The Effects of the Maryland Campaign on the Home Front

While the people of the South rejoiced over the Confederate victory at Second Manassas in late August of 1862, the people in the North saw their morale sink even further as fear sat in. The Confederate army followed up on their victory with an attempt to cut off General John Pope’s Army of Virginia at Chantilly, Virginia, and prevent his retreat to the fortifications of Washington. By September 2nd, the Confederate cavalry attacked Union cavalry at Leesburg, opening a clear route to the Potomac River. By September 3rd, the main body of the Confederate army was encamped near Leesburg. With permission from the Confederate government, Lee was now ready to march his army across the Potomac River into Maryland.

Up until now, the Army of Northern Virginia fought their battles in Virginia, taking a toll of the civilian population in the South. No major battles or campaigns had been waged north of the Potomac River and because of that, the northern people had no idea of the devastation caused by the armies. By taking the war northward into Maryland it would provide Virginia farmers time to harvest their crops, and at the same time disrupt the daily lives of the northern population. If victory could be obtained, the Confederate government could get European recognition and additional manpower from Marylanders enlisting in the Confederate army. A victory on northern soil could turn the northern population against its leaders in Washington, demanding peace by putting an end to the war.

By September 4th, the Confederate army began fording the Potomac River. It was important for the Confederate army to be seen as liberators, and orders were issued to the Confederate soldiers respecting the people of Maryland. While the Confederate army was marching into Maryland, the alarm was sent out all along the countryside. Even in Pennsylvania, the civilian population began to panic. Many boat keepers along the C&O Canal fled with their animals to Frederick upon seeing the Confederate army fording the Potomac River.

As the fleeing civilians entered Frederick city, they told the people about the men of Lee’s army coming. Rumors spread all the way to Baltimore and Philadelphia about an invasion. In Philadelphia, a state of emergency was issued preparing people for the worst. Rumors have been rapidly here since June of 1862. But when farmers of the countryside ran into Frederick saying that a Confederate force would occupy the city in twenty-four hours, the rumors turned into a state of emergency. The people of Frederick that were Union loyalists began packing their belongings and fleeing the city, traveling north to Emmitsburg and Gettysburg. Several newspaper accounts stated that hundreds of fugitives were seen all along the Mason & Dixon Line. Other accounts stated that some ran in fear to Baltimore. Rumors of a Confederate invasion were old news to the people of Maryland.

By September 6th, Frederick city was occupied by Confederate cavalry, followed by infantry, and some artillery. Colonel Bradley Johnson was made Provost since he was a Frederick city resident before the war broke out. As the Confederate soldiers entered Fredrick, many pro-southern citizens watched in disbelief that this ragtag army of men were the same soldiers who achieved the recent victories in Virginia. Many descriptions were written about how dirty these Confederate soldiers were. While the pro-southern civilians stood in disbelief, the pro-Union civilians who could not escape were upset by the fact that there was no Union army to rid Frederick from the threat of the Confederate invaders.

Speeches were made to the civilians, many of which listened, but turned their backs on the Confederate plea. The soldiers were told to purchase items needed and not steal, but Confederate money was worthless in Maryland. As the Confederate soldiers ran door to door begging for food, many people kept their doors locked, including many of the pro-Southern people who upon seeing the dirty men, could not bear the smell and vermin that came with them.

The recruitment of men to serve in the Confederate army was less than one hundred and at that point. To Lee, it looked as though Frederick and Frederick County had already made its choice in favor of the Union. It wasn’t that Marylanders didn’t believe in the Confederate cause, the problem was that Maryland had already given up thousands of its sons and fathers, brothers and uncles to the Confederate cause. One example was the 500 men who left Maryland to fight in Charleston in December of 1860. Many Marylanders served in other areas of the Confederacy as well.

By September 9th, Lee issued Special Orders No. 191, moving his army into Washington County and sending more than half of his army to begin its part in besieging Harper’s Ferry. This was done to keep communication and supply routes open with no fear of Union soldiers attacking the rear of the Confederate army while it was in Washington County. The Confederate cavalry was busy. Many of them took to the mountain passes on the Catoctin Mountain, overlooking the country side toward Emmitsburg, Mechanicstown and Lewistown. Several Confederate cavalrymen were spotted as far east as Carroll County.

