After the Baltimore Riots, Abraham Lincoln declared martial law in Maryland and sent Federal Troops to occupy the state. Thousands of “Pro South” Marylanders headed to Virginia to enlist in various units in the Confederate Army. Even though Maryland never seceded, some wanted to form their own unit as they felt it was necessary to have the state represented within the Army. The 1st Maryland Infantry Regiment started to form shortly after the War Between the States began in April of 1861. It was officially formed (mustered) on June 16, 1861. The regiment was made up of volunteers from Maryland who many served pre-war in Maryland State Militias. The regiment saw action at the First Manassas, Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Valley Campaign, and in the Peninsular Campaign (Seven Days Battles). It was mustered out of service in August 1862, as the members initial 1 year service expired. Knowing that they were unable to return to Union-occupied Maryland, some of the men re-enlisted in various Maryland Artillery or Cavalry units that were in service. Those men that were left went on to become the nucleus of a new Maryland Infantry unit being formed, the 1st Maryland Infantry Battalion (later re-named the 2nd Maryland Infantry).
Memoir of First Maryland Regiment,
By General B. T. Johnson.
(Excerpt from Southern Historical Society Papers Vol IV).
Paper No. 2.
First Manassas and subsequent movements.
At dawn of the 18th of July we were put under arms, but the regiment did not get off until late in the afternoon. After marching several miles they were halted, and Colonel Steuart read an order from General Johnston, informing them of the attack that day by the enemy at Bull Run, and calling on them to step out and march, so as to be in time for the great battle about to come off. Moving all night, they forded the Shenandoah about sunrise, and never halting once, reached Piedmont after midnight, in a drenching rain. There they halted Saturday, getting scant rations, and about 10 o'clock P. M., were marched to the railroad to get into the cars for Manassas junction. It was 3 o'clock A. M., however, before they got off, and the cars being detained, they did not arrive at Manassas until towards noon. The division of General Kirby Smith, consisting of the Fourth brigade (Colonel Elzey) and the Fifth (General Smith), was not all up ; only the Fourth had arrived. There was then no time for waiting. Colonel Elzey immediately ordered knapsacks to be piled and struck off in a swinging pace for Manassas. Before then the regiment had been using a State flag presented at home to Captain Johnson's company. Captain Snowden, the regimental commissary, brought up a little blue Maryland color sent from Baltimore for the regiment, It was fastened to the lance by the side of the other one. Just then Kirby Smith galloped up. " The watch-word is Sumter, the signal is this," said he, throwing his right hand above his forehead, palm outwards and forward. " Forward Maryland “ On they sprang at double-quick by the Junction, over the fields, across roads, straight as the crow flies, toward the sound of the quickening cannon. " What are my orders ? " said Smith to an aid galloping up. " Go where the fire is hottest." Forward over the hot Manassas plains went the brigade—First Maryland on the right, Tenth Virginia, then Third Tennessee. The Thirteenth Virginia had been sent another way. The terrible heat stifled the men, the dust choked their parched throats ; all were on foot, the officers' horses having been left at Piedmont, but not a man fell out of ranks ; now they came to wounded and bleeding men, but they only ran on the faster. They crossed a stream of mud, stirred by thousands of men and horses ; catching handfuls, they thrust it in their mouths without stopping. A field officer, without a hat, galloped by. " Hurrah, Maryland,” he shouted, and the regiment responded with a cheer and sprang forward with renewed vigor. After running thus five miles they were halted to load, thus giving them a moment's breath. But almost instantly " forward " is the order, and on they push brisk as ever. Bushing up an open slope, crested by a thin wood, they passed over Cash and Kershaw, of South Carolina, waiting orders. Just then half a dozen shots from the woods struck General Smith from his horse. In
