I Heart John Trout

Lobcourse, Skillygalee and the Civil War

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

Aside from politics, I never would have survived being a Confederate soldier: the South ran out of chocolate (FNP, January 30, 2013). My mom could attest to this weakness. It’s a long story, but it involves a large block of Hershey’s that she hid in the Yellow Pages. Suffice it to say had I been born in the South in the 1800s I would have defected to the North just for the chocolate.

I gave a sigh of relief for John Trout because he served on the side that didn’t run out of chocolate. From what I’ve read though, he probably cared more about coffee, whiskey and tobacco.

I was curious about his military food rations since I have read that malnutrition contributed greatly to illness, disease, and death. Fortunately for him, under the larger canopy of the Army of Potomac, and serving in the eastern theater of the war, he had access to more rations than many other soldiers in the Union, and especially those of the South.

 photo CampLife_zps5215f5e7.jpg

Camp Life

Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs Division

More” rations is a relative term; it doesn’t mean his rations were sufficient. The staple diet for the Union soldier was “hard tack”, a half-inch thick cracker commonly referred to as a “teeth duller” because it was so hard. Soldiers created various ways to eat this cracker by boiling, frying or softening it in coffee. They came up with creative recipe names to go with it: Lobcourse, Skillygalee, Bully Soup, and Hellfire Stew.

The crackers were impervious to mice and cockroaches, but weevils loved to lay eggs in them. Rations of hard tack – if not already moldy - often included this unintended protein. It’s easy to see how diarrhea became a common ailment just based on the description of hard tack.

 photo HardTackCartoon_zpsb6da2f80.jpg

Cartoon of Hard Tack -1861

Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs Division

If that weren’t bad enough, fresh beef rations were rare and often came instead as “salt beef” or beef preserved in a brine solution. This gave the beef a black color on the outside and a yellowish- green color on the inside. If the beef was deemed edible, soldiers would marinate it in a nearby stream overnight to weaken the brine (and thereby any taste). It wasn’t unheard of however, to give it a mock “funeral” complete with a synchronized volley into the air and skip the ration altogether. As a result, salt pork was more common and palatable to soldiers.

To supplement hardtack and beef or pork rations, the government distributed desiccated vegetables. These dehydrated cakes usually consisted of beans, beets, carrots, onions, turnips and other unidentifiable compounds. Soldiers referred to them as “desecrated” vegetables. Yum.

Enter the sutler. A sutler was a civilian merchant who followed the armies and provided various items soldiers needed. Army regulations permitted commanders to return rations that went “unused” in order to attribute the returned sum to a “Company Fund.” Food could then be purchased at a sutler’s station and shared among the company. This was helpful because a sutler’s prices were often too high for the common soldier.

In theory this process would have made available a healthier variety of foods. In reality the “Company Fund” didn’t work. Oftentimes, rations were returned (unbeknownst to the common soldier), and officers confiscated the funds or food for themselves. Is it any wonder some reports claim that privates were always “half-starved?”

 photo SutlersTent_zpsc8e3d552.jpg

Sutler’s Tent

Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs Division

It’s easy to see how a laboring private became prone to illness and disease in camp and on a march. Add the stress of battle and one can see why coffee became a valuable staple. At least coffee was a recognizable drink and provided a needed energy boost.

For additional relief from the meager and unappetizing meals, whiskey was at the top of many lists. I sympathize. Just reading about Civil War rations makes me want to go out a buy a bottle.

Buying liquor was illegal unless authorized by a company commander. Some soldiers still attempted to get it illegally. General McClellan said, “No one evil agent so much obstructs this army…as the degrading vice of drunkenness.”

 photo TooMuchWhiskey_zps29a30e21.jpg

Punishment – too fond of whiskey!

Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs Division

During free time many soldiers wrote letters and played games like cribbage or euchre (gambling was common), but it was the observation of John D. Billings in Hardtack and Coffee that illiterate soldiers – like John Trout – smoked in great quantities instead of participating in games. Oftentimes soldiers in the same battalion would congregate after receiving mail from home and exchange news of ones they all knew. I picture John Trout sitting in a tent smoking a pipe listening to stories of Frederick County friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if he retained a smoking habit throughout his life.

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Smoking Tobacco Label

Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs Division

It’s hard to imagine marching in the heat and humidity of a mid-Atlantic summer, sleeping in the rain, or going into battle without sustenance aided only by the adrenaline rush of coffee, but that’s exactly what John Trout had to do. By July 1864 John Trout carried nearly 120 pounds of equipment on a cavalry horse and headed into the Battle that Saved Washington.

Boots and saddles

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

In February 1864 three-fourths of Cole’s original volunteers had already reenlisted and were issued a 30 day furlough. By March 1864, Frederick City greeted Cole’s Cavalry with great fanfare and reception. Maryland’s Governor Augustus Bradford personally commended Cole and asked him to raise two additional battalions with four companies each to make a full regiment. Cole was then promoted to Colonel. Men and boys flocked to the recruiting station flying on the pomp and circumstance of Cole’s reputation and recent battle victory over Mosby in January.

