Category Archives: Maryland

Ain’t THAT beer cold? Remembering Scunny McCusker

First of all… he was Pat to me.

Pat McCusker and I were cousins — a trio of kids born with-in a few months of each other (my cousin Mike rounded out the triumvirate.)

But to the rest of the world he was Scunny McCusker.

Scunny died last Friday night when he was hit by a bus while riding his bike in Ocean City, Maryland.

The outpouring of sympathy and love from all the people he has touched over the years has been amazing and incredibly touching.  There were thousands of visitors at  funeral parlor both Monday and Tuesday, with lines out the door and around the building. And today at the Cathedral of Mary our Queen the church was standing room only with over 2,000 loving supporters.

The funeral procession was lead by a National Bohemian Beer truck. I guess I need to tell you that Pat owned two bars/ restaurants in the Canton area of Baltimore, and he was a huge Natty Boh fan. A police escort helped the mile long procession of cars navigate the route to the cemetery by closing down sections of I-83 and the Beltway. The crowd around the grave site was the size of the infield at Oriole’s Park.

Why such the fuss? Well, Pat had a big heart. “He never met a charity he didn’t like” according to US Representative Ben Cardin, but he was especially active in the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation.  The charity:

 provides exceptional hospital and respite housing services to critically ill children and their families. We believe in keeping families together during a child’s medical crisis, and that the gentle cadence of normal family life has a powerful influence on the healing process.

and along with fund-raising for the organization Scunny provided thousands of meals for the families in need.

I have to admit that I’ve lost touch with Pat over the years. We only saw each other at the occasional wedding and funeral. He owned a bar… I don’t really drink. We grew up and older and apart. But listening to the stories this week I wish I HAD stay in touch better.

This one’s for you, Pat / Scunny.

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be ever at your back.

May the sun shine sweet upon your face,

the rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of your hand.

http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/lifestyle/memorial-for-patrick-scunny-mccusker-today

http://northbaltimore.patch.com/articles/funeral-held-for-patrick-scunny-mccusker#photo-11168610


Thought of the Day 8.14.12 Earl Weaver

“I became an optimist when I discovered that I wasn’t going to win any more games by being anything else.”

Earl Weaver

Earl Sidney Weaver was born on this day in St. Louis, Missouri in 1930. He is 82 years old.

Weaver managed the Baltimore Orioles from 1968-1982 and again from 1985-1986.  He became a Hall of Famer a decade later.

He played second base for 13 years in the minor leagues, then he managed for another dozen years in the minors before making it to the Show as a first-base coach for the Orioles in 1968. He took over as Manager in July of that season.

He wore #4 on his Oriole’s jersey and had a .583 winning record while managing the club. The team won 6 American League East titles, had 5 100+ win seasons, won 4 A.L. pennants, and won the 1970 World Series under his leadership.

Weaver didn’t want to bunt or sacrifice to advance a runner, according Hall of Fame player Frank Robinson, “He didn’t even have a hit and run sign…” Earl was all about the three run home run.

He pioneered the use of radar guns to track fast balls in 1975’s Spring Training season (according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.)

He was famous for his heated arguments with umpires that often ended with the manager kicking Memorial Stadium’s infield dirt at the official. Weaver was tossed from 91 regular season games.

Locals also remember the “Tomato Wars” he had with groundskeeper Pat Santarone. Santarone had a patch of plants in the left field foul area, Weaver grew his maters at home. The two argued (good naturedly) for 17 years over who had the best tomatoes in Baltimore.

After he left the O’s he worked as broadcaster for ABC television providing color commentary during the 1983-84 baseball seasons. He also did Manager’s Corner with Tom Marr while he was with the O’s (some times to very colorful effect.)

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.  A bronze statue of the manager was erected at Camden Yards (the “new” home of the Orioles) in June of this year.  At seven feet the statue towers over the real life Weaver, who is only 5’7″.  Weaver quipped “I guess there will be a lot of kids looking up at me…saying, ‘who is this?'”


Thought of the Day 8.3.12 Leon Uris

“Often we have no time for our friends but all the time in the world for our enemies.”

–Leon Uris

Leon Marcus Uris was born on this day in Baltimore, Maryland in 1924. This is the 88th anniversary of his birth.

