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F.Wayde Chrismer

From the Baltimore Sun 9/18/1979.

Emmitsburg Area In the Civil War

Wayde Chrismer

Overview

Mention the Civil War and most Americans will think first of the Battle of Gettysburg. Probably not one in a million, however, knows that but for the grace of God and the ifs and accidents of all military campaigns, the most famous battle in American history would have been The Battle of Emmitsburg, and Gettysburg merely an obscure town to the north from which Lee’s Confederates descended upon Emmitsburg-based Yanks in an inexorable step towards Baltimore and Washington, primary objectives in their 1863 invasion of the North. It’s an historical fact, however, to be spelled out in detail later.

The most controversial phase of American history is its Civil War. More words have been written about it than all other eras put together. The most difficult state about which to determine the true picture is Maryland. For twenty years this writer has researched that particular subject without reaching a provable conclusion as to whether the state was pro-North or pro-South. "Facts" are available about nearly every Maryland aspect. But turn another page. read another book, pamphlet, newspaper, contemporary letter, diary or post-war memoir, and you find those ‘‘facts’’ contradicted, or at least disputed, by a source equally as reliable as the first. But where can you find out much that is worthwhile and reliable al) out Emmitsburg? Rarely were the voluminous records on the war broken down even to counties; to towns, never. No newspaper existed in Emmitsburg; nobody seems to have kept anything remotely resembling a diary; not a single letter by a resident Emmitsburgian during the war has been found. A few are recorded in The Story of the Mountain. Helman’s History of Emmitsburg appears to be based largely on hearsay, and occasionally the town is mentioned in the Official Records or some soldier’s unreliable post-war memoirs.

The only newspapers one can use are Frederick ones, of which there were three during the period. The writer is fortunate in possessing a complete file of The Frederick Examiner for the years 1844 into 1863 (a gift of the late Charles Arthur Elder). Of the other two. The Republican Citizen (actually Democrat as to politics) and The Maryland Union (a mixed political breed) only occasional scattered issues apparently exist not enough to be any more than troublesome. Williams in his History of Frederick County describes them well, saying "the papers were filled with editorials of a most intensely partisan character . . . . The subscriber to The Republican Citizen was almost sure to be a Democrat, and the circulation of The Examiner was confined practically to the Whigs" [later it would support the "Americans" (or Know-Nothings) and eventually the "Unconditional Unionists" (or Republicans).] 

Williams went on: "Each subscriber believed what his paper stated, absolutely refusing credence to the paper of opposite politics. If there was a great political meeting, the editor was there in person to report it, that is if it was of his own party. If it was of the opposite party, it would be dismissed with a few contemptuous lines." The papers, for instance, would not even publish the names of candidates of the opposition parties until the results of elections were announced. Add to this the fact that Emmitsburg was the most remote county town from Frederick and was rarely mentioned; the papers had no "reporters" except friends who dropped in to "report" what they knew the editor wanted to hear few of them being from faraway Emmitsburg, and you can appreciate an Emmitsburg historian’s problems.

Slavery in Emmitsburg

The historian must sometimes reluctantly make dubious presumptions from related facts available from nearby areas or from larger communities which embrace the town. We cannot for instance tell you how many slaves or free blacks there were in the Emmitsburg area or how many slave-owners, what the slaves were worth or even for that matter what was the Emmitsburg area. A fire May 8, 1861, made "a mass of ruins in less than an hour" of the Frederick Courthouse. Contemporary published ac­counts say that "all official papers were saved" but Courthouse authorities, while this article was being prepared, said the records "had been destroyed’ ‘either then or later.

The national census for 1860 shows Frederick County’s total population as 46,591—38,391 being whites, 4,957 free colored, and 3,243 slaves. This meant one slave to every 13 whites in Frederick County; in adjacent Carroll County the ratio was one slave to every 28 whites; in Washington County it was one slave to every 20 whites. Why did Frederick County, by comparison with similarly situated and similarly composed neighbors, harbor so many slaves? Statistics for the town are unavailable so, as for Emmitsburg, one can merely speculate that its percentage was the same as that of the county.

How did Emmitsburgians feel about slavery? Again, a presumption must be resorted to, though some certainty can be reached from physical evidence in the writer’s possession. Williams wrote of slaves that "they were treated with mildness and humanity . . . and when old age came were cared for until the end of their days." This last proves nothing, of course, for owners were compelled by law to care for all blacks in their possession until their deaths. Helman says "It was only by the kindest treatment that they could be kept" adding that "Felix Tawney and Dr. James Shorb each had quite a number to run away." A post-war writer in The Story of the Mountain, says that "The College had years before freed its last bondsmen" (without saying whether it was voluntarily or when it was forced upon the institution by the statewide abolition of slavery in 1864). The quotation adds that "even after their emancipation [the slaves] showed the noblest consideration for their unfortunate owners." It goes on to say that "Most of the Negroes around Emmitsburg were and are Catholics, and exemplary children of the Church." Another historian felt that "Frederick Contains considered Negro slavery to be legally and morally just . . . a constitutional right . . . a form of property to be handled as the owner wished.’

These arguments would undoubtedly have been challenged by Maryland’s two most famous Blacks: Frederick Douglass, whom the short-lived Liberty Party wished to run for the office of American President: and Harriet Tubman, an Eastern Shore Negroes, the best known operator of Maryland’s "Underground Railway" which helped slaves escape to freedom in the northern states. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who found in Josiah Henson the original of her "Uncle Tom" on a Maryland plantation, would also have been in disagreement.

Probably, Emmitsburgians favored the spread of slavery for it meant a larger market for the slaves whom Marylanders were selling off by the thousands when their use in the State became impracticable and unprofitable. But certainly no stigma seems to have been attached here to slave ownership, and most of the better families appeared to have had them as house servants. Wealthier farmers also used them as unskilled laborers, but there was no large-scale use on such plantations as those in Southern Maryland and the lower Eastern Shore. Whether this was still the case as the Civil War approached, cannot be substantiated but was doubtless so. It was certainly the case at the close of the 18th century. A manuscript inventory of the goods and chattels of this writer’s great-great-great grandfather George Hockensmith showed, in 1799, that he died possessed of two slaves Negro Jack appraised at $240.00 and Negro Amoss at $186.66. That such possessions were commonplace then and so treated is suggested by the fact that they were in-discriminatively inventoried between an "Apple Mill, $12.00" and "One Grey Horse, $16.00."

The appraisers of the document, John M. Bayard and John Troxell, probably had slaves of their own and knew slave values. The heirs, Jacob and George Hockensmith, doubtless felt no compunction about accepting them as part of their inheritance, presuming they were not sold to allay the claims of the listed creditors, John Buchanan and Robert L. Annan of Emmitsburg. Who most likely would have been glad to accept them in settlement of my ancestors debts.

Soldiers’ Views of the Emmitsburg Area

One Yankee officer passing through the area during the Gettysburg campaign, saw people like this: "It is not always easy to discern the political sentiments of these Maryland gentry from conversation as a Federal soldier with them. They are ‘all things to all men’ though not in the sense meant by the apostle. Adhesion to the South would involve a charge of disloyalty to the government of the North, if it were known, and consequently they refrain from advocating Southern predilections when the forces of the Union are in their vicinity; yet there have been . . . instances where farmers of this area, professing Union sentiments, have with heart and hand, assisted the Rebels as often as opportunity offered.

Another Yankee officer saw our ancestors like this: Lt. M. Moore of New York, in command of a company of eighty men, found the people in this area a bunch of hypocrites. Writing to his "Esteemed Uncle" in 1863 he said he found "the people in this part very ignorant of the condition of our country. ‘ He added: "I have talked with many of them and they are not able to explain what the South are fighting for . . . The most of them are (quite wealthy and about all they think of is money and slaves." He "often wonders whether it was worthwhile to leave my little family to go fight for such people as these in Maryland who are so greedy for their own possessions yet wont go fight for them themselves ... They ought to be hung for they are traitors and secessionist at heart. Their actions prove it, their conduct speaks it. I appeal to any sensible Union man if those Northern Secessionist are not worse than a Rebel in arms in front of us they are cowards, they are scoundrels, and I hope they will meet their justice in time and that in a hemp collar! The country demands them to be hung (for their hands are stained with the blood of good soldiers,"

Other Yankees were much more sympathetic of Emmitsburg’s plight. A Pennsylvania officer writes: ‘‘Two miles from Emmitsburg we passed Mount Saint Mary’s and taking advantage of a moment’s halt a party of three or four rode up to the main entrance. We were cordially received by the president [Rev. John McCaffrey] and with characteristic hospitality a collation was in preparation for us.’’ But see what The Story of the Mountain says about the school’s reception of Confederates: "The Confederate forces invading Pennsylvania passed along in front of the College, and many a veteran will tell how he stopped there for a bit and how they treated him." It adds that, during a Confederate raid past the Mount, "the Vice-President, Rev. John McCloskey rode for quite a distance along side the commander, General J. E. B. Stuart. As for Dr. McCaffrey himself, it says this: "Dr. McCaffrey used to say that if he met General Lee he could give him valuable information."