John Trout answered the call on February 29, 1864, and received a $600 bounty. Two hundred twenty-five dollars were payable in cash upfront for a term of 3 years. He was assigned to company H under Captain Benjamin F. Hauck.

Union cavalry volunteers were not required to provide their own horses. It’s not clear at this time if John Trout had his own horse, or if he was provided one. Based on the family’s census records in 1860, it is doubtful John Trout provided his own horse. Additionally, the 1860 Maryland agricultural records are not easily accessible, so I have been unable to confirm those enumeration details. That item will remain on my to-do list.

Even without John Trout’s pension records (SO FAR - that’s another story!), I can tell from his compiled military service records if he was present during roll and approximate his movements with company H.

After the 30 day furlough, it took a while to recruit the new battalions. Recruitment and enlistment occurred between February and April 1864. Cole’s new recruits had to be mounted and equipped. New recruits traveled to Camp Stoneman, a cavalry depot in Giesboro, Maryland just south of Washington, DC. (Some 200,000 horses rotated through this cavalry depot throughout the war!) While waiting for the entire regiment to be equipped, soldiers who were already mounted (the Veteran Battalion) were sent to the front.

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Stables at Camp Stoneman

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

If John Trout did provide his own horse, he would have been sent along with this group. There was a disastrous battle at New Market, Virginia on May 15th where Union troops suffered heavy losses.

Based on the History and Roster of Maryland’s Volunteers 1861-1865, most of Cole’s soldiers – including new recruits - were then assigned to General Hunter to protect supply trains in Virginia. This regiment fought battles in Piedmont (June 5); Tye River (June 12); Lexington, (June 13); Buchannon (June 14) and Lynchburg (June 17 & 18). Although I can’t confirm if John Trout fought at these battles, he was present at roll in April, May and June 1864 according to his compiled military service records.

Part of Cole’s regiment remained in Martinsburg. By July, they joined Mulligan’s Brigade of Infantry and engaged in a skirmish against rebel raiders in Leetown. The bugler sounded “boots and saddles” - the call to mount - and the Union troops were able to repulse the enemy.

C. Armour Newcomer, in his retelling of Cole’s Cavalry battles, says of the new soldiers during this battle:

Cole’s new battalions were under fire for the first time at Leetown and they behaved most admirably, forming a line of battle in face of an artillery fire with promptitude that would have done credit to older veterans.”

Cole’s Cavalry or Three Years in the Saddle, p. 129 

This incident on July 3, 1864 may indeed have been John Trout’s first battle. Either way, between March 1 and July 3, he would have had to acclimate to the long stretches of boredom and drills of camp life peppered with the adrenaline and danger of battle. Unfortunately, the Battle of Monocacy still awaited him!

And…. it was there his battlefield service was cut short!

Mosby’s Confederacy

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

John Trout was drafted into the Civil War with his older brother William H.H. Trout in August 1863. He was 22 and William was 23. As luck would have it (wouldn’t you know), the record was burned or damaged in some way where it details their occupations. John’s occupation appears to start with a “Post” but the second word is not quite readable. Given that their father was a fence post maker it appears to be along those lines.

It was about this time that confederate John Singleton Mosby [http://www.mosbystours.com/john_mosby.htm ] was heating up his raids with his partisan ranger unit in Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland.

 photo JohnSingletonMosby_zpsf9de0981.jpg

John Singleton Mosby, C.S.A.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

At first I didn’t understand what “partisan” meant. I have since come to understand that partisan fighters were those who were allowed to keep the spoils of their raids. They didn’t have to maintain the same schedule or discipline as a regular infantry unit and generally stayed in the area where they fought. They slept and ate with civilian sympathizers, met up at various houses or taverns, communicated through an extensive spy network that included civilians, and rode together in small groups of usually no more than 25-50 riders at a time. They were known as “soldiers by night, farmers by day.”

Southerners were not in consensus about using partisan units. Many felt that it led to lawlessness and discouraged army discipline because many regular infantry soldiers wanted to defect to a partisan unit. Despite confederate disagreement on the issue, John Singleton Mosby emerged as a leading commander of a partisan ranger unit in Northern Virginia. His base of operations was in Loudon and Fauquier County although he traversed roughly 1800 square miles in Virginia and parts of Maryland. He often struck in the dead of night and disappeared before Union cavalry could respond. He was so effective he became known as the “Gray Ghost” and, the areas he traversed became known as “Mosby’s Confederacy.” [http://www.mosbyheritagearea.org/index.html] He attacked supply trains, mail trains, and pickets protecting Washington DC. He effectively harassed Union communication efforts in the Northern Virginia and southern Maryland area.

He became known to Union generals as a “wily foe” in March 1863 by capturing Union Brigadier General Edwin Stoughton in the dead of night without firing a shot. Mosby’s raids did not go unanswered by the Union Cavalry and the citizens of Loudon and Fauquier Counties suffered. Some Virginians didn’t like Mosby because they knew his actions brought Union retaliation. Most, however, adored him, and his civilian spy network helped him accomplish many raids. Although the Confederacy eventually disbanded most other partisan units, because Mosby maintained discipline and upheld standards of soldier behavior, his unit never disbanded throughout the entire war.

