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A Maryland Warrior and hero.

Death of Major William W. Goldsborough, of the famous Maryland line, C. S. A.

Military funeral in Baltimore—sketch of his eventful life and distinguished services—soldier, Journalist, Historian.

By Winfield Peters, Lieutenant-Colonel, etc., U. C. V., Maryland
Member Historical Committee, etc., United Confederate Veterans.
On Christmas afternoon last the startling information was telegraphed to Baltimore of the unexpected death in Philadelphia of Major William Worthington Goldsborough, to Captain George W. Booth, acting President of the Society of the Confederate States Army and Navy in Maryland, to the writer and to Sergeant Richard T. Knox, a famous soldier, who accompanied the Major when reconnoitering. A telegram was sent to his widow, Mrs. Louise Goldsborough, to forward the remains to Baltimore, to be buried with military honors in the Confederate burial plot, Loudoun Park Cemetery. Also, General Bradley T. Johnson, former commander and kinsman of Major Goldsborough, was telegraphed to in Virginia, but he was unable to attend the funeral. And word failed to reach General George H. Steuart in time, to whom, when Colonel First Maryland regiment infantry, C. S. A., Major Goldsborough was indebted for the instruction, training and example which helped to develop his superb soldierly qualities.

Major Goldsborough underwent a surgical operation some weeks before his death, refusing an anesthetic, hence he suffered agony, the shock from which it is believed shattered his system beyond repair. About five years ago his thigh bone was shattered from being struck down by a bicycle, after which he never walked without crutches. While in the hospital in Philadelphia he met and married his wife, who faithfully nursed him to the end. He hated to die, and fought death with his tremendous will-power. Once he said to his wife: ‘Should the end come, don't bury me among the—Yankees here; send my body to Broad-street station, and ship it to Winfield Peters, Baltimore.’ His command was obeyed. [244]

Major Goldsborough's remains reached Baltimore Friday, December 27th, and the funeral took place Saturday afternoon. The cortege formed at the main entrance to Loudoun Park Cemetery and moved to the Confederate plot. In front was a drum-and-fife corps, followed by a volunteer battalion from the Fifth regiment infantry, M. N. G., under Captain N. Lee Goldsborough. Then came the honorary pall-bearers and Rev. William M. Dame, D. D., chaplain. The hearse and carriages came next, with the active pall-bearers beside the hearse, then followed delegations from the Society of the Confederate States Army and Navy in Maryland under Captain George W. Booth, the James R. Herbert Camp, U. C. V., survivors of the Baltimore City Guard battalion and the Union Veterans' Association, who were proud to honor their war-time valiant antagonist. Mrs. Goldsborough was escorted from Philadelphia by Mr. Fred. L. Pitts, an associate with Major Goldsborough on the Philadelphia Record, and a member of Captain William H. Murray's company in the First Maryland regiment, as also was the writer.

The honorary pall-bearers (appointed and who were nearly all present) were: Brigadier-General George H. Steuart. Brigadier-General Bradley T. Johnson, Captain Wilson C. Nicholas, Major Frank A. Bond; Lieutenants Clapham Murray, McHenry Howard, Frank Markoe, Andrew C. Trippe, and Winfield Peters; Sergeants Richard T. Knox and Daniel A. Fenton; Privates N. Lee Goldsborough, Lamar Holliday, J. McKenny White, Sommerville Sollers, D. Ridgely Howard, Thomas D. Harrison, and Daniel L. Thomas. The active pall-bearers were six members of James R. Herbert Camp, in uniform, of which Major Goldsborough was a member.

Despite the inclement weather, many gallant old soldiers were present to testify their love and respect for the beloved old Major. At the grave the service of the Episcopal Church was conducted by Rev. Dr. Dame, a typical soldier; three volleys were fired over the grave; a bugler sounded ‘taps,’ and all that was mortal of the grand old soldier-patriot were left to await the trump of the resurrection morn. And it is comforting to know that in life much of his thoughts and hopes were heavenward.