By the 12th of September, the rear of the Confederate army was moving through the streets of Frederick when the advance units of the Army of the Potomac were marching into the city. Clashes in the streets occurred. The next day, McClellan was hailed by the Frederick residents and was seen as the liberator. General George McClellan received a copy of General Robert E. Lee’s orders. But McClellan had to find out how accurate they were. McClellan ordered General Alfred Pleasanton to send out cavalry patrols. Many of those Union cavalry companies were spread across the country side. Upon their arrival in Emmitsburg, many civilians thought that these Union men were Confederate soldiers.

As the Confederate army marched into Washington County, many pro-Union civilians were afraid they would be turned into the Provost by their pro-southern neighbors because of their political views. Fear of being sent to a Confederate prison or being conscripted into the Confederate army as laborers, drove many of the pro-Union men to leave their families and flee to Pennsylvania taking valuables, livestock, and horses with them.

As a small portion of the Confederate army occupied South Mountain at Turner’s Gap and Fox’s Gap, the Wise family would have to leave their farmstead to avoid getting caught in the crossfire of the two opposing sides. They loaded up a wagon and headed west to a local church to take refuge there. As they left, an artillery shell came bursting through the woods, and General Daniel Harvey Hill, seeing one of the Wise children frightened and crying thought about his own child of the same age. He said a few soothing words to the young Wise girl and went back to work.

Allen Sparrow had taken many of his valuables to Pennsylvania. Upon arriving in Wolfesville, he heard the sounds of cannon firing. These sounds were from the Battle of South Mountain. At Wolfesville, receiving accurate news was hard to come by. He had heard that Middletown was torched by the Confederates but seeing the church steeples in the background in Middletown, he knew it wasn’t true.

The Battles on South Mountain were heard far and distant. Near Emmitsburg, Maryland, Right Reverend Monsignor James T. Dunn of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary recorded “The battle of South Mountain, which lasted all day Sunday, the 14th of September, 1862, could be plainly heard at the College. As we were going up to Mass to the old church on the hill and as we were returning from Mass, we could hear the firing distinctly. Yet, recreation went on on the terraces and the ordinary routine of college life was followed, as if nothing unusual was happening. After vespers, which were held in the church on the hill, at 3 p. m., a few of us, under the care of Mr. John Crimmens, went down the Frederick pike, along the mountain side, to a place where a stream crossed the road well on towards Mechanicstown, and stood listening with awe to the sharp, ringing volleys of musketry and then the quick, sullen booming of the cannon, as they came along the reverberating sides of the mountain. The falling shades compelled us to tear ourselves away, as the rules required us all to be at home in time for supper. Again and again we stopped, as one report louder than another followed us, as if begging us to stay.”

The civilians in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania also heard the gunfire during church services. The sounds of artillery fire echoed up the Cumberland Valley and the citizens of Waynesboro knew that they must prepare to assist in any way they could. The women of the town hurried that evening to get supplies and comforts together for the wounded. During the night one woman screamed upon finding out that her son had been killed at South Mountain. This was only the beginning of what was to come.

The morale of the northern people was at its lowest point and the Maryland Campaign would change that, in that the Battle of South Mountain would be the turning point. As September 14th, dawned the citizens of Maryland had not seen the death and destruction that war brings with it. The battles on South Mountain would be the forefront of what the Maryland population had never experienced before with the sounds of gunfire, the loss of life, and the care for the wounded. The battles of South Mountain would be a political turning point of the American Civil War, although today, Antietam has that distinction. It could be argued that South Mountain was one of the most important battles to be fought, after all if it wasn’t for South Mountain, then Antietam wouldn’t have been fought and the Emancipation Proclamation would have been delayed.

The armies would meet on the farm fields surrounding Sharpsburg during the evening of September 16th. The bloodiest single day of the Civil War would start at daybreak on the 17th. Many civilians prepared for this by hiding personal belongings and even fleeing their homes. One farmer hid eight horses in his cellar by tying feed sacks to their hooves to muffle their sounds. Upon a knock on a door by a soldier, one man hid under his wife’s crinolines to avoid detection.

Right Reverend Monsignor James T. Dunn wrote in reference to the Battle of Antietam: “The battle of Antietam followed immediately after South Mountain. During two days, the 16th and 17th of September, the battle raged, and more men were killed than in any previous battle of the war. The New York papers of the time even asserted that it was as great as the battle of Waterloo. As studies and classes and recreation succeeded one another, during those fearful days, little attention was paid, if even the students were conscious of it, to the battle.”

In Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, the town’s people wrote about the earth shaking throughout the day, as the percussion from artillery made it seem as if an earthquake had hit. Windows rattled, floors shook, and objects fell off the walls inside of homes. The carnage revealed the next day would be devastating and would not be experienced again until ten months later when the Confederate army invaded Maryland and Pennsylvania, meeting at Gettysburg.