He did not have a viable Union cavalry opponent until Cole’s Cavalry turned up the heat in the winter of 1863. Cole’s Cavalry was tasked with the job of thwarting Mosby’s efforts to disrupt Union supply and communication lines. They often raided “Mosby’s Confederacy” to capture elusive Rangers and were moderately successful.  photo HarpersWeeklyMosbysGuerrillasSept51863_zps3abb5dbf.jpg

Mosby’s Guerrillas attacking a Union supply train. Sept 5 1863.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The winter of 1863-1864 was harsh. Weeks of bitter cold brought most other fighting to a halt, but Cole’s Cavalry was on duty resisting Mosby’s incursions. In January, Mosby had reliable information from his spy network that Cole’s Loudon Heights [http://www.everytrail.com/guide/loudon-heights-trails] camp was vulnerable to attack. He decided to go on the offensive in spite of several inches of snow on the ground. He gathered up 100 Rangers, and trudged through the night on January 9 without stopping. At 4:30am on Sunday, January 10, the Rangers flew into Cole’s camp with a mighty Confederate war whoop and attacked. Despite being in a deep sleep, Cole’s men had learned to sleep with their guns because of Mosby’s continual surprise attacks at night. On this night, the tactic saved them.

Because it was so dark, confusion enveloped the Rangers, initially firing on each other. This gave Cole’s men precious time and they were able to rally, albeit scrambling from their tents and fighting in their underwear. Cole’s men realized if they shot anyone on a horse they would be shooting at the enemy.

Failure stung the Rangers as Cole’s men prevailed and repulsed the attack. Although it was a small skirmish as reported by The Valley Register, [http://www.crossroadsofwar.org/research/newspapers/?id=1842] it was a major victory for the Union cavalry. Because Mosby’s attack reigned in confusion he became more reluctant thereafter to attack at night. Union Brigadier General Jeremiah Sullivan from Harper’s Ferry was so pleased with the performance of Cole’s Cavalry he awarded them 20 gallons of whiskey to celebrate.

Word traveled quickly around Frederick County and Cole’s Cavalry became heroes. Because of their perseverance during this battle their units boldly searched “Mosby’s Confederacy” for partisan rangers throughout the rest of January and into February.

John Trout enlisted with Cole’s Cavalry on February 29, 1864. [http://i1304.photobucket.com/albums/s537/sew_4fnp/Blog%202/Picture1-189_zpsce5b3ed0.jpg] Because of the draft in 1863, maybe he thought he would have to serve soon anyway. Perhaps it was the $600 bounty that drew him to enlist. Or, perhaps it was because he felt the same pride towards Cole’s Cavalry as other Frederick County Union sympathizers. Either way, the tide of the war had drawn in John Trout. He was now to become part of that prestigious and heroic Frederick County regiment, but…. not for long.

Information for this blog was derived from Mosby’s Rangers by Jeffry D. Wert [http://www.amazon.com/Mosbys-Rangers-Jeffry-D-Wert/dp/0671747452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365976524&sr=8-1&keywords=Mosby%27s+Rangers]; Never the Like Again by Paul and Rita Gorden [http://www.amazon.com/Frederick-County-Maryland-Never-Again/dp/B000TJR5HS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1365976853&sr=8-3&keywords=Paul+and+Rita+Gordon ] ; America’s Civil War January 2011.[ http://www.historynetshop.com/back-issues-america-s-civil-war.html]

Living Out Loud – A Blog about the

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

               Given that it’s spring break, I’m taking some R&R, but I haven’t been idle.  I’ve continued to read about Cole’s Cavalry – at times getting so involved in depictions of battles that my heart pounds. 

         I’ve been known to be audible as I read, annoying some of my colleagues, or even my husband.  “Oh my!”  “Hmmm..” or “Oh!” escapes my lips, and it makes a person within earshot wonder what I’m reading that’s so engaging (or conversely just makes them want to tell me to shut up).  I have to be particularly careful in a research library!

         In fact, I’ve come across a masterfully written family history by Ian Frazier, aptly titled Family  (so even the densest of us can understand).  After his father’s death, Ian was lucky enough to inherit boxes of letters, books and memorabilia from his family going back generations.  Add to this his immense research into social history, personal trips to places where his ancestors trekked, and his skillful use of figurative language. (“I read gravestone inscriptions disappearing like movie credits into the advancing sod” or “..plowing left the fields scalloped against the sky.”) Needless to say his family history reads like a novel.  I can barely put it down.

         What I like best though his how he articulates the why.

         Why is family history so engaging?  I’ve tried to articulate that myself to people who ask.  I’ve repeated some of the usual phrases that I see others attempt:  “History is important.”  “We don’t know where we’re going if we haven’t seen where we’ve been.” 

