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Dan Hartzler’s Marylandia occupies the dimly lit library of an unassuming white-brick rancher nestled on a quiet street, a mere stone’s throw from the center of an old-fashioned town that splits the map between Union Bridge and Westminster.

The inside of the home is as eccentric as its owner. A roaring grizzly bear, with brown fur and gnashing teeth, greets you from the living room. It’s stuffed, of course, the trophy from a flintlock rifle hunt in Alaska. Above, towering over the landing, is an even bigger beast with darker fur and larger teeth. It’s the prize from another flintlock rifle hunt, this time in Siberia. All along the walls is a collection of antlered deer heads and wild birds in flight. With a glint in his eye and a wily smile behind a goatee of white hair that rivals Bradley T. Johnson, Hartzler explains that he goes on big game hunts ‘about every other year.’

“The flintlock is so much more fun than the percussion,” he admits later on. “You’ve got this click, bang, shoot. You’ve got all this action going on in front of your face before the bullet goes out. I thought, ‘That’s what I like.’”

He notes that the first flintlock he ever hunted with was an original Kentucky rifle that cost $110, but he’s upgraded to a more accurate, custom-made weapon, and it resides in Marylandia.

On the tiled floor of the library is a full-sized black bear rug—another hunting trophy—and it’s arguably the least extraordinary artifact in a room bursting with antiques, relics, keepsakes and collectibles that jump out at you like the inside pages of an illustrated encyclopedia.

“You know, we only have this stuff for a little while. We’re only caretakers of it. If they could talk, Oh, they’d tell us a story.” 

Dan Hartzler, militaria collector

For decades, Hartzler has hunted down, paid for and collected Maryland war-time memorabilia. His assemblage—spanning the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the American Civil War—covers the four walls of Marylandia, rests inside a pair of dusty display cases and sits on several shelves. The remainder of his treasures are stashed in wooden barrels, leaned against the walls and hidden inside every nook and cranny of remaining space. The only pieces of furniture are a letter desk, a wooden chair draped with a pelt, a steel filing cabinet, a somber red hutch overwhelmed with papers, books and trinkets, and a deep, weathered arm chair.

There are two ways to enter the place; the very visible front entrance accessible by a narrow hallway lined with the nearly two-dozen books he’s written, and another, slightly hidden, doorway in the corner of the room that is rendered nearly invisible by the dozens of rifles, swords and pistols that hang above and on either side.

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Part of Dan Hartzler’s Civil War collection. 

It’s a collection that’s grown with Hartzler, who, now in his mid-70s, has been chasing down items for six decades. The result is over 100 rifles and pistols and nearly the same amount in swords.

“I remember when I started, I had nothing. It becomes a little bit at a time, a little bit at a time,” Hartzler explained. “I was a kid in high school when I started collecting. My dad took me out to a farm sale and I bought a musket with a crooked barrel. Then I went to a blacksmith and I had him straighten it because I wanted to shoot it.”

 

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Weapons from the Civil War on display in front of a Union Flag in ‘Marylandia’.

Hartzler began by collecting World War II memorabilia. He then quit to pursue antiques, including purchasing his first sword (an engraved blade that he bought for $35), before trading in his collection in favor of Maryland militaria.

“I would go to sales, and I would [approach] family members who had stuff but wouldn’t want to sell them to a kid. But I’d keep after them, contact them once a year and say, ‘Don’t forget me if you want to sell it,’” Hartzler remembered. “It was amazing how many people finally came around when they found out their families didn’t want them.

“This stuff doesn’t lose money. It’s not like car restoration. These guys who collect cars put a lot of money into them and never get it back. But guns haven’t been that way. Guns have been very good.”

The backbone of Marylandia is his Civil War collection, which not only includes guns and swords, but flags from both armies, buttons, gear and accoutrements. Most notable is a Confederate sharpshooter gun, a rifle collected from the Battle of Antietam, flags from the Maryland towns of Elkton, Baltimore and Frederick, and a surviving 1853 Enfield owned by Private Richard H. Shepherd of Second Maryland, Company ‘D’.

