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

Nest of Traitors

The Denton Arrests

Nest of Traitors Marker image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, September 20, 2010
1. Nest of Traitors Marker
Inscription. On August 17, 1862, the steamboat Balloon arrived at Denton wharf and disembarked a company of New York infantry and a troop of cavalry. The soldiers quickly arrested twelve prominent local citizens and transported them to imprisonment at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Had the U.S. Army broken up a nest of traitors as implied by pro-Union newspapers, or was this an example of what states-rights poet James Ryder Randell described as the "despot's heel" in rural Maryland?

Clearly, pro-South adherents were active in Caroline County in 1862. William Gadd, one of the arrested men, was a paroled Confederate soldier. Another, G.W. Goldsborough, had obtained a commission in the Confederate army. A third man, William Holt, was reported to be "hurrahing for Jeff Davis" while a prisoner in Fort McHenry. On the other hand, most of the arrests were for political reasons. The prisoners included merchants, doctors, and attorneys who were prominent leaders of the Democratic Party as well as editor Albert Gullett and the owners of the Denton Journal. The Journal had not advocated secession but had harshly critized the U.S. Army for its suppression of the press and free speech and the imprisonment of dissenters.

In its desperation to keep Maryland in the Union and prevent Washington from being isolated in the Confederacy,
Nest of Traitors Marker image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, September 20, 2010
2. Nest of Traitors Marker
The restored wharf of the Maryland Steamboat Company is in the background.
the Lincoln administration sometimes overstepped Constitutional boundaries. As a later historian notes, even the most rural parts of Maryland were "where freedom was denied, for the sake of preserving freedom."

[text with picture on left] Ann Maria Evitss Cherbonnier, with son Joseph, watched as her husband, Dr. Peter Ovid Cherbonnier, was arrested in 1862 and taken by steamboat to a prison cell in Fort McHenry.

[text with middle image] Above is the "Register of Prisoners" from Fort McHenry describing three of the men arrested in Caroline County. It notes that prisoner Gadd "hurrahed for Jeff Davis and cursed [Md.\ Governor Hicks," then refused to take an Oath of Allegience.

[text with image on right] If the objective of the Caroline arrests was to intimidate other residents of the Eastern Shore, it was probably successful. All Eastern Shore newspapers ran news accounts, including the Cambridge Herald, above.
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
Location. 38° 53.289′ N, 75° 50.39′ W. Marker is in Denton, Maryland, in Caroline County. Marker is on River Landing Road 0.4 miles north of New Bridge Road (Maryland Route 328), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Denton MD 21629, United States of America.
Other nearby markers.
Nest of Traitors Marker image. Click for full size.
By F. Robby, September 20, 2010
3. Nest of Traitors Marker
Looking out toward the Choptank River.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Hubs of Activity (a few steps from this marker); Steamboats on the Choptank River (within shouting distance of this marker); Maryland Steamboat Company's Joppa Wharf at Denton (within shouting distance of this marker); Choptank River Heritage Center-Steal Away by River (within shouting distance of this marker); Moses and the Hounds (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Neck Meeting House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Tuckahoe Neck Meeting House-Living Their Beliefs (approx. 0.3 miles away); Neck Meeting House Native Garden (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Denton.
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 5, 2013, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 429 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 5, 2013, by F. Robby of Baltimore, Maryland.
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