Gilmor's Ride Around Baltimore
by Gary Baker

On June 9, 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early defeated an ad-hoc Union army under the command of General Lew Wallace at Monocacy Junction, east of Frederick, Maryland. After his victory, Early moved against Washington, D.C., and ever since historians have focused on Early's demonstration in front of Washington's defenses. Consequently little is known about the Confederate cavalry column that crossed northern Maryland while Early marched on Washington. The mission of that horse column is the subject of one of the most unique cavalry raids of the Civil War.

Prior to crossing the Catoctin Mountains and threatening Frederick City, General Early received a special courier from Richmond. The rider was Captain Robert E. Lee, Jr., who informed Early that while he was in Maryland he was to detach a cavalry brigade to support an attempt to free an estimated 14,000 Confederate prisoners held at Point Lookout, some thirty-five mile south of Washington. To lead this raid General Early choose a Marylander, General Bradley Tyler Johnson, whose cavalry command consisted of the First Maryland Cavalry, Major Harry Gilmor's Partisan Battalion, and the remnants of General William "Grumble" Jones' Brigade.

Early met with Johnson on the night of the 8th and informed him that he would lead his brigade across northern Maryland towards Baltimore. En-route Johnson would cut all telegraph lines and disrupt railroad activity both north and northeast of the city. He would then swing around Baltimore and make his way to Point Lookout, where on the 12th he was to attack the garrison and free the prisoners. He would then counter march and join Early's main body in Washington. Johnson could not believe his ears. He was being ordered to destroy railroad bridges, tear up tracks, cut telegraph lines and cover over two hundred miles in three days. He argued that Early was asking the impossible, but his protest fell on deaf ears.

At daybreak on the 9th General Johnson led his command to Worman's Mill on the old Liberty Road, about two miles north of Frederick. There he watched Early's flank until it was apparent that Early was routing Wallace's army. Johnson then headed east toward Westminister, via Libertytown, Union Bridge and New Windsor.

"One hot summer's day in 1864, a cloud of dust arose out the turnpike, through which was dimly figured an approaching cavalcade. The news preceded, however, that they were rebels, and it was like striking fire to tinder. Consternation reigned supreme. As by an electric current, every store was closed and barred. Heads of families moved, but not far from their dwelling, and the very streets, which were vacated, seemed to moan a solemn dirge. It was Bradley T. Johnson's command of about 500 cavalrymen " (1) But Johnson did not visit for long, and according to the "Carroll Record" New Windsor "did not suffer greatly" by Johnson's men, "although an attempt was made to burn the railroad bridge in Englar's meadow, and also the old warehouse then belonging to Samuel Hoffman." Apparently in their haste the rebels failed to attend to the fires that they had set, and once they were out of sight the local residents put the fires out.

At New Windsor, Johnson directed Major Harry Gilmor to lead a small squadron of twenty men ahead of the main body to cut telegraph lines and secure the town of Westminister. "After a heavy march, the brigade halted at New Windsor, and I was ordered to take twenty men on fresh horses, gallop to Westminister, and cut the telegraph." (2) Gilmor approached Westminister around sunset, and as he neared the town he learned that it was occupied by some one hundred to one hundred and fifty "bluecoats." "Trusting to their supposing we were well backed, we drew sabers, closed up the column, and charged through town at a fast gallop." (3) Gilmor's men, charged into Westminister. Firing in the air and giving the famous "Rebel Yell," they soon scattered the small Federal force. "A few bluecoats were to be seen, and the boys gave an awful yell when they saw them, which brought everyone to the doors and windows." (4) As the Federal garrison fled toward Baltimore, Major Gilmor's men cut the telegraph wires, severing communications with Baltimore. Gilmor's squadron was five hours ahead of the main body. With time to spare he dallied in the town, meeting with many old friends. Three hours into his visit a courier arrived from Johnson ordering him to demand from the town mayor 1,500 suits of clothes, including boots and shoes. "Mayor Grove made every effort to get his council together, but had not succeeded when the general arrived," (5) Gilmor managed to persuade Johnson to forget the ransom. Local legend has it that a bottle of whiskey shared by the mayor and Major Gilmor had something to do with the ransom being forgotten.

When news of Wallace's defeat reached Baltimore, the city was thrown into a panic. City officials quickly set about organizing a defense, and citizens were promptly called to arms. Young and old alike responded to the call by the thousands. While militia companies were formed and organized, warehouses full of government stores were emptied. Much of these stores were carried to boats waiting in the harbor.