Of the 54 officers and men in Company D, only four made it to Appomattox to surrender. Shepherd was one of them. Sometime during the war, he took the time to inscribe his name near the bottom of the rifle.

“A guy from Massachusetts had it,” Hartzler noted. “I wrote to him, and [at first] he didn’t want to sell it, [but] then he wrote back to me and said he would.”

Just to the left of Marylandia’s main entrance, adorned on the wall, is what Hartzler considers his most prized possessions: the sword and sidearm of Maryland cavalry officer Harry Gilmor, who commanded the Second Maryland Calvary and famously led the raid through Baltimore County in 1864.

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Harry Gilmor, pictured with his sword,  led several cavalry raids into his home state of Maryland.

“I would think it is, yeah,” Hartzler admits. “It’s a French light cavalry saber. It has a star up here [near the handle]—maybe it’s a major star?—that was hand engraved. Then there’s his pistol. It’s a Leech and Rigdon, Confederate, made in Georgia. His name is on the back strap.”

Hartzler, who owns Hartzler Funeral Homes in four Maryland locations, admitted that he first came across Gilmor’s pistol in a book, tracked down the author, and was directed to Connecticut, where the weapon’s purchaser resided.

Hartzler acknowledged that he paid $900 for the cavalry commander’s sidearm—and later shot live ammunition out of it when targeting a barn’s weathervane. 

“I had a name and no address from Connecticut, so I started calling funeral homes up there—I’m a funeral director—and I said, ‘Do you know anyone with this name?’ One guy said yes, and gave me his telephone number. I called him and asked if he was the collector who had Gilmor’s pistol. He said, ‘Yes… and I’d like to sell it,’” Harztler said. “Wasn’t that lucky?”

It’s been a life’s journey that’s taken Hartzler across the country and even into Canada. His collection has been on display at historical societies across the state and featured in the many books he’s written. Most recently, Hartzler published “American Silver-Hilted, Revolutionary and Early Federal Swords,” which came out in 2015.  

“As I collected stuff, people were interested, so I kept writing. I’ve done 20 books,” he said. “You know, we only have this stuff for a little while. We’re only caretakers of it. If they could talk, Oh, they’d tell us a story.” 

JS

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BALTIMORE — On a peaceful Friday morning in April 1865, thirty-five trains cars pulled by wood-burning locomotive and carrying eleven companies of the Sixth Massachusetts Volunteers chugged into President Street Station on the east side of Baltimore — at the time, the third largest city in America.

The men onboard, dressed in blue uniforms with rifles in hand, had learned earlier that morning that Baltimore was one of the few cities in the country with a law preventing rail road lines to pass through town. That meant the soldiers would need to switch trains and travel nearly a mile across the city to Camden Station—to board a locomotive on the northern-most stop on the B&O Rail Road to finish the journey south to Washington. Expecting resistance, the order had been given by Colonel Edward F. Jones for the seven hundred men of the 6th Massachusetts under his command to load their weapons.

“You will undoubtably be insulted, abused and perhaps assaulted, to which you must pay no attention whatever,” Jones informed his men, “… but if you are fired upon, and any of you are hit, your officers will order you to fire.”

The trek across the city on April 19, 1861 would go as peacefully as Jones had hinted.

“Stones flew thick and fast. Rioters rushed at the soldiers and attempted to snatch their muskets, and at least on two occasions succeeded. With one of these muskets a soldier was killed. Men fell on both sides.”

— Baltimore Mayor George Brown 

The 6th Massachusetts—the first to rise up in arms in support of President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers to put down the secession of the Southern states in the wake of the rebel’s bombardment of Fort Sumpter—were to be pulled in their train cars along rails on Baltimore’s Pratt Street by teams of horses. Many of the city’s citizens, angry at the idea of Northern troops waging war on sister states in the south, were determined to voice their displeasure.