a second Company F was at them, and had driven them off before they could be stopped firing. The enemy were some of the Ellsworth Zouaves. Without delay General Elzey ordered a change of front and struck off towards the left. He formed his brigade in a wood not far from the Chinn House Third Tennessee on the right, First Maryland in the centre. Tenth Virginia on the left. In the meantime Beckham, on the extreme left, was firing his battery—one, two, three, four—as regularly as if firing a quick salute. Marching in line of battle over an open field, then through a wood. Colonel Elzey halted the brigade at the other edge of it. On the crest of the opposite hill, not four hundred yards off, stretched along line of men. Over them floated flags which in the hot July afternoon hung listlessly to their lances, and it could not be seen whether they were Confederate or Federal. " Contee, give me a glass," said Colonel Elzey, in his quick, imperative way, to Lieutenant Contee, his aid. Just then a puflf of air threw out the folds of the Union flag, and a gleam of light glanced down their ranks as they brought their guns down to a " Realy." "Fire," shouted Elzey, and the rattle of small arms drowned the din of battle. " Charge," cried he, and above the crash of the Maryland rifles rang their cheers as they sprang up the slope. But the enemy was gone. With only two companies of bayonets the regiment had charged the heart of a brigade and their short rifles had cloven it in two. Where the Yankee line had stood lay the dead and dying, but the brigade of General Wilcox was scattered to the winds. Captain Edelin captured a flag from the First Michigan, but they made no further stand that day. Colonel Elzey pursued them rapidly, flanking the Henry House, when General Beauregard rode up to him saying, " Hail, Elzey ! thou Blucher of the day." Thence the brigade followed them beyond the Stone bridge, half way to Cub Run. Here it halted, and about sun- down was ordered back to Camp Walker, near Union Mills Ford, reaching there at midnight. Thus these green soldiers, fresh from home, had in three days marched nearly eighty miles on one day's rations, with only six hours sleep, fought a battle and won a victory. President Davis, next morning, sent Colonel Elzey his promotion as Brigadier. He said going into battle to an officer (Major Johnson), “ Now for a yellow sash or six feet of ground.” He had gallantly won the former.
THE ADVANCE ON FAIRFAX COURTHOUSE.
On Tuesday, July 23d, the First Maryland and Third Tennessee, with the Leesburg battery, and some cavalry under command of Col- onel J. E. B. Stuart, marched on to Fairfax Courthouse, starting at 3 o'clock A. M. As soon as it became light, the character of the rout was gradually revealed. The road was strewn with small arms and officers' swords, sashes, pistols, caissons, overturned ammunition wagons, loads of provisions, meat, bread, coffee, sugar, sutlers' stores, everything eatable, drinkable, or wearable. In Fairfax were found immense stores of tents, clothing, overcoats, provisions and ammunition. The regiment lived on the enemy in the most luxurious style. After a week's delightful camp at Fairfax, the two regiments rejoined General Elzey and the brigade at Fairfax Station. While here, Colonel Steuart received his promotion as Colonel, Major Johnson as Lieutenant-Colonel, and Captain E. R. Dorsey as Major, to date from the battle of Manassas, During the residue of July, and the most of August, the regiment was engaged assiduously in drill and the performance of camp duties. Captain Robertson here joined it with his company, which became company I. His officers were : First Lieutenant, Hugh Mitchell ; Second Lieutenant, H. Bean; Junior Second Lieutenant, Eugene Digges. To- wards the last of the month, the regiment was ordered to the outposts at Mason's Hill, near Alexandria.
THE AFFAIRS OF MUNSON'S AND UPTON's HILLS.