Stuart himself wrote in his official report following the 1862 Chambersburg Raid: "We crossed to Emmitsburg, where, as we passed, we were hailed by the inhabitants with the most enthusiastic demonstration of joy.’’ One of Stuart’s officers saw Emmitsburg like this: "the first place we came to (after crossing the Maryland-Pennsylvania line] was the little town of Emmitsburg . . . If we had fallen from the clouds, the people could not have been more astonished . . . and their demonstrations of delight at seeing us were unbounded. The people here seemed to be intensely Southern in their sympathies and omitted no opportunity of showing us attention during the short half hour we passed among them.

A definite pro-Yankee attitude was shown a Massachusetts’ musician who visited here. He writes that "An old man brought cakes and bread into Camp to give them to the soldiers. He would take no pay." He also says: Burditt and I went over to a house and got supper for which they would not let us pay." Further, he adds: "We got well acquainted with Maryland bread, huge loaves baked in ovens outside the house, and tasting to us like manna in the wilderness." This was on the way to Gettysburg. Of events following the battle, he says: "Started after the Rebels at last. Passed through Emmitsburg and near there got a splendid dinner is of green peas, etc. At the College of St. Mary’s, dinners and good dinners, too were furnished at 10 cents each." Concerning events a year or less earlier, in 1862, a Confederate writes of d Emmitsburg: "We passed through Emmitsburg just at night. I have never in all my life witnessed such enthusiasm as greeted us at this place. It were a vain task to attempt a description of the outpourings of the Southern heart on that memorable night. The richest bounties of the town things that delight the soldier’s heart or that could in any wise minister to our personal comforts were lavishly bestowed upon us all, while our ears heard naught but blessing upon blessing for the South, for Jeff Davis and our cause, from those bound down people, who now beheld for the first time in their lives flags and officers and men representing the cause which lax nearest their hearts.’’

It must be remembered that in 1862, the Confederates were invading Maryland for the first time and under the misguided impression that the State would rise to join its forces. Lee and President Davis had formed this opinion largely on information given them by two Frederick Counties then resident in Richmond. They were Ex-Gov. Enoch Louis Lowe and Col. (later General) Bradley Tyler Johnson. Lowe had promised to join Lee in Maryland and add his political influence in raising as many as ten thousand recruits for the Rebel army but he never showed up. Johnson was made Recruiting Officer by Lee, but from the best published accounts, was able to raise fewer than 100 men, six of whom, at least, are reputed to have come from The Mount. The disillusioned Confederate soldiers by the scores wrote then and later that they would never again believe one word of the song, "Maryland My Maryland" with its boasts of hatred for Yankee oppression and its love for the South. Back in Richmond, a lady was writing in derision in her diary: "When a bill passed [the Confederate] Congress including straggling Marylanders [who had sought the safety of Richmond] in the conscription, the beautiful and patriotic words of ‘My Maryland’ were amusingly travestied as follows:

‘Conscribers’ heels are at thy do or, Maryland! My Maryland!
So off to Baltimore we’ll go, Maryland! My Maryland!
We can’t stay here to meet the foe;
 
We might get shot and killed, you know, But when we’re safe we’ll bras and blow,
Maryland! My Maryland!’.

 

Other Yankees were to find enthusiasm in Emmitsburg besides those quoted above (which have been deliberately mixed up amongst the Confederates to show the confused opinions about the community.) Another Pennsylvanian recorded: "Our reception was extremely enthusiastic. Ladies and young girls distributed beautiful bouquets to the officers and soldiers; groups of fair damsels bewitchingly posted in conspicuous places sang patriotic airs as the ‘boys in blue’ passed by and . . . the citizens turned out en masse. Long after tattoo, groups of ladies and gentlemen promenaded through our camps, actuated by a curiosity to see how soldiers really lived in the tented field" This was while the Yankees were on their way to Gettysburg in 1863.

Much other evidence exists as to the divided opinions of the people of Emmitsburg and will be given later. Even families were divided. We know definitely of one only: the Annans. Dr. Andrew Annan, a 56-year-old physician when war broke out, was an Anti-Slavery (i.e.: Unionist) delegate to the State Constitutional Congress which abolished slavery in 1864. His half-brother, Dr. Samuel Annan, aged 64 in 1861, "was a surgeon in the Confederate Army, 1861-64." Another relative, Robert Lewis Annan, aged 30 when the conflict began, who had practiced in Emmitsburg, must have been caught on the horns of this domestic dilemma, but we have no information as to his military affiliations or political sentiments.

There was, apparently, no outright guerrilla warfare between the people here as occurred in divided Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri only vicious tattling. Only one Emmitsburgian and one Mountaineer are reported to have incurred the legal and military wrath of the Federalists for alleged pro-Southern sentiments. One was a man identified only as "Elder" who was reported upon during the Gettysburg campaign by "some of his malicious neighbors, in consequence of which his place was almost destroyed." According to a Mount student in an 1862 letter to his sister: "Bart Shorb [is] just out of Fort McHenry [where political prisoners were incarcerated] on parole." But "even the little children had imbibed the spirit of their parents; and . . . it was no uncommon thing to hear a tot, perched on the top of a fence, shout as if he would split a ‘Hurrah for Jeff’ or a ‘Hurrah for Abe’."

Scores of grand jury indictments were brought against Frederick Counties for efforts to aid the enemy, but whether they were Emmitsburgians or not cannot be told from original manuscript indictments in this author’s possession. Robert Annan of Emmitsburg was foreman of the October Term 1862 Grand Jury, but the actual indictments in his own hand and signed by him merely declare, for instance, that So-and-So, "late of said county", on such-and-such day and such-and-such month did "conspire or combine with others to levy war against this State giving aid and comfort to the enemies thereof." Whether these men (and in some cases, women! ) were from Emmitsburg or Middletown or Frederick or wherever, is never stated.

 

Mount St. Mary’s College During the Civil War

With students, teachers and administrative personnel from both North and South, political feelings at the Mount were strongly divided. Prior to the war, it had suffered severely from political Know-Nothings (a subject treated lengthily elsewhere. ) When war itself broke out, its personnel, as individuals, had little choice but to take sides though there was no open hostility between themselves. The school suffered both spiritually and financially. ‘‘There were 173 students in 1859-60, not including seminarians, ‘ But ‘‘the number of pupils in 1861-62 was the lowest in half a century 67, with 28 seminarians.’’ In mid-wartime ‘‘the catalogue of June 24, 186.3, showed 94 boys and 27 seminarians.

Scores of its students followed geographical leanings to go with one army or the other. No restraint was put upon their going other than what the Federal Government could apply. Its administrators had a different problem. Graduates of its seminary were occupying high religious offices in North and South. Bishop Quinlan "from the extreme South" wrote President McCaffrey in February 1861 before the war commenced: "Tho’ wishing from my heart to see a long and prosperous Union . . . I am afraid that it is now vain, to hope for its reconstruction and preservation Bishop Elder at Natchez in July ‘61 wrote: "We are continuing our prayers for peace but a fair and honorable peace." Among those who "gave the Confederacy the ‘aid and comfort’ of sympathy if not overt action The Mountain cites the Rev. Thomas R. Butler, Vicar General of the Covington, Ky. diocese. Of him it says: "In the interest of some Southern prisoners, he visited Pres. Lincoln. They’ were kind red spirits in their hearts, tender charity and love of justice and right as each saw it." Though thus suggesting that Fr. Butler was a Southerner, it adds that "he never after allowed in his presence a sneer at Abraham Lincoln either by word or look.’’ These were men formerly associated with The Mount. It was a different thing for Dr. McCaffrey school president and responsible for all its official actions. How he managed to get away with what he did without being arrested is difficult to imagine. A priest of later days who had been "a prefect in the days of the Civil War" wrote in 1906: "In and around the College [there was] a very bitter feeling towards the North. Dr. McCaffrey in his remarks was exceedingly bitter.

The same authors state: "The long years of uninterrupted authority had rendered Rev. John McCaffrey more than autocratic ‘‘ saying his motto might well have been I am the College." They add: "Had he accepted the mitre of Charleston’ he would during the Civil War, have been among the most ultra of those with whom his deepest sympathies were: he was a Southerner of the most uncompromising type. There can be no doubt that his actions at The Mount during the war supported it." Though he claimed that it was in the interests of neutrality, Father McCaffrey refused to let the American flag be displayed on the campus. When Lincoln was shot, Federal orders were issued ‘‘for every house to display some sign of mourning. An officer visited the college, but there was no sign visible," until Dr. McCaffrey produced "a small piece of crape" on a door which had been opened back so that it would not be visible until disclosed.

The Mountain quotes an 1863 graduate writing after the war: "Whilst there were strong partisans, both among the faculty and students, for both sides, the general aspect of the college was neutral ground. Still the prevailing sentiment of the college was in favor of the South ... The adherents of the South among the faculty were: The President, Dr. McCaffrey: Henry McMurdie, Professor of Logic and Director of the Seminary; George H. Miles, Professor of English Literature; Col. Daniel Beltzhoover, a graduate of West Point and a classmate of General Grant, professor of Mathematics and Commandant of the Mountain Cadets; and James Hickey, Professor of Writing and Drawing. The Union men were: Rev. John McCloskey, Vice-President and Treasurer; Rev. Leonard Obermeyer and Rev. John B. Byrne. Henry Dielman, Professor of Music, and Jean Maurice, Professor of French, were neutrals. In the Seminary, John D. Crimmens was the most pronounced Republican or Abolitionist."