After departing Westminister, Johnson continued to Cockeysville north of Baltimore. Gilmor's advance column arrived there in the early morning hours and proceeded to burn a railroad trestle of the Northern Central Railroad that spanned the Gunpowder River north of town, severing the rail link between Baltimore and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Gilmor pushed pickets south along the York Road, and they continued to destroy tracks and rail cars as they advanced to Texas, Maryland, several miles south of Cockeysville.

General Johnson's main body reached Cockeysville around 9:00 A.M. and set about cutting telegraph wires, and tearing up tracks. Johnson's arrival caused quite a stir in the little community, as it was Sunday and many people were on their way to church. Johnson later wrote "I fear we rather broke up the meeting. We were greater attractions than the preachers."

While Johnson supervised the destruction of the remaining railroad bridges in the Cockeysville area (before the raid was over Johnson and Gilmor would destroy or disable eleven bridges of the North Central Railroad), he dispatched Colonel James C. Clarke, to ride into Baltimore to collect information on "troop and forces available for the defense of Washington." (6) He also directed Major Gilmor's to lead a detachment across Baltimore and Harford County to the vital railroad bridge of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, that spanned the Gunpowder River some twenty miles northeast of Baltimore. To accomplish his mission Gilmor reasoned that he needed at least 500 men and two pieces of Johnson's light artillery. But Johnson knew that he would need every man, and all the artillery that he had if he was to successfully attack the garrison at Point Lookout. Gilmor would have to make due with a small, hand picked detachment. Major Gilmor selected eighty-five men who had serviceable horses from his own battalion, and fifty from the First Maryland Cavalry. They left Cockeysville about noon, following the York Road toward Baltimore. At the Timonium toll gate his small band took a country road striking east for the Old York Road, which he followed as far as Meredith Bridge. Here Gilmor left the main body of his detachment under the command of Captain Bailey to destroy a trestle over the Gunpowder. He then divided the remainder of his men into small groups and set them loose on the countryside to impress local horse flesh. Records indicate that horses were taken from local farms all over Baltimore and Harford Counties.

"A portion of the force, under the command of Major Harry Gilmor, came toward Towsontown and sent squads through the whole neighborhood for horses. All the farmers north and east of the place were visited, but they did not pass to the south of this village ...." (7)

Five of the rebels did ride into to Towsontown and "a large crowd of men, women and children soon gathered around them, as a real "live rebel" was something new in this vicinity. Of course, a number in this neighborhood sympathize with them and some who have relatives and friends in the rebel army were glad to avail themselves of conversation with them. We will do these men the credit to say they behaved themselves remarkably well. They destroyed nothing and took nothing but what they were willing and able to pay for." Gilmor and several of his officers then doubled back down the Old York Road to nearby Glen Ellen, Gilmor's family home, where they spent several relaxing hours with friends and family.

Harry Gilmor's grandfather had immigrated from Scotland to Maryland's Eastern Shore region in 1767. There he established a successful trading company, Robert Gilmor and Son, which was passed on to his son Robert III, Harry's father. In the 1820's Robert led an American delegation to Scotland, where he befriended Sir Walter Scott. Robert spent a considerable amount of time at Scott's castle home, Abbotsford. When he returned to Maryland he erected a three story, early Gothic Revival mansion meant to resemble Abbotsford, which Robert called Glen Ellen, after his young wife Ellen Ward.

Born in Baltimore in January of 1838, Harry Gilmor was raised in the luxury that Glen Ellen provided. He was tutored by a private educator from Harvard University, and he became an exceptional horseman. He grew to be six feet tall, was considered extremely handsome, well tanned, had a high forehead, and always maintained a well groomed mustache. As he grew older, Harry's parents, perhaps hoping to insure that their son remained in touch with the world outside Glen Ellen and Baltimore high society, had him trained as a machinist at the nearby Vulcan Iron Works. As war approached, like many young bloods in the country, Harry joined a local militia unit, the Towson Horse Guards (also known as the Baltimore County Horse Guards). The Horse Guards drilled weekly on a vacant lot next to the court house in Towsontown.

When war broke out, Harry and his brother crossed the Potomac and enlisted as privates in the Confederate Army. Gilmor quickly became an independent scout for Stonewall Jackson, and his reports on General Fremont's activities helped to shape Jackson's decision to drive north through the Shenandoah in 1862. Gilmor accompanied Jackson into Maryland in September of 1862. But when the young scout was again on his native Maryland soil he took "French leave," and rode with a companion through western Maryland toward Baltimore. Dressed in Confederate gray, the two riders managed to ride to within seven miles of Glen Ellen. It being late, the companions stopped at a friend's home for the night. Here, by shear coincidence, they encountered a Federal patrol looking for contraband heading South. Without ceremony Gilmor was arrested and held at Fort McHenry until his exchange several months later. He returned to the Shenandoah determined to raise his own regiment.