         I’m always on the lookout for how people answer that question.  With that in mind, I’ve enjoyed several articles by the FNP on people pursuing history in and around Frederick County.    Deborah Brower said “There’s so much information out there….it’s so important.”   Moses Coleman said in his FNP interview, “I just wanted to keep my family story going.” Joe Collins, a researcher from Frederick County said “You learn from your past.”   Professor Rick Smith from McDaniel College leads his students on genealogical quests to uncover their own and African American history in the area.  One student commented that he didn’t really understand immigration until he saw his own family’s name on a ship’s list.

  In the Washington Post, Vernon Peterson, caretaker of a Loudon County cemetery, said a ‘spirit seemed to grab him.’  It inspired Kevin Grigsby to conduct research on little known African American Union Soldiers from that county.  There was even an impassioned request by J. Allen Byrne to the FNP entitled “What about the Irish Americans?”  He felt historically left out after African American Heritage month and wanted to see more Irish American histories in the paper during March.  Those were only a few of the stories I’ve seen recently.  Clearly, history grabs many people.

         Ironically, I never really liked history until my formal schooling ended – until my grandmother showed me from her research that history is personal.  It belongs to me.

         In my blood I have the history of immigration from England, Germany, Ireland – and I may yet find more.  I have the history of the Mayflower, the Oregon Trail, the California Gold Rush in 1849, and the Colorado Gold Rush in 1859.  I have the history of the Civil War, the Underground Railroad and yikes, the history of one of the bloodiest Indian massacres at Sand Creek in 1864.   I can stop in states from the Atlantic to the Pacific and find personal family history each step of the way. 

       Within me is United States history.  And there is so much more history out there.  There are so many more untold stories.  That makes it a tad more interesting to me. 

 Because my interest in history has been ignited I now love it even if I don’t have an immediate personal connection to it.  But Frazier is able to articulate something additional I’ve felt – and I think other family historians do too.  I call it “the REAL why.”  He says, “I wanted my parent’s lives to have meant something…..I hoped maybe I could find a meaning that would defeat death.”

 In other words, to me the “real why” behind understanding our history and our place in it is to try to frame our stories and give meaning to them.  Our stories are the legacy we leave behind.   When we learn our own stories, we also learn to respect others’ stories and the history that goes with it.  For implied in sharing a story is “I’ll tell you mine, if you tell me yours.”  For me, history gives voices to those that might not have had one and helps us appreciate those voices more.

        In Horton Hears a Who Dr. Seuss taught us that “a person is a person no matter how small.”   Tracking family history stories is akin to the “Whos” from “Whoville” when they scream “We are here!  We Are Here!  WE ARE HERE!”  If we don’t tell our own stories, then who will?  If we don’t share our stories, what legacy will we leave behind?

A military galaxy

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

              I wanted to understand the environment in Frederick around the Civil War prior to John Trout’s enlistment with Cole’s Cavalry in 1864.  Not being a native of Frederick County, I’ve been doing some background reading in order to better understand this time and place.   I don’t attempt to explain major battles or pretend I am an expert on Civil War history.  However, I hope to place his family in context of the time.

 In 1861 in Frederick County the Union military populated the landscape.  Hundreds of soldiers from points north like New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and our own Home Brigade encamped in and around all directions of the city.  Merchants kept up with the new influx of soldiers and their needs by opening up new bakeries and supply stores for clothing and other military supplies.  Trains continuously ferried goods from Baltimore to Frederick, Hagerstown, Harper’s Ferry, and other points. 

 Twice daily military parades and drills broke the boredom of camp life and enlisted the excitement and support of local citizens.  The newspaper of the time referred to Frederick military parades as “a brilliant military galaxy.”  Within this galaxy also came an influx of raucous behavior.   The world’s oldest profession, prostitution, took up residence in the city.  It was also illegal to sell soldiers alcohol, but that didn’t stop the practice.  A large number of soldiers were lost to illness, gunfire accidents and intoxication throughout encampment at Frederick. 

 From 1861 and into 1862, Confederate Major Turner Ashby and Frederick County native, Bradley Johnson led rebel cavalry troops on guerilla raids into Frederick County.  Communities along the Potomac were especially vulnerable.  photo RebelsCrossingthePotomac_zps98b8d153.jpgPrevious to Antietam.  Rebels crossing the Potomac.  Union scouts in foreground.  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

In September 1862 the invasion of Maryland leading up to Antietam caused panic and evacuation from many county citizens. Part of Lee’s army crossed the Potomac at White’s Ford.  They encamped along Buckeystown Pike with the Monocacy as a southern boundary.  Lice-infested confederates bathed in the Monocacy River and ate corn off the stalk in farmers’ fields. There is no doubt that this event impacted John Trout’s life.  Based on census records, his home was located in and around Park Mills Road which is about five miles southeast of Buckeystown and within one and a half miles of the Monocacy River.

