Thurmont in Frederick County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
— Gettysburg Campaign —
On June 29, 1863, Mechanicstown was full of the noise of an army on the move as Union Gen. John F. Reynolds marched I Corps to Emmitsburg. Until then, residents had only heard rumors of the advancing Confederates as nervous farmers hurried horses and personal belongings through town. Now they new the rumors were true. To guard the Federal rear, Gen. John Buford posted his reserve brigade, the First Cavalry Division, under the command of Gen. Wesley Merritt, here in Mechanicstown.
After the Battle of Gettysburg, Federals passed through the town again while pursuing the Army of Northern Virginia. On July 5, Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart rested his cavalrymen for an hour outside of Mechanicstown near Graceham to feed and water their tired horses at a grain mill. Learning of Union cavalry here to guard the pass over the mountain to Cavetown (on present-day Rte. 77), he rode around Mechanicstown on paths through Harbaugh Valley. In the confusion of troop movements, stories spread that the Confederates had actually occupied Me5chanicstown.
Although this was a stressful time, most area residents kept up their courage. One of Stuart’s cavalrymen noticed that a little girl helping water the horses was crying. Assuming she was terrified, he assured her that she could stop crying because she was in no danger. The girl replied that she was not afraid but had a very painful toothache. Life would soon return to normal here.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1892.
Location. 39° 37.425′ N, 77° 24.698′ W. Marker is in Thurmont, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (Maryland Route 77) and Water Street / North Church Street, on the right when traveling west on Main Street. Located in Mechanicstown Square Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Thurmont MD 21788, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Thurmont (here, next to this marker); Creeger House (within shouting distance of this marker); Thurmont Memorial Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock (approx. 0.2 miles away); Thurmont Rail History — The End of an Era (approx. 0.2 miles away); Thurmont Attractions (approx. 0.2 miles away); Historic Buildings—Past and Present (approx. 0.2 miles away); To the Unknown Dead (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Thurmont.
More about this marker. The marker features a small picture of Thurmont from the early part of the 20th Century, captioned: The current name of Thurmont reflects the town’s location as “the gateway to the mountains.” Known as Mechanicstown during the Civil War, the proximity to the Catoctin Mountains was a cause for concern to area residents when they knew enemy troops were on the other side of the ridge.
Another photo is a 19th century view of Thurmont from the moutains (from the Thurmont Historical Society). Portraits of Gens. John Buford, Wesley Merritt, and J.E.B. Stuart are on the top center of the marker. And a map describing the Gettysburg campaign’s important landmarks and maneuvers is on the lower right corner.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Additional keywords. Gettysburg Campaign
Credits. This page was last revised on August 3, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 4, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 21 times since then. Last updated on August 2, 2022, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.