“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cumberland in Allegany County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)


Strategic Center

Cumberland Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Pfingsten, March 28, 2009
1. Cumberland Marker
Inscription. In 1860, Cumberland was a small town of 7,302 residents, most of whom lived in the valley of Willís Creek. The town was an important stop on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the western terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. When the Civil War began in 1861, some residents supported the United States and others the Confederacy. Outright dissension ceased when Union forces garrisoned the town in June.

Cumberland soon became the administrative center for the defense of the western section of the railroad, the canal, and northern West Virginia. About 3,000 Union soldiers usually were stationed here, although the number increased periodically to as many as 8,000. Cumberland also served as a hospital and supply base, and when the war ended, it became a demobilization center. Military administrators occupied many buildings here during the war, while encampments sprang up on the outskirts of town and troops constructed fortifications on the surrounding hills to control approaches.

Confederate cavalry raiders frequently threatened to destroy area railroad facilities and bridges. The long-distance raids came from the east along the railroad or passed through West Virginia from the south, usually targeting less well-defended parts of the line. These hit-and-run raids created turmoil throughout the war. The Confederates attacked Cumberland itself only twice, most spectacularly on February 21, 1865, when Lt. Jesse McNeill and his Partisan Rangers (guerillas) captured Union Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley, who commanded the troops protecting the railroad, as well as Gen. George Crook.
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the Maryland Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 39.071′ N, 78° 45.991′ W. Marker is in Cumberland, Maryland, in Allegany County. Marker is at the intersection of Prospect Square and Washington Street, on the left when traveling north on Prospect Square. Touch for map. Marker is next to the library. Marker is in this post office area: Cumberland MD 21502, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gov. Lloyd Lowndes 1845 - 1905 (a few steps from this marker); The Parade Ground of Fort Cumberland (a few steps from this marker); President Washington's Last Visit - 1794 (within shouting distance of this marker); Allegany County Library (within shouting distance of this marker); The Fort Proper (within shouting distance of this marker); Famous Personalities at Fort Cumberland (within shouting distance of this marker); Allegany County (within shouting distance of this marker); Headquarters of George Washington (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cumberland.
More about this marker. There is another identical marker in Cumberland.
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 5, 2009, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 940 times since then and 43 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on April 5, 2009, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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