Leonardtown in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Spies, Intriguers and Blockade Runners
The old port town teemed with spies, intriguers, and blockade runners. During the summer of 1861, U.S. naval forces landed here and searched house-to-house. Union troops occupied the courthouse and camped nearby in the Sheep Pen Woods. Locals arrested for suspected disloyalty were imprisoned at Point Lookout. Authorities closed the Beacon and jailed its editor to stem its secessionist commentary. After the war, which devastated the local economy, many residents moved west.
“When the mail arrived in our village on Monday night, bringing the intelligence that Fort Sumter had fallen, the wildest enthusiasm broke forth among our people, and huzzahs and congratulations and rejoicings were the order of the hour ... It indicates in the most unmistakable manner that the sympathies of our people are exclusively with the South.” —St.
Local U.S. Congressman Benjamin Gwinn Harris, who gave impassioned speeches favoring recognition of the Confederacy, is the only representative ever convicted of treason. Days after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Harris was arrested for giving money to two Confederate soldiers on their way home, tried, and imprisoned. President Andrew Jackson later ordered his release.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 17.373′ N, 76° 38.16′ W. Marker is in Leonardtown, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker is on Courthouse Drive west of Washington Street (Maryland Route 326), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. It is on the grounds of the courthouse, in front of the Old Jail. Marker is at or near this postal address: 41625 Courthouse Drive, Leonardtown MD 20650, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. This Cannon (here, next to this marker); The Great House (a few steps from this marker); A Town Spared (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); World War I Monument -- Leonardtown (about 500 feet away); War Comes to Breton Bay (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leonardtown.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 19, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,781 times since then. Photos: 1. submitted on April 19, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 2. submitted on April 18, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 3. submitted on April 19, 2007, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 4, 5. submitted on March 5, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.