Countians First Used Words During Divisive Civil War

May 05, 1991

Words were the weapons countians used at the outset of the Civil War, but before it was over, natives of a divided county fought and died.

Residents were quick to take sides.

On May 4, 1861, Uniontown passed a Declaration of Resolutions, inwhich townspeople resisted any attempt to tie Maryland to the South.The residents of Manchester, however, issued the same kind of declaration in February 1861, espousing the Southern cause.

Division on the issue of slavery paralleled that of the country as a whole. Northern Carroll County contained few slaves and, led by the Quakers of Union Bridge, opposed slavery and supported the Union. Southern Carroll, which contained two-thirds of the slave population of the county atthat time, favored the South.

But the division of loyalties was not strong enough to cause internal skirmishes, and "peace poles," symbols of the denial of war, were raised in the Myers District and elsewhere in Carroll.

From 1860 to 1861, a few "guard units" were organized in preparation for possible defense of the county. In May 1860,the 52-member Smallwood Infantry was formed in Westminster, led by Capt. W. Scott Roberts. The unit was composed of Southern sympathizers.

Also in 1860, the Carroll Infantry, commanded by Capt. George E.Wampler, was formed. This unit of Union supporters continued in existence until 1866. Minor units were formed in Taneytown and Manchesterin 1861, and a military company also was attached to Calvert Collegein New Windsor. Life continued peacefully for Carroll countians for the first year and a half of the war. President Lincoln issued the first call for volunteer enlistment in the spring of 1861, but it was largely ignored by county residents. Those few who did join, enlisted in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Infantry Regiments in Baltimore. But, in July, 1861, a resolution was passed at a courthouse meeting stating thatCarroll should take immediate steps to help

meet Maryland's quotaof four regiments.

Several companies formed: Company A, 6th Regiment Infantry, more than 100 men, commanded by Capt. William A. McKellip; Company C, 6th Regiment Infantry, 76 men, commanded by Capt. George F. Webster; and Company F, 7th Regiment Infantry, 77 men, commanded by Capt. Daniel Rinehart. Some 600 countians were in the Union Army.

From August 1863 to May 1864, 12 county black men enlisted in regiments of the United States Colored Troops. More than a dozen countyblacks were drafted in 1864, and one of them, Thomas Dorsey, was killed at the battle of Petersburg.

The war came in earnest to Carroll in late-August 1862, when Union soldiers from the 4th Maryland Regiment marched into Westminster.

They ranged through the town, arresting 16 citizens as Southern sympathizers, including the editor of The Democrat, Joseph Shaw. Everyone was released after pledging allegiance to the United States.

On Sept. 11, 1862, Col. Thomas L. Rosser led his Virginia cavalry up Liberty Road to Westminster, where he made John Brook Boyle's home his headquarters. He stationed pickets along roads leading from town to warn of any Union advance.

Rosser'smen were offered food and comfort in homes of Southern sympathizers,and many purchased goods in local stores. The Confederate troops left the next morning after having destroyed some records and the "Unionpole."

Colonel Rosser then visited Uniontown and Taneytown, camping at Trevanion Mills, halfway between the two towns.

The week ofJune 28 to July 3, 1863, was the time of greatest action in Carroll County.

On June 28, both Confederate and Unions troops were in Carroll County at the outset of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's second invasion of the North.

Union Gen. George G. Meade had hoped to fight a decisive battle with Lee on Carroll soil, and never intended to fight at Gettysburg. General Meade established his headquarters at Taneytown and made a decision to establish the Pipe Creek Defense Line along the southern banks of Big Pipe Creek from Middleburg to Manchester.

While Meade was establishing his defense line, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, leading 8,000 men, crossed the Potomac at Rowser's Ford and marched toward Westminster. On Monday, June 29, General Stuart's forceentered the town and skirmished with several local units. Unaware ofLee's position, General Stuart continued on to Hanover and York, arriving too late at Gettysburg to be effective as Lee's reconnaissance force.

On June 30, a troop of Confederates, seeking supplies, encountered a Union cavalry force. Both Generals Meade and Lee moved to reinforce, culminating in Southern defeat in the crucial Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-4, 1863, and the Confederate retreat into Virginia. The last skirmish in Carroll County occurred on July 9, 1864, when Gen. Bradley Johnson occupied Westminster for one night as part of a Confederate plan to cut rail and telegraph communications between Baltimore, Washington, and the North. Telegraph lines were cut, but no other damage was done.

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