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Leonardtown in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Leonardtown

Spies, Intriguers and Blockade Runners

 
 
Leonardtown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, March 31, 2007
1. Leonardtown Marker
Inscription. When the white citizens of St. Mary’s County voted here in the 1860 presidential election, John Breckenridge, the secessionist candidate who carried Maryland, got 920 votes. Abraham Lincoln received 9 percent of the popular Maryland vote; the only man known to have voted for him here was waylaid on his way home. On April 23, 1861, in a public meeting here, citizens declared allegiance to the South and resolved to raise $10,000 for weapons and ammunition.

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.
The Marker in Front of the Old Jail image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, March 31, 2007
2. The Marker in Front of the Old Jail
The Old Jail is now headquarters to the St. Mary’s County Historical Society. This view if from the courthouse steps.
Mary’s Beacon, April 18, 1861


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
 
St. Mary’s County Courthouse at Leonardtown image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, March 31, 2007
3. St. Mary’s County Courthouse at Leonardtown
Marker is to the left on the courthouse grounds in front of the Old Jail.
The Leonardtown County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
4. The Leonardtown County Courthouse
Close-up of photo on marker
Leonardtown Wharf image. Click for full size.
5. Leonardtown Wharf
Close-up of photo on marker
 
 
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 1,761 times since then and 27 times this year. 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.
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