Emmitsburg Man Helps to Defend the North Carolina Coast

Published Catoctin Banner News, 2007

Alonzo L. Barry was born in October of 1835 in Frederick County. Sometime after the 1850 census, Alonzo was living in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was an apprentice as a tailor with Mr. Webb. During the outbreak of the Civil War, many Emmitsburg men enlisted into army. Some went south into Virginia while others remained loyal to the Union.

Alonzo mustered into the Confederate Army as a Corporal on July 5, 1862 for the duration of the war in the Clark Artillery under the command of Captain Robert G. Rankin which became Company A of 1st Battalion North Carolina Heavy Artillery, formed on March 25, 1863. The 1st Heavy North Carolina Artillery Battalion was organized at Wilmington, North Carolina during the late spring of 1863 with three companies. Company A was known as Clarke Artillery, Company B was known as River Guards and Company C was known as Captain Alexander McRea’s Company. Throughout the war it served along the North Carolina Coast near Wilmington and saw action at Fort Fisher and Fort Anderson. It surrendered with the Army of Tennessee.

Alonzo served in the garrison of Fort Fisher. When Alonzo arrived at Fort Fisher, it was nothing more than several sand batteries mounting fewer than two dozen guns. By January of 1865, Fort Fisher covered one mile of the sea defense and one-third of a mile of land defense.

On August 8, 1863 Alonzo was promoted to Sergeant in Company A of the 1st N.C. Heavy Artillery. On January 13, 1864, Alonzo transferred to the newly formed Company D of Captain James L. McCormic of the 1st N.C. Heavy Artillery. Company D served as part of the defense at Fort Fisher that guarded the entrance to Wilmington. During July and August of 1864, Alonzo was reduced to private and soon afterwards, he transferred to Company B, of the 3rd Battalion of Light Artillery in September of 1864.

Alonzo was appointed as the Bugler of this company and spent December of 1864 serving inside the fortifications of Fort Anderson which also guarded Wilmington. During the winter of 1864-1865, living conditions were harsh due to the elements cause by the weather, disease and lack of provisions. Alonzo’s Captain, William Badham Jr., did not fair to well using pine limbs and planks to make a shelter that was basically a lean-to.

In February of 1865, the Union Army engaged the garrison at Fort Anderson as part of their campaign of taking Wilmington. On February 17th the Federal Army began it’s attack. Battery B of the 3rd North Carolina Light Artillery Battalion supported the defenders of Fort Anderson. It was noted that the 3rd N.C. Artillery Battalion kept the fire hot for several hours. On February 19th, Fort Anderson was abandoned and Wilmington became the last Confederate port to fall into Federal hands on February 22nd, 1865.

After the fall of Wilmington the Confederates withdrew, it is unclear if Alonzo’s company fought at the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina in March of 1865. His unit’s history seems to disappear until May 1st, 1865 when Alonzo was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina.

Around 1871 Alonzo married Elizabeth. They had their first and only child, Marie around 1872. Alonzo and his family resided in Port Deposit, Cecil County, Maryland from 1880 to 1910. He cannot be found in the 1920 census. Marie never married and worked most of her life as a music teacher in Cecil County.

Emmitsburg during the Pennsylvania Campaign of 1863

Published 6/09 Emmitsburg (Chronicle) News-Journal

As we sit in our yards listening to the sounds of cannons booming, troops clashing, and the poignant refrain of bugles calling the troops to battle during the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, I believe it is important to remember Emmitsburg’s role in the battle that is considered [one of] the turning point[s] of the American Civil War.

On June 15th, 1863, the first portions of General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began to cross the Potomac River near Hagerstown, Maryland. Learning from the mistakes of the Maryland Campaign in September of 1862, General Lee decided to launch a campaign into Maryland and Pennsylvania where his army could gather much-needed supplies and relieve war-torn Virginia for several weeks while the army was in Pennsylvania. But unknown to General Lee, Union scouts had seen his movements in Maryland as early as June 17th. Because of this, General Hooker started to develop a plan of attack to seize the mountain passes at South Mountain from Sandy Point to Boonsboro.