When we arrived at Mason's Hill, Colonel J. E. B. Stuart was about starting on an expedition against some neighboring posts of the enemy, and upon Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson's suggestion that it would be agreeable to go along, he was ordered to report to him with Companies G and L After marching through the woods for some miles, the force, consisting of four companies, Thirteenth Virginia, Major Terrill, and the above detachment of the First Maryland, came upon the flank and rear of a strong picket of the enemy on Munson's Hill ; Colonel Stuart, with Major Terrill, charged directly on it, while Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson made a dash in the rear to cut off their retreat. But the Yankees were too fleet, and only some half a dozen prisoners rewarded the effort. Thence the two detachments marched by different routes on Upton's Hill, where a considerable body of the enemy were visible. When going through a thicket near the house, Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson suddenly came upon a scout of five, who mistook him for a Federal, one was captured, and the rest escaped. On reaching the house, it was found to have been just left; but the party there only withdrew a short distance, and immediately attacked the position. Lieutenant Mitchell was badly wounded, and Private Fontaine was killed ; both of Company I. Colonel Stuart then came up, and taking command of the whole, ordered a charge through the woods. Por nearly three miles—over gullies and through streams, up hill and down—the Yankees were pursued, fighting their way with obstinacy but unable to hold their ground at any point. The pursuit was continued until within a mile and three-quarters of Arlington Mills. By this expedition two important posts were gained for our lines. While this was going on, Company A, Captain Goldsborough, and Company B, Captain Edelin, were having a brisk skirmish near Mason's house, where they killed and captured several of the enemy. Afterwards on this line the regiment had several skirmishes. One when Hall's hill was captured; Companies B and H, Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson, were engaged, and one at Padgett's, on the Little Eiver pike, where Companies A and H, Captain Goldsborough, drove the enemy into their works at Alexandria. We became attached to this life. The constant excitement of skirmishing was such an agreeable variety to the monotony of camp, that we were loth to give it up, and frequently asked and obtained permission to double our tours of picket duty there.The fall of 1861 thus passed pleasantly away. The men in perfect health, constantly improving in their knowledge of the soldier's duties, and as constantly increasing in their pride in their regiment. They were well uniformed, well fed and happy. In October, with the whole army, they fell back to the lines of Centerville, where picket and drill was only relieved by one severe march to Pohick, through the mud, without rations, thirty-six miles, in search of Yankees, who were not to be found.
THE EXECUTION OF THE TIGERS.
During the cantonment at Centerville the most solemn and picturesque scene was enacted that the Army of the Potomac had yet been called on to take part in. Two of the " Tiger Rifles " from the gallant Wheat's battalion, had forced a guard and resisted an officer in the discharge of his duty. They were tried and sentenced to be shot. The division of Major-General Kirby Smith, consisting of Elzey's, Trimble's and Taylor's brigades, was ordered out, without arms, to witness the execution. A large field just south of the camp of Elzey's brigade, on the road to Blackburn's ford, was the place selected. At 12 o'clock meridian, the regiments marched out in columns of companies, and by tap of drum took their positions in close columns by division, on three sides of a square, facing inwards, Taylor on the left, Elzey on the right, Trimble on the third side. In the centre of the open space were two white stakes, ten feet apart. Then came a covered wagon, escorted by two companies with fixed bayonets and loaded guns. The cortege wheeled slowly round the exterior of the open space the condemned got out, their coffins were taken from the wagon and placed by the stakes, and they sat on them. Each was attended by a priest, in clerical vestments, whose consolations were eagerly received. They were clad in the picturesque uniform of their company, the scarlet fez or skull-cap, light brown jacket, open in front, showing the red shirt, large Turkish trousers, full and fastening just below the knee, of white and blue stripes, white garters and shoes. When they were in position and the wagon driven away, the left hand corner of the square opened and two sections of their own company, in full and perfect uniform appeared, marching in slow time down the centre, arms shouldered) and wheeled, each section opposite a man and a coffin, at ten paces distant. They ordered arms. The Major-General and staff then rode to the centre. The " Field Officer of the Day " read the findings of the court and the sentences. The officers in charge of the firing parties ordered an inspection of arms. An officer caused the condemned to kneel, tied their arms behind them and around each stake, and drew a black bandage over their eyes. The silence was oppressive not a breath was heard in that vast concourse. Around the square had gathered thousands from the neighboring camps, but the ring of the ramrods in the empty guns rattled upon the autumn air sharp and clear. The sun shone brightly and lit up the picturesque group around which such interests clustered, like a scene in some grand drama. The words of command vibrated quick and sharp: "Load at Will ; Ready! On the first Wednesday of November, the election day at home, the regiment determined that inasmuch as Maryland would not have an opportunity to express her sentiments free from Yankee interference, a poll should be opened in camp, at which Marylanders should exercise the elective franchise. Notice was given, and all Marylanders from surrounding camps invited to attend.A convention was held according to custom, and a ticket duly and
" Aim Fire "
One volley as from one gun, and the condemned sprang forward and fell over, the one on his face, the other on his side. Such was the first military execution in the Army of the Potomac.