Son of Polish and Russian Jewish immigrants Leon went to schools in Baltimore, Norfolk and Philadelphia. He failed English three times, but he loved History and Literature. He allegedly wrote an operetta about the death of his dog when he was only six years old.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 Uris dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He served from 1942 to 1945 in the South Pacific. He  was a radio operator  and saw combat at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. When he contracted malaria he was sent to San Francisco to recuperate. There he met his first wife Marine sergeant Betty Beck.

1st edition cover Pages: 694 pp (Mass Market P...

1st edition cover Pages: 694 pp (Mass Market Paperback) (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After his discharge from the service he worked  for the San Francisco Call-Bulletin and wrote fiction in his spare time. His first book, Battle Cry,  retold his war experiences. Published in 1953 ,and made into a movie by Warner Brothers with Uris as screen writer, the film did well at the box office.

His second novel also took place during WWII, but this time in the European Theatre. The Angry Hills is about Greek resistance fighters.  It too was made into a movie, this one starring Robert Mitchum.

Research Uris did for The Angry Hills and his time  as a war correspondent during Arab-Israeli fighting in 1956  lead to most his most successful novel, Exodus. Published in 1958 the book is the result of  thousands of interviews. Uris traveled 12,000 miles in Israel and read hundreds of books on Jewish history. Doubleday bought the book which out sold Gone with the Wind, becoming the biggest bestseller in the United States. It was translated into 50  languages. A blockbuster movie starring Paul Newman came out in 1960.

Mila 18 is about Jewish resistance fighters during the Warsaw uprising. Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin is about the complications of the Cold War during and after and the Berlin Airlift. Topaz, a spy story, has the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War in its cross hairs. Alfred Hitchcock  directed it for the big screen.  QBVII  is a courtroom drama about a doctor who was pressed into service in a Nazi concentration camp.  It was made into a mini series starring Anthony Hopkins in 1974.

In Trinity Uris tacked the troubles in Ireland, following the lives of several families from the potato famine to the Easter Uprising. Redemption, written two decades later follows up on the Irish story.

The Haj delves again into the troubled Middle East. The Milta Pass is about the Suez Crisis.

A God in Runs takes on the American political scene when Quinn Patrick O’Connell runs for president. His last novel, O’Hara’s Choice, was published posthumously, and was not well received.

Non fiction works include: Ireland: A terrible Beauty and Jerusalem: Song of Songs both include photographs by his with Jill Uris.

More on Leon Uris try this site: http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/uris.htm


Thought of the Day 8.2.12 L’Enfant

Pierre Charles L'Enfant

Pierre Charles L’Enfant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pierre Charles L’Enfant was born on this day in 1754 at Anet, Eure et Loir, France. Today is the 258th anniversary of his birth.

L’Enfant was educated at the Royal Academy in Paris as an engineer before joining Lafayette  to help the American side during the War of Independence. He arrived in 1777 at the age of 23 and fought as military engineer. He joined George Washington’s staff  after recovering from injuries at the Siege of Savannah. He attainted the rank of Major of Engineers in 1783.

He moved to New York after the war and established a civil engineering firm. In 1788 he redesigned the  New York’s city hall to be the United States’ first capitol building, Federal Hall.  The building was the site of George Washington’s inauguration and where the Bill of Rights was signed.

Federal Hall, Seat of Congress 1790
hand-colored engraving by Amos Doolittle, depicting Washington’s April 30, 1789 inauguration. [Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons: public domain]

In 1791 the US Congress authorized the building of a capital city on the Potomac River. George Washington appointed his old friend L’Enfant  to design the new city in 1791.

L’Enfant’s “Plan of the city of Washington” March 1792 is at the Library of Congress. [Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons. This image is in the Public Domain.]

“Congress House” (the Capitol) was to be on top a hill, a place of honor overlooking the rest of the city.  The “President’s House” (the White House) was to be a grand mansion fit for the leader of the country. His plan outlined the need for public spaces including a grand public walk (today’s National Mall) ). It would be 1 mile long and 400 feet wide and would stretch from the Capitol to an equestrian statue of Washington (the Washington Monument is now where the statue would have been).

The western front of the United States Capitol...

