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.

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