In March of 1863 Gilmor sought out General JEB Stuart's advice and soon found himself embroiled with Stuart in the Battle of Kelly's Ford. During the melee Gilmor carried from the field the mortally wounded Major John Pelham, commander of Stuart's Light Artillery. Stuart supported Gilmor's efforts to raise his own regiment, as did General John Imboden. (8) Soon afterwards Gilmor personally visited Richmond to plead his case. By the end of August Gilmor had been commissioned a Major and was given authorization to raise his command. But Gilmor had some difficulty in raising his battalion. He had assumed that the bulk of it would come from Maryland, but by September of 1863 most of the Marylanders who would fight for the South were already there, assigned to units through out the Confederate Army; and few chose to leave those units. Gilmor was also burdened with restrictions that Richmond had placed on his recruiting. Secretary of War James Seddon was completely opposed to having yet another band of free booters roaming the countryside. According to Seddon, Virginians eligible for conscription could serve in regular army units. Gilmor could only recruit from Virginia young boys and men over forty-five. (9) He was forbidden from recruiting any men from the other Confederate States. This left him with few options. The core of his command came from Maryland and Western Virginia. The rest were either northerners, or deserters from both armies. Military commands of this sort are often reflective of their commander, and this was definitely true of Gilmor's Battalion. Harry Gilmor was Gilmor's Battalion. While Gilmor had been forced to recruit both deserters and scalawags to fill his battalion, the men he selected to ride with him were all very much like him. They were rowdy, reckless, and fearless. Of Gilmor's Battalion, Major W.W. Goldsborough, C.S.A., who chronicled the history of Maryland's Confederate units in "The Maryland Line" writes: "it is but fair to say that a braver, more daring and reckless band never followed the flag of a free companion in the Middle Ages."

During the next nine months the partisan band destroyed bridges, attacked Federal wagon trains, tracked and captured Federal couriers, scouted behind Federal lines and raided the railroads. Gilmor's Battalion developed a strong interest in railroads, especially the Baltimore and Ohio. During their affair with the B. & O. Gilmor's men destroyed tracks, derailed engines, burned supplies and out buildings. In February of 1864, Gilmor and his rangers stopped and boarded a train of the B. & O. near Duffield Station, Virginia. While making arrangements to burn the train Gilmor discovered that some of his men had robbed several of the passengers. He threatened to shoot anyone caught robbing the passengers. While he endeavored to restore the stolen goods to their rightful owners a second train carrying Federal troops soon appeared and Gilmor was forced to flee. Several days later the "Northern papers made such an outcry against me for this raid, that General Robert E. Lee ordered me to be tried by court-martial, which was assembled at Staunton early in April." (10) Gilmor was acquitted after a week long trial, but was temporarily stripped of his command until the findings of the court could be reviewed by General Robert E. Lee. Gilmor languished for sometime waiting for the commanding general to find time from the war to review his case. A reprieve came when General Breckenridge was given command of the Valley District. In need of scouts, Breckenridge reviewed the case and agreed with the findings of the court martial board. Gilmor returned to his command, but his lack of control over his men continued to be a problem for him. In the weeks that followed several of his men were accused of stealing gold from a merchant in the Valley, and from time to time others reportedly accosted travelers and liberated them of their watches and purses.

As Gilmor moved across Baltimore County, and Johnson made his swing around Baltimore City, reports on their movements started to filter into the War Department in Washington. Around 3:00 P.M. Washington received the following wire: "Enemy cavalry, 300 to 500 strong, visited Reisterstown last night. Took some forty horses and left soon after daylight, going toward Central railroad .....0ur scouts report enemy's cavalry at Cockeysville." (11) Another wire stated that "An agent of the Northern Central Railroad has just informed me that the road at Cockeysville is cut," "the rebels were at Parkton, Northern Central Railroad, this afternoon." (12) A third message even predicted Gilmor's objective: "a small force of rebels at Green Spring, near Pikesville, and reported making their way toward the Philadelphia railroad." (13) Around 7:00 P.M. General William Morris, serving in the Middle Department Headquarters in Baltimore wired the United States Army Inspector General, Colonel James Hardie that "the advance of the rebels is within seven miles of this city, on the York road, " and around 10:00 P.M. he wired that "repeated reports confirm the presence of the enemy on the York road at Cockeysville and Towsontown, variously estimated from 1,600 to 7,000. All reports tend to the theory that a force intends to cut the Philadelphia road. The report of the destruction of the Gunpowder bridge on the Northern Central road is reliable, I think." Morris added that he had sent two small steamers to protect the Baltimore & Ohio railroad bridges over the Bush and Gunpowder Rivers.