The western front of the United States Capitol. The Capitol serves as the seat of government for the United States Congress, the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located in Washington, D.C., on top of Capitol Hill at the east end of the National Mall. The building is marked by its central dome above a rotunda and two wings. It is an exemplar of the Neoclassical architecture style. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to “A Brief History fo Pierre L’Enfant and Washington, D.C.”:

L’Enfant placed Congress on a high point with a commanding view of the Potomac, instead of reserving the grandest spot for the leader’s palace as was customary in Europe. Capitol Hill became the center of the city from which diagonal avenues named after the states radiated, cutting across a grid street system. These wide boulevards allowed for easy transportation across town and offered views of important buildings and common squares from great distances. Public squares and parks were evenly dispersed at intersections.

Wide avenues and public squares would make it “people’s city”, while monuments  and inspiring buildings would give it the stature and importance of world capital.

While he was concerned with the grand vision of the city  his bosses on the Congressional appointed committee were concerned with how much the project was going to cost . They  wanted to keep the wealthy plantation owners in the area happy. L’Enfant “delayed producing a map for the sale of city lots (fearing real estate speculators would buy up land and leave the city vacant).” And he angered the commission when he had a prominent resident’s house torn down because it was in the way of one his boulevards.  When the city’s surveyor went behind his back and produced a lot map L’Enfant resigned. He was never properly paid for the work he did on the Capital.

The city was built, but the design had been greatly altered. Gone were the arrow straight streets and parkways. The Mall between the Capitol and the White House was a tree-covered park of irregular shape. Cows grazed on it.

Visitors ridiculed the city for its idealistic pretensions in a bumpkin setting and there was even talk after the Civil War of moving the capital to Philadelphia or the Midwest.

But in 1901 the McMillan Commission resurrected L’Enfant’s ideas and updated them for a modern city. The Mall was reclaimed, cleared and lined with American Elm trees. Memorials to Lincoln and Jefferson were added, and Museums and government buildings lined the perimeter.

L’Enfant worked on commissions

after the Capital, but non were very successful. His design for Philadelphia millionaire Robert Morris’ mansion was called Morris’ Folly. His final years were spent at the home of his friend William Dudley Digges, near Bladensburg, Maryland. He was buried there, but his body was exhumed and reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. His tomb now overlooks the city he helped design.

Tomb of Pierre Charles L'Enfant, designer of W...

Tomb of Pierre Charles L’Enfant, designer of Washington, D.C.’s original city plan, on the grounds of Arlington House (the Robert E. Lee Memorial) at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Thought of the Day 7.18.12

Today I’m thinking about Shakespeare. Why? because I got to see Baltimore Shakespeare Factory’s Love’s Labour’s Lost last Friday and I’m going to see Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet this Sunday. Two very different plays and two very different approaches. How lucky am I to live in a city that offers two ways to experience the Bard?

So instead of the regular birthday tribute (Shakespeare’s birthday is April 23rd for any one who is keeping track) I give you… Shakespearian insults. Because you never know when you might need a really tell some one that they are “a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward.” (Measure for Measure).

An 1870 oil painting by Ford Madox Brown depicting Romeo and Juliet’s famous balcony scene.

Here are a few from Romeo and Juliet:

… He’s a man of wax
You kiss by the book
He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not, the ape is dead
She speaks yet she says nothing
He is not the flower of courtesy
You rat catcher
A dog, a cat, a mouse, a rat to scratch a man to death
A plague on both your houses
Thou detestable maw
Thou womb of death

A scene from Love’s Labour’s Lost as put on by the Acting Co. of New York in 1974. Here the boys try to fool the girls into thinking they are a bunch of visiting Russians.

Here are a few from LLL:

Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise,
Three-piled hyperboles, spruce affectation,
Figures pedantical; these summer flies
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation:
I do forswear them.

They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.

From other Plays:

A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality. (Alls Well That Ends Well.)

Thine face is not worth sunburning. (Henry V)

There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune. (Henry V)

Thou art as loathsome as a toad. (Troilus and Cressida)

Thou art like a toad; ugly and venemous. (As You Like It)

I must tell you friendly in your ear, sell when you can, you are not for all markets.” (As You Like It.)

Thou art a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward. (Measure for Measure)

You secret, black and midnight hags (Macbeth)

Thou subtle, perjur’d, false, disloyal man! (The Two Gentleman of Verona)

“Thou art a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver’d, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way” (King Lear)

“Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.” (King Lear)

“I’ll beat thee, but I should infect my hands.” (Timon of Athens)


Thought of the Day 7.2.12

“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”

Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1908. Today would have been his 104th birthday.