 The rebel army then overtook Frederick City for a few days before marching to Harper’s Ferry taking over the Federal arsenal.  The culminating Battle of Antietam turned the area into one “vast hospital.” Trains carrying medical supplies came into Monocacy Junction on a daily basis.   photo McClellanenteringFrederickpriortoAntietam_zps3368738f.jpgMcClellan entering Frederick, Maryland in pursuit of Lee prior to Antietam.  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division 

In October, after the bloody battle of Antietam, confederate cavalry commander J.E.B. Stuart along with Bradley Johnson, directed their units “around McClellan” from Virginia to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and returned to Virginia through eastern Frederick County riding through Emmitsburg, Woodsboro, New Market, Hyattstown, and around Sugarloaf Mountain to the south at Barnesville.   This “ride around McClellan” became a nightmare for Union Marylanders as crops, hay and horses were raided all along the route.    

 Essentially John Trout was encircled by war, trying to make a living.  I learned that throughout these repeated encampments, firewood became scarce.  Troops would then burn farmers’ fencing for their camp fire needs.  This certainly would have been a welcome economic benefit for the Trout fence-makers.  In the northern states the cost of goods and services increased almost 80% between 1861 and 1865, so any money making opportunities would have helped the family.

 It is more surprising to me that I have so far only found John Trout’s enlistment from 1864, since so much activity was happening all around him prior to that time in Frederick County.   It is less of a surprise though to discover that he did eventually volunteer with Cole’s Cavalry.  All throughout these events Cole’s Cavalry was present, patrolling along the Potomac, participating in battles and skirmishes, and sending counter-raids into Virginia along the Shenandoah.  Cole’s Cavalry saw an average of 25 days per month in the saddle.

 After Confederate cavalry commander Turner Ashby was killed in action, a new nemesis filled the void to provide Cole’s Cavalry a challenge:  John Singleton Mosby, the Gray Ghost.  It is during this time – between 1862 and 1864 – that Cole’s Cavalry really came into their own and developed a heroic reputation in Frederick County. 

Information for this blog was found in an historical book Cole’s Cavalry: Three Years in the Saddle written in 1895 by C. Armour Newcomer, a soldier in the unit.  This book can be accessed online through the Internet Archive.  The Emmitsburg Area Historical Society also has a “Cole’s Cavalry Collection” if you are interested in more resources pertaining this regiment.  To fill in gaps about Frederick during the war, I also referred to Paul and Rita Gordon’s book Never the Like Again and Frederick in the Civil War, by John W. Schildt.  Brian S. Baracz wrote an article on Bradley Johnson’s war contributions called “Frederick’s Confederate Son: Bradley Tyler Johnson, Brigadier General, C.S.A.” in Mid-Maryland: A Crossroads of History.

 

 

 

 

Cole’s Cavalry

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

              By mid-1861 several Frederick County communities had organized their own home guards:  Middletown, Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson, and Frederick City to name a few.   It very quickly became necessary to establish a home brigade that protected the Potomac River– the official line separating North from South. 

         It didn’t take long to establish these home guards as part of a larger brigade.  Henry Alexander Cole emerged early-on as a leader of one of the cavalry units established from Frederick.  Cole’s Cavalry was mustered into the 1 Potomac Home Brigade, Maryland Cavalry, led by Colonel William Maulsby around August of 1861.   At the beginning of the war, Cole started out as a captain of Company A and was eventually promoted to Colonel of the brigade.  As a result, the 1 Potomac Home Brigade Maryland Cavalry was generally referred to as “Cole’s Cavalry.”

 photo HenryACole_zps8e8b9823.jpg

Colonel Henry A. Cole

        Their guardianship along the Potomac River line and up and down the Shenandoah was necessary since the Confederate cavalry, under the leadership of John Ashby emerged as a viable nuisance.  Cole’s Cavalry was the local protective force keeping Frederick County safe, although they also worked in conjunction with other cavalry units.

         Until I started researching John Trout, I didn’t realize how vigilant Frederick County citizens had to be throughout the war.  It seems to me that Frederick County often takes a back seat to the pivotal battles like Antietam or Gettysburg – and yet, life anywhere in Frederick County, and especially along the Potomac River, placed citizens in the thick of things under constant stress and danger that lasted the duration of the war. 

         John Trout lived in the middle of one of the most dangerous zones in Frederick County.  The Monocacy River flows to the west of Sugar Loaf Mountain – John Trout’s stomping grounds - and meets up with the Potomac.  Just below where these two rivers meet was a popular crossing for Confederate raiders, known today as White’s Ferry.

 All persons were considered suspicious and rumors of confederate invasions or incursions often caused wide-spread hysteria and panic among Frederick County residents. Prior to any official battles, there were numerous raids, skirmishes and suspicious activities.  As an example, on April 22, 1861, confederates invaded Brunswick (then known as Berlin) and hung the confederate flag.  They were eventually driven out.  In May 1861 the Frederick County Courthouse was burned – both sides blamed each other.  Around the same time there was an encampment of Confederates near Point of Rocks.  Attempts at burning the Monocacy Bridge at Monocacy Junction, cutting telegraph wires, vandalism, and train and mail seizures near Point of Rocks and Harpers Ferry were examples of rebel incursions that were constant threats. 