THE MARYLAND ELECTIONS.
regularly nominated. General Benjamin C. Howard, of Baltimore, headed it for Governor, and an electoral ticket pledged to the support of Jefferson Davis and A.H.Stephens was added. Judges of election were appointed and the voting commenced. But in the course of the day it became manifest that the time-honored customs of a Baltimore election were not forgotten. Pins were stuck into unhappy voters, individuals from the rural districts of Tennessee and Virginia were "cooped," and voted indiscriminately. "Blood-Tubs" and "Black-Snakes" contended for possession of the polls, and were in turn swept away by a charge from "Limerick," " Conservative" gentlemen in store clothes attempting to vote were elbowed and squeezed and twisted so that they could not tell, for the life of them, which side they were on, or which they desired to support. And so it went for one whole day of boisterous fun and frolic, officers and men, all entering heartily into the spirit of the hour, forgetful for the moment of the 300,000 bayonets that kept them from their homes. The polls were closed and it was found that the Howard and Davis ticket had received a regular old-fashioned " Plug-Ugly " majority, the vote being large and unanimous. The " assembly " sounded for dress parade and the regiment resumed its discretion and its propriety. As the cold weather came on the men suffered for warm clothing, which being made known through the Richmond Enquirer, large and liberal contributions were at once sent on from Virginia and the South. Over $20,000 worth of supplies of clothes and money was thus collected in a few weeks. Richmond was foremost in the work. Virginia, ever liberal, exceeded herself, and the whole South lavished generosity. Wherever there was a group of Maryland people they took pride in supplying their kindred in the field. Colonel George Schley and Dr. Steiner, of Augusta, Ga., sent Colonel Johnson fl,100 from themselves and other Marylanders. A gentle man of New Orleans, born in Prince George's, sent General Johnson $1,000. Hundreds of the sons of the "old land," scattered through the Confederacy, sent their contributions until at last it was necessary to decline any further additions to the treasury. The clothing and blankets thus collected supplied the regiment to some extent during the remainder of the time it was in service. In December it was decided to put the troops in winter quarters and the division moved back along the line of Bull Run by Union Mills. The Fourth brigade was quartered near the ground it bivouacked on the night after the memorable march and fight of July 21st. Pitching the camp on the hill just above Union Mills, towards McLean's Ford, every one set to work cleaning a place to build huts in. Hard work for a month, with few tools and nails, delaying all the time in hope of getting plank to roof with, at last gave a neat, regular village of log houses, with streets and ditches, well ventilated and well drained. This was christened Camp Maryland, and the different streets and houses bore the names of loved and cherished localities at home. Every care was taken by weekly inspections to ensure cleanliness, light, warmth and dryness in these houses. Many were roofed with canvas, many with earth, and some with boards and shingles. They were among the best, probably the best, in the army. But the experience of the winter showed conclusively that troops ought never, in this climate, to be wintered in close houses or huts. The regiment was proverbially healthy ; its per cent, of sick was smaller than any. Up to the time it went into winter quarters it had not, out of an effective force of 720 men, lost six by disease. After remaining for ten days penned up in these houses, during the winter weather, one battalion always took its turn of picket. It stayed three days in bivouac, most frequently without shelter, in snow, rain and sleet; the consequence was pneumonia, rheumatism, and inflammatory diseases. Every picket cost us in this way valuable men. Had the