The grandson of a slave, Marshall knew first hand the long arm of a segregated society.  In 1930, after graduating cum laude from Lincoln University,  he applied to the University of Maryland Law School, but wasn’t accepted because of his race. Marshall went instead to Howard University Law School where he graduated magna cum laude. He later successfully sued UofM to admit Donald Murray to the Law school.

He moved to New York and became a special counsel for the NAACP. He helped draft  the constitutions for Ghana and Tanzania on the behest of the United Nations.

Marshall argued in numerous Supreme Court cases, most revolving around segregation. The landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas demolished legal “separate but equal” segregation in the United States.

In 1961 Marshall was appointed by President Kennedy  as a circuit judge.  In 1965 President Johnson appointed him Solicitor General, and in 1967 Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States. He served on the Court until 1991.

He saw the Constitution as  living document , noting in 1987 on the bicentennial of the Constitution that:

“the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today…Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights.”

 

Thurgood Marshall, appointed by Kennedy to the...

Thurgood Marshall, appointed by Kennedy to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Sailabration Celebration

The Battle of Baltimore and the Bombardment of Fort McHenry was a turning point in the War of 1812. As the country celebrates the bicentennial of the war Baltimore threw a Sailabration with tall ships, naval vessels, an air show by the Blue Angels, and festivities galore.

The ships began to arrive on Wednesday June 13th. Past met present as 1812 living history reenactors gave tours of important sites in the Battle of Baltimore (like the battles of North Point and Hampstead Hill)  while the 2012 Navy parachutist team, the “Leap Frogs,” put on shows at Clifton Park and Patterson Park.

Thursday was Flag Day, and as any good Baltimorean knows, the US Flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the bombardment was not made by Betsy Ross,  but was sewn by local widow Mary Pickersgill. When Francis Scott Key penned the Star Spangled Banner it was Pickersgill’s flag he saw waving at dawn’s early light.  During a special Flag Day ceremony at the Flag House three strands from the original Star-Spangled Banner were sewn into the National 9/11 flag.  Later that day the 33rd Annual Pause for the Pledge took place at Fort McHenry.

Looking at some of the smaller ships at the the marina near Rash Field. The Baltimore Aquarium is the background.

Free tours began on the ships at the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Locust Point. And there was a concert and the Sailabration Festival Villages at Rash Field and Broadway Pier opened their stalls.

Friday boasted another beautiful day for touring the ships and enjoying the festivities.

Martin State Airport allowed visitors to get up close and personal with their military aircraft on Saturday and Sunday. Adventurous souls could even take a ride in the Navy Flight Simulator!

Four of the Blue Angels perform one of many jaw dropping maneuvers.

In the waters in front of Fort McHenry the Navy demonstrated its latest Special Warfare Combat Craft on Saturday & Sunday, while overhead the Blue Angels performed superhuman aviation tricks.  The Saturday night capped off with a concert and Fireworks at Fort McHenry.

Rigging of the B.E. Cuauhtemoc, a Mexican tall ship.

Today, Sunday, will bring much of the same beautiful weather, ship tours, (crowds) and Blue Angels. Tonight you can catch  a Star-Spangled Symphony  at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The musical event includes the premiere of Philip Glass’ “Overture for 2012”.

Brazil’s NVe Cisne Branco was docked at the Inner Harbor

On Monday representatives from the US, Great Britain and Canada will commemorate the anniversary of the Declaration of War on Great Britain with “From Enemies to Allies” at Fort McHenry at 10:30. Ship tours continue.

The USS Constellation, a Sloop-of-War ship launched in 1854.

The Sailabration ends on Tuesday as the ships leave the Baltimore area.

Warships, like the Canadian Iroquois docked at Fells Point, debark from 7:00 to 11:00 am on June 19th.

The tall ships debark from 11:00 to 1:00 on Tuesday. (photo courtesy of notesoftheladyupstairs)

Although The Battle of Baltimore and the Bombardment of Fort McHenry didn’t take place until September of 1814, Baltimore has gotten a wonderful start to celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1912 with this Sailabration.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

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All content is original. Photos by ritaLOVEStoWRITE and her daughter notesoftheladyupstairs.