There are two discrepancies here of the sort that make Civil War historians desperate if they truly seek the truth. McCloskey is called a Union man, vet the same work associates him intimately with the Rebel Gen. Stuart. That Beltzhoover was a "classmate of Gen. Grant" is definitely un­true. The historical Register of the U.S. Regular Army shows that Beltzhoover entered West Point on the very same day that Grant graduated.

The mountain continues: "Though the professors and students took sides and were firm in their opinions there was never any ill-feeling entertained nor violence indulged in." No sooner had the war broken out than Southern-born students made haste to leave for Dixie. Some thirty left with Beltzhoover, who later commanded a Louisiana battery. Among others was Louis Victor Baughman, son of the editor of The Frederick Citizen, later suppressed by the Yankees. During the Antietam campaign, at least six left to join Lee’s troops in Frederick. In 1864, when Gen. Early made the final Confederate raid on Maryland, a Mississippi parent was persuaded by two student sons for permission to join him. One son was killed during a raid in the neighborhood of Hagerstown" but the other escaped. Not all Southern-born students left, however, and The Mount wrote off their expenses because funds for their maintenance could not be sent to the school. The college also contributed money towards the maintenance of Southern students at the American College in Rome for the same reason.

In addition to financial losses incurred by a drop in enrollment, the subsidization of Southern students and natural economic problems, the school is supposed to have expended huge sums on the purchase of quickly depreciating and ultimately worthless Confederate bonds. We can find no substantiation for this in The Story of the Mountain. It was a standing joke when this writer attended The Mount (and never contested by the authorities to my knowledge) that Msgr. B. J. Bradley, its president, could have papered the largest room there using nothing but the valueless Rebel bonds with which the schools’ archives were said to be filled. In any case, Mount Saint Mary’s came out of the war with nearly all her temporal possessions lost, but with her glorious records of the past untarnished and her spirit unbroken.’

Probably like most of her lay neighbors in Emmitsburg, the college, by and large, looked upon the conflict as a biographer cited in The Mountain wrote of Archbishop John Hughes of New York, the school’s most famous graduate during the Civil War: "When the rebellion first broke out in 1861, he hoped and prayed for peace until all room for hope was gone. He was not carried away by the war-like enthusiasm which broke out all through the North after the capture of Fort Sumter; though he was by no means a believer either in the doctrine of State sovereignty or the right of secession. [He had written:] ‘I am an advocate for the sovereignty of every State in the Union within the limits recognized and approved by its own representative authority when the Constitution was agreed upon . . . I hold that South Carolina has no State right to interfere with the internal affairs of Massachusetts . . . But the Constitution, having been formed by the common consent of all parties engaged in the framework and approval thereof, I maintain that no State has the right to secede, except in the manner provided for in the document itself .

Let’s end this account of The Mount with an anecdote probably un­known to all its readers. John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, was taught "at a school kept . . . in a little one-story brick building . . . in Baltimore a graduate of Mt. St. Mary’s College, Martin J. Kerney." So writes James J. Williamson, one of Mosby’s Rangers, who says he was a classmate there with Booth, along with the latter’s brother Edwin and John Sleeper Clarke, yet another actor, who later married the Booth brothers sister, Asia.

The Story of St. Joseph’s in the War

Unlike its masculine counterpart across "The Valley", St. Joseph’s was non-military and became involved in politics only briefly, again at the hands of the Know-Nothings as will be noted later. The Mother House of The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Joseph’s in the \alley of Emmitsburg, Maryland" by which ponderous title its best-read historians define it, was almost solely known for the many works of charity and mercy to which its founder, St. Elizabeth Bayley Seton, had dedicated it.

There was scarcely a community of any consequence in North or South here the sisters from Emmitsburg did not perform their acts of charity of mercy. They served in hospitals in Richmond, Winchester, White House, Gordonsville and Lynchburg (Virginia); in New Orleans, Natchez andl central Georgia; in Washington, New York and Philadelphia; in Frederick, at Point Lookout, and, Baltimore; and also actively on the actual battlefields of Harper’s Ferry, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Shiloh and Gettysburg to name but some.

In June 1861, the Confederate doctor in charge of military hospitals in Richmond "called upon Sisters of Charity of Emmitsburg to come to the relief of the sick and wounded soldiers in that neighborhood." Archbishop Hughes of New York, learning of the request, wrote Archbishop Kenrick in Baltimore that, though he understood the Sisters "would be willing to volunteer a force of from fifty to one hundred nurses’’ he had ‘‘very strong objections." He reasoned that "Maryland is a divided community at this moment and feared political misinterpretations if they were sent to nurse Confederate wounded when they were needed in the North to which Maryland, officially, still belonged. They did go there later however. Also, most high Catholic officials feared that the sisters might, inadvertently, be used for improper military purposes. They were quite right. No sooner had ‘a group of brave sisters left Emmitsburg on June 9(1861) for Frederick" through which they would pass on their way to the Harper’s Ferry Battlefield, than a local man tried to give a sister a letter that "a gentleman in Emmitsburg desires you to put in a Southern post office after you have crossed the [Yankee] lines." The author says "The sisters remained quiet and made the best of the incident’ an ambiguous statement taken to mean that the sisters declined.

Hundreds of post-war memoirs and letters by both Yanks and Rebs that this writer has perused attest to the complete charitable impartiality of the sisters, stating that "their tender care was given to all." Men in blue and gray, lying side by side in the same battlefield hospitals, vied for the honor of being cared for by the ‘‘ladies in the big white hats.’’ Barton says sisters serving in Richmond hospitals at the time of the Seven Days Battles in 1862 were told 1w Yankee soldiers, doubtless jokingly, "that they had received orders from their general ‘to capture Sisters of Charity if they could as the hospitals were in great need of them.’’

Barton says of Emmitsburg: "That section of country in which the Mother House was located was in possession of the Union army most of the time. The house was looked upon as sacred property by the generals of both armies and never molested by the soldiers." Following the battle of Antietam, General McClellan personally thanked the Sisters, saying "I am proud and happy to see the Sisters of Charity with these poor men.’’ In New Orleans, Yankee General Butler (in command there then) "personally thanked Sister Maria Clara, Sister Superior in charge of the Emmitsburg nuns, writing that ‘no one can appreciate more fully than myself the holy, self-sacrificing labors of the Sisters of Charity. Sisters to all man­kind, they know no nation, no kindred, neither war nor peace’."

One post-war woman author who served as a nurse during the war and. judging from other remarks, had little regard for Catholics, wrote of the Sisters of Charity with whom she served at Point Lookout, the huge Union hospital for Confederate prisoners of war at the tip of Southern Maryland: "Twenty-five Sisters of Charity with the priest and Sister Superior had supervision over the patients in a part of the cottages . . , and we some­times caught a glimpse of a sweet placid face under the long white bonnets which they’ wore. They’ were ceaseless in the work of mercy amongst those poor suffering soldiers . . . One of them died at the hospital and was buried in the wave-washed cemetery, surrounded by the graves of the soldiers.’

After the battle at nearby Antietam, "The Superior of the Sisters of Charity, with the people of Emmitsburg, collected a quantity of clothing. provisions, remedies, delicacies and money. The overseer of the Community drove in a carriage to the place, with Father Smith, C. M., and two of the Sisters some thirty miles" to care for the wounded of both sides. who were being housed in every kind of shelter barns, sheds, pens and even under fodder shocks.

"On July 4. 1863, the day after Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg] Rev. James Francis Burlando, with twelve Sisters left Emmitsburg for the battlefield, taking refreshments, bandages, sponges and clothing. On reaching Gettysburg, the Sisters did all they could to relieve and console the wounded soldiers. Their assistance was divided without partiality to both Yankees and Rebs alike, whether in an improvised hospital or on the bare fields of the carnage-strewn area."

Altogether, at least 232 Sisters from Emmitsburg are positively identified as having served during the Civil War in one way or another. Of these, Dr. Jolly breaks down their places of birth, showing that 41 came from the Northern free states, 52 from slave states (including Maryland

and the District of Columbia) and 139 from foreign countries mostly of Ireland and Germany. She identified only two as being Emmitsburg natives Sister Mary Catherine Chrismer, who served at Gettysburg, and m Sister Mary Rosina Quinn who, she says, "formed a part of the Ambulance In corps, and served on land and on water in the South and in the North."

Lay students of St. Joseph’s Academy, like their Mountain counterparts, also came from all over the nation. Certainly some of them who were able to get back to their Southern homes did not return to the school. Others were forced by circumstances to stay there for the duration, and at least one little Southern girl died and was buried at the school. They were probably in the group which welcomed a Pennsylvania Regiment of Yanks shortly before the battle of Gettysburg. Barton writes that as the regiment was approaching St. Joseph’s Academy near Emmitsburg, a long line of young girls led by several Sisters of Charity took their position along the side of the road and at a word from the Sister in charge all fell upon their knees and with upturned faces earnestly prayed for the spiritual and physical safety of the men who were about to go into deadly battle.

Emmitsburgians Who Fought In The War

The historian will go crazy who tries to determine with certainty how many Marylanders actually fought in the two armies. A faster way to an asylum is to try to learn where they came from. No two historians can agree upon the numbers involved. The History and Roster claims 62,959; the OR’s credit the state with 46,638. This writer’s name-by-name check, eliminating all duplications, finds a figure of about 40,000 to be more likely correct.