After several hours visiting with his family, Gilmor returned to Meredith Bridge and retrieved Captain Bailey's detachment before heading east toward Harford County. As he was about to depart Glen Ellen, Gilmor confessed his destination to a relative. Knowing that the Major had only one hundred and thirty-five men, the relative told Gilmor that he "would not return alive." (14) Soon after dark the endless hours in the saddle, broken only by burning bridges and tearing up railroad tracks, began to take it's toll on Gilmor's men. Many began to fall asleep in the saddle. Some were wakened by falling from their horses, but most, including Gilmor, simply plodded along in their sleep. While Gilmor slept his column continued past Morgan's Mill Road, which he had intended to take into Harford County. Gilmor was awakened some time later by the barking of a dog. Discovering that he was further north then he had planned, he "decided to wait at a farm to which we had come till daylight and let the men sleep, for they were actually so suffering for it they were falling from their horses on the road and I was beginning to loose some of them." (15) This was the farm of Joshua Price (16). some fourteen miles north of Baltimore on what is today Long Green Pike, between Long Green Road and Williams Road.

In Wilmington, Delaware a force of 30-days men was quickly raised to respond to the Confederate raid. The first fifty men, under the command of Captain Thomas Stirling, were organized into a company and immediately sent south ahead of the main body. Stirling's mission was to reinforce the guard on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Bridge over the Gunpowder River near Magnolia Station. His command arrived at the bridge in the early morning and relieved Company F., 109th Ohio National Guard.

Monday's papers reported "Yesterday A.M., a force of Confederate cavalry moved around to Westminister and Union Bridge on the Western Maryland Railroad. They continued their advance and during the day reached Relay House of the Northern Central Railroad. They destroyed the bridge over the Gunpowder River, the bridge just above Cockeysville. Cavalry roamed the entire section." (17) "Sunday, July 10th, will be a day long remembered in the annals of Baltimore. On Saturday and Saturday night, a considerable amount of excitement existed on account of rumors of rebels approaching Baltimore. On Sunday morning all Baltimore was awakened by the sounding of the general alarm by Governor Bradford and Mayor Chapman. Policemen mounted on horseback were busy impressing every able-bodied colored man fit for service.

Yesterday afternoon some of the men forming companies captured citizens standing on corners and impressed them into service. This caused a general skedaddling of those who were news hunting and the result was that the streets were not much crowded during the rest of the day.

Reported last evening that Major Harry Gilmor's rebel cavalry were at Towson on the York Road but no official advices have been received. On Saturday evening all saloons were ordered closed " (18) On the morning of the 11th Gilmor's main body continued east across Long Green Valley. The column had not gone far in the direction of Kingsville, along what is now Sunshine Avenue, when a shot rang out down the road. Gilmor road forward and found one of his scouts hurrying back to the column. The soldier informed Gilmor that Ordnance Sergeant Eugene Fields had been shot by a local farmer named Ishmael Day. Gilmor galloped down the road, where he found Sergeant Fields laying in front of a house, his face and chest covered with buckshot. Day had heard that cavalry was in the area. Assuming that the cavalry were Federal troopers impressing horses, he had raised an American flag over his home, hoping that they would see he was loyal to the Union and leave his animals be. It had become common practice in Maryland, when details were sent out to impress farm animals, for Federal troops to ferret out from the locals who in the neighborhood were Southern Sympathizers. They would then impress the horses and mules of the "disloyal" citizens to fill their quota, before impressing the animals of loyal citizens. Fields informed Gilmor that he had ordered the sixty-five year old Day to take down the flag, which Fields had called "a dammed old rag." (19) Day reportedly responded "Gentlemen, burn my house to the ground, but I will shoot any man that touches that flag." (20) When Day refused to remove the flag, Fields dismounted to do it himself. Day had then grabbed his shotgun and shot Fields from a second story window.