All rights reserved.


The Battle of Westminster… Corbit’s Charge

Marker for Lieutenant John William Murray, one of two Virginians who lost their lives in the Battle of Westminster.

I wrote this article for AT HOME IN MARYLAND an on-line  magazine. It was originally published last year, but I have updated it for publication here. Permission to reprint the article was given by the publisher. All photos and content are the original work of ritaLOVEStoWRITE.

____________________

Westminster, Maryland reenacts Corbit’s Charge every year on the last full weekend in June,
this year it will take place June 23 & 24th.

 What started out as a single afternoon in 2003 has grown to a weekend-long celebration that draws over 2,000 people.  The weekend includes a Civil War encampment; military demonstrations; period music; living history interpretations and  artisans, guided tours, speakers and museum displays relating to the Civil War period. A wreath will be laid at the Corbit’s Charge monument.

____________________

Corbit’s Charge took place June 29, 1863 on the outskirts of Westminster. A group of about 90 men from the C and D companies of the Delaware 1st Cavalry skirmished with the vanguard of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart‘s cavalry near what is today East Main Street and Washington Road. The skirmish, also known as, “The Battle of Westminster,” resulted in delaying Stuart from getting to Gettysburg, and may have cost the South the battle.

So what was the battle all about?

For two weeks J.E.B. Stuart and his cavalry were busy collecting provisions and information and harassing the Union’s rear echelon in Northern Virginia and Maryland.  He was essentially charged with a surveillance mission but he was just as happy to raid, and he was up to no end of trouble as he made his way up to a rendezvous point with General Jubal Early in York, Pa.  He destroyed a portion of the C&O canal  here… dismantled a telegraph lines there… attacked an 8-mile-long wagon train of Union supplies here… Stuart was a busy guy.

It was clear that the Federals had a column of men heading north through Frederick, and he tried twice to alert Gen. Robert E.  Lee to the advancing troops – He was Lee’s eyes and ears after all — but neither missive made it to Lee.

So Stuart pointed his horses toward the rendezvous in York, and headed the Rebel Calvary toward Westminster.

Unlike their battle hardened Rebel counterparts, the 1st Delaware Calvary had seen light action thus far, serving for the most part in the defense of Baltimore prior to moving northwest to Carroll County. Mustered in January, 1863, the 1st Delaware Calvary couldn’t come up with a full complement of 10 horse companies.  They scraped together seven small companies and those seven were reassembled into four active companies. Under the leadership of Major Napoleon Bonaparte Knight, Companies C and D arrived in Westminster to bolster a small garrison from 150th New York to protect the railroad depot for the Western Maryland Railroad line. They arrived at about 11 a.m on June 28. It was quiet warm Sunday.

They set up camp in the “Commons” on the north side of town, near what is now McDaniel College. The area was on high ground and provided the Union troops with a good view of both the town and the roads leading to it from Taneytown, Uniontown, New Windsor and Gettysburg.  Pickets were placed along the roads leading to town and the Delaware troops settled in, assured that they would be warned of any Rebel movement.

The Opera House was used by Lt. Pulaski Bowman and the New Yorkers as their head quarters.

Lieutenant Pulaski Bowman, who was in charge of the New York Provost Guard reported to Knight that there was no enemy about either in Gettysburg or Hanover. The Major, satisfied that all was secure, retired to the Westminster Hotel and Tavern, his unofficial  headquarters and settled in for some local comfort. There were some disturbances in the night, with reports coming in from the Hampstead and Manchester road pickets that the Southern cavalry was advancing, but investigation failed to turn up any Southerners. The Union troops settled in for the night. With the next day looking equally uneventful, Major Knight ordered the battalion’s blacksmiths to attend to the horses, many of whom had thrown shoes on the rough road from Baltimore.

Stuart needed to travel through Westminster to get to Lee. He knew that the information he had on the Union Army’s whereabouts was vital to the General’s tactical planning. One little bit of the Union Force he was unaware of was the small group of Blue Coats from Delaware in his way. He found out about them just after 4 p.m. when his forces overcame and captured a handful of pickets on the ridge road.