Rebel sympathizers also tried to smuggle contraband goods across the river.  Many times civilians were arrested for suspicious activity and sent to Fort McHenry, Point Lookout, or just shot.   Frederick became a militarized zone.

 How difficult it must have been for an average citizen - for John Trout - to make a living under these conditions!

Information for this blog was found in an historical book Cole’s Cavalry: Three Years in the Saddle written in 1895 by C. Armour Newcomer, a soldier in the unit.  This book can be accessed online through the Internet Archive.  The Emmitsburg Area Historical Society also has a “Cole’s Cavalry Collection” if you are interested in more resources pertaining this regiment.  In this an future blogs, to fill in gaps about Frederick during the war, I also referred to Paul and Rita Gordon’s book Never the Like Again and Frederick in the Civil War, by John W. Schildt.

 

 

 

 

Cole”s Cavalry

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

              By mid-1861 several Frederick County communities had organized their own home guards:  Middletown, Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson, and Frederick City to name a few.   It very quickly became necessary to establish a home brigade that protected the Potomac River– the official line separating North from South. 

         It didn’t take long to establish these home guards as part of a larger brigade.  Henry Alexander Cole emerged early-on as a leader of one of the cavalry units established from Frederick.  Cole’s Cavalry was mustered into the 1 Potomac Home Brigade, Maryland Cavalry, led by Colonel William Maulsby around August of 1861.   At the beginning of the war, Cole started out as a captain of Company A and was eventually promoted to Colonel of the brigade.  As a result, the 1 Potomac Home Brigade Maryland Cavalry was generally referred to as “Cole’s Cavalry.”

 photo HenryACole_zps8e8b9823.jpg

Colonel Henry A. Cole

        Their guardianship along the Potomac River line and up and down the Shenandoah was necessary since the Confederate cavalry, under the leadership of John Ashby emerged as a viable nuisance.  Cole’s Cavalry was the local protective force keeping Frederick County safe, although they also worked in conjunction with other cavalry units.

         Until I started researching John Trout, I didn’t realize how vigilant Frederick County citizens had to be throughout the war.  It seems to me that Frederick County often takes a back seat to the pivotal battles like Antietam or Gettysburg – and yet, life anywhere in Frederick County, and especially along the Potomac River, placed citizens in the thick of things under constant stress and danger that lasted the duration of the war. 

         John Trout lived in the middle of one of the most dangerous zones in Frederick County.  The Monocacy River flows to the west of Sugar Loaf Mountain – John Trout’s stomping grounds - and meets up with the Potomac.  Just below where these two rivers meet was a popular crossing for Confederate raiders, known today as White’s Ferry.

 All persons were considered suspicious and rumors of confederate invasions or incursions often caused wide-spread hysteria and panic among Frederick County residents. Prior to any official battles, there were numerous raids, skirmishes and suspicious activities.  As an example, on April 22, 1861, confederates invaded Brunswick (then known as Berlin) and hung the confederate flag.  They were eventually driven out.  In May 1861 the Frederick County Courthouse was burned – both sides blamed each other.  Around the same time there was an encampment of Confederates near Point of Rocks.  Attempts at burning the Monocacy Bridge at Monocacy Junction, cutting telegraph wires, vandalism, and train and mail seizures near Point of Rocks and Harpers Ferry were examples of rebel incursions that were constant threats. 

Rebel sympathizers also tried to smuggle contraband goods across the river.  Many times civilians were arrested for suspicious activity and sent to Fort McHenry, Point Lookout, or just shot.   Frederick became a militarized zone.

 How difficult it must have been for an average citizen - for John Trout - to make a living under these conditions!

Information for this blog was found in an historical book Cole’s Cavalry: Three Years in the Saddle written in 1895 by C. Armour Newcomer, a soldier in the unit.  This book can be accessed online through the Internet Archive.  The Emmitsburg Area Historical Society also has a “Cole’s Cavalry Collection” if you are interested in more resources pertaining this regiment.  In this an future blogs, to fill in gaps about Frederick during the war, I also referred to Paul and Rita Gordon’s book Never the Like Again and Frederick in the Civil War, by John W. Schildt.

 

 

 

 

It’s All in a Name

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

                  I wanted to know if the 1890 enumerator, Charles T. Dudderar, made a mistake by crossing out John Trout’s name and labeling him a Confederate.  I theorized that if he made a mistake, he would have also mistakenly crossed out Philemon Dutrow.  As I mentioned earlier Philemon Dutrow enlisted at nearly the same time in Cole’s Cavalry as John Trout.  They were both from the Urbana district.

 So I conducted internet searches for Philemon Dutrow’s military records and census records of his family.  I did indeed find his Union service records for Cole’s Cavalry service.  I couldn’t find any confederate papers for him.  Check and check.

 photo PhilemonDutrowCivilWarCMSR_zpsa84b3474.jpg

Image courtesy of fold3.com 

What I noticed on the census search though interested me.  I found Philemon M. Dutrow in Urbana, Frederick County, Maryland living with his parents in 1880 so I kept tracking backwards.  In 1870, Philemon - an easy search name -  DUDDERAR is still living with his parents (matches with 1880) and has a 19 year old brother named Charles C. Dudderar.  In 1860, Philemon’s family is again enumerated as “Dudderar” and again in 1850 as “Dudderar.”   