After the Battle of Antietam, every community in the north and south were affected in someway or another by the amount of bloodshed that occurred at Antietam. Whole regiments were almost wiped away from the earth. Here, in Maryland as well as in portions of Pennsylvania, communities were turned into hospitals, caring for the wounded and dying. Women were turned into nurses, assisting in saving the lives of others. One organization that helped was the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland, as they were called upon by Washington.

Elizabeth Ann Seton, was the founder and first Superior of the Sisters of Charity in the United States. Just after the Battle of Antietam, the Maryland state authorities petitioned the Sisters at Emmitsburg for help. The bodies of the blue and gray were scattered along the ground until many of them were moved into hospitals. For several days the Sisters went from site to site helping with the care of the wounded men. The soldiers were surprised to see the Sisters and bestowed upon them the nickname of the “Black caps.”

After the Battle of Antietam, the Confederate army forded the Potomac at Shepherdstown. There again the armies would meet. The civilians of Shepherdstown would be caught in the crossfire of war. Rumors spread throughout the town, but with so much confusion, people there didn’t know if these rumors were true. All communications leading to the town had been cut, due to the war being waged in the Shenandoah Valley before Manassas. The railroads lay in waste. By September 13th, the citizens of Shepherdstown awoke to see that their town was occupied by stragglers of the Confederate army.

By September 15th, thick fog covered the town and the people there had no idea of what was to come. Casualties from the Battle of South Mountain began to pour in. Everyone in town prepared for the massive hoard of Confederate wounded. By the 17th, the sounds of war were close, and the surge of wounded soldiers completely overwhelmed the town. The citizens were so fatigued with the care they provided to the Confederate soldiers. By September 19th, the war had approached them as the Confederate army began entering the town followed by the reserves of the Union army. Artillery fire aimed at the Confederates and their counter fire placed Shepherdstown right in the middle.

As a result of the Maryland Campaign, the war was brought to the civilian population in the North. The sites of the carnage, and the moans of the wounded and dying were now imprinted into the memories of those who experienced it. The sites of war took months and years to erase. Even in 1864, several Confederate soldiers with General Early’s army still saw damages suffered from the Battle of Antietam that took place almost two years earlier.

Although the war moved back into Virginia, the Union army still laid in wait. By October, General JEB Stuart and his Confederate cavalry launched a raid that now took the war north of the Mason & Dixon Line to Chambersburg. From there he would enter back into Maryland at Emmitsburg, where he was hailed and received additional recruitments. These recruits were the men who were previously afraid to leave their homes to enlist, for fear of pro-Unionists punishing them. Now they had protection.

Because of the Maryland Campaign, many things changed, although the fear was still there. Politically, the people of the north saw the war take on a new agenda. This was not only a war to preserve the Union, but it became a war with a political agenda that included the freeing of slaves. The war would enter Maryland several more times and by 1864, Maryland citizens saw a path of destruction and the ransoming of its towns, including a threat to Washington, itself.

To Beloved during the Victorian Era

St. Valentine’s Day during the Victorian Era was very much as romantic then as it is today, if not more so. During the time of the Civil War, soldiers and their special ladies on this day would share their Valentines. Civil War valentines were very different than the valentines we share with our wives or girlfriends; they were more personal, eloquently written and elaborately drawn. A valentine novelty from the woman to her loved one on the front lines would include a locket of her hair. While missing their loved ones, ladies would create what is called a window valentine which showed couples parting ways or a tent with the flaps wide open to reveal a soldier inside. Another popular valentine of the time was known as the paper valentine doll. This doll was made from paper and featured a printed face and feet dressed with paper or cloth for clothes.

Although I have currently have no first hand accounts of Emmitsburg soldiers participating in Valentine’s Day, that does not mean that they didn’t experience love or greatly miss their loved ones back home. As time allowed, when they were not on duty or skirmishing with their enemy, many soldiers spent Valentine’s Day writing letters home. With no newspaper in Emmitsburg during the time of the Civil War, we do not have any articles about Valentine’s Day in Emmitsburg during the Civil War.

Instead of abandoning all hopes of bringing to life how people who lived during the Victorian era and the time of the Civil War celebrated Valentine’s Day and their thoughts of love, I would like to share with you editorials from the citizens of the nearby town of Waynesboro. Using their words; one can imagine how the people of Emmitsburg lived and what their thoughts may have been when it came down to the issue of love in everyday society. Some of the editorials are very comical, yet very true to this day. The following accounts were researched through the “Valley of the Shadow” website, a research project that compares two areas within the same geography region separated by the Mason & Dixon Line.