The advance guard of the Confederates under Fitzhugh Lee (General Lee’s nephew) entered the town and captured five of the Delawareans at Michael Baumann’s Blacksmith Shop. Again the Yankees were prevented from alerting their superiors. But  Isaac Pearson, a young lawyer from the town, who saw the Rebel force,  took quick action and reported them to the Yankees. Knight was unaccounted for, whether he was sick, inebriated or just flat out hiding is unclear (he had originally signed up to fight for the South, but deserted to fight for the North early in the War.) So when the warning cry rang out he was spared the glory of leading less than a hundred men against Stuart’s thousands.  That honor fell to Captain Charles Corbit.

Corbit was twenty-five years old, tall, strong, and well liked by his company of 4 officers and 89 enlisted men. Some of those men were out at the pickets, some were left mountless as their horses were being tended to and others had already been captured. He rallied what remained of his subordinates at the top of Main Street and moved east to find the enemy. Corbit sent Lt. D.W.C. Clark ahead with a scouting party of a dozen men.

Lt. Clark went through downtown, passing the blacksmith shop and turning left on Washington Road where they encountered Fitzhugh Lee and the front of Stuart’s force. Clark quickly turned around and rushed back to Corbit to report his findings… There was a LARGE contingent of Southern gentlemen just around the corner!

Instead of retreating Corbit drew his sword. He led his men head on against  the hordes of Confederates.

What little luck Corbit had on his side– besides the loyalty of his troops and his own bravado–was the layout of that area of town.  Washington Road hit Main Street at an odd angle and there was a sturdy fence that squeezed the cavalry men together into a narrower field of battle.

The other Delaware company, Company D, under Lt. Caleb Churchman, heard the gunfire and quickly joined the battle. But the Northerners were still hopelessly outnumbered.

The battle was fierce and short-lived. Corbit and his men fought off two or three countercharges before the sheer overwhelming number of Rebels won the day.

The Southerners pushed the 1st Delaware back up Main Street.

Corbit’s horse was shot out from beneath him and he was captured along with most of his company.

A few of the Yankees, including Major Knight, escaped toward Baltimore on the Reisterstown Road (Baltimore Pike)  a swarm of Confederate riders in hot pursuit. This caused some alarm in the city when the fleeing troops warned that the Confederates were about to invade.

The Trumbo/Chrest House was in the thick of the action. There are still bullet holes in the side of the building.

The more practical outcome of the battle was that two officers from the 4th Virginia Calvary  and two privates from the 1st Delaware lay dead on the dusty streets of Westminster. (One of those Virginians, 1st Lt. John William Murry, Co. E. 4th Virginia Calvary, C.S.A., is buried in the Ascension Episcopal Church cemetery at 23 North Court Street.)  11 men were wounded and almost all the Northerners were taken as Prisoners of War, including Captain Corbit,  Lt. Churchman and Lt. Bowman. The Southerners overtook the camp at the Commons and confiscated supplies, both army issue and private, and intelligence.  The town and the surrounding farms were likewise foraged for supplies.

Then Stuart stopped for the night. For the first time in five days both the men and the horses in Stuart’s column had enough to eat and a chance to rest.

The Confederates continued on to Hanover  the next day, where Stuart paroled Corbit and Chruchman, and continued on to meet up with General Lee in Gettysburg.

But, did The Battle of Westminster delay Stuart from reaching Lee at Gettysburg?  Historian Eric J. Wittenberg thinks so. “That foolhardy charge cost Stuart half a day of critical time on his march. It absolutely had an effect on the time of Stuart’s arrival at Gettysburg,”

Still Wittenberg thinks  “Stuart did everything he reasonably could  to link up with Lee.”

So why does Stuart get so much of the blame for the South’s failure at Gettysburg? “The Calvary’s main job at that point of the Civil War was raiding and scouting,” Says Civil War enthusiast George Baker, III, adding, “Stuart’s lack of communication  basically left Lee blind in enemy territory, so he (Lee) didn’t know exactly where the Army of the Potomac was going prior to Gettysburg. The first day he didn’t know whether he was going up against a division or the entire army. That could have been the game changer of the battle.  Lee never publicly blamed Stuart for the battle’s loss, but When Stuart showed up late at Gettysburg…it was the closest Lee ever came to chewing anyone out.”

A Civil War history buff reads the Corbit’s Charge marker on Westminster’s Main Street.


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