With no agreement as to numbers, even from Maryland as a whole, we can only speculate on who came from Emmitsburg. According to The History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers, War of 1861-5 (a two-volume work on Union soldiers compiled for the General Assembly in 1898 and hereafter called "The History and Roster",) there were enlisted in Frederick County six companies, or parts thereof, for the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Maryland Infantry Regiments, and probably some for the 1st. The county also raised four companies for the 1st Potomac Home Brigade Infantry and two for the Third. Numerous veterans from those latter two who "re-upped" when their enlistments expired and joined the 13th Regt. were probably also from Frederick County, as were a part of one company in the 3rd Maryland Cavalry.

It is entirely possible that there were Emmitsburg men in each of the companies enlisted in Frederick. Three uncles of my mother named Humerick, though spelled variously in the History did so, and it is not likely that they went there unaccompanied by local friends. Of one thing only is this writer certain. That is, that many of the men in Company C of Cole’s Cavalry, as it came to be known but officially the 1st. Regt. Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry, came from Emmitsburg. Not only was the company originally known as John Horner’s Cavalry Company and organized by that Emmitsburgian, but many of the men in it bear surnames with a distinctive Emmitsburg flavor some known personally to this writer in his childhood in the town. The regiment ultimately grew to 12 companies, but Companies A, C and D, from Frederick County, and Company B from Cumberland, were organized into a single battalion under Col. Henry A. Cole.

Horner and most of his Emmitsburg companions were mustered into Federal service on Aug. 27, 1861, but John Horner resigned and left the company June 10, 1862. It was Oliver A. Homer, also of Emmitsburg and originally a private in the company, who rose to be a Major on the regimental staff, who achieved greatest individual fame with it and came to be known as the outfit’s leader. It was Captains Albert M. Hunter and Henry Buckingham who officially succeeded the organizer, however. Listed as officers in the company are these others bearing local names: 1st Lt. John M. Annan (killed accidentally Nov. 13, 1861); 1st Lt. W. A. Horner; 2nd Lt. Hiram S. McNair.34

Listed among the company’s non-commissioned officers and privates are these other familiar Emmitsburg names: Sergt. Andrew A. Annan; George Cease (more likely Seiss but misspelled, who was killed in action Sept. 2, 1862 probably at Leesburg, Va.); George T. Eyester (or Eyster), Theodore Fites (or Fitez), who was taken prisoner Jan. 1, 1864, almost certainly by Moshy’s guerrillas whom the battalion was fighting near Upperville, Va. at the time and who died in prison Dec. 10, 1864; there were also Thomas F. Fraley, Win. A. Fraley, Sergt. John F. Gilson, John H.Gelwicks, George L. Gillelan, Corp. Charles A. Gilson, Joseph T.Gelwicks, Corp. George T. Gelwicks, Richard N. Gilson (who died Aug. 3,1864, of wounds received in action in the post-Monocacy fighting that chased Gen. Early back across the Potomac); Silas McAllen Horner, Jacob Hartzell, Michael Hoke, John F. Knott, Noah Koontz, Samuel J. Maxell (who later became a Lieutenant on Cole’s staff and was captured Sept. 2, 1862, also probably at Leesburg during the fiasco that followed Second Bull Run; he was exchanged and fought with the regiment until its final muster-out June 28, 1865); Samuel N. McNair, wounded in action Sept. 2, July 1862 and discharged for disability though The Roster mistakenly carries is him on the rolls until Jan. 7, 1865; also Thadeus A. Maxell, killed in action June 8, 1864 during fighting in the Shenandoah while repelling Early’s entry in to Maryland; John H. Mentzer, John Munshower, John M

Morritz (also carried as "Moritz" who died Nov. 15, 1863); John Reifsnider; Sgt. George W. Shriver, captured Jan. 1, 1864 and who died Aug. 27, 1864 in Andersonville Prison; John Slagle, Edward Wenchoff, taken prisoner Jan. 1, 1864 but obviously exchanged for he is carried on the rolls until June 6, 1865; John F. Wetzel and William J. Weddle. That there were probably other Emmitsburg area men in this company, the writer willingly acknowledges, and suggests that the reader search the roster for others whom he can identify.

Emmitsburg can be proud of two things in connection with Company e C: though 16 of the 180 men listed in the company at one time or another, deserted it, not one of those who sounds like an Emmitsburgian was among them, Also, almost all of these "Emmitsburgians" not only served out the original terms of their enlistment (except the founder) but re­enlisted and were still in service when the regiment was mustered out in June of 1865.

The exploits of Cole’s Battalion were among the most heroic and spectacular of any organization in the Eastern theater of war. See an article by this writer in The Emmitsburg Chronicle on Oct. 20, 1967 for fuller details of their activities. The men themselves stuck together as a fraternity long after the war. As late as 1892 they were holding reunions at the local Grand Army of the Republic headquarters, banqueting at the old Western Maryland Hotel, and holding "campfires" where they relived their old days in the field and camp. Most other information about Emmitsburgians who fought in the War is negative. Emmitsburg organized a body of "Union Zouaves composed of the flower of the young men of Emmitsburg in mid-May of 1861" but no such group appears anywhere in any records of the State or Federal government or in those works that treat of such independently organized groups. These Zouaves must have stemmed from Governor Hicks’s early 1861 orders from Washington for Maryland to provide four regiments for the protection of that city’. Maryland was still hassling with Union authorities as to how and where such men should he used. Hicks demanded that they not be sent out of the State or, at the farthest, not beyond D. C. Also, many Northern officers distrusted the loyalties of all Maryland men. The Zouaves were reportedly officered by Capt. Isaac S. Annan., 1st. Lt. William Wardsworth, 2nd Lt. Samuel Maxwell, Orderly Sgt. Samuel Eyster, Corp. David Gillan [more probably Gillelan] and Ensign James McCullough, Some of which names we’ve seen earlier in Company C of Cole’s Cavalry.

Records of the Union draft as it affected Frederick County might have given helpful information but they are not available. "David Agnew was the local draft officer for Emmitsburg under the President’s call for troops in 1862" and probably had records of Emmitsburg men in service. However, William Mahoney, Commissioner of Enrollment and Draft for this county, was arrested by the Confederates [during the Antietam campaign in Sept. 18621 and the enrollment books destroyed." Under that 1862 call the county was asked for 259 more men to add to the total of 1019 it had already provided. Presumably, therefore, the records of at least 1,278 (and possibly their places of residence) became Confederate possessions and were later lost if not immediately destroyed. This was not actually a draft but a call for more volunteers. The first actual mandatory draft was riot instituted until July of 1863.

A writer in The Story of the Mountain says "The people around Emmitsburg and in the town were very evenly divided at the outbreak of the War of 61. A company of volunteers marched off openly one day to strike for the Union cause; whilst others discovered that they had important business demanding immediate attention down in the direction of Dixie’s land. The latter went off without the aid of brass bands; and if any tears were shed at parting they rolled in secret. Too much guesswork is involved in any Confederate accounts for this writer to speculate about who, from Emmitsburg, might have fought for that army. Readers who may want to know if their ancestors fought with the Confederacy are referred to two sources where there are listed some names which sound as though they could be Emmitsburg related. They are "The Index to the Maryland Line, etc." published in Annapolis in 1944; and A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations, 1861, Richmond, 1964.

The History of Emmitsburg also lists a few Emmitsburgians who are buried in local cemeteries, but states nothing else. It identifies these: Major 0. A. Horner, IA. John M. Annan, Enos McDannels, Presbyterian; Isaac Heagy, Noah Koontz, Thadeus Maxell, Benjamin Cehrhart, Joseph Wills, John Shields, James Peoples, James Mcllhenny, Jeremiah Stranesbaugh, Lutheran; C. W. MacPherson, Jacob Settlemyer, James Arnold, Peter Cook, Augustus Little, John Murphy, Theodore Cook, Jacob I. Topper, Nicholas Seltzer, Catholic; John Constant, Nathaniel Millsbury, John Rosensteel, Joseph Shorb, Henry Taylor, George Seiss, College; Jacob Reeves, John Spence, Philip Long, Mountain View; John Kipe, George Kipe, Sabillasville; Frederick Nindle, Fairfield; John Hunter, Gettysburg; Joseph Davidson, Rocky Ridge; Peter Glasser, Mt. Joy; Joseph Zech, Henry Gelwicks, Joseph Coombs, Andersonville; Emory Gilson, died in prison; Newton Gilson, killed in battle.’ To this list, the writer can add one more name. It is that of James J. Hospelhorn, the town’s last surviving Civil War soldier, whose obituary the author wrote for The Emmitsburg Chronicle as a youngster. He was buried in the Lutheran Cemetery as a squad of riflemen from the Francis N. Elder Post of the Emmitsburg American Legion fired a final salute over his grave.

Fighting in the Area

Comparatively little actual fighting occurred around the area at any time and none apparently in the town itself. Emmitsburg was always on the extreme perimeter of the battlefields of first Antietam, then Gettysburg and finally Monocacy (during the invasion of 1864). However, the town often saw cavalrymen from both armies out scouting their opponents or in pursuit of foes they knew had passed through here or were encamped nearby. Stuart's Confederates passed through Emmitsburg on their way back to Virginia from the first Chambersburg raid, following the battle of Antietam. This was on Oct. 11, 1862, when Stuart says in the ORs: "We then crossed to Maryland, by Emmitsburg [coming in by way of Zora] where, as we passed, we were hailed by the inhabitants with the most enthusiastic demonstration of joy. We barely missed 150 of Rush’s Pennsylvania Lancers headed [from Frederick] towards Gettysburg but could not spare the time to turn around and pursue them." One of his officers writes: "About sunset we reached Emmitsburg and such enthusiasm as we witnessed here a half mile from the Pennsylvania line you can form no idea of.’