Major Goldsborough's grave is beside that of Major John B. Brockenbrough, lately deceased, the organizer and distinguished commander of the Baltimore Light Artillery. Almost abreast of them lies Colonel Harry Gilmor, the dashing Maryland partisan, while fifty yards away lies brave General James R. Herbert, and intermediate [245] is the monument to the lamented Captain Wm. H. Murray and his men, and surrounding all these are five hundred men and officers of the invincible armies of the glorious Confederacy.

Ah! realm of tombs! but let her bear,
     This blazon to the last of times:
No nation rose so white and fair,
     Or fell so pure of crimes.

From early manhood the career of Major Goldsborough was replete with the stress and storm of arms. As a lad he ran away from home to enlist for the war against Mexico, but was overtaken in Baltimore and taken back home. During the war between the States his life was full of adventures, perils, battles, wounds and prison hardships. By nature he was, he admitted, ‘a man who loved fighting,’ and was always in the thick of battle.

Among the many brave, daring and skillful line officers of the Maryland line in the Confederate army, Major Goldsborough stood in the forefront, surpassed by none, if indeed he was wholly equalled. Descended from a distinguished lineage in Maryland, he inherited all the best faculties that typify the true Maryland soldier, added to a fine, cultivated intellect, a charming, magnetic personality, with a romantic, sanguine temperament, ever alert and ripe for perilous service, he commanded the admiration and confidence of all within reach of his voice or example. His superior officers were impressed with his exceptional worth, and he received less promotion than he deserved; but his fame will descend through generations following those who were his comrades in arms.

The genealogy of the Goldsboroughs appears in ‘Old Kent.’ The grandfather of Major Goldsborough was a native of Dorchester county, Maryland. He removed to Frederick county in 8000, where the father of Major Goldsborough, Leander W. Goldsborough, was born and spent part of his life, removing to Hanover, Pa., in 1845. His son, William Worthington, was born at Graceham, Frederick county, Md., October 6, 1831; was educated at Hanover, Pa., and learned the trade of a printer, afterward becoming foreman of the Pittsburg Dispatch, but he went to Baltimore about 1850 and found employment on newspapers until May, 1861. As a compositor and proof-reader he atttained great proficiency. In politics he was always an old school Democrat.

In 1857 he joined Captain D. E. Woodburn's company in the [246] Baltimore City Guard Battalion, one of the best known military commands in the United States, and after four years drilling and instruction he was well fitted for the duties of a soldier and an officer in field service. His company, with others, having been sent to Harper's Ferry, Va., to aid in subduing John Brown's murderous raid, in October, 1859, they closed upon the United States Marines who battered down the door of Brown's ‘Fort’ and rushed in, Goldsborough and another of his company were the first militiamen to enter with the marines.

In May, 1861, Goldsborough, in his thirtieth year, enlisted as a private in Captain E. R. Dorsey's company in the First Maryland Infantry. In June following he was elected captain of Company ‘A’ to succeed Captain Bradley T. Johnson, promoted to Major, serving thus until the muster out of the regiment, August 17, 1862, participating in both the campaigns in the Valley of Virginia, i. e., in 1861 under General Joseph E. Johnston, and in 1862 under Stonewall Jackson; also in the First Manassas battle and campaign in 1861 and in the Seven Days Battles below Richmond, in June and July, 1862. Near Front Royal, Va., during the battle on May 23d, 1862, he had the singular privilege of capturing his brother Charles and sending him to the rear with the other prisoners. The fight was between First Maryland Confederate and First Maryland Federal, and the latter was badly defeated, most of them were captured, although outnumbering their antagonist nearly three to one. So much for the genuine article versus the spurious.