As Gilmor spoke to his dying Sergeant, his men gathered behind him, "swearing terribly." In a mad frenzy they set fire to Day's home and out buildings while Day took to the woods. "I put Fields in one of Day's carriages and sent him to Wright's Hotel; on the Harford Road," (21) where Fields died shortly afterwards. Mrs. Day would later complain that money and silver was stolen during the incident. She also complained about how "Glen Ellen's aristocratic son" had handled the affair. "Had his father taught him the art of handling the plough, perhaps he would not have become a highway robber." (22)

Leaving the Day farm, Gilmor continued east by south east, crossing the Bel Air and Harford Roads, most likely at the cross roads of Sunshine and Bel Air roads at Kingsville. His route from this point is uncertain. It is possible that he took Bradshaw Road to the Philadelphia Turnpike, and from there rode to Magnolia Station. But the most likely choice of roads would have been Jerusalem Road (also known as Jerusalem Mill Road) since it was a more direct route toward his final objective. It would have also provided an excellent land mark Jerusalem Mill Road cuts southeast from Kingsville, reaching Mountain Road just below Stockton. After leaving Kingsville, Gilmor would have proceeded about two and a half miles to the Little Gunpowder Falls, which he would have crossed over by way of a covered bridge that has long since gone. Immediately across the falls, on the right was the old mill, by which the village had gotten it's name. A hundred yards further on and across the road was the store of David Lee.

"A squad of cavalry appeared at Jerusalem Mill and made the requisition of Mr. David Lee for horses and such articles as they needed from the store, including boots and shoes and wearing apparel. Mr. Lee gave his loss at $1,000, including the grain lost at Magnolia Station. The raiders after leaving Jerusalem Mills then proceeded to Magnolia Station ...." (23)

By 1864 Jerusalem Mill and the small Quaker village around it was 95 years old. In September of 1769 miller David Lee and millwright Isaiah Linton selected the site for the purpose of building a flour mill. They erected a five story mill, and diverted the Little Gunpowder Falls to flow through it's race, turning two giant "over shot" water wheels, which in turned powered four sets of grinding stones. By 1772 the project was completed and Lee began milling flour under the "White Silk" label. Before long Lee's flour was being shipped through the ports of near by Joppa Town and Baltimore to points around the world.

Here Gilmor rendezvoused with those men who had been out collecting horses. Some of these men evidently visited Bel Air on the 10th and then took refuge at the stage coach house at Stockton. It is possible that several of the men may have been from the area, and like their commander they stole a few hours to visit family and friends. The "Philadelphia Inquirer" reported on July 13th that a Cavalry battle occurred in Bel Air, but the local paper, "The Bel Air Aegis," still in print today, reported on the 15th that the battle had not occurred, and took the opportunity to take a shot at its big city associates: "The great Cavalry fight in Belair reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer of the 13th did not take place. A Confederate or two occasionally rode into town, but they interfered with no one, nor were they themselves interfered with. Our neighbors of the city press are a good deal given to sensational reports and we are not surprised, just at this time when printing paper is at 18 cents a pound, that our neighbors of the Inquirer should even get up an expedient to sell their paper at the expense of our quiet village."

Gilmor arrived at the Magnolia Station on the east bank of the Gunpowder River around 9:30 A.M., and promptly captured the telegraph operator. The Confederates soon heard the approach of a passenger train coming from Baltimore. Captain Bailey was dispatched to capture the train, which he did without incident. Once the train was secure Gilmor placed guards around it and strictly forbid his men from plundering the train or the passengers' goods. The baggage master at Magnolia was provided with an armed guard and instructed to unload the train and turn each passenger's goods over to them personally. Gilmor intended to run the train up the track toward Havre de Grace on the Susquehanna River, and burn the railroad bridges north of Magnolia as he crossed them. But the train's engineer managed to disable the train before making his escape. Among the train's passengers was Major General William Franklin, commander of XIX Corps. Gilmor placed the general and several officers under guard in the telegraph office, and then set fire to the train.

Shortly after this a second train arrived. Like the first, Gilmor insured that both passengers and baggage were unloaded before he did anything to the train. He then ordered his men to attack the small garrison of Federal infantry protecting the bridge over the Gunpowder River. These were the 30-day men under Captain Stirling.