The Rebels at that time were still placating Marylanders, hoping the state would join the Confederacy. Another of Stuart’s officers writes of the same episode: "As we approached Maryland, Capt. B. S. White became the guide; his residence in that part of Maryland made him thoroughly acquainted with every road in it. It was very pleasant to get amongst friends once more upon crossing the line into Maryland, though we could not take their horses." He probably meant Capt. Elijah V. White, a native of nearby Poolesville, later a Major and commanding the 35th Battaloin. Va. Cavalry. White’s original Co. B (" White’s Rebels") was made up of men from this area and could well have had Emmitsburgians in it. That company "later claimed that, as Marylanders, they owed no allegiance to the Confederacy." They said "they had come over voluntarily, because their sympathies were with the South, but being foreigners they had the right to select for themselves the manner in which they would serve her." Such an attitude was not unusual for Marylanders serving in out-of-state Con­federate organizations. They adopted it when they believed that their in­dependence was challenged or when they were ordered to do something contrary to their political principles. Commanders who gave in to such demands were following a take it easy with Maryland line ordered by the Confederate Congress, which had gone so far as to order its privateer captains to release all Maryland ships they captured rather than antagonize their Maryland owners. This was early in the war, however. When the Confederacy finally had to admit, as it did shortly after Antietam, that all hope for getting Maryland into its ranks was vain, it adopted a sterner attitude.

Emmitsburg’s next major encounter with troops in large numbers occurred before the Battle of Gettysburg and then they saw as many as 25,000 at one time. Originally it had been Lee’s intention that the invasion of Pennsylvania should be partly through Emmitsburg. He wrote both Stuart and General Ewell on June 22, 1863, telling the latter "I think your best course will be toward the Susquehanna, taking the routes by Emmitsburg, Chambersburg and McConnellsburg." Ewell’s official report says not one word about going through Emmitsburg, either to or from Gettysburg.

All Lee’s men crossed the Potomac west of Harper’s Ferry where General French’s Yankees, including Cole’s men and other Emmitsburgians, were stationed. But, "On June 28, 1868, there was scattered fighting at Fountain Dale," about seven miles west of Emmitsburg. Col. John T. Mosby, the famous "Gray Ghost", writes that this encounter was between scouting forces of the Yankee Cavalry General Buford and Mosby’s own men. Mosby writes that Buford had no knowledge of the nearness of the Confederates until "he unexpectedly ran into our picket. He felt the picket, but withdrew, and took the route by Emmitsburg" toward Gettysburg. Buford "decided not to use artillery upon the small force just ahead of him for fear of letting troops nearby think a major engagement had been started and accordingly he rode on to Emmitsburg to report to Gen. Reynolds at that point the results of his scouting expedition.

When Lee’s main force reached Chambersburg, he retained one corps there but sent two others eastward through Gettysburg to York and towards Harrisburg. Later, when he learned of the approach of the Yankees from the south, Lee concentrated upon them from the north, making Gettysburg a geographically topsy-turvy conflict. In this account of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Emmitsburg area is roughly defined as bounded on the north by Greenmount, or Marsh Creek; on the east by Bridgeport; on the west by Zora or Fountaindale, and on the south by Thurmont, or Mechanicstown as it was then called.

General Meade had only been put in command of the Union’s Army of the Potomac as recently as June 28. Lincoln’s Chief of Staff, General Halleck, reports that: "On the 28th of June [the army] was mainly concentrated at Frederick on the 30th, the 1st, 3rd and 11th Corps were at Emmitsburg under Gen. Reynolds."

Emmitsburg might well have been the site of the impending battle. Remember that the Yanks believed Lee’s Pennsylvania invasion was a feint and that his goals were Washington and Baltimore, upon which he must descend from Pennsylvania, passing of course through Emmitsburg.

Reynolds had good reason for his caution. Jesse Bowman Young in The Battle of Gettysburg quotes from The War Between The Union and The Confederacy by Geo W. C. Oates that: "Maj. Gen. Trimble [a Maryland Confederate] told the writer [Oates] after the war that Lee told him on June 28th that his plan of operations was to fall upon the advance of the Union Army, when and wherever he found it, crush and hurl it hack on the main body, press forward and beat that before its commander could have time to concentrate his whole force.’ It was Reynolds, in Emmitsburg, who formed that advance with the rest of Meade’s army scattered far behind him.

Reynolds wrote to Meade on the 30th: "I think if the enemy advances in force from Gettysburg. and we are to fight a defensive battle in this vicinity, that the position to be occupied is just north of the town of Emmitsburg, covering the Plank road to Taneytown. He (Lee) will undoubtedly endeavor to turn our left by wax of Fairfield and the mountain roads leading down into the Frederick and Emmitsburg pike, near Mount Saint Mary’s College . . . . The corps are placed as follows: Two divisions of the First Corps are behind Marsh Run. one on the road leading to Gettysburg, and one on the road leading from Fairfield to . . . Moritz Tavern; the Third Division with the reserve batteries, is on the road to Chambersburg, behind Middle Creek it might be necessary to dispute the advance of the enemy across this creek, in order to take up the position behind Middle Creek. which is the one I alluded to near Emmitsburg, Howard [with his 11th Corps] occupies. in part, the position I did last night, which is to the left of the position in front of Middle Creek, and commands the roads leading from Fairfield down to Emmitsburg and the pike below."

From Taneytown, Meade replied to Reynolds at 11:30 AM. the same day, saying that it "remained to be seen" whether Lee, then at Chambersburg, intended to "advance against us" or to hold the approach to Cashtown against the Yanks. He wrote that, "With Buford at Gettysburg and Mechanicstown and a regiment in front of Emmitsburg, you ought to be advised in time of their approach." He added that, "In case of an advance in force against you or Howard, you must fall back to that place (Emmitsburg) and I will reenforce you from the Corps nearest you, which are Sickles’s [The 3d] at Taneytown, and Slocum’s [The 12th] at Littlestown . . . , If it is your judgement that you would be in better position at Emmitsburg . . . you can fall back [there] without waiting for the enemy or further orders.’

Sickles himself issued orders to "leave one brigade and a battery on the heights beyond Emmitsburg, toward Fairfield, and another to the left and rear of Emmitsburg, commanding the approaches by way of Mechanicstown." Meade’s Chief of Staff, Genl. Butterfield, in Meade’s name, wrote Sickles that "The general does not wish the approaches through Emmitsburg left unguarded ... bold on at Emmitsburg, as it is a point not to be abandoned, excepting in an extremity." Meade also ordered those in command at Gettysburg, when the battle was underway on July 1, ‘to leave a division of the 3d Corps at Emmitsburg, to hold in ch(’ck any force attempting to come through there." Not till 7:30 that night. when it was obvious that too many Yanks (yet not enough) were in Gettysburg, that the major battle would have to be fought there, and that efforts to retreat to the Emmitsburg area would be too risky, did Butterfield direct that Sickles’ remaining men leave Emmitsburg "to join their corps at Gettysburg with the greatest dispatch.’

Nobody expected that Yankee first day resistance would be as great as it was in the face of overwhelming numbers of the Rebels who came down upon them from all directions. Though compelled to retreat, they found a closer defensive position on Cemetery Ridge, not again entering Emmitsburg until in pursuit of the retreating Lee.

Emmitsburg could look back on its part of the conflict and find in it tremendous excitement, a measure of horror, some humor and even some beauty. The town had seen something of what war might be like two weeks earlier when a nighttime fire destroyed most of its center. Details are well known, but what probably isn’t is that "Some leaders and journalists encouraged the firing of property at the invaders’ advance" and that "a Gettysburg woman reported that 36 families lost their homes in Emmitsburg because a man set the torch to his." Whether this was truth or fantasy isn’t known.

Union headquarters had been set up in the Lutheran Parsonage, St. Joseph s Rectory and the present funeral home. How the youngsters must have whooped and hollered as couriers dashed from place to place in between cannons and wagons clogging the dusty streets, while their mothers and sisters passed out refreshments to "the tired and hungry soldiers who ate and drank whatever was given them by people standing on the sidewalks.’ The soldiers had been paid on the 30th, and taverns did a thriving business. Helman says "passing soldiers purchased all the tobacco in the town and all the whiskey they could get. One dealer sold hundreds of canteens at one dollar each, until the provost stopped it and put a guard there.

A contributor to The Story of the Mountain says "The Army of the Potomac was truly a beautiful sight" and describes as grand but horrible the passing of "the wagons, ambulances, cannons, etc., which were coming in from early dawn till nightfall. He adds: "They camped around Emmitsburg. Their campfires as viewed from the College windows, almost led one to imagine that this section for miles around had received in one shower all the stars of the heavens. We were visited by single soldiers, officers, groups, etc., to the amount of some thousands, some for the purpose of seeing old friends and companions ... But most of the privates and many of the officers came to try the qualities of Miss Leo’s bread, butter, milk, etc., which, I am pleased to sax, were dealt out with a liberal hand.