During the morning of June 18th, General Hooker requested that a signal station be built at Crampton’s Gap on South Mountain. On June 23rd and 24th, General Hooker requested to have more Federal troops in possession of South Mountain. General French carried out those orders, as Union scouts were overlooking and watching the Hagerstown Valley as well as Pleasant Valley. During the early hours of June 25th, General John Reynolds ordered General Oliver O. Howard to send a brigade of infantry along with a battery of rifled guns to Crampton’s Gap.

On June 26th, General Oliver O. Howard’s 11th Corps began to occupy the mountain gaps along South Mountain. While General Howard’s men at Crampton’s Gap were waiting to be relieved, Colonel William D. Mann’s 7th Michigan Cavalry occupied Turner’s Gap and sent patrols throughout the valley toward Hagerstown. Most of the Confederate forces had left Hagerstown and were concentrating their efforts on Chambersburg and fortifying the area.

During the afternoon of June 27th, a portion of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade encamped just south of Emmitsburg near the old tollgate house before heading toward Hanover the following Monday. George Custer was only 24 years old when he was promoted to Brigadier General in Frederick. He had replaced General Joseph T. Copeland as commander.

The Michigan men had made their camps on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Academy. Joseph Brawner, the field manager, would carry out the task of cutting down the clover in the meadows that surrounded St. Joseph’s. Mr. Brawner had the cutting machine out, ready to cut down the clover that covered the fields. As the 5th Michigan Cavalry made their quarters for the night, they let their horses graze in the fields. Much to the dismay of Mr. Brawner, once sunrise came on Sunday morning, June 28th, the fields were barren and nothing was left of the clover.

In June, Cole’s Cavalry Battalion had separated and each company was to act as an independent organization. On June 27th, Lieutenant William A. Horner asked permission to take a dozen men to go through the Confederate lines on a scouting mission. After some debate Captain Albert Hunter, commanding Company C of Cole’s Cavalry, allowed a dozen of his troopers to go on a scouting mission. They marched from Boonsboro to Waynesboro then to Fountain Dale where they skirmished with Confederate artillerymen from Crenshaw’s Battery who were foraging in the area.

General Hooker learned his resignation had been accepted after midnight on June 28th, and General George Meade was placed in command of the Army of the Potomac. Not liking the tactical disadvantage of the Army of the Potomac on South Mountain, General Meade started to pull his forces off South Mountain. Later that day, General Meade issued orders to march northward to Emmitsburg, Taneytown, and Union Mills.

At 4:00 a.m. on June 29th, 1863, marching orders were carried out. Portions of the Union army were to march through Woodsboro on their way to Middleburg. The 12th Corps and the 3rd Corps, along with their corresponding artillery, would march through Woodsboro followed by General Meade’s headquarters wagon train. General Farnsworth’s brigade of cavalry also traveled through Woodsboro toward Taneytown. The 1st Corps marched through Lewistown and Mechanicstown to Emmitsburg. The 11th Corps, under the command of General Oliver Howard, marched through Creagerstown to Emmitsburg.

As General Reynolds and his men approached Emmitsburg that evening, he rode ahead of his column and entered the town. Once there, Reynolds and his staff tried to recruit local citizens to cross through the Catoctin Mountain gaps in order to observe and report in detail the movements of the Confederate Army. General Reynolds also placed a signal corps on the mountain behind Mount Saint Mary’s. A battery of artillery was held in reserve in Emmitsburg on the heights toward Thurmont. General Reynolds set up his headquarters in Emmitsburg and directed Union efforts from Emmitsburg’s Lutheran parsonage, St. Joseph’s Rectory, and the present day funeral home.