Stonewall Jackson on his march to Pope's rear at Manassas, in August, 1862, placed Colonel Bradley T. Johnson in command of Jones' brigade in the Stonewall division (General Jones being disabled.) Colonel Johnson put Captain Goldsborough in command of the 48th Virginia Regiment (the ranking officer present for duty being a captain) and made Captain G. W. Booth his brigade-adjutant. Booth was a typical young officer and had been adjutant of the First Maryland. At Second Manassas this brigade, reduced to about 800 effectives, for nearly two days fought desperately and heroically at the railroad cut against Fitz John Porter's Corps, holding its ground to the end, repulsing many attacks in heavy force and often making counter charges. It was truthfully said that the air was thick with leaden hail. When physical endurance and cartridges alike were nearly exhausted, Captain Booth providentially discovered General Pender's brigade moving to the firing, when that gallant officer promptly reinforced Colonel Johnson's decimated but invincible [247] line (in much the same way that the First Maryland and Third Tennessee advanced upon, drove the enemy and saved Jackson's flank at First Manassas.) In this bloody battle of Second Manassas, Captain Goldsborough was severely and it was then thought mortally wounded; but careful nursing by hospitable Virginians in the Bull Run mountains restored him in time (in the latter part of 1862) to take the captaincy of Company ‘G,’ Second Maryland Infantry (which succeeded the First Maryland), being shortly afterward elected major, under Lieutenant-Colonel James R. Herbert, who had been Captain of Company ‘D,’ in the First Maryland.

Under these brave veterans as field officers, with much active service, the new Maryland battalion soon became a magnificent fighting phalanx. This regiment was in the flank attack upon the Federal General Milroy's force at Winchester, in June, 1863, which resulted in their total defeat and the capture of about four thousand in all. Milroy, outlawed by President Davis, escaping with a few hundred cavalry. Major Goldsborough, reconnoitering, was one of the first officers with a detachment to enter the town.

In the battle of Gettysburg, the Second Maryland, in General George H. Steuart's brigade, Johnson's division, participated with conspicuous valor and suffered dreadfully. They helped carry the enemy's advanced works on Culp's Hill on the evening of the second day—July 2, 1863—the ascent being over huge rocks and other serious obstructions; yet while breaking the alignments and delaying the advance, the large boulders served in a measure to shield the men from the bullets of the enemy. Nightfall came, yet the brave band pushed on, directed by the continuous flash from the rifles behind the breastworks. When close upon the enemy, Major Goldsborough sought Lieutenant-Colonel Walton, commanding the Twenty-third Virginia—next on the left of the Second Maryland—who in the desperate situation proposed a combined assault, to which Goldsborough cheerfully assented, and promptly getting his three left companies in line, on the right of the Virginians, both advanced as rapidly as possible, executed a right half-wheel, enabling them to take the enemy in flank and reverse, and rushed upon the works. The Yankees ‘skeedaddled’ to the rear and took refuge behind a supporting entrenched line. The remaining companies of the Second Maryland charged up to the works. The loss in killed and wounded was heavy, and among those very dangerously wounded was Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert, who was left in the enemy's hands when the [248] army retired, having Major Goldsborough for his companion, as will presently appear.

The next morning Major Goldsborough, now in command of the battalion, took companies ‘B’ and ‘G’ and advanced as sharpshooters to reconnoiter, but being met with a terrific fire, front and flank, from infantry and artillery, they retired. But the last act of the bloody drama was about to be enacted. The Second Maryland moved forward from the captured works into the open, changed front into line, formed with the brigade and advanced upon the enemy, who in heavy force were behind impregnable works. Major Goldsborough protested against this charge as being mere murder, but General Steuart replied that he, also, had protested. Goldsborough, seeing the charge would be desperate, said to the chivalric Captain Murray: ‘Take command of the right wing; I prefer to lead the left.’ Two more valiant leaders never found glory on a field of carnage. Within ten or fifteen minutes about two-thirds of the Second Maryland were killed or wounded, the remnant retiring sullenly, unpursued, and reoccupied the captured works.

Captain Murray was killed late in the charge, his body being covered with earth thrown up by countless bullets. Goldsborough was wounded, it was believed unto death; a minie bullet bored a terrible hole through his left lung, coming out at the back; yet, raising himself on his elbow he watched his gallant men being mowed down. General Steuart, with tears coursing down his cheeks, said: ‘Some one else must be responsible for the loss of those brave men. I obeyed orders.’ Steuart, a typical soldier, a Marylander and a West Pointer, idolized the Maryland infantry, most of whom he had taught, trained and inspirited.

Major Goldsborough writing, historically, said: ‘The devoted little brigade—already reduced to about nine hundred men—made their way slowly from the captured works, sometimes crawling to the spot where they were to be senselessly slaughtered. Nine hundred brave men to storm a mountain, upon whose sides bristled the bayonets of ten thousand foemen, and artillery innumerable. Some one's hands are stained with the blood of these gallant men.’