They did so with rocks in hand.

RouteMapAll but two cars made it without incident to Camden Station—the windows of the final car badly cracked and broken. Said then-Baltimore Mayor George Brown” “At this time an alarm was given … the mob was tearing up the track on Pratt Street, so as to obstruct the progress of the cars.”

According to Brown, anchors had been pulled from a nearby wharf and placed on the track near the intersection of Pratt and Gay streets. Nearby, sandbags had been piled up to block the procession of the remaining train cars. The order came through for the men aboard the trains to return to President Street Station and to re-trace their path down Pratt Street by foot. They disembarked from the cars to the jeers and taunts of the ever-growing crowd.

Four companies of the Massachusetts regiment would re-appear minutes later at the double-quick, marching with faces forward in the direction of Camden Station.

The mob howled, moving in to greet the line of blue soldiers.

17965885_10212807953536840_2093012687_n“Stones flew thick and fast. Rioters rushed at the soldiers and attempted to snatch their muskets, and at least on two occasions succeeded. With one of these muskets a soldier was killed. Men fell on both sides,” Brown said. “The uproar was furious.

“The soldiers fired at will. I remember that the corner of South Street, several citizens standing in a group fell, either killed or wounded. It was impossible for the troops to discriminate between the rioters and the by-standers.”

Reports from Brown noted a young lawyer—known then as a quiet citizen—seized the flag of one of the companies and nearly tore it from its staff. He would be shot through the leg, but later joined the Confederacy, rising to the rank of captain. The mayor also detailed the death of a small boy shot while observing the riot from a vessel sitting in the water.

“Four of the Massachusetts regiment were killed and 36 wounded. Twelve citizens were killed,” Brown penned. “The number of wounded among the latter has never been ascertained.”

The actions on the streets of Baltimore that day resulted in the first bloodshed of the American Civil War and immediately impacted Maryland’s position in the conflict. In the hours and days following the riot, efforts were made to secure the city from further troops entering the city by rail, while armed forces prevented secessionists from overtaking key military points, such as Fort McHenry.

In May, Union General Benjamin Butler and the 8th Massachusetts—by way of the PW&B Rail Road and then Annapolis—occupied Baltimore in the dead of night and, with the blessing of Lincoln, enacted marshall law that would remain in place for the entirety of the war. Even if it had voted to secede, the Old Line State would have been unable to break away from the North.

The riots saw to that.

Said Brown: “Then was shed the first blood in a conflict between the North and the South; then a step was made which made compromise or retreat almost impossible; then passions on both sides were aroused which could not be controlled.”

JS

THE HUNT FOR FERRYBOAT ‘MARYLAND’

By Jordan Schatz

PERRYVILLE, Md. — Before it burnt and sank in the evening hours of Dec. 8, 1888 in the dark waters of New York City’s Harlem River—nearly 160 miles north of its hometown in Perryville, Md.—the massive ferryboat “Maryland” served as one of the most critical sailing vessels of the entire American Civil War.

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Pencil drawing of the “Maryland”

Propelled by two giant water wheels and weighing in at a remarkable 1,150 tons, the impressive double-ended, iron hulled “Maryland” held a distinguished career as the ship that helped usher the first Northern troops south of the Mason-Dixon Line. For a dozen years prior to the 1866 construction of the Pennsylvania, Wilmington and Baltimore Rail Road Bridge across the Susquehanna River, the “Maryland” transported PW&B wood-burning locomotives and passenger cars from Perryville to the opposing shore town of Havre de Grace, located nearly a mile away across the fast-flowing river.

A week-long journey into history books revealed the famous ferryboat’s spirited life story—one that included the 6th Massachusetts Volunteers (of Baltimore Riot lore), the infamous Union General Benjamin F. Butler and even ‘Old Ironsides’ herself, the USS Constitution, the hero ship of the Revolutionary War.

