by a general order
from headquarters at Washington
into ‘the Department of Annapolis’ and Gen. N. P. Banks
was assigned to command it vice Cadwallader
, relieved, with headquarters at Baltimore
assumed command on June 10th.
On the 27th he arrested George P. Kane
, marshal of police, and confined him in Fort McHenry
The police commissioners ‘protested’ against this violation of law, and Banks
arrested them and sent them to join Kane
They sent a memorial to Congress and Congress laid it on the table.
They applied to the President
put them on a steamer July 28th and sent them to Fort Lafayette in the harbor of New York
On August 6th Judge Garrison
, of a State court in Brooklyn
, issued his habeas corpus to Colonel Burke
, then commandant of the fort, to produce them in court.
defied the writ, under the orders of Lieutenant-General Scott
Attachment for contempt was then issued against him, and he snapped his fingers at that and booted the marshal out of his presence.
dismissed the proceedings, ‘submitting to inevitable necessity.’
So habeas corpus was suspended in the loyal State of New York
as well as in the ‘Department of Annapolis.’
appointed Col. John R. Kenly
marshal of police, who promptly assumed command of the force in the city of Baltimore
, the Union
thus assuming control of a city police.
The Congress subsequently appropriated money to pay their wages.
On August 7th the legislature passed more eloquent resolutions, protesting against the unconstitutional and illegal acts of President Lincoln
, but they are not worth the room it would take to record them.
The time for ‘protests’ was past, if it ever had existed, and as the scolding of the Maryland legislature became annoying to the authorities, they determined to suppress the one and thus silence the other.
On September 12, 1861, Major-General Dix
, commanding in Baltimore
, ordered the arrest of the members of the legislature from Baltimore City
and the mayor and other obnoxious persons who annoyed him with talk, to-wit: George William Brown
, Coleman Yellott
, Senator Stephen P. Dennis
, Charles H. Pitts
, Andrew A. Lynch
, Lawrence Langston
, H M. Morfit
, Ross Winans
, J. Hanson Thomas
, W. G. Harrison
, John C. Brune
, Robert M. Denison
, Leonard D. Quinlan
, Thomas W. Renshaw
, Henry May
, member of Congress from the Fourth congressional district, Frank Key Howard
, editor of the ‘Baltimore Exchange,’ and Thomas W. Hall
, editor of the ‘South.’
The arrests were made with great secrecy, and it was
intended to send them to the Dry Tortugas
, but there being no steamer fit for the voyage in Hampton Roads
, they were dispatched to Fort Warren
in Boston harbor
Liberty of the press as well as free speech had gone after the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
On the 11th of September Simon Cameron
, secretary of war
, had issued an order to General Banks
that the passage of an ordinance of secession by the legislature, which was to assemble at Frederick
on September 17th, must be prevented, even if the arrest of the legislature was necessary to accomplish this end. Maj.-Gen. George B. McClellan
, then commanding the army of the Potomac, issued his order to General Banks
to have everything prepared to arrest the whole party when they assembled.
sent his aide, R. Morris Copeland
, to attend to this business, and he accomplished it very successfully, ‘greatly assisted by several citizens of the place,’ says the chronicler.
Both houses were called to order on the 17th, at 1 p. m., but no quorum appearing, they adjourned until the next day. The climate of Frederick
was disagreeable to many of the protesters at that particular season.
But Major Copeland
was equal to the emergency.
He closely picketed the town and held everybody in who was in, and took everybody in who wanted to go out. On the 18th he arrested Milton Y. Kidd
, the chief clerk
of the house, and his assistant, Thomas H. Moore
; William Kilgour
, secretary of the senate, and his assistant, L. P. Carmark
, and John M. Brewer
, reading clerk of the senate, and William E. Salmon
, Elbridge G. Kilbourne
, Thomas J. Claggett
, Philip F. Raisin
, Andrew Kessler
, Josiah H. Gordon
, James W. Maxwell
, R. C. McCubbin
, George W. Landing, Dr. Bernard Mills
, William R. Miller
, Clark J. Durant
, John I. Heckart
and J. Lawrence Jones
, members of the house; E. Riley
, printer of the house and editor of the ‘Annapolis Republican,’ and a number of citizens of Frederick
pointed out by the ‘citizens of the place who were greatly assisting.’