This editorial is entitled “On the Choice of a Wife” and was first published February 20, 1863, in the Waynesboro Village Record. “’Go my son,’ said the Eastern sage to Talmore, ‘go forth to the world, be wise in the pursuit of knowledge—be wise in the accumulation of riches—be wise in the choice of friends; yet little will avail thee, if thou choosest not wisely the wife of thy bosom.’”

“A wife! what a sacred name-what a responsible office? She must be the unspotted sanctuary to which wearied man may flee from the crimes or the world, and feel that no sin dare enter there. A wife? She must be the guardian angel of his footsteps, on earth, and guide them to Heaven; so firm in virtue that should he for a moment waver, she can yield him support, and replace him upon his firm foundation: so happy in conscious innocence, that when from the perplexities of the world he turns to his home, he may never find a frown where he sought a smile. Such, my son, thou seekest in a wife–and reflect well ere thou choosest.”

“Open not thy bosom to the trifler; repose not thy head on the breast that nurseth envy and folly and vanity. Hope not for obedience where the passions are untamed; and expect not honor from her who honoreth not the God who made her.”

“Though thy place be next to the throne of princes and the countenance of loyalty, beam upon thee—though thy riches be as the pearls of Omar, and thy name honored from the East to the West, little will avail thee if darkness and disappointment, and strife be in thine own habitation. There must be passed thine hours in solitude and sickness-and there must thou die. Reflect then, my son, ere thou choosest, and look well to her ways whom thou wouldst love; for though thou be wise in other things—little will it avail thee if thou choosest not wisely the wife of thy bosom.”

Another editorial appeared in the Franklin Repository on May 4, 1864 entitled “Wisdom in Making Love” in which the piece offers advice for men about picking a wife: “one year’s possession of the heart and hand of a really noble woman, is worth nine hundred and ninety-nine years’ possession of a sweet creature with two ideas in her head, and nothing new to say about either of them.”

On August 14, 1867, two years after the Civil War the Valley Spirit featured another column titled “Truths For Wives” that discussed the role a wife maintained: domestic happiness and safeguardeding their husbands’ respectability and credit. The article states: “In domestic happiness, the wife’s influence is much greater than her husband’s for the one, the first cause-mutual love and confidence-being granted, the whole comfort of the household depends upon trifles more immediately under her jurisdiction. By her management of small sums, her husband’s respectability and credit are created or destroyed. No fortune can stand the constant leakages of extravagance and mismanagement, and more is spent in trifles than women would easily believe. The one great expense, whatever it may be, is turned over and carefully reflected on, and the income is prepared to meet it; but it is pennies imperceptibly sliding away which do mischief; and this the wife alone can stop, for it does not come within man’s province. There is often an unsuspected trifle to be saved in every household.”

“It is not in economy alone that the wife’s attention is so necessary, but in those niceties which make a well regulated house. An unfurnished cruet-stand, a missing key, a buttonless shirt, a soiled table-cloth, a mustard-pot with its old, cold contents shaking down about it, are really nothings; but each can raise an angry word and cause discomfort. Depend upon it, there is a great deal of domestic happiness about a well dressed mutton chop, or a tidy breakfast table. Men grow sated of beauty, tired of music, are often too weary for conversation, however intellectual; but they can always appreciate a well kept hearth and smiling comfort.”

“A woman may love her husband devotedly—may sacrifice fortune, friends, family, country, for him-she may have the genius of a Sappho, the enchanted beauties of an Armida, but—melancholy fact—if with these she fails to make his home comfortable, his heart will inevitably escape her. And women live so entirely in the affections that without love their existence is void. Better submit, then, to household tasks, however repugnant they may be to your tastes, than doom yourself to a loveless home. Women of a higher order of mind will not run this risk; they know that the feminine, their domestic, are their first duties.”

