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Darnestown in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Life During Encampment in Montgomery County

1861 - 1865

 
 
Life During Encampment in Montgomery County Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 21, 2014
1. Life During Encampment in Montgomery County Marker
Inscription. Troops stationed in Montgomery County did not sit idle while waiting to fight. In addition to preparing for battle, they also had to combat many deprivations, including proper food, clothing and shelter. Life as a soldier was difficult on all counts and frequently led to encounters with local residents.

Theft was rampant during the war and horses were a highly sought-after commodity. Dr. William Palmer of Sandy Spring may have sought to avoid having his stolen. On July 13, 1864, Brigadier General Bradley T. Johnson, CSA ordered that "[a]ll officers and soldiers are forbidden to trouble in any way the property of Dr. Wm. Palmer. His horses must not be touched." Palmer's neighbors were not so fortunate: "The rebel cavalry made their appearance at numerous points in Montgomery County, Md.… making levies upon horse flesh generally, pouncing with special vim upon the fat animals owned by the Quakers about Sandy Spring." In most cases, no injuries resulted from thefts. Thomas N. Nelson, however, was not so lucky. According to the Sentinel, in September 1862 Wilson was killed by a bayonet while attempting to stop three soldiers from stealing pigs from his Colesville farm.

Not all interaction with county civilians was so negative. Prior to the Civil War, the United States only recognized two national
Life During Encampment in Montgomery County Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 21, 2014
2. Life During Encampment in Montgomery County Marker
holidays: Independence Day and President Washington's Birthday. Union troops stationed in Montgomery County were also accustomed to celebrating the New England tradition of Thanksgiving in November. The New York Times recorded the local festivities witnessed by Marylanders in 1861. Soldiers feasted on an abundance of food, including "turkeys, hams, oyster pies." In addition, a grand ball was thrown in the vicinity of Poolesville were attendees included "a large number of New-England ladies." The atmosphere was one of "good cheer and a proper degree of thankfulness."

"Local newspapers reported that soldiers had "robbed poultry roosts, gardens, corn fields and potato patches, orchards and dairies... broke into houses, searched stores, and carried off property which they failed to return even when ordered to do so by their officers. They solicited our negros to leave their owners…" — Montgomery Sentinel, 16 August 1861
 
Erected by Montgomery County Department of Parks.
 
Location. 39° 3.964′ N, 77° 18.294′ W. Marker is in Darnestown, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from River Road (Maryland Route 190) 0.4 miles east of Petit Way, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker
Enjoying Turkey Wishbone image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 21, 2014
3. Enjoying Turkey Wishbone
The caption of this Winslow Homer print reads, "Soldiers enjoying the turkey wishbone at camp site." President Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official federal holiday in 1863. Harper's Weekly, 8 December 1864.
Close-up of image on marker
is in Blockhouse Point Conservation Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14750 River Road, Potomac MD 20854, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Traveler's Impressions of Montgomery County (here, next to this marker); Lockhouse 22 (approx. 1.2 miles away); Watering the Canal (approx. 1.3 miles away); Rowser’s Ford (approx. 1.3 miles away); Washington's Canal (approx. 1.3 miles away in Virginia); a different marker also named Rowser's Ford (approx. 1.9 miles away in Virginia); Crossing the Potomac at Rowser's Ford (approx. 1.9 miles away in Virginia); Seneca (approx. 1.9 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. History in the Parks. Montgomery County Department of Parks (Submitted on June 23, 2014.) 

2. Blockhouse Point Civil War Experience. Montgomery County Department of Parks (Submitted on June 23, 2014.) 

3. Life During Encampment in Montgomery County. MontgomeryParks.org (Submitted on June 28, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Livestock and Goods Taken image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 21, 2014
4. Livestock and Goods Taken
Illustration shows Confederate troops with livestock and goods taken from Maryland farmers. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 30 July 1864.
Close-up of image on marker
Frank Leslie.com
Falklands image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 21, 2014
5. Falklands
Personal property, regardless of the status of the occupant was vulnerable to looting. Falklands, the Silver Spring home of Montgomery Blair (seen here in 1864) was destroyed by Confederate soldiers. Blair served as Postmaster General in President Lincoln's Cabinet.
Close-up of image on marker
Library of Congress
Shebang image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 21, 2014
6. Shebang
A Soldiers shebang (or hut) lodging at Edward's Ferry ca. 1861-1865.
Close-up of image on marker
Library of Congress
A Negro Family image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 21, 2014
7. A Negro Family
"A Negro family coming into Union lines." The scene from this stereograph illustrates a group of contrabands entering a Union camp taken in January 1863. Contrabands were slaves who escaped to find refuge behind Union lines.
Close-up of photo on marker
Frank Leslie.com
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 303 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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