As the First Corps marched past Mount Saint Mary’s College, Dr. Moore recalled: “The Army of the Potomac was truly a beautiful sight” and he described as grand but horrible the passing of “the wagons, ambulances, cannons, etc, which were coming from early dawn till nightfall. … They camped around Emmitsburg. Their campfires, as viewed from the college windows, almost led one to imagine that this section for miles had received in one shower all the stars of the heavens.”

On the evening of June 30th, the First Corps was ordered to proceed to Marsh Creek, located about four miles from Emmitsburg, and to re-establish camp there. Shortly after the orders were given, a disturbance broke out when soldiers of the 76th New York were told to wait until the next day to receive their pay. As they marched through Emmitsburg a soldier, and later historian of the 12th Massachusetts Volunteers, recorded a story about a young boy of 15 years of age from Emmitsburg by the name of J.W. Wheatley who volunteered for the Union army. After marching alongside of the men in blue, the 12th Massachusetts gave him his own suit of blue and the young boy fought in the first day’s Battle of Gettysburg where he was severely wounded.

The 11th Corps made their way into Emmitsburg at the southern end of town, toward Mount Saint Mary’s College, where General Howard made a temporary headquarters. As the rear of the 1st Corps marched out of Emmitsburg, regiments of the 11th Corps started to lay out camp on the grounds of Saint Joseph’s Academy. General Howard made his headquarters at the Saint Joseph’s Rectory.

Eli Horner owned and lived on a farm east of Emmitsburg along Toms Creek where soldiers of the 11th Corp encamped. The day before the Battle of Gettysburg, the family had baked bread for the entire day. The soldiers brought their containers of hardtack into the house, dumped them on the table, and proceeded to fill them with the fresh baked bread. This was the position for most of the families that lived in the vicinity of Emmitsburg. As soldiers passed through the town they also shared their homes.

Beginning the evening of June 30th through the morning hours of July 1st, the Third Corps under General Daniel Sickles were encamped at Bridgeport, Maryland, just east of Emmitsburg. Marching from Taneytown at around 3:00 p.m., General David Birney who was commanding General Sickles’ 1st Division, placed the camp about a mile and a half from Emmitsburg. As soldiers from Birney’s division encamped near Saint Joseph’s, General (then Colonel) Philippe Regis de Trobriand, commander of the 3rd Brigade of Birney’s Division received a very triumphant welcome by the residents of Emmitsburg. These men marched through the streets as women cheered and waved their handkerchiefs and men stood in the doorways waving their hats.

As daylight came on July 1st, the bleak sky looked as though it would open up and drench the soldiers. The Union troops of the Eleventh Corps, still tired from marching, got underway with their daily chores. Between eight and eight-thirty in the morning General Reynolds sent his orders to General Howard to begin marching as soon as possible and by nine-thirty all of the men of the Eleventh Corps were marching. In order to move at a faster rate, the soldiers were ordered to leave their knapsacks at Emmitsburg. The roads that they would be traveling, leading from Emmitsburg to Marsh Creek, were badly torn up from the wagons and artillery from the First Corps.

The rest of General Sickles’ Third Corps marched from Bridgeport, Maryland, through Emmitsburg, heading to Gettysburg between two and three o’clock that afternoon. Union engineers began surveying the land around Emmitsburg for a possible battle site. For a few desperate hours the town of Emmitsburg was crucial to the war efforts. General Sickles was to hold Emmitsburg in case of an attack of Confederate forces from Fairfield to the west. Disobeying direct orders to hold Emmitsburg, Sickles marched to Gettysburg.

As the Sisters at Saint Joseph’s watched the troops of the Army of the Potomac march by, the sight terrified them. It was about noon on July 1st when the Sisters heard a frightful boom in the distance. It was from the artillery engaging in the battle that was opening at Gettysburg. They continued to hear the cannon fire until it ceased during the afternoon of July 4th. Many of the Sisters prayed that the terrible noise of the battle in the distance would go away. Father Burlando wrote to the superior general in France following the opening of the artillery fire at Gettysburg: “The bellowing of those instruments of death and destruction was frightful, and the thick smoke which rose in the atmosphere was black as the clouds which preceded a tempest.”