Two weeks later in the Valley Spirit on August 28, 1867, an article was published entitled “The Wife” and contained a brief homily to men admonishing them to cherish their wives. “Only let a woman be sure that she is precious to her husband—not useful, not valuable, not convenient simply, but lovely and beloved; let her be the recipient of his polite and hearty attention, let her feel that her care and love are noticed, appreciated and returned, let her opinion be asked, her approval sought, and her judgment respected in matters of which she is cognizant; in short, let only be loved, honored and cherished, in fulfillment of the marriage vow, and she will be to her husband, her children, and society, a well-spring of pleasure. She will bear pain, and toil and anxiety, for her husband’s love to her is a tower and a fortress. Shielded and sheltered therein, adversity will have lost its sting. She may suffer, but sympathy will dull the edge of sorrow. A house with love in it—and by love I mean love expressed in words, in looks, and deeds, for I have not one spark of faith in love that never crops out—is to a house without love, as a person to a machine; one is life, the other is mechanism—the unloved woman may have bread just as light, a house just as tidy as the other, but the latter has a spring of beauty about her, a joyousness, and aggressive, penetrating and pervading brightness to which the former is a stranger. The deep happiness in her heart shines out in her face. She gleams over it. It is airy, and graceful, and warm and welcoming with her presence; she is full in devices and plots, and sweet surprise for husband and family. She has never done with the romance and poetry of life. She herself is a lyric poem setting herself to all pure and gracious melodies. Humble household ways and duties have for her a golden significance. The prize makes her calling high, and the end sanctifies the means, ‘Love is Heaven, and Heaven is Love.’”

Peace Democrats Who Opposed the Civil War

For years, I have heard stories about a group of people who lived along the Mason Dixon Line that were opposed to the Civil War. This topic is a forgotten aspect that played a major role in politics in several Maryland and Pennsylvania towns in this region. Maryland is known as a border state and it is common knowledge that the state was split in their loyalties. However, did you know that Pennsylvania was just the same? There were several men who took up arms for the Confederacy from Pennsylvania. Some sources state that almost 2,000 men fought in the Confederate army. As the Civil War progressed, many Pennsylvania Democrats were split, and as a result their party became split as well. Some men supported the war while others did not, those that did not became known as a Copperhead.

In 1862, once it became known that the Civil War would give way to freedom for African Americans, a race war was inevitable. On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln announced a formal emancipation of all slaves within the Confederate States that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. Many white citizens as well as immigrants in Maryland and Pennsylvania feared that their employer would replace them with the freed African Americans, paying them at a lower pay rate. The war was unpopular, and as a result many people rose up against the drafts. Most citizens just wanted peace with the southern states. They felt that a war wasn’t worth the lives that would be expended and they did not want new laws being enforced to pay for the war debt. By the Spring of 1863, many Franklin County, Pennsylvania papers gave birth to the Anti-war men known as the Copperheads.

Most Civil War buffs have heard the term “Copperhead,” but do they really understand who these men were? Looking up the definition of a Copperhead during the time of the American Civil War, the term was dubbed as a vocal group of Democrats in the Northern United States who opposed the Civil War, wanting an immediate peace settlement with the Confederate States of America. Copperheads were sometimes identified by a copper cent with the Goddess of Liberty cut out and displayed as a badge upon their coat lapel.

Most of the newspaper accounts cited in this article are from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, which borders Northern Maryland cities such as Hagerstown, and within 15 miles of Emmitsburg. Even though these sources are directly related to Pennsylvania, the same sentiments were expressed in the bordering Maryland towns.

The term Copperhead was first reported in Waynesboro in the Waynesboro Village Record on March 13, 1863. The Waynesboro Village Record ran an article comparing the 1863 Copperhead to that of the 1814 Copperhead. “Comparing them to the Federalists who convened the infamous Hartford Convention, the article declares that copperheadism of today is the offshoot of copperheadism of 1812-14.” But, it adds, “Just as the Federalists were dealt a stunning blow as a consequence of their actions following the U. S. victory over the British, a similar result will befall the latest generation, which will be visited with the scorn and damnation of not only all American freemen, but by the lovers of freedom throughout the world as well.”

Another story from March 13th was reported about the distribution of a pamphlet that was reported as a “Treasonable Document.” This article read: “It is reported that several local, prominent copperheads are involved in a scheme to distribute pamphlets containing a speech recently delivered by “the Ohio traitor, Vallandigam.” Despite the fact that Vallandigam was threatened with violence in his own state for his pro-southern views, the piece sardonically notes, for some reason, parties in Franklin County applaud the villain and seek to give him notoriety by disseminating his treasonable documents among the people.”

In March of 1863, the Copperheads were victorious during the township elections. The Valley Spirit on March 25th, 1863 reported that “During the Spring elections Franklin county is now largely Democratic beyond the peradventure of a doubt. It is an old saying, that the first thunder of the season awakes the snakes, and it must have been the late storm that stirred out the “copperheads” on Friday last. For out they came, though