It is not mentioned in The Story of the Mountain but is known to this writer from several sources that the famous photographer, Alexander Gardner, who was following the army, was one who "stopped off" to see a son a student at the school. This extremely fortuitous visit enabled Gardner to be the first photographer to visit Gettysburg when visitors were permitted there, thereby getting the first and finest pictures of the battlefield that were taken

It is unlikely but not impossible that soldiers from Emmitsburg fought at Gettysburg. The three Union Maryland regiments who were engaged were: the 3d Md. lnf., three companies of which were recruited in the County; and the 1st Md. Eastern Shore lnf., entirely organized at Cambridge. The latter two, who formed part of Lockwood’s Brigade of Marylanders, "found themselves on the second and third days of the fight on Culp’s Hill, confronting the 1st \Id. Conf. Btn. in Johnson’s Division of Ewell’s Corps, made up in part of old friends, former neighbors, and, in some cases, blood kinsmen." These names with definite Emmitsburg "flavor", are found in the Rosters of the 1st P. H. B: In Co. A,’ Howard E. Wachter, John L. Wachtet (most likely also Wachter), Columbus A. Zimmerman and John N. Zimmerman; in Co. B, Augustus Rowe; and Co. I, Elijah H. Wachter. Others listed did not sign up until 1865 and could not have been participants. Still others that "sound Emmitsburg" are reported as deserters" and, out of respect for any Emmitsburg descendants, will not be named here. (by then the 2d) Maryland Inf., the 1st Md. (or Dement’s) Artillery; the 4th Md. (or Chesapeake) Artillery; and the 1st Md. Conf. Cavalry. A reader who thinks he had an ancestor with those units is referred to The Maryland Line, pages 152ff, 229ff, 270ff and 326ff, where their rosters are printed.

Emmitsburg saw both armies again during Lee’s retreat. Some say Kilpatrick’s Yank cavalry pursued Stuart through Emmitsburg; his official report contradicts that. Jeb Stuart wrote some weeks later that he "sent two brigades on the Cashtown Road, keeping the remainder under Colonels Jenkins and Chamblin under my immediate command . . . and directed them to proceed by way of Emmitsburg, Md., so as to guard the other flank. Just at dawn [apparently on July 5] we entered Emmitsburg. We there learned that a large body of the enemy’s cavalry (the citizens said 15,000 which I knew of course was exaggerated) had passed through that point the afternoon previous, going toward Monterey. I halted for a short time to procure some rations , . . In and around Emmitsburg we captured 60 or 70 prisoners of war and some valuable hospital stores. The march was resumed on the road to Frederick, through Harbaugh’s Valley."

Of Stuart’s men who had been sent off on the Cashtown Road the Colonel of the 7th Virginia Cavalry writes that he "moved up July 4 and encamped in the vicinity of Fairfield, our sharpshooters skirmishing with the enemy on the road leading to Emmitsburg [at Zora.]" He adds: "Our regiment was sent on scout and picket in the direction of Emmitsburg, to join Gen. Stuart if practicable. We sent a scout nearly to Emmitsburg, which was fired upon by the enemy’s pickets; one man wounded." The 11th Va. Cay. commander reported that near Fairfield on the night of July 4, he "found a regiment of enemy cavalry advancing, which I drove back nearly to the intersection of the road with the Emmitsburg Pike. [Also at Zora.] The following day his "regiment was ordered to take post on the road leading to the Emmitsburg pike" with one company "ordered to move on the pike to the top of Jack’s Mountain, to ascertain the movements of a cavalry column of the enemy. Another company was ordered to Emmitsburg to open communications with Maj. Gen. Stuart, supposed to be at that point . . . Capt. Ball found the enemy picketing about three miles from Emmitsburg and drove the pickets in. On reaching Emmitsburg, he found the enemy in possession of the town in some force, and was forced to retire, with the loss of one man severely wounded.’

Helman writes: "Jenkins’ Confederate cavalry entered the town by daybreak on their retreat; when asked how the battle terminated, they claimed the victory; soon after they were off towards Mechanicstown About ten o’clock Kilpatrick’s cavalry came dashing into town full charge, expecting to find the Johnnie’s here [but] they had fled. They reported the full retreat of Lee’s army. Kilpatrick was in pursuit of the Rebs that passed through here. Oh, the commotion of that day; the church bells rang but who heeded them, it was war times." Helman has confused Kilpatrick’s men with a unit of Gregg’s which, "On July 5 started in the direction of Emmitsburg in pursuit of the enemy, and that evening went into bivouac near the town. It was learned that Stuart and his men had passed through the place the same morning.

For the next week or more, Yanks by tens of thousands were in and out of Emmitsburg pursuing Lee. General Meade himself went through July 1. receive(l with much enthusiasm by the people." Lee should long before have been across the Potomac but had been delayed by high waters an(I the destruction of his unprotected pontoon bridges. He did not get into Virginia until July 13. Cole’s Cavalry, with Emmitsburg’s Company C undoubtedly participating, had "burnt Lee’s pontoon bridge.

Emmitsburg saw no more soldiers in combat until after the burning of Chambersburg in l864—a side-effect of Early’s invasion. There had previously been considerable fighting at Monocacy as the Confederates sought to get into Washington, but Emmitsburg felt no fall-out from that. Early had detached cavalry and infantry under Generals McCausland and the former Frederick lawyer Bradley T. Johnson, "to burn the town unless $500,000 in currency or $100,000 in gold be paid." It was not paid and the town was burnt. During that raid, Capt. R. M. Evans, commanding Pennsylvania cavalry, wrote: ‘‘My pickets were driven in at Emmitsburg this afternoon July 30] about one mile from the town by about 200 rebels. I was in danger of being cut off with my command, as there are a great many by-roads running down from the mountains.

By then, few Confederates had any sympathy for Marylanders other than those in Confederate uniforms. Gen. Johnson himself is quoted as saying of that raid that ‘‘Every crime in the catalogue of infamy has been committed except murder and rape," admitting that "pillage and sack of private dwellings took place hourly" and that even a Catholic priest was robbed of his watch. Whether or not anything like this occurred in the Emmitsburg area is not known.

Emmitsburg’s Attitude as Expressed at the Polls

Understanding the significance of Emmitsburg’s voting record in prewar years demands some knowledge of the national political issues involved. 1850 through 1860 were among the most important years in the nations history. Political step by political step, the country was led to ‘‘the irrepressible conflict.’’ Some of these issues were: the Compromise of 1830. the Fugitive Slave Act of the same year, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1834 and the consequent Kansas struggle; the Lecompton Constitution, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown’s Harper’s Ferry raid, the Crittenden Compromise and the penultimate Peace Convention, more commonly referred to as "The Old Gentlemen’s Convention." This, when it failed, led to the final and irrevocable breach the secession of the first six southern states (most people think there were seven) which, on Feb. 4, 1861, formed the Confederacy. Meantime, political parties of all sorts dying, others being formed to live briefly, such as the Americans (the "Know-Nothings’) and the Liberty Party. Others were to exist throughout the war under one title or another. The latter included Free Soilers, the Northern Democrats, the Southern Democrats, the Constitutional Unionists (later the Republicans), the Unconditional Unionists, the Constitutional Unionists (the Democrats) etc. When war broke out, various shades of these groups battled within themselves and against all others. These events and parties have been the subject of thousands of books, but interested readers can find them well summarized in The Concise Dictionary of American History. edited by Cochran and Andrews (N.Y. 1962), or is Welcome to consult the writer’s 5,000 volumes of Civil War books, pamphlets, original manuscripts and letters.

Emmitsburg’s prewar and wartime voting record is the best barometer (If its vacillating North-South feelings. An Emmitsburgian could talk or write one way or another, his opinions changing daily, but the chips were down when election day came, for he bad no recall from his ballot. It can be said now that from 1850 through 1865, the town was mostly Democrats one name or another, though not always free to vote its true feelings. This is equivalent to saying that it favored the south, for the Democratic Parts’ was the unquestioned champion of that region. In the first election to be covered here (that of Nov. 5, 1831) Emmitsburg preferred Southern minded Democrats to Union minded Whigs. It gave majorities to six Democrats for the legislature and to five county commissioners, and preferred Democrats for all state-wide offices then contested. Balloting averaged about 300 to 185. Two Whigs, Thomas G. Pratt of Annapolis and James A. Pearce of Chestertown, were representing the State in the U. S. Senate at that time, but the district’s congressman was Democrat Win. T. Hamilton of Hagerstown. Enoch Louis Lowe, a

Frederick Democrat who later defected to the Confederacy, was governor. Millard Fillmore, a Whig, was the president.

In the presidential election of 1852, Emmitsburg again preferred Democrat Franklin Pierce over Whig Winfield Scott, 280 to 211, but also cast a surprising six votes for John P. Hale, the Free Soiler precursor of the later-day Republicans. The county also went narrowly for Pierce, as did Maryland.59 Voting for governor and other state offices in 1853, Emmitsburg preferred Democrats to a man. In a purely Emmitsburg contest, it voted as follows: for its three Justices of the Peace, James Knoff, 293; George W. Troxell, 245; William Mooney, 241; Andrew Eyster (sic) 187; and M. Adelsburger, 161. For Constable : J. Adelsburger, 310; David Agnew, 282; John Martin, 221, and John F. Hughes, 124.60 This election was almost the final one for the dying Whigs. The Examiner was still ardently championing them, though probably realizing it was whipping a dead horse, proclaiming that "A party founded upon principle cannot die.