On July 2nd, more Federal soldiers came into Emmitsburg. These soldiers were the Army of the Potomac’s U.S. Cavalry under the command of General Wesley Merritt. After being ordered to guard the mountain passes at South Mountain, General Merritt and his regulars had been ordered to Mechanicstown, Maryland, on June 29th. This left the U.S. Cavalry to guard and to protect the roadways and communication lines in the vicinity of Mechanicstown.

The highest point in the Emmitsburg area, Indian Lookout, served an important role in communications and observations during the battle in Gettysburg. Emmitsburg also served as a supply base of operations.

After the battle of Gettysburg, General Lee’s Confederate army began to withdraw from the area. General Lee wanted to secure Monterey Pass, near Blue Ridge Summit, as the army’s direct route back to Virginia. On July 4th, Confederate cavalry entered Emmitsburg, screening for any Federal resistance that might pose a problem for Lee’s retreating army. A few hours after the Confederate cavalry left, Union cavalry under the command of General Kilpatrick entered Emmitsburg. Kilpatrick received orders to harass the Confederate retreat at Monterey Pass. Leaving around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Kilpatrick skirmished with several Confederate troops in and around modern day Zora.

Early in the morning on July 5th, General J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate cavalry entered Emmitsburg and skirmished with Federal troops near the modern day Emmit House. While at Emmitsburg, General Stuart’s cavalry captured three photographers who were staying at the Emmit House. Alexander Gardner was questioned and released and soon after photographed the famous pictures of the carnage at Gettysburg as well as several photographs of Emmitsburg on July 7th. Stuart learned of the cavalry battle that took place at Monterey Pass and decided to take another route over the mountains.

After General Stuart’s cavalry left Emmitsburg they marched toward Creagerstown and Graceham, where Stuart learned of the impasse at Harman’s Gap and traveled back toward Franklinville where Stuart’s cavalry took the road leading to Deerfield and then onto Smithsburg.

On July 5th, as General Lee’s Confederate Army marched in the Cumberland Valley toward Williamsport, General Meade gave marching orders to his Army of the Potomac to begin following Lee’s army. The bulk of the Union Army marched through Emmitsburg from July 6th to 7th, marching to Middletown Valley, back to the exact location where the Army of the Potomac was before Meade had taken command.

On July 7th, General Meade rode through Emmitsburg and was hailed by the citizens, who thanked him for winning the battle of Gettysburg. It was at this time that the war shifted to Williamsport and Hagerstown as the Union army followed Lee’s movements. Even though Lee’s army was under careful scrutiny, Meade allowed Lee to re-cross the Potomac back to the safety of Virginia on the night of July 14th.

The Skirmish of Fountaindale

The skirmish site of Fountaindale located at the intersection of Jacks Mountain Rd and the Old Waynesboro Pike.

Six miles north of the Mason and Dixon Line is a little town called Fountaindale. Fountaindale is located between South Mountain, Beards Hill, and is connected to two major mountain gaps along the Old Waynesboro Pike. Many locals tell me Fountaindale received its name from an actual fountain that belonged to Mr. Frederick McIntire. After the founding of Emmitsburg in 1785, the Beard family, one of Emmitsburg’s founding fathers broght his family to what would become Fountaindale.  With a only a few houses and stone fences there really isn’t much to this small town, or is there?

Although being a small town today, Fountaindale has a very fascinating Civil War heritage. During the Pennsylvania Campaign, both Union and Confederate soldiers scouted and picketed the area of Fountaindale to observe the movements of troops that were coming from the direction of Emmitsburg, Fairfield and Waynesboro.

During the Pennsylvania Campaign Cole’s Cavalry separated and each company was to act as an independent organization. On June 27th, Lieutenant William A. Horner asked permission to take a dozen men and go through the Confederate lines to see what was going on. After a some debate Captain Albert Hunter, commanding Company C of Cole’s Cavalry allowed a dozen of his troopers to go on scout. They came out at Boonsboro and traveled to Waynesboro then to Fountaindale.

