Confederate Military History, Vol. 2: Maryland and West Virginia

Confederate Military History, Vol. 2: Maryland and West Virginia.

This work spanning fifteen extensive volumes is the result of contributions by many Southern men to the literature of the United States that treats of the eventful years in which occurred the momentous struggle called by Mr. A. H. Stephens “the war between the States.” These contributions were made on a well-considered plan, to be wrought out by able writers of unquestionable Confederate record who were thoroughly united in general sentiment and whose generous labors upon separate topics would, when combined, constitute a library of Confederate military history and biography. According to the great principle in the government of the United States that one may result from and be composed of many – the doctrine of E pluribus unum–it was considered that intelligent men from all parts of the South would so write upon the subjects committed to them as to produce a harmonious work which would truly portray the times and issues of the Confederacy and by illustration in various forms describe the soldiery which fought its battles. Upon this plan two volumes – the first and the last-comprise such subjects as the justification of the Southern States in seceding from the Union and the honorable conduct of the war by the Confederate States government; the history of the actions and concessions of the South in the formation of the Union and its policy in securing the existing magnificent territorial dominion of the United States; the civil history of the Confederate States, supplemented with sketches of the President, Vice-President, cabinet officers and other officials of the government; Confederate naval history; the morale of the armies; the South since the war, and a connected outline of events from the beginning of the struggle to its close. The two volumes containing these general subjects are sustained by the other volumes of Confederate military history of the States of the South involved in the war. Each State being treated in separate history permits of details concerning its peculiar story, its own devotion, its heroes and its battlefields. The authors of the State histories, like those of the volumes of general topics, are men of unchallenged devotion to the Confederate cause and of recognized fitness to perform the task assigned them. It is just to say that this work has been done in hours taken from busy professional life, and it should be further commemorated that devotion to the South and its heroic memories has been their chief incentive. This is volume two out of fifteen, covering the civil war in Maryland and West Virginia.

Confederate Military History, Vol. 2: Maryland and West Virginia

Confederate Military History, Vol. 2: Maryland and West Virginia.

Format: eBook.

Confederate Military History, Vol. 2: Maryland and West Virginia.

ISBN: 9783849659080.


Excerpt from the text:


While the city of Baltimore was in a frenzy of excitement, on Sunday, the 21st of May, at the approach of the Pennsylvanians from Cockeyville, Brig.-Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, with a Massachusetts regiment, landed at Annapolis, whither he had proceeded by a steamer from Perryville on the Susquehanna. The next day, the 2 2nd, he was reinforced by the New York Eighth and pushed up the Annapolis & Elkridge railroad to its junction with the Washington branch of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. On May 5th he took possession of the Relay House, nine miles from Baltimore, where the main branch of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad leading to Harper’s Ferry and the West unites with the Washington branch, which leads to Washington, thirty miles distant. His troops were the Eighth New York, the Sixth Massachusetts and Major Cook’s battery of Boston light artillery. He promptly fortified the position with earthworks and artillery. All trains going west and south were searched, and scouts scoured the surrounding country. On the 8th of May communication between Washington and the North was further strengthened by a new route by water from Perryville to Locust Point, and thence by rail to Washington. On the night of May 13th General Butler, with the major part of his command, entered Baltimore, seized Federal Hill, which commands the city, fortified it with fifty heavy guns, and Baltimore was in his control. He acted with intelligence and promptness, and to him the Union side was greatly indebted for restoring communications between the capital city and the United States. The United States having control of the bay and the great rivers emptying into it—the Patapsco, the Patuxent and the Potomac, all parts of the State were dominated by Federal guns. The Northern frontier was open, with the Baltimore & Ohio railroad from Wheeling and the West, the Northern Central railroad from Harrisburg and the central North, and the Baltimore, Wilmington & Philadelphia railroad from New York and New England, and the North, West and East in arms to pour down over these great avenues of travel to subjugate Maryland and to protect the capital. It was too late for Maryland to act with the Confederacy. There never had been an hour when she could have struck a blow for independence. It was impossible to move before Virginia. Virginia did not move until May 24th, when Maryland was bound hand and foot to the Union by the overwhelming force of the army of occupation.

The general assembly of the State acted with the dignity and courage of a Roman senate. On the 10th of May, the State in the grip of the Federal army, the committee on Federal relations of the house of delegates, Severn Teakle Wallis, Esq., chairman, made a report that for exact statement, for force and for logic was excelled by no paper of that epoch. They said:

Whereas, in the judgment of the General Assembly of Maryland, the war now waged by the government of the United States upon the people of the Confederate States is unconstitutional in its origin, purposes and conduct; repugnant to civilization and sound policy; subversive of the free principles upon which the Federal Union was founded, and certain to result in the hopeless and bloody overthrow of our existing institutions; and,

Whereas, the people of Maryland, while recognizing the obligations of their State, as a member of the Union, to submit in good faith to the exercise of all the legal and constitutional powers of the general government, and to join as one man in fighting its authorized battles, do reverence, nevertheless, the great American principle of self-government, and sympathize deeply with their Southern brethren in their noble and manly determination to uphold and defend the same; and,

Whereas, not merely on their own account, and to turn from their own soil the calamities of civil war, but for the blessed sake of humanity and to arrest the wanton shedding of fraternal blood in a miserable contest which can bring nothing with it but sorrow, shame and desolation, the people of Maryland are enlisted with their whole hearts on the side of reconciliation and peace;

Now, therefore, it is hereby resolved by the General Assembly of Maryland, that the State of Maryland owes it to her own self-respect and her respect for the Constitution, not less than her deepest and most honorable sympathies, to register this, her solemn protest, against the war which the Federal government has declared against the Confederate States of the South and our sister and neighbor, Virginia, and to announce her resolute determination to have no part or lot, directly or indirectly, in its prosecution.