The paper berated the embryonic "Americans’ (or Know Nothings) little realizing that a bit later its beloved Fillmore would be that party’s presidential standard bearer. It must certainly have never guessed that it would itself unleash an incident that assumed national proportions involving the Know Nothings with all Catholics in the area and the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, particularly their Mother House at Emmitsburg. Briefly and bluntly put, the "Americans" opposed what they called "Papism", as well as all those who were not native born Americans, and Abolitionists of every shade. It tried at first not to offend such famous onetime countians as Archbishop Hughes of New York, the ex-Mountaineer who was the best known and most influential Catholic of the times; nor Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, the former Frederick lawyer and county native, Roger Brooke Taney, also an ardent Catholic. There must have been hundreds of Catholic readers of its paper whom it would not wish to offend, plus many other friends of those Catholics who professed Protestant faiths. Not till Nov. 29, 1854, did it bring local Catholics directly into the picture. It printed then for the first time anywhere a story that the Know Nothings were quick to spread all over the country. This was a wild tale about Miss Josephine M. Bunkley, a novice at St. Joseph’s, who claimed that she had been held captive at the convent and been forced to escape by leaping a high wall behind which she had been imprisoned, fleeing to the protection of a Presbyterian clergyman in Ernmitsburg, one Rev. Mr. Greer. The story was denied instantly by, among others, Sister S. NI. Etienne Hall, Mother Superior at the convent. Later, however, Miss Bunkley published it in a Know Nothing subsidized book, The Testimony of An Escaped Novice from the Sisterhood of St. Joseph’s. Emmitsburg, Md., the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity in the United States.’

However, according to Williams in his History of Frederick County, ‘The Mother Superior correctly described the reason why Miss Bunkley left St. Joseph’s as she did." He adds that the lurid details of forced detention, ill-treatment, beatings and exorcisms that The Examiner had described were nothing but malicious fabrications of the Know Nothings. He says that: "In May 1859, she [the Bunkley Woman] made a recantation, that is to sax’ she admitted that the narration of events at St. Joseph in her book and the charges she had made against the Priests were false."

Many persons throughout the country believed every word of the Bunkley woman’s story. Not so with most Emmitsburgians, apparently Catholic’s and Protestant friends alike as was fairly well proven by the community s vote in the next election. Though the county gave Know Nothing majorities to all state and county candidates as opposed to their Democratic rivals (whom The Examiner was disdainfully calling "The Foreigners’ (the vote in Emmitsburg was precisely opposite. Every Know Nothing candidate was here defeated by majorities averaging 300 to 175, or there about, in all cases. Whether this was just another expression of the town s naturally strong pro-Democratic feeling or was evidence that the towns Protestants were sticking by their Catholic friends and neighbors cannot be said with certainty. There were of course many Catholics in the area who would naturally have opposed the Know Nothings, but a nearly two-to-one majority could never have been achieved without lavish Protestant support.

The Examiner gave as its excuse for its political chicanery that it was "defending the State and the Country against the spread of Slavery which the Democrats of the State were seeking." In this, it conveniently over­looked the fact that the Americanisms it so loved were just as bitterly op­posed to Blacks as they were to all non-native-born citizens and those who professed Catholicism.

No better descriptions of the Know Nothings can probably be given than to quote Lincoln and one other. The president-to-be wrote: "We began by declaring that all men are created equal. We now practically read it: ‘all men are created equal except Negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings obtain control, it will read, ‘All men are created equal except Negroes, foreigners and Catholics’." Rufus Choate, a Massachusetts lawyer-politician, wrote this as their belated epitaph: "Anything more low, obscene, feculent, the manifold heavings of history have not cast up!"

The tide was ebbing for the Know Nothings in 1856 when the Presidential election was held, but The Examiner was still championing Fillmore, the Know Nothing standard bearer. Other candidates were James Buchanan, Democrat, and John C. Fremont, Free Soiler. Buchanan beat Fremont by a majority so slender it scared the Deomcrat’s half to death. Maryland was the only state that went for Fillmore—an embarrassing fact that still causes conscientious Marylanders to wince. He car­ried the county by a scant 3,724 to Buchanan’s 3,304 and Fremont 21— seven of which last surprisingly came from Emmitsburg. The town gave a thumping 307 to Buchanan but could still cast 179 for Fillmore.

Though its death rattle was being heard all over the nation, the Know Nothing party was fully conscious in Maryland when, on Nov. 5, 1857, it elected Thomas Holliday Hicks as governor over the Democrat John C. Groome. The County went Know Nothing but Emmitsburg backed Groome 326 to 164, a nearly two to one plurality. It also gave Democratic majorities averaging about 327 to 163 to all other State and County Democrats.

Now serious national political party disintegration began—much too complicated to go into here. The Examiner quickly became disenchanted with Hicks "for having seen proper to pass over Frederick County without giving her a single state-wide appointment." Certain local political offices were required by law to go to men of that particular community, and in Emmitsburg Hicks named apparently Know Nothing Emmitsburgians to these offices: Solomon Krise, Coroner; and Jacob Motter, Samuel Maxwell and Joseph Martin of John, Judges of Election.

Maryland Know Nothings fought over political spoils and split wide open on both slavery and state rights. A local Baltimore party, The Reformists, started their downfall. Though losing an election in 1858, they later sent George William Brown into the mayor’s seat in the bloodiest of the bloody elections which made Baltimore world famous. Hicks was still in Annapolis, where scores of Know Nothings were riding shotgun for him in the legislature. Because of the abuses of the present state constitution, a new one was badly needed, but when a state convention to rewrite it was called for, the measure was defeated. Most people believed the Know Nothings in the legislature would only make it worse. Emmitsburg was soundly opposed to a convention, 248 to 91. The Examiner, which had supported the calling, said that "apathy is the manifest cause of the defeat and the amazingly small statewide turnout (of only 36,339) lends credence to the claim.

The paper was still so deeply committed to the Know Nothings in State and County elections of 1859 that it was "with much chagrin" that it told its readers on Nov. 9 that the Democratic "Foreigners" had won out overwhelmingly, though not totally. Emmitsburg went Democratic in all eases by about 350 to 180, even voting against the Know Nothing Emmitsburgian, Dr. Robert L. Annan, for the House of Delegates. Annan wound up ninth among the twelve who sought the six offices.

It was on May 16, 1860, that The Examiner finally threw its support be­hind the organizing Constitutional Unionists as mongrelize a party as was ever created. Now came the political Super Bowl the presidential election of 1860, That contest pitted these parties: the Constitutional Unionists, led by John Bell of Tennessee; the Republicans, headed by Abraham Lincoln of Illinois; and two slates of Democrats. The Southern Democrats had for their standard bearer John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky. The Northern Democrats, formed after convention splits at Charleston and Baltimore, were led by Stephen A. Douglas, also of Illinois, whose strong Unionist and lukewarm pro-Slavery sentiments the Southerners could not stomach.

This was the national outcome: the winner, Lincoln, with 1,865,593 popular and 180 electoral votes; Bell 592,906 and 39; Breckinridge, 848,356 and 72; and Douglas 1,382,713 and 12.71 Maryland voted as follows: for Breckinridge 42,497; for Bell 41,777; for Douglas 5,873; and for Lincoln 2,294. Frederick County went for Bell 3,617; for Breckinridge 3,170; for Douglas 439; and for Lincoln 103. Emmitsburg’s plurality went to Breckinridge by 323 to Bell’s 152—a better than two-to-one majority for the Southern Democrat, his Northern counterpart, Douglas, getting a mere 18 and Lincoln a pathetic seven.

Emmitsburg’s overwhelming 323 for Breckinridge as opposed to Douglas’s 18, proves beyond question that the town was not merely Democratic but that it was overwhelmingly Southern Democratic. It can be reasoned that, had it wished to express neutrality in the coming military conflict, it could have given greater support to Bell, but the Constitutional Unionists bore on their feathers (rightly or not) much of the tar that had besmeared the Know Nothings, many of whom were its members. It should also he known that many misguided souls believed that a vote for a Southern Democrat was not necessarily a vote for secession. It can he supposed that Emmitsburg for once agreed with The Examiner when it wrote that "Secession is neither a right or a remedy for any of the evils complained of hy the Southern States." Later, when Mary­land was seemingly on the verge of leaving the Union, it stated that "Secession is treason" and that "divested of pretexts, which feign a patriotic purpose, its criminality would he palpable."

Its significance is dubious, hut a large delegation of countians, called to attend a January convention designed to "drag Maryland into Secession con tamed no Ernmitsburgians. Its purpose was to persuade the reluctant Hicks to call a special session of the legislature, which Hicks refused. As he later put it, he feared such an assembly would pass an Ordinance of Secession. When ultimately he did call the group into special session, it met in Frederick (not Annapolis) and Federal troops were present to keep peace in the legislative family.

What one would not give to know the majority reaction of Emmitsburg to an Examiner editorial on April 10 (two days before Sumter) stating: "We are ‘Unconditional Union’ men and will not submit to the tyranny and usurpation of Secession (which means) Abolition, Anarchy and Ruin." This, it claimed, its opponent The Republican (actually Democratic) Citizen was loudly advocating. All we know is that Joseph Culbertson of Emmitsburg was a Vice President at a "Union Committee Convention" in Frederick March 26, designed to "stand by the Union ... and to oppose Secession for any past or present cause.’ ‘ Two groups of Emmitsburg men, one to serve as delegates, the other on a Union Central Committee attended a Union State Convention in Baltimore May 23. The first contained Joshua Motter, James Dween, Joshua Stokes, William Gardner and Joseph Culhertson. The latter was made up of Solomon Krise, Joseph Byns, Samuel Maxwell, David Agnew and William Hockensmith.