"The enemy's cavalry attacked us yesterday while the men were pitching tents, wounding one man, and afterward sent in a flag of truce demanding our surrender, which was refused. We formed line to defend the bridge." (24) At which time Gilmor's men set fire to the second train and backed it onto the bridge. The train subsequently burned through the bridge and fell into the river, but not before Lieutenant Robert Price of the 159th Ohio National Guard led part of his command across the bridge and freed two cars from the burning train. These cars were then removed to the far side of the bridge, a remarkable feat considering the length of the bridge. Stirling managed to retire safely to Perryville by way of the gunship "Junita," which Price noted had been "anchored 300 yards below the bridge. She had no colors hoisted, neither did she communicate with the shore, which caused us to look on her with suspicion. At about 8 o'clock she hoisted the Stars and Stripes, and at the time the bridge was being fired she steamed up a little nearer, but did not use her gun." (25)

Gilmor paroled all of his military prisoners with the exception of General Franklin and four other officers. He then signaled to the "Junitia", and was able to communicate to its commander that he could come ashore and collect the train passengers and transport them to Havre de Grace. The released soldiers were also entrusted to the Junitia's crew. General Franklin and his fellow officers were loaded into carriages, and with his prisoners in tow Gilmor then set off toward Baltimore. On the opposite end of the bridge Lieutenant Price wrote to his commander "I have just received your dispatch, and am sorry to say that a portion of this bridge was burned this morning at 10 o'clock.." (26)

It had been Gilmor's intention to cut across country toward the York Road, and there enter Baltimore by way of either Charles Street or Fall's Road, and then make his way through the city to the Franklin Turnpike. He obviously wanted to get south of the city as quickly as possible in order to rejoin General Johnson's column. But he soon encountered an old friend who informed him that the militia had prepared a warm welcome for him in Baltimore. Gilmor changed his course and headed for Towsontown.

Arriving in Towsontown ahead of his column, Gilmor and his staff made their way into a local inn, known as Ady's Hotel. There they shared a glass of ale with several of Gilmor's old friends, some of whom suggested that he shove off because a large cavalry force was rumored to be on it's way up from Baltimore, only seven miles to the south. The cavalier Gilmor elected to stay and meet the Federal Cavalry. He directed Captain Nicholas Owings to take a detachment of ten men to escort the prisoners west to Reisterstown Road. Lieutenant William H. Kemp was ordered to take fifteen men of Company C. down the York Road, and charge the Federal advance guard, then fall back on Gilmor's main body. This drew the Federal cavalry, approximately seventy-five volunteers under the command of a Captain Haverstiek, into Gilmor's trap. "With a strong yell, we charged down on them, though it was so dark we could see not a man of them." (27) The already skittish volunteer riders broke when they encountered Gilmor's main body. Some of Gilmor's men chased the volunteers as far as Govanstown, in the vicinity of current Woodburne Avenue in Baltimore.

After routing the Federal cavalry, Gilmor returned to Towsontown. By then the hotel was closed. It is believed that a number of local men joined his command at this time. Gilmor decided to push on to the Resiterstown Road before stopping. His veterans were exhausted, but they continued to ride late into the night. In an attempt to keep his men from falling out of the column Gilmor brought up the rear of his command. But like his men, he too soon fell asleep in the saddle. Gilmor was awakened by a resounding "Halt!" While asleep he had gotten separated from his men and had run into a Federal picket. He called out that he was a friend, and soon convinced the picket that he was with the 1st Virginia, U.S.A., and was out looking for Harry Gilmor. (28)

After making his way past the Federal pickets, Gilmor struck out across country in search of the Green Spring Valley road. When he eventually found his way he encountered one of his men fast asleep on the side of the road. Finding their commander gone from the column, the raiders had continued on to Hunt's Meeting House, leaving one man behind to direct Gilmor if and when he came up. The two men crossed the Northern Central Railroad, and made their way to the meeting house. There they found everyone of Gilmor's men asleep, in and on both sides of the road. Not a single picket had been posted, and the raider's horses were tethered to bushes, each other, or left to wander. Gilmor said later that had he been captured by the picket every single man in his command would have soon joined him in a cell at Fort McHenry.

Gilmor knew that his men were exhausted, but he also knew that they had tarried in the neighborhood of Baltimore too long. They had to move on and get some distance between them and any cavalry that might be in pursuit. He rousted his men and led them on through Green Spring Valley to the home of a Mr. Craddock, on Reisterstown Road. Craddock's Lane still marks the sight of Mr. Craddock's property. It was near here, at the home of a Mr. Oliver, that Gilmor had directed Captain Owings to take the prisoners. But when Gilmor arrived at the Oliver Farm he found these men asleep as well. General Franklin and his companions were long gone. For a moment the tired Major vented his anger, but he could not find it in himself to punish his men. After a search for the missing prisoners Gilmor allowed his men a few hours sleep, then moved his command to Pikesville. General Franklin's valise was discovered in the carriage in which the prisoners had been transported. The valise contained only personal items, and Gilmor later made arrangements to pass it through the lines and returned to General Franklin.