Beginning in 1853, the “Maryland” harmlessly transported trains across the Susquehanna near the point where it flowed into the Chesapeake Bay. That all changed on April 19, 1861.

Baltimore Riot

When President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 militia to rise up in response to the Confederate’s bombardment of Fort Sumpter in April 1861, the 6th Massachusetts Volunteers—numbering nearly 700 men—answered the call. They departed from Boston by train and two days later, arrived in Perryville around sun up on April 19. From there, they boarded the “Maryland,” which took men, train car and locomotive across the Susquehanna and unloaded them in Havre de Grace. The men then embarked the rest of the way to Baltimore, where they would make the trek across the city to Camden Station—and the Washington D.C.-bound B&O Rail Road.

The march by the volunteers across the city sparked violence from a waiting mob and resulted in the first bloodshed of the Civil War—the infamous Baltimore riot.

‘The Beast’ and the USS Constitution

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Gen. Benjamin F. Butler

One day after the Baltimore riot, the 8th Massachusetts, under Gen. ‘The Beast’ Butler, arrived in Perryville intending to take the same route as the 6th Massachusetts. Upon learning that future Confederate general Isaac Trimble had burned several rail road bridges between Havre de Grace and Baltimore, the Union commander commandeered ‘The Maryland’ and directed it farther down the Chesapeake to Annapolis, where it arrived just in time to put down a secessionist uprising.

Southern sympathizers in the Maryland capital were attempting to steal the famous American vessel, the USS Constitution, which lay docked near the US Naval Academy. Butler thwarted the mission and had the “Maryland” tow the famous gunship to safer waters. During the operation, the ferryboat captain purposely ran the “Maryland” into a sandbar, where it sat for several days with Massachusetts soldiers stuck on board. The captain would be thrown in jail.

From Annapolis, Butler marched to Baltimore, where he took over the town under cover of darkness and trained the guns on Federal Hill in the direction of the revolting city. For the remainder of the war, Baltimore would be under Union occupation. Meanwhile, the “Maryland” would be rescued from the sandbar and returned to Perryville.

Aftermath

For the next five years, the “Maryland” would transport Union troops down the Chesapeake and across the Susquehanna until the conclusion of the war, when the PW&B Rail Road finished construction of a bridge across the river—at the time, one of the largest and most expensive rail bridges every built in the world. The ferryboat would sit unused for a decade before finally finding a new home in the north, transporting trains across the Harlem River between New Jersey and New York City. From 1876 until a disastrous kitchen fire in 1888 crippled the vessel, the ship made four trips a day across the river: A somber end to an otherwise extraordinary career.

JS

Cooking during the American Civil War

Cooking during the American Civil War was an interesting process to say the least. Keeping an army supplied with food, for the most part, was a separate war in itself.

Canned food had been around since 1809 but getting that to an army on the move was not all that simple. Beef was considered a rare delicacy, and when it did arrive on the supply trains, north and south of the Mason and Dixon, it was either so pumped full of preservatives or too rotten to eat. When it was consumed in camp, it was also extremely tough, and new ways to “prepare” such a meal were being invented every day.

Men in the north were much better off, of course, as they did not to have to deal with a blockade strangling their supply lines. A Yank’s coffee was made with real coffee beans unlike a southern soldier’s coffee, which was usually made from chicory, acorns, sweet potatoes, okra and the such. During the siege of Petersburg, Union soldiers were dealt out hardtack for a length of time while constructing breastworks. The rank and file would crack open their “Ships Biscuits” to find it infested with worms, and would toss it down into their trenches. The men had orders to keep the siege works clean, of course, and when a commanding officer would reprimand them, the reply of “We keep throwing it out of here sir but it always seems to crawl back home,” was often heard.

Raiding the farms of citizens was not allowed for the most part, but officers would usually look the other way. Confederates in Gettysburg would leave behind worthless Confederate script or whatever they could in trade when such activities would take place. The Rebs were also known to fight more ferociously if they saw a fat Union supply train just over the hill. Getting something decent to eat was a war in itself.