A week later "One of the largest assemblages of persons known in Emmitsburg for a long time" met at a Union Meeting at the hotel of Henry Hoffman. "On motion of Samuel Maxwell, Colonel Robert Annan was called to the chair; Samuel Maxwell and Jacob Motter were appointed Assistant Chairmen, and J. Stewart Annan Secretary." Then, "The object of the meeting being stated, Martin Sweeney, Joseph Troxell, Solomon Krise and Alexander Homer were appointed a Committee which drafted resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting. They resolved that this meeting recommend to the serious consideration of the people the evils and horrors that must be entailed upon them by secession without the most remote hope of securing to them any good or increased benefits, but to gratify a hidden purpose not intended for the masses. Therefore we recommend a firm and conciliatory exercise of the powers of Government so far as is consistent with the enforcement of the laws. The meeting has anxiously taxed its utmost ability to find some reason, excuse, or superior plan of government in contemplation of the seceders, to justify them in plunging our country into war, deluging the land with the blood of its citizens; hut we find none." It was, it further stated "of the opinion that any separation of the United States, even in the most peaceful manner, will be detrimental to the interest of the inhabitants of this vast country, because it will burden and lessen the internal commerce of the country. And further, "This meeting looks upon Secession as the work of mad men and not justified by the evils complained of, the effects of which would be in part to destroy all stability of government, because you cannot fix a point at which it must stop. If a State can secede at pleasure from a country, what will prevent a County seceding from a State, or district from a County? The principle is identical." As to the slaveholders of the com­munity, it pointed out that it was "struck with astonishment when it learns that many of the slaveholders of Maryland [carefully avoiding mentioning Emmitsburgians who held slaves in bondage!] advocate secession, because a more effectual mode could not be adopted, if they desire the abolition of slavery." Stating firmly that "We have been nurtured under the Stars and Stripes, and we mean to live and die under them" it added that "this meeting condemns the action of the Legislature in their efforts to deprive the Governor of any portion of his constitutional authority, as in violation of that instrument and consequently of their oath of office, traitorous in its object and meriting the punishment due to the crime." It then named these delegates to the county convention to meet in Frederick May 25th: Joseph Troxell, John Close, J. Stewart Annan, Jacob Motter, Col. Robert Annan, William Gilleran (probably Gillelan), William P. Gardiner, Solomon Krise and Thomas Clabaugh.

Another meeting was held here early in August "to select five members of the Union Central Committee for Frederick County and five delegates to the County Convention". It picked this committee: William G. Gardner, Colonel Robert Annan, Martin Sweeney, Henry Stokes and Dr. Robert L. Annan and these five for the Convention: Joshua Rowe, Jacob Motter, Samuel Maxwell, Sr., Joseph Hays and J. Stewart Annan. The session "Resolved to support the (state) administration in all legitimate efforts to sustain the government of the United States." It also said it wanted the restoration of peace and harmony, but cannot see our approach to that much to be desired object by putting down the administration by resorting to arms, or by destroying the government.

This was only another of the hopeless efforts of almost all Maryland communities to maintain good relations with the Federal government without at the same time being called upon to fight openly with neighbors who they knew were either definitely committed to the Confederacy through service in its armies or who were supporting southern policies as well as possible by membership in so-called peace parties. These latter had various names, usually Conditional Unionist, but were being lumped by opponents under the epithet Copperheads. That such groups existed here is certain. However, issues of the two county papers, The Citizen and The Un ion, which might have named the individuals and reported party arguments are unavailable. That they were being denounced in Emmitsburg, however, is definitely known.

One such denunciation occurred here September 14, when these resolutions were adopted: "That this meeting regards the ‘Peace Party’ as identically the same party defeated . . . in their effort to draw Maryland out of the Union and plunge the State into Civil War . . . The change of name from ‘Southern Rights and Advocates of Secession’ to that of ‘Peace Party’ is a hypocritical effort to deceive the people . . . (we hold) the ‘Peace Party’ to be a grand delusion, for how can sympathizers with the Southern Rebellion be for peace? To put down the Government by force and war, will that be Peace? No; for every succeeding government may be put down in the same way and the legitimate consequence will be strife and interminable war, and not

The state-wide election of November 6, 1861, was highly important and most significant. There were then in Maryland two recognizable parties: the Unconditional Unionists (or Republicans) and the Conditional Unionists (the so-called Peace Party almost solely composed of former Democrats) which The Examiner unequivocally called the Southern Party. The Unconditional candidate for Governor was Augustus W. Bradford; General Benjamin (I Howard opposed him. Only for Governor did Emmitsburg vote an Unconditional Union plurality; it gave Bradford 236 votes to Howard’s 89. For every other office its vote was in favor of the Conditional (or Democratic) candidate. And in almost every case the vote was about 260 for the Democrats to about 237 for the Unconditional candidates. This means that, while 497 votes were cast for all other offices, only 325 Emmitsburgians balloted for Governor. There are several possibilities: it is possible, but highly unlikely, that. of the 497 who cast votes, only 89 of them liked Howard well enough to vote for him while casting 260 for his running mates. The alternative is that those who voted Democratic for other offices were somehow restrainer1 from voting for Howard. But, if so, why were they free to vote as they pleased for the others? Maryland’s Confederate sympathizers to this day contend that Bradford was elected by fraudulent methods and that the entire election was rigged. This is given credence in a letter to The Examiner from an Emmitsburgian signing himself "Union". He wrote: Union supporters here were most agreeably surprised to behold about sixty troopers marching up the street’’ to help maintain order in the town. He added that "Our judge of Elections required every man suspected of disloyalty to swear ‘that he would support the Government of the United States and under no circumstances take up arms against it.’

Lincoln and many others, prior to the war, felt that few Southerners and this must include Emmitsburgians wanted to secede, hut rather that they hoped the threat on their Northern opponents would extort con­cessions to increase waning southern power in the Federal Government. Now, in 1863. Conditional Unionists were working for a peace between the sections. Everyone wanted that, of course, but it was the Peace Party hope that the Confederacy, by the peace, would be permitted to exist with slavery intact. That, of course, the Unconditional Unionists would never permit. This was the main cause of dispute when the parties clashed at the polls in November 1863. Then all Unconditional candidates carried both the county and Emmitsburg, with the exception of the candidate for Congress. The county plurality averaged about six to one Emmitsburg’s being only about two to one.

By 1864, even the Democrats were ready to admit that slavery in Maryland was doomed, hut not without a tremendous struggle. First the State had to go through an election to call for a Constitutional Convention. It did so, with the Democrats screaming their "Copper Heads" off that anyone of even the most limited Southern affection would not he let vote. When the issue was voted on in April, Emmitsburg was for the convention by 182 to 80, only 262 votes as against 497 it had cast in 1861. One must again ask the question: was there election interference? The measure passed the state, .3 1,593 to 19,524, with The Maryland Union of Frederick claiming that "the convention would have been defeated by 20 to 30 thousand had the election been free and fair."

It took 89 days of legislative bickering before the Convention agreed on the phrasing of the new law. Next, it had to he submitted to the voters. On October 12 and 13 it was passed by them by a mere 375 votes 30,174 for to 29,799 against. But that slender majority would not have been possible without the preponderantly heavy for vote cast by Maryland soldiers in the field, the purely home vote having been against it. Emmitsburg’s vote was a narrow 177 for to 150 against. But slavery in Maryland was dead forever

The final war-time election of Nov. 8, 1864, pitted Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, a former Tennessee Democrat turned Unconditional Unionist. against General George B. McClellan and George H. Pendleton, Conditional Unionists. This despite McClellan’s refusal to endorse the Peace Party platform calling for immediate peace with all rights allowed the Confederacy including both slavery and peaceful separation from the union, The Examiner supported Lincoln, with The (Frederick) Maryland Union backing McClellan. The former Democratic champion, The Citizen, had been put out of business by Federal authority for too ardent southern support, and its editor had been exiled to the Confederacy.

As everyone knows, Lincoln won handily, but with scant thanks to Emmitsburg which gave him only 211 votes to McClellan’s 169. Surprisingly. however, it also backed the Unconditional Union candidates for governor, state senator and all Unconditional Union candidates for the House of Delegates.

This means, however, that, even as the war was ending and in spite of all the Federal pressures which must have been brought to bear upon it in one way or another Emmitsburg still had 35% of its voters who favored a reluctant southern minded candidate for President as against Lincoln.

A Summation

No positive conclusion can be reached as to how the town actually felt about the war. It is this writer’s guess, inspired it must be admitted by genuine affection for the place of his birth, that Emmitsburg from the be­ginning to the end would have preferred to stay out of the entire horrible holocaust not out of physical fear, but from a genuine love for a nationwide peaceful existence. Instead, like most of Maryland, it was a beleaguered, bewildered, misguided, would be neutral of the Civil War southern out of native sentiment and an innate sympathy for an underdog, hut northern from political necessity and military pressure. Thank God, it suffered no more than it did.