Around 10:00 P.M. the War Department wired a full report of the activity around Baltimore and Washington, including Gilmor's attack on the Gunpowder bridge to General Grant at his headquarters near Petersburg, Virginia: "Washington and Baltimore are in a state of great excitement. Both cities are filled with country people fleeing from the enemy. The damage to private property done by the invaders is almost beyond calculation. Mills, workshops, and factories of every sort have been destroyed. From twenty-four to fifty miles of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad have been torn up " (29)

Gilmor remained in the Pikesville area throughout the 12th. While his men rested he visited the Seven Mile House, an inn located at the corner of Reisterstown Road and Seven Mile Lane. That afternoon the rebels skirmished with and repulsed a squad of Union cavalry and volunteer Union League men. Around 3:00 P.M. they departed toward Randallstown, where they remained for the night. By the 14th Gilmor had led his men back across Maryland to Poolesville, where they rejoined General Johnson. When Johnson received Colonel Clarke's report that elements of the VI and XIX Corps were in Baltimore, he had immediately sent this information to General Early, who had planned to assault Fort Stevens on the morning of the 12th. After receiving Johnson's message Early concluded to reconnoiter the defenses one more time on the morning of the 12th before committing his forces to the attack. On the morning of the 12th he and his staff and rode out of camp and carefully studied the defenses before them. It was apparent that they had been reinforced. Early decided to demonstrate in front of the defenses throughout the day, and then move back to the Potomac. He immediately recalled Johnson's column, which was intercepted by a courier near Bladensburg. Johnson and Gilmor's saddle weary men served as Early's rear guard as the Valley Army crossed back into Virginia.,

Initially all traffic by rail north of the city was halted by Gilmor and Johnson's raid. Work crews quickly repaired the damaged bridges on the Northern Central Railroad, and reestablished nominal service on that line. Do to the extent of the damage and the considerable length of the railroad bridge of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad that crossed over the Gunpowder, repairs took several weeks. But travel between Philadelphia and Baltimore continued almost unabated. At first, travelers moving south, picked up steamers at Perryville, on the Cecil County side of the Susquehanna, and traveled to Baltimore by sea. Travelers going north traveled in the reverse, taking steamers to Perryville, where they continued by train northward. As work continued on the bridge, flat boats were brought up to the Gunpowder bridge. Trains coming from both directions dislodged their passengers at the bridge. The passengers then traversed the river on the flat boats.

In Baltimore the barricades started coming down around the 14th, and restrictions on traveling into the city were lifted. By the 20th most people had returned to their jobs and life in and around Baltimore had started to return to normal. But for a few short days in June a handful of Maryland's native sons had brought the war back to Maryland. For four days one hundred and thirty six men traveled over two hundred miles on horse back behind enemy lines, some how managed to slip past numerous patrols, scare off the ones they did encounter, captured and burned two trains, destroyed a vital railroad bridge, captured a Union general, and scared the pants off of nearly every man, woman and child in the Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia region.

Colonel Harry Gilmor was captured in West Virginia near the end of the war and was sent to a prison facility in Boston, Massachusetts. The government was so concerned over what might happen when the citizens of Baltimore discovered that Gilmor and his escort would pass through Baltimore that they kept it a secret. The Provost Marshal of Baltimore boarded the train at Relay House south of the city to provide additional protection. Once in Baltimore the Provost Marshal, Gilmor and his military escort slipped out of the train on the side away from the platform and made their way through the city's back streets to the Provost Marshal's office, where they slept on the floor until the following morning.

After the war, like many Marylanders who had served the Confederacy, Harry Gilmor remained in the South, unsure that it was safe to return home. He traveled to New Orleans, where he married a Southern Belle. The Gilmors eventually returned to Baltimore, where Harry served as a Police Commissioner for a number of years, and wrote his account of his war time experiences in "Four Years In The Saddle." He died in March of 1883 after a long and painful illness. Harry Gilmor was laid to rest on Confederate Hill in Baltimore's Loudon Park Cemetery. A handsome statue of Stonewall Jackson looks down on his grave, General Johnson is buried several feet away, and both men are surrounded by the men who had served with them in the Confederate Army. 


 NOTES

(1) The "Carroll Record's" 1895 account of General Bradley Johnson's visit to New Windsor.

(2) Gilmor, Colonel Harry, Four Years In The Saddle, Harper & Brother's, Publishers, N.Y., 1866.

(3) IBID (4) IBID (5) IBID

(6) Johnson, General Bradley T., My Ride Around Baltimore in 1864, Southern Historical Society Papers, XXX, 1902, pg 215-221.

(7) July 16, 1864 issue "Baltimore County Advocate."