Being that this is our first newsletter, I will not go into length of the numerous cooking techniques and period utensils used to concoct the daily meals in a soldier’s life, but I will leave you with a few famous recipes to experiment with in camp. I look forward to adding to this list in the near future and I will see you all at mess!

MARYLAND!

Pvt. S. Creswell

Navy Bean Soup

  • 1 cup dried Navy Beans
  • 5 Cups Water
  • ½ lb of Salt Pork or Slab Bacon
  • 2 large carrots or 1 cup chopped
  • 1 lg potato cut into ½ in. pieces
  • 1 large onion or ¾ cup chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Place beans in a medium sized Dutch oven, cover with water and soak overnight. Before cooking the next morning, drain the beans and add 5 cups of water, salt pork, carrots and onions to the beans. Bring the contents to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the beans until tender then add chopped potatoes, salt and pepper. Bring back to a boil until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and serve.

INTO THE SLAUGHTER PEN

As it appeared in the July 2016 Newsletter

CULP’S HILL, a heavily wooded mass of tall trees and smooth boulders, rose up more than 630 feet above sea level and silently watched over the unassuming crossroads village of Gettysburg. Since the late 18th century, its two round peaks served as farm land, but for three days in July, 1863, it witnessed some of the most fiercest fighting of the entire American Civil War.

The hill—and its decisive place just east of Gettysburg—quickly served as a rallying point for both Union and Confederate forces when they smashed into one another on July 1. Whichever army could place their guns on the heights first would own the battlefield.

Recently promoted Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell, who less than two month earlier had taken control of the Army of Northern Virginia’s famed Second Corps following the death of its former commander, Stonewall Jackson, at Chancellorsville that May, approached Gettysburg from the north. In the late afternoon on Day 1, the bald-headed general clashed with the Union XI Corps and portions of the I Corps and drove them back through town to both Cemetery Hill and the much larger Culp’s Hill beyond.

Against Commanding General Robert E Lee’s better wishes, Ewell opted not to challenge for the heights and Union forces took command of Culp’s and turned the unassuming hill into a virtual fortress.

Ewell’s inability to push through and capture Culp’s Hill by the conclusion of July 1 laid the groundworks for the Army of Northern Virginia’s crushing defeat at Gettysburg and the subsequent surrender at Appomattox two years later. It would also bring heavy casualties upon the First Maryland Infantry (later named the Second Maryland), a large confederate battalion — nearly the size of a regiment– located in Ewell’s third division, under Maj. Gen. Edward “Allegeny” Johnson, that spent the evening of July 1 sleeping on their rifles, nearly a mile away from Culp’s Hill.

“The result was nicknamed ‘slaughter-pen,’ as more than 300 Marylanders charged the strong position and nearly half were killed or wounded…”

BY MID-MORNING on the second day, Lee had a plan.

It involved a simultaneous two-prong attack, with Lt. Gen. James Longstreet attacking a pair of Union-fortified hills on the opposite side of the battlefield known as The Round Tops, while Ewell would mount an assault on Culp’s Hill, which had now been reinforced by the Union’s XII Corps. Both sets of hills formed the ends of the fabled Union fishhook.

Upon hearing Longstreet’s guns open up at 4 p.m., Ewell called for the attack. For three hours, the Second Corps commander levied heavy cannon fire on Culp’s Hill to little success. When dusk came, he ordered three brigades, numbering nearly 4,700 men, to cross Rock Creek at the base of Culp’s hill and climb the eastern side of the heights.

Confederate casualties were high. Scrambling and stumbling up the steep slope through the overgrown brush, black trees and smooth rocks, the right flank and center of the Confederate attack was repulsed by a heavy wave of bullets from above. But on the left side, the six divisions under Brig. Gen. George “Maryland” Steuart, including the Second Maryland, splashed across the creek, raced up the hill and charged through the semi-darkness in the direction of the breastworks.