regiment been living in open shelters, or even in tents, the change would not have been marked. When it left Manassas it never had a tent again. From the 9th of March it was constantly in the field, sometimes with open flies, which answered capitally ; but generally with not even those, which was better. The monotony of winter quarters was greatly relieved by a fine library which Mrs. Johnson purchased—partly with money collected by herself and partly with a portion of the Georgia contributions. She was enabled in the same manner to send on a large supply of yarn socks and gloves. In February Companies A and B, " twelve-month's men," concluded to re-enlist " for the war " and take the furlough. This was peculiarly gratifying, as they were the companies first formed, and though only mustered on the 21st of May had been in active service since the 8th and 9th of May, 1861. Company A had served under Colonel Johnson in Baltimore during the week succeeding the 19th of April. Most of the men of these companies re-enlisted and went off on furlough. Captain Goldsborough, with his old men and some recruits, reorganized Company A, and was in every fight of the regiment. Captain Edelin, having volunteered to go to North Carolina, did not get back until after the Valley campaign, but was in time with his company to do good service in the battles around Richmond. A number of Company H enlisted and some from Company I.
MEMOIRS OF 1ST MARYLAND
Maj.Gen Arnold Elzey
Brig.Gen. George H. Steuart
Brig.Gen. Bradley T. Johnson
James R. Herbert, born on 8/18/33, was from Howard County Maryland. He went to sea serving on a ship at the age of 13 yrs old to survive the cholera epidemic. He worked as a clerk in his Father’s store at the age of 16 yrs old and went to Hallowell College in Maryland. Herbert formed a Tobacco and Grain business in pre war years. He was one of the founders of the Maryland Guard (53rd Maryland Militia) and served as a 2nd LT in Company A (The Independent Greys) of the 53rd Maryland Regiment under Captain Lyle Clarke. He left Maryland and headed South on 5/16/61 to join the Confederate Army in Virginia.
Capt. James R. Herbert
(Later to become Lt.Colonel of 2nd MD Inf)
Herbert enlisted at Harpers Ferry on 5/21/61 as 2nd Lt then promoted to Captain of Company D 1st Maryland Infantry Regiment. Captain Herbert fought in every battle the 1st Maryland Infantry Regiment participated in from 1861-1862. Upon the 1 year term of enlistment of the 1st Maryland, the regiment was disbanded. Herbert, along with other veterans of the 1st Maryland Regiment began to reform a new unit which was initially called the 1st Maryland Infantry Battalion. It was later renamed the 2nd Maryland Infantry to not be confused with the early war service of the 1st Maryland Infantry Regiment. Herbert was initially Captain of Company C 2nd Maryland Infantry (1st MD Inf Batt) until he was voted as Major of Battalion on 10/22/62. He was again voted on by the members and promoted to Lt. Colonel of Battalion on 1/26/63. Lt. Col. Herbert was 2nd Maryland Infantry’s commander and was wounded in action at Gettysburg on 7/2/63. He. was wounded in leg, right arm, and stomach leading the advance up Culp’s Hill. He was captured and sent to Letterman Hospital in Gettysburg post battle. Then transferred to Baltimore and then Johnson’s Island POW camp. After the war, Herbert was one of the men to re-establish the Maryland militia as the 5th Maryland Regiment. The 5th Maryland Regiment was a pre war organization that ceased with the start of the war as many of its original members went to join the Confederate Army. Now re-established post war, Herbert became a Colonel and commanded the 5th Maryland Regiment. Many of the 5th Regiment were prewar Maryland Militia members that served in the Confederate Army. James R. Herbert was later promoted as Brigadier General of the Maryland Guard. Gen. Herbert died on 8/5/84.
Sword of James R. Herbert
Post war image of James R. Herbert
Portrait of Gen. James R. Herbert
Grave of Gen. James R. Herbert