Resolved, That the State of Maryland earnestly and anxiously desires the restoration of peace between the belligerent sections of the country; and the President, authorities and people of the Confederate States having over and over, officially and unofficially, declared that they seek only peace and self-defense, and to be let alone, and that they are willing to throw down the sword the instant the sword now drawn against them shall be sheathed—

The senators and delegates of Maryland do beseech and implore the President of the United States to accept the olive branch which is thus held out to him, and in the name of God and humanity to cease this unholy and most wretched and unprofitable strife, at least until the assembling of the Congress at Washington shall have given time for the prevalence of cool and better counsels.

Resolved, That the State of Maryland desires the peaceful and immediate recognition of the independence of the Confederate States, and hereby gives her cordial consent thereto, as a member of the Union, entertaining the profound conviction that the willing return of the Southern people to their former Federal relations is a thing beyond hope, and that the attempt to coerce them will only add slaughter and hate to impossibility.

Resolved, That the present military occupation of Maryland being for purpose which in the opinion of the legislature are in flagrant violation of the Constitution, the General Assembly of the State in the name of her people does hereby protest against the same and against the arbitrary restrictions and illegalities with which it is attended, calling upon all good citizens at the same time, in the most earnest and authoritative manner, to abstain from all violent and unlawful interference of every sort with the troops in transit through our territory, or quartered among us, and patiently and peacefully leave to time and reason the ultimate and certain reestablishment and vindication of the right.

Resolved, That under existing circumstances it is inexpedient to call a Sovereign Convention of the State at this time, or to take any measures for the immediate organization or arming of the militia.

These resolutions passed the Senate, ayes 11, nays 3; House, ayes 43, nays 12. General Butler replied to this defiance by seizing Baltimore the very night these resolutions passed. He acted, they resolved! An equally significant incident had occurred in Baltimore just the week before. Judge William F. Giles, judge of the district court of the United States for the district of Maryland, issued the writ of habeas corpus on May 4th to Major Morris, commanding at Fort McHenry, commanding him to produce before the court without delay the body of John George Mullen, an enlisted soldier, one of the garrison of the fort who sought his discharge on the ground of minority. Under the law of the United States it was unlawful to enlist a minor under eighteen years of age in the military or naval service without the consent of his parent or guardian. Mullen alleged in his petition that he was under the lawful age and had been enlisted illegally. Major Morris neither produced the man nor made any response to the mandate of the writ; but on May 7th he addressed a letter to Judge Giles, in which he peremptorily refused to obey the writ. In this first trial of strength between law and arms, law became silent, as usual. On May 25th John Merryman, one of the first citizens of Baltimore county, was arrested at his home by a squad of soldiers and locked up in Fort McHenry. The next day Roger Brooke Taney, chief justice of the Supreme court of the United States, assigned to the fourth circuit, of which Maryland formed a part, issued the writ of habeas corpus to General Cadwallader, commanding at Fort McHenry, requiring him to produce the body of Merryman before the circuit court of the United States for the district of Maryland, at Baltimore, on Monday, May 27th. The chief justice issued the writ on Sunday! On Monday Colonel Lee, aide-de-camp to General Cadwallader, appeared in the court and said that General Cadwallader’s other engagements prevented his appearing in person, but had sent him to express the general’s regrets and read the chief justice a letter, which the aide proceeded to do. The general said that Merryman had been arrested for open and avowed hostility to the United States, and that he had been authorized by the President of the United States to suspend the writ of habeas corpus in such cases, which he had done. The chief justice ordered an attachment to issue against General Cadwallader and sent the marshal of the court to arrest the general and bring him before the Court. Upon the marshal’s proceeding to Fort McHenry with a few deputy marshals he sent in his card and official designation through the sentry at the gate to the commanding officer. After a reasonable time the messenger came back with the message that there was no answer to the marshal’s card and that he would not be permitted to enter the fort. The marshal made return of these facts to the court, and the chief justice directed the clerk to make an entry on the record of the court that the writ of habeas corpus having been disobeyed by General Cadwallader, an attachment for contempt had issued against him, which he had resisted, having a superior force at his command to any which the court or its marshal could control, and he subsequently filed his opinion in the case, in which he demonstrated beyond a cavil that the President of the United States has and can have no authority at any time, under any circumstances, to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and directed the entire record to be certified to the President of the United States for his information and action.

On the 14th of May the legislature adjourned, and Ross Winans, a member of the house of delegates from Baltimore City—the head of the firm of Ross Winans & Co., the greatest manufacturers of locomotive engines and railroad cars in the world—was arrested by General Butler at the Relay House on his way home. Ross Winans was not only a man of great wealth, one of the millionaires of the day, but he was a man whose moral character, whose genius, whose breadth of mind and greatness of heart, whose culture and whose courage would have made him distinguished in any country in the world. His arrest was intended to terrorize the State. It had the effect of rousing it like the long roll. The legislature, at its adjourned session of June 22nd, declared that

The unconstitutional and arbitrary proceedings of the Federal executive have not been confined to the violation of the personal rights and liberties of the citizens of Maryland, but have been extended into every department of oppressive illegality, so that the property of no man is safe, the sanctity of no dwelling is respected, and the sacredness of private correspondence no longer exists; and,—

Whereas, the Senate and House of Delegates of Maryland, recognizing the obligations of the State, as far as in her lies, to protect and defend her people against usurped and arbitrary power, however difficult the fulfillment of that high obligation may be rendered by disastrous circumstances, feel it due to her dignity and independence that history should not record the overthrow of public freedom, for an instant, within her borders, without recording likewise the indignant expression of her resentment and remonstrance;

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