Maryland in the Civil War
In his book "Battle Cry of Freedom" James McPherson wrote the following:
"In the four border states the proportion of slaves and slaveowners was less than half what it was in the eleven states that seceded. But the triumph of unionism in these states was not easy and the outcome (except in Delaware) by no means certain. Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri contained large and resolute secessionist minorities. A slight twist in the chain of events might have enable this faction to prevail in any of these states. Much was at stake in this contest. The three states would have added 45 percent to the white population and military manpower of the Confederacy, 80 percent to its manufacturing capacity, and nearly 40 percent to its supply of horses and mules. For almost five hundred miles the Ohio river flows along the northern border of Kentucky, providing a defensive barrier or an avenue of invasion, depending on which side could control and fortify it. Two of the Ohio's navigable tributaries, the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, penetrate through Kentucky into the heat of Tennessee and Northern Alabama. Little wonder that Lincoln was report to have said that while he hoped to have God on his side, he must have Kentucky.
Control of Maryland was even more immediately crucial, for the state enclosed Washington on three sides (with Virginia on the fourth) and it allegiance could determine the capital's fate, at the outset of the war. Like the lower South, Maryland had voted for Breckinridge in the presidential election. Southern-Rights Democrats controlled the legislature; only the stubborn refusal of unionist Governor Thomas hicks to call legislature into session forestalled action by that body. The tobacco counties of southern Maryland and the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay were secessionist. The grain-growing counties of northern and western Maryland, containing few slaves, were safe for the Union. But the loyalty of Baltimore, with a third of the state's population, was suspect. The mayor's unionism was barely tepid, and the police chief sympathized with the South. Confederate flags appeared on many city homes and buildings during the tense days after Sumter. The traditional role of mobs in Baltimore politics created a volatile situation. Only a spark was needed to ignite the states secessionists, such a spark hit the streets of Baltimore on April 19.
On that day the 6th Massachusetts Regiment--the first fully equipped unit to respond to Lincoln's call for troops--entered Baltimore on its way to Washington. No rail line passed through Baltimore, so the troops had to detrain at the east-side station and cross the city to board a train to the capital. A mob gathered in the path of the soldiers and grew increasingly violent. Rioters attacked the rear companies of the regiment with bricks, paving stones, and pistols. Angry and afraid, a few soldiers opened fire. That unleashed the mob. By the time the Massachusetts men had fought their way to the station and entrained for Washington, four soldiers and twelve Baltimoreans lay dead and several score groaned with wounds. They were the first of more than 700,000 combat casualties during the next four years. . . "
The action described in McPherson's book was to set into motion Maryland's role in the Civil War. Maryland would prove the adage that it was a war of brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor. The eastern part of Maryland was clearly pro Confederate while the western part of the state was clearly pro Union. Few know the role that Maryland played in its support of the Confederacy because most history books barely touch on this subject and many think that Maryland was just another Union state. But was it? It would be impossible to describe Maryland's role in the Civil War on a single page of an Internet website. Therefore most of the contents of the Maryland portion of The Confederate Military History, Volume 2, are provided in the links below. The Confederate Military History is a set of twelve volumes that describe the Confederate states in the Civil War. It was written by Southerners about Southerners shortly after the Civil War.
The Confederate Military History, Volume 2 (Maryland)
Written by Brig. Gen. Bradley T. Johnson, CSA
Maryland in its Origin, Progress, and Eventual Relations to the Confederate Movement.
Chapter II Maryland's First Patriotic Movement in 1861. Chapter III Maryland's Overthrow Chapter IV Marylanders Enlist, and Organize to Defend Virginia and the Confederacy . Chapter V Marylanders in the Campaigns of 1861 Chapter VI Marylanders in 1862 Under Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Stonewall Jackson. Chapter VII Marylanders in 1862 Under General Robert E. Lee Chapter VIII Maryland Under Federal Military Power Chapter IX Maryland Artillery--Second Maryland Regiment Infantry--First Maryland Cavalry Chapter X The Maryland Line
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