Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Civil War In Maryland

I love history, but must admit that most of my history reading has been concentrated on the Revolutionary War and World War II. I have only read a handful of books about the Civil War, including The Civil War in Maryland by Daniel Carroll Toomey, Killer Angels, the historical novel by Michael Shaara, The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, and Never Call Retreat, the historical fiction by Newt Gingrich.

And I think I have a unique perspective on the Civil War. I live in Maryland, which some consider the South (yeah, whatever!), while others consider it the North. I consider it the mid-Atlantic. Maryland was occupied by the Union during the Civil War, at least Baltimore and Washington, D.C. were. I went to college in South Carolina. And let me tell you, the Civil War is not over for many of them. And it is not called the Civil War (what's so civil about war, anyway?). They commonly refer to it as the War of Northern Aggression. And the war was not about slavery. It was about states' rights. Okay, if that's what you want to believe. It's a moot point because Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant, the United States won the war, and freed the slaves (at least in theory). This is why Republican President Abraham Lincoln is often considered one of the best Presidents ever. Yes, a Republican freed the slaves. Not a Democrat. The Democrats fought viciously to maintain slavery. Funny how that is, isn't it?

On Friday my wife informed me that there was going to be a Civil War Encampment reenactment in Westminster, Maryland. Maryland only saw one major batter during the Civil War - Antietam. There were, however, several skirmishes. And Maryland saw both the Union and the Confederacy columns rolling through prior to and after the Battle of Gettysburg. Many of these Confederate columns ran right through Carroll County. One of those columns was led by Major General J.E.B. Stuart of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

When General Stuart's column got to Westminster, he came under fire from a Delaware regiment led by Captain Charles Corbit. Stuart's column had about 5,000 soldiers. Corbit's regiment had about 90. The skirmish lasted about 2 hours and ran through the streets of downtown historical Westminster. Obviously, Corbit was outnumbered and eventually defeated.

Some have said that because Corbit held up the column for 2 hours, the Confederates were exhausted from the fighting and decided to rest a day before heading the rest of the way up to Gettysburg (about a 20 minute drive north of Westminster). This prevented them from being engaged in the first day of the battle. Had Stuart been there when the battle started, the Confederates may have been able to push the union off of Cemetery Ridge and defeated them, thus possibly ending the Civil War early and on their terms. Fortunately, fate fell into the Union's hands that day in June, 1863.

By the way, these pictures were taken in Sepia on my Nikon D40x. Do you like?

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