As in Pickett's charge, made a few hours later, Steuart's brigade advancing, received, front and flank, a withering fire from infantry and artillery, at enormous odds and entrenched, but the command from brave Steuart was, ‘Fix bayonets; forward, double-quick!’ And, like Pickett's men, they charged into defeat and death. The analogy is plainer, because the respective charges of Pickett's division [249] and Steuart's brigade, in directions about opposite, moving toward each other, would, if successful, have cut Meade's army in twain. His superior numbers and his earthworks saved him. Were Stonewall Jackson alive, Gettysburg would have been Meade's Waterloo.

Colonel Herbert and Major Goldsborough were among five or six hundred Confederate officers, prisoners of war, who were placed within range of the Confederate batteries at Charleston, S. C., during the fierce Federal assault on that city; suffering many hardships and privations, having often killed and eaten cats and other animals! What could have been more cowardly and despicable than such treatment to such heroes! Colonel Herbert's exchange was effected, but Major Goldsborough remained a prisoner until the war was over.

Soon after the war Major Goldsborough established the Winchester, Va., Times, which he afterward sold and went to Philadelphia to reside.

Major Goldsborough was with the Philadelphia Record from 1870 to 1890. In 1890 he migrated to the far Northwest, settling at Tacoma in Washington State. Here he came in contact with what was regarded as the roughest gang of printers on the Pacific Coast. Prior to his arrival no one had dared to run counter to them; but as foreman of the Tacoma Daily Globe he cleared out the gang, unionized the office and made it one of the best on the slope. This feat gained for him the title ‘Fighting Foreman.’ Upon the sale of the Globe, Major Goldsborough removed to Everett, Washington, where he had invested in real estate. He worked for a time on the Everett Herald, and later started the Everett Sun. About 1894 he returned to Philadelphia, contributing war articles to the Record and annotating for the war collection of D. Parish, Esq., in the New York Historical Society.

About two years ago Major Goldsborough was engaged by Mr. Parish to write a history of the famous Maryland Line in the Confederate army in Ms., inlaid, and to contain portraits and illustrations by a well known Philadelphia artist, the workmanship and finishing to be the very best and durable, one volume only to be made, for perpetual preservation. The cost to be about $2,000. The work was nearing completion when death overtook the author, but it is the aim of his widow to have finished this task of the distinguished soldier and author, with a guarantee of the sterling quality designed by him. [250]

Major Goldsborough wrote for the Record many historical sketches of incidents and engagements, in which Marylanders and Maryland troops were conspicuous. Those war articles, always terse, picturesque and spirited, evincing the writer's characteristic zeal and aptitude, were delightful, and were extensively reproduced in other newspapers. They are unique and nothing to compare with them has ever appeared. Doubtless they will be published in a volume.

Major Goldsborough was the author of The Maryland Line in the Confederate Army, published in 1869. About 1896 he partially rewrote this volume, but being unable to quite complete it, it was with other help finished and published. While thus engaged, he was entertained as a guest at the Maryland Line Confederate Soldiers' Home, Pikesville, Md., the superintendent being Sergeant Wm. H. Pope, of his company, ‘A,’ First Maryland Regiment. Still being desirous to do full justice to the Maryland Confederates, he was at his death engaged in gathering materials for a third volume, which it is probable will ultimately appear. With this end in view he spent much of last summer with his brother, Charles E. Goldsborough at Hunterstown, Pa., near Gettysburg and the battlefield. No one but Major Goldsborough has ever attempted to chronicle completely and historically the deeds and incidents connected with the Maryland Confederates.

The Maryland Line, C. S. A., was created by Act of the Confederate Congress, and consisted of infantry, cavalry and artillery, under Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, whom General R. E. Lee declared, with diffuse compliments, most worthy to command Marylanders. A grandson of Colonel Baker Johnson of the ‘Rebellion’ of 1776-‘83; he had under him some fifty cousins, and not one conscript or substitute!

‘These are my jewels.’

The widow of Major Goldsborough was Miss Louise Page, of Virginia, connected with the distinguished Lee and Page families, her father being a cousin of General R. E. Lee.

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