“[A sudden change in direction] brought the Third North Carolina and Second Maryland face to face with the enemy behind a line of log breastworks, and these two regiments received their full fire at a very short range, for owing to the darkness, the breastworks could be seen,” said William W. Goldsborough, a major in the Second Maryland. “The Second Maryland and Third North Carolina were staggered for a moment by the enemy’s fire, but, quickly recovering, pressed forward and drove the enemy out of the works.”

When night again settled over Gettysburg, the opposing men of the XII Corps had retreated into an open field and lay waiting on the hill beyond while Steuart’s Brigade settled into the breastworks.

THE NEXT MORNING, July 3, dawned muggy and hot, with the sickly stench of death and gunpowder mixing with the damp earth and bitter scent of the trees. At sunrise, Steuart’s Bridgade, bunkered down, came under heavy attack from Union batteries, whose cannons rained down fire for half and hour.

“To add to the horrors of the situation, a battery or two opened up upon the division at short range,” Goldsbourgh said. “Most of their shells fell among the men of Steuart’s Brigade, who were compelled to closely hug the ground behind the breastworks for protection.”

What came next was nothing short of murder.

Commanded by Lee to take the hill, Ewell ordered three attacks on the Union fortifications, the third of which featured the Second Maryland. It would prove disastrous. The Second Maryland and 10th, 23rd and 37th Virginia regiments emerged from the wood line and charged across the open field (later named Pardee Field) with multiple battalions on either side of a long, stone wall. The result was nicknamed “slaughter-pen,” as more than 300 Marylanders charged the strong position and nearly half were killed or wounded as they rallied to within a few feet of the Union forces only to be cut down.

Afterwards, Steuart is said to have broken down, wringing his hands, while great tears streaked down his cheeks, and crying, “My poor boys!”

“What a field was this,” Civil War historian Samuel P. Bates said. “For three hours of the previous evening, and seven [hours the next] morning … the most terrible elements of destruction known to modern warfare [had] been wielded with a might and dexterity rarely ever paralleled. The woods in which the battle had been fought was torn and rent with shells and solid shot and pierced with innumerable minnie balls. Trees were broken off and splintered, and that entire forest, where the battle raged most furiously, was, on the following year, leafless, the stately but mute occupants having yielded up their lives with those whom they overshadowed.”

The Marylanders fell back to the log breastworks captured the night before and repulsed repeated attacks by the enemy, until ordered to retreat.

“[The Second Maryland] met the determined men of [the enemy], which poured into them so continues a fire that when within seventy paces, their columns wavered and soon broke to the rear,” Union Gen. John W. Geary said. “The First Maryland Battalion was in the advance, and their dead lay mingled with our own.”

JS

Company D to hold canned food drive

Donations due morning of Remembrance Day Parade

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — “Company D” Second Maryland is giving back this holiday season.

The first annual Company D Canned Food Drive to benefit the local community will be held in the parking lot behind the Rupp House in Gettysburg the morning of the Remembrance Day Parade on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

“As we approach the holidays, there are many less fortunate than us that need a hand up,” Company D Captain Jake Duda said. “The food goes to those in need in Gettysburg. I feel it’s the least we can do as a company to help the local community.”

According to Duda, all those intending to donate canned goods should bring their items in a bag to the parking lot behind the Rupp House, near where the group will be assembling prior to the Remembrance Day Parade. Once the food has been collected, several members of the unit will then drop the company’s donation off at the collection location in Gettysburg.

The idea for the food drive was created by Company D Corporal Rodney Cool, who is spearheading the event and will answer any questions regarding donations.

Most-needed foods to be donated include: Meals in a can (such as soup, stew or chili), canned tuna or chicken, peanut butter, canned fruit in its own juices, canned foods with pop-top lids, low-sodium canned vegetables, olive or canola oil, and spices.