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WHILBR - Western Maryland's Historical Library

p16715coll9

About this collection

On July 5, 1864 Brigadier General John McCausland of the Confederate States of America marched towards Hagerstown, the county seat of Washington County, Maryland and a transportation hub. Merchants fled from the town with what supplies they could carry and the Market House became the Confederate headquarters.

McCausland then demanded a ransom from the town, and according to the newspaper of the time, "in case of non-compliance, the usual penalty will be enforced upon the city". In addition to $20,000 in U.S. currency, the Confederates required all Government stores from the town, and a specific selection of clothing - 1,500 coats, pants, socks, shoes and boots, hats etc. The town raised the money, through the efforts of James Dixon Roman, President of the Hagerstown Bank and others. They could not find the clothing requested, but a settlement was negotiated between the town leaders and General McCausland.

This collection includes the Hagerstown newspaper reports of the events shortly after they happened. The Hagerstown Herald and Torch Light had printed page one of their paper on July 6, but then stopped presses until matters were resolved. Pages two, three and four of the paper were printed on July 20, 1864. (This is similar to the Herald of Freedom and Torch Light's reporting of the Battle of Antietam - page one printed before the battle, the rest of the paper after the editor had returned from Pennsylvania.)

For more on the events of July 1864, and for context of events, see Follow the Money: The 1864 Confederate Ransom of Hagerstown, by Stephen R. Bockmiller. The map is Jedediah Hotchkiss' Map of action of McCausland's Cavalry Brigade at Hagerstown, Md., Thursday, July 7th, 1864 (Library of Congress).

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