July 6, 1864: Ransom of Hagerstown, Maryland

Brigadier General John McCausland, Jr.

On July 5, 1864, Early’s Corps marched into Maryland in an attempt to take the pressure off Lee.  As part of this invasion Early sent Brigadier General John McCausland, Jr. to occupy Hagerstown, Maryland and demand a ransom from the town of $200,000.00 in recompense for the destruction wreaked in the Valley by Union General Hunter.  McCausland took the town without fighting early in the morning of July 6.

For some unknown reason McCausland demanded only $20,000.00 and 1500 suits of clothes for the ragged Confederates.  The dismayed citizens of Hagerstown raised the sum from three local banks and the clothes were provided.  McCausland and his men rode off at 1:00 AM on July 7.

Hagerstown got off lightly.  Frederick, Maryland during this campaign paid a ransom of $200,000.00.  The city of Frederick would be paying off this debt to local banks for almost a century, with the last payment made in 1951. (more…)

Published in: on July 6, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  
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Unlucky Chambersburg

Most Northern cities and towns came through the Civil War unscathed, far from the combat that raged in the Confederacy and the Border States.  Not so Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, located only 13 miles north of the Maryland border in southcentral Pennsylvania which would be occupied three times during the Civil War.

The first occupation occurred on October 10, 1862 when General Jeb Stuart, launching a raid in the aftermath of Antietam, captured it with 1800 cavalrymen, destroying a quarter of a million in railroad property and seizing hundreds of horses.

During the Gettysburg campaign in 1863, the town was occupied by the Confederates for a number of days in June, with General Lee establishing his headquarters for a time in a nearby farm.  Once again railroad property was destroyed along with several warehouses.

On July 30, 1864 for the third and final time, with much of the town burned when a ransom of half a million dollars could not be raised.  This was done in retaliation for burnings carried out by the Union in the Shenandoah Valley.  Go here to read an article in defense of the burning which appeared in The Confederate Veteran in 1903. (more…)

Published in: on October 10, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Unlucky Chambersburg  
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