Frederick in Frederick County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Gen. Bradley T. Johnson
A Visitor in His Own Hometown
—Early's 1864 Attack on Washington —
In June 1864, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee sent Gen. Jubal A. Early’s corps from Richmond battlefields to the Shenandoah Valley to counter Union Gen. David Hunter’s army. After driving Hunter into West Virginia, Early invaded Maryland to attack Washington, D.C., draw Union troops from Richmond, and release Confederate prisoners held at Point Lookout. On July 9, Early ordered Gen. Bradly T. Johnson’s cavalry brigade eastward to free prisoners. The next day, Johnson sent Maj. Harry Gilmor’s regiment to raid the Baltimore area. Union Gen. Lew Wallace delayed Early at the battle of Monocacy on July 9. Federal reinforcements soon strengthened the capital’s defenses. Early attacked there near Fort Stevens on July 11-12 and then withdrew to the Shenandoah Valley with the Federals in pursuit. He stopped at Cool Spring on July 17-18. Despite failing to take Washington or free prisoners, Early succeeded in diverting Federal resources.
Main Text: On July 8, 1864, Confederate Gen. Bradley T. Johnson returned to Frederick, his hometown. Sadly, however, could never truly return except as a visitor. On this
Johnson had left Maryland and the Union to join the Confederacy when the Civil War began. At his own expense, he organized and equipped the 1st Maryland Infantry and, subsequently, major and then colonel of this unit. He left behind in Frederick his once-bustling law practice. The Union army confiscated his fine residence, and most of the town’s inhabitants regarded him as a traitor. To further intensify the town’s dislike of Johnson, Early levied a ransom of $200,000 on Frederick.
From here, Johnson followed Early’s orders to lead his cavalry brigade east across Carroll and Baltimore counties, destroying turnpike and railroad bridges and telegraph lines along the way. His ultimate objective was the Union prisoners-of-war camp at Point Lookout in St. Mary’s County, where he was to liberate the Confederate prisoners. Days later, however, Early’s unsuccessful attack on Washington’s defenses let to the cancellation of Johnson’s raid which had reached Upper Marlboro. He and his cavalrymen rejoined the army’s main body. They were the last troops to cross the Potomac River back into Virginia, ending Johnson’s final foray into his beloved home state.
(left) Gen. Bradley T. Johnson Courtesy
(upper center) Advertisement for Johnson’s law practice, Frederick Examiner, July 1852
(lower center) Johnson’s home, corner of West 2nd an Court streets Courtesy Stanley Sandergill
(upper right) The Charge of the First Maryland Regiment, A. Hoen & Co., 1867
(lower right) Point Lookout, Maryland, E. Sachse & Co., 1864
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
Location. 39° 24.66′ N, 77° 24.39′ W. Marker is in Frederick, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker is at the intersection of South East Street and Commerce Street, on the right when traveling south on South East Street. Touch for map. The marker is mounted on the wall of the Frederick Visitor Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 151 South East Street, Frederick MD 21701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Frederick County History Bell (a few steps from this marker); The Frederick Brick Works (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Lower Depot Neighborhood / The Frederick Brick Works (about 400 feet away); Old Freight Depot (about 500 feet away); The Stinky Stuff (about 700 feet away); Civil War Hospital Center Diehl Memorial Fountain (approx. 0.2 miles away); Frederick Town Barracks (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Frederick.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 29, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 517 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 29, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on August 31, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.