(8) Letter from General Imboden to Secretary of War Seddon, 27 Aug 1863, roll 4, Letters and Telegrams received by the Confederate Adjutant and Inspector General 1861 - 1865, Nation Archives. Known as 746-J-1863 LAIGO.

(9) Letter from Palfrey to General Imbodden, 15 Sep 1863, Letters and Telegrams received by the Confederate Adjutant and Inspector General 1861 - 1865, Nation Archives. Known as 746-J-1863 LAIGO.

(10) Gilmor, Colonel Harry, Four Years In The Saddle, Harper & Brother's, Publishers, N.Y., 1866.

(11) Official Record of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), H Bar Enterprises CDROM version, H Bar Enterprises, Oakman, Alabama, Monocacy, pg 174 CHAP XLIX.

(12) OR, CD, Monocacy, pg 175 CHAP XLIX.

(13) IBID

(14) Gilmor, Colonel Harry, Four Years In The Saddle, Harper & Brother's, Publishers, N.Y., 1866.

(15) IBID

(16) While Gilmor gives no indication as to where he stopped, "The Baltimore American" reported later that he stopped at the home of Joshua Price that night. In the article the "American" claimed that Gilmor stopped at Price's Farm because one of Price's sons was in Gilmor's command. But on the 13th the same paper carried the following letter, written by R. M. Price:

"Re-Mr. Joshua Price. (We publish with pleasure the following note correcting the rumor relative to Mr. Joshua Price.) Camp Fort Four-And-A-Half, July 12, 1864.

The report in your paper that Joshua C. Price, upon whose property Gilmor's cavalry encamped, had a son in the Rebel Army is a mistake. Joshua Price is now and always will be a loyal man and he has no son under that arch fiend and condemdable traitor, Gilmor. His nearest neighbor has a son in his band of thieves and murderers. Signed--R.M. Price."

However; over the years local historians have had problems locating the farm of Joshua C. Price. Extensive research has been made by various local historians of court records for wills and bills of sales, etc. A search of newspaper articles from the 1860's resulted in the discovery of an article from May 19, 1866 for the sale of all personal property of one Joshua C. Price in Long Green Valley on the Harford Road, some fourteen miles from Baltimore. Locals and researchers must keep in mind that there were actually two Harford Roads at this time. Today these two roads are Harford Road and Long Green Pike, the latter being in the 1800's, the northern branch of Harford Road.

(17) July 11, 1864 issue of the "Baltimore Sun":

(18) IBID

(19) Gilmor, Colonel Harry, Four Years In The Saddle, Harper & Brother's, Publishers, N.Y., 1866.

(20) Scharf, J. Thomas, A History of Baltimore City & County, Philadelphia, 1881.

(21) Gilmor, Colonel Harry, Four Years In The Saddle, Harper & Brother's, Publishers, N.Y., 1866.

(22) Scharf, J. Thomas, A History of Baltimore City & County, Philadelphia, 1881.

(23) July 12, 1864 edition of the "Harford County Correspondent":

(24) OR, CD, Monocacy, pg 227 CHAP XLIX.

(25) OR, CD, Monocacy, pg 230 CHAP XLIX.

(26) IBID

(27) Gilmor, Colonel Harry, Four Years In The Saddle, Harper & Brother's, Publishers, N.Y., 1866.

(28) IBID

(29) OR, CD, Monocacy, pg 194 CHAP XLIX.

Additional Source Material:

Dowdy, Clifford, & Louis H. Manarin, The War Time Papers of Robert E. Lee, Da Capo Press, N.Y., N.Y., 1961.

Early, General Jubal A., Early, Narrative of the War Between The States, Da Capa Press, N.Y., N.Y. 1989.

Goldsboroug, Major W.W., C.S.A., The Maryland Line In The Confederate Army, 1861 - 65, Press of Guggenheimer, Weil & Co., Baltimore, 1900.

Hamilton, A. J., A Fort Delaware Journal, The Diary of a Yankee Private, A. J. Hamilton, 1862 65. Fort Delaware Society, Wilmington, Delaware.

Johnson, General Bradley Tyler, Riding A Raid In July, 1864, "The Leader," Laurel, Maryland, December 26, 1902.

Lee, Robert E. Jr., My Father, General Lee, Garden City Publishing Co., Garden City, N.J., 1924.

Rocehelle, I.H., Letter to Surgeon Conrad, dated July 17, 1864, New York Historical Society.

Scharf, J. Thomas, History of Maryland, Volume III, Tradition Press, Hatboro, Pa., 1967.

 

 



 

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