Pegram’s Artillery reached Maryland late in the evening on June 25th, crossing the Potomac River at Boteler’s Ford. From there they traveled the roads that led into Hagerstown. Private John C. Goolsby who was a member of Crenshaw’s Artillery recorded “We had the pleasure of seeing numerous Confederate flags displayed, which the boys greeted with loud bursts of applause. After camping awhile near the town, we broke camp and soon struck the Little Antietam stream, crossed it, and were soon in the land of milk and applebutter–Pennsylvania. What a sight greeted our eyes! This is a beautiful country, and we reached it at a season of the year when the whole earth was wrapped in nature’s best attire–the velvet green. The roads were fine.”

The next day the artillerist would be in Pennsylvania. Private Goolsby continued: “We pushed on and soon struck the village of Waynesboro, where United States flags were displayed in great numbers, which, of course, we greeted pleasantly. Another day’s journey brought us to the foot of Cash Mountain, where we had several men captured. ”

By the time that parts of Pegram’s Artillery Battalion had encamped at Fayetteville they had lost several horses. Because of the concerned state the horses were in, Lieutenant John Hampden (Ham) Chamberlayne led a small detail soldiers from Purcell, Crenshaw, and Lecture’s Batteries and made their way through Franklin County into Adams County where they came to Fairfield.

From Fairfield, Chamberlayne’s men traveled toward Monterey when they came across a small church at Fountaindale on June 28th. A small Lutheran Church, located on Old Waynesboro Pike near present day Jacks Mountain Road is where the encounter of Fountaindale took place. It was Sunday and church services were underway. Ham Chamberlayne saw about 20 horses tied to a post and decided that these horses were are exactly what his battery needed.

Lieutenant Chamberlayne opened the door of the church and rushed in with his pistol drawn and demanded that each person give up their horse and that they would be paid in full by means of a treaty between the Confederate States Government and the United States Government. No dispute was made and Chamberlayne then walked back outside and untied the horses.

As Chamberlayne’s men started for their camp, a detachment of General Buford’s Cavalry was spotted coming down Waynesboro Pike. This was a small squad of horsemen under the command of Lt. William A. Horner. Seeing rebel horsemen near the church Lt. Horner, order his squad to halt near a brick school house near the Lutheran Church and try to intercept them.

It was at this time that Ham Chamberlayne hand-selected 6 men who had revolvers to turn and make a stand with him, while the others made their escape. Chamberlayne led his men directly toward Horner’s men and charged. A clash erupted between these two forces. Private Goolsby mentions the small detail fell back to it’s main party. After the charge, Chamberlayne and his six men were taken prisoner. The prisoners were Lieutenant John H. (Ham) Chamberlayne, Sergeant R. H. Malloy, Sergeant Alpheus Newman, Sergeant Hugh Davis Smith, and John Alexander Estes. Lieutenant Chamberlayne was later exchanged and rejoined his unit.

After the skirmish, Horner’s Keystone Rangers retired with their prisoners to Emmitsburg. The other 19 men of the detail made it safely back to Fayetteville. Sometime after the Skirmish, local residents were encouraged to take inventory of their livestock and to report any missing animals to the local sheriff. However according to the family history of the Turle family, an incident occurred not far from Fountaindale. Henry Turle who served as a private in Cole’s Cavalry was a resident of Fountaindale. After the skirmish, he and a few companions traveled after the retreating Confederates. At a small church near Fairfield, Henry Turle single handedly captured 10 unarmed Confederate Soldiers. These are soldiers were describe as being the same ones that had gotten away after the first shots were fired.

Oliver Horner who was a Sergeant during the engagement of Fountaindale later recalled: “The Confederate Raiders were captured and the horses were recovered”. Sergeant Horner was later promoted to Lieutenant for his actions during the skirmish of Fountaindale.