 Additionally, Charles T. Dudderar first shows up in Urbana in the 1870 census.  His father George was wealthy enough to have African American servants.  Charles T. DUTROW is enumerated in 1880 with his family again in Urbana.

 You say tomato; I say tomahto.

 

You say Dutrow; I say Dutero, or is that Dudderar?

 Wow.  That name change implicates something important.

         It places into the realm of possibility in 1890 there may be a relationship between Urbana residents Philemon Dutrow, the veteran, and Charles T. Dudderar, the enumerator.  If this is the case, then it seems reasonable to me that the enumerator would have more likely known the exact nature of military service performed.  Therefore the cross-outs are less likely a mistake, and more likely a possible indication of Confederate service at some point.  In summary, I cannot yet eliminate the possibility of John Trout having served at some point with a Confederate unit.

 In order to investigate further I need to develop a “web of relationships.” 

 Marsha Hoffman Rising suggests this tactic in her book The Family Tree Problem Solver.  In chapter four, she mentions that to get around brick walls researchers need to pay attention to names and neighbors that come up in affadavits, tax records, deeds and pension records since often they are relatives. In fact, I have been able to trace many of my female ancestors using this technique because their husbands were mentioned in many of those types of documents. 

 For John Trout, I don’t have all of those kinds of sources yet, but I am trying to fit together the pieces of how the neighbors in 1860 might have related to each other.  This kind of research isn’t sexy – genealogically speaking of course.  It takes time after all.  It’s not like a “Who Do You Think You Are?” program that’s able to complete a 7-generation chart for someone in the space of an hour.  I enjoy this kind of research though – it’s like a puzzle and it gives a more complete sense of what life what like as the pieces begin to fit together. 

 What I have to be careful about is that there are a few Dudderar/Dutrow family units in Frederick County during this time.  In order to confirm there might be a family connection between Charles Dudderar and Philemon Dutrow in the Urbana district I have to do more research.  Of course establishing this connection is not vital, but it would help determine if the enumerator Charles T. Dudderar knew what he was doing in the 1890 census.

 While I do this research in the background (so as not to bore you because there are often more dead ends than not) I will continue with what I do know: 

Cole’s Cavalry was already a famous regiment received with much fanfare in Frederick County by 1864.  War had come to the residents of Sugar Loaf Mountain.  photo SugarLoafMountain_zps5b1c2838.jpg

 

Sugar Loaf Mountain Encampment. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Jumping the River

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

        I wanted to investigate the discrepancy in information from the 1890 veteran’s census that showed John A. Trout as a Confederate, despite listing his Union regiment.

          So I had the great fortune to visit the Frederick County Historical Society when professional genealogist, Bob Fout was volunteering.  What luck!  I had met him briefly on a previous trip and exchanged pleasantries enough to gather his business card.  I knew him to be an expert on Frederick County research, so I immediately showed him my 1890 census record for John Trout. 

 1890 Veteran's Census Transcription photo 1890CensusTranscription_zps89d6ebe0.jpg

1890 Special Census of Civil War Veterans, Urbana District, Frederick Co., Maryland

Transcribed by author

         He immediately pulled out a book by Larry Tildon Moore.  Mr. Moore has transcribed the 1890 veteran’s census for Maryland and volume II covers Frederick County.  I reviewed his transcriptions of the Urbana district and noted that Mr. Moore also identified John Trout as a confederate. 

         Armed with Mr. Moore’s contact information I was able to talk to him about his process later that weekend.  In short:  the evidence is inconclusive. 

 He shared that in order for the 1890 enumerator to have made those markings, he would have likely talked directly to the veterans.   That meant John Trout would have identified himself as a confederate. 

The enumerator, Charles T. Dudderar, also a resident of the Urbana district, would have been somewhat familiar with the families he was enumerating.   On the other hand, in 1890, it appears Charles T. Dudderar was 22, and therefore born after the Civil War.  He may not have realized that the First Maryland Cavalry could be a Union regiment – also known as the 1 Maryland Potomac Home Brigade - and may have erroneously crossed out not only John Trout’s name, but also Philemon Dutrow’s name as well.  

         For due diligence, I also headed over to the Maryland Room to speak withMary Mannix, the Maryland Room Manager.  If any genealogical problem comes her way, she promptly puts out her genealogical “Doctor Is In” sign and efficiently gathers resources for you to peruse.

 I showed her my 1890 census, and she mentioned it was common for Confederate sympathizers to “jump the river” from Frederick County to Virginia.  Sometimes they served in the Confederate armies or sometimes they hid out to avoid service with the Union armies.  We discussed the fact that John Trout didn’t volunteer until February 1864 – what was he doing from 1861 until that time?   

         From the shelf she pulled The Roster of Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865, Volume XV, edited by Janet B. Hewett. On page 333 there are a host of Trouts who served in the Confederate armies in Virginia.  Just a few caught my eye -  versions of the name John Trout may have used in various forms:  A.J. Trout, Andrew Trout, Andrew J. Trout or John Trout.  

         She then passed along the name and number of a local researcher who is working on compiling information about Confederate soldiers from Maryland.  I was tickled to find him at home and receptive to my questions the same weekend.  He thought there might be one or two possibilities of some Virginia soldiers that might be the John Trout I am researching. 

        Thanks again to fold3.com I didn’t have to – gasp – take a trip into the bowels of “Confederate Virginia” to look for more specific records.   (Might I add that after looking at 19th century records and reading about the Civil War for long stretches, when I come up for air sometimes I forget what century I’m in…)

 However, after some internet searching I was able to eliminate the John Trouts I had identified as possibilities. I have not been able to turn up any definitive Confederate service for John Andrew Trout.

 Because of this, my theory was that the enumerator made a mistake on the 1890 census.  But….it just BUGGED me that records conflicted.

 So… I took a closer look at “Philemon Dutrow.”  Not only had I noticed he served in the same regiment and nearly at the same time as John Trout, but his first name is less common, and I thought it would be easier to track.  I was thinking that perhaps Charles T. Dudderar made a mistake on crossing out both records, and if so, I should be able to prove that. 

 What I found was interesting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of the Census……A Recipe of Conflicting Information

by Sarah Webb. 0 Comments

            I was able to find John Trout in census records from 1850-1920 consistently which is an amazing feat in itself.  Apparently he didn’t move around anywhere (that I have found so far) so I could expect to find him in the Urbana district his entire life.  Fortunately, he mostly used his middle initial to distinguish him from other Trouts in the area (or even his own father.)

           So, if you’ve used census records before you are familiar with the issue of inconsistent spellings, birth dates and locations.  If you haven’t, it's best to get a clue before you start using these records.  I use Your Guide to the Federal Census for genealogists, researchers and family historians by Kathleen Hinckley as a resource.  Suffice it to say that I was lucky that the only variation in spelling for John A. Trout was “Trought”, and it only happened for one census year.  In fact, I came across a great article by Diane L. Richard in the Oct/Nov 2012 issue of Internet Genealogy for researching possible name variations.  You can type in the name you’re searching at www.namethesaurus.com/Thesaurus/Search.aspx and the website will spit out multiple name variations for your ancestor that you can try if you are stuck.

           Besides the federal census population schedules, there are also agricultural schedules, mortality schedules and special census records to investigate.  I want to mention one in particular:  the 1890 Veteran’s Census.  Since many of the 1890 census records were burned in a fire in the National Archives most records from that decade don’t exist.  Apparently about half of the veteran’s schedules survived and can confirm an ancestor’s location as well as Civil War service.

           So I reviewed the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule for the Urbana District (incorrectly written as “Herbana” by the census enumerator.)  Among 12 veterans, I found John Trout’s name.

           On the bottom half of the page, I saw a list of residences and disabilities.  I saw that John Trout (#12) lived in “Della, Frederick County, Maryland” which was unfamiliar to me.

           I found Park Mills Road again on Mapquest.com and did indeed locate a “Della Road” off of Ed Sears Road just north of the Monocacy River, literally in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain.

  photo DellaRoad_zps6d8041fb.jpg

             Of course I had to go visit Della. The Monocacy meanders directly at the base of Della Road.  There is not much else to see, except a quiet, hilly cul-de-sac.   The road sits in a forested valley behind some prominent farms, most notably Loch Moy Farm on Park Mills Road.  Although Loch Moy Farm wasn’t there in 1860, Park Mills Road was once peppered with various larger farms at which the Trout fence-makers probably found work.  I did find out that at one time Della had its own post office and an African American school.

           Looking closer at the list of veterans I noticed several names were crossed out. I referred to my census resource, and Kathleen Hinckley notes of the 1890 census on page 19 of her book:

            

          “The 1890 Special Union Veterans and Widows supplemental schedules gave a veteran’s rank, company, regiment or vessel, dates of enlistment and discharge, length of service, post office address and nature of any disability……Tip: For some Confederate soldiers mistakenly listed and then crossed out in the special schedule, the listings are still readable.  Do not eliminate researching this record if a family was confederate.”

 

John Trout’s regiment matches what I know to be of his Union service.  But, I see that his name has been crossed out and a “Con” written by his name.  As I look closer, seven other veterans were likewise crossed out with either a “Conf” or “Con” next to their names.

 photo 1890CensusTranscription_zps89d6ebe0.jpg

1890 Special Schedule Transcription by author, Urbana District, Frederick Co., MD

                  I think I just gave myself whiplash.  Didn’t I just finally figure out he was a Union veteran??

 Really??  Could John A. Trout be BOTH a confederate AND a union veteran? 

 Obviously, I need more expertise to help me evaluate this apparent conflicting information.  I’m headed back to the Maryland Room and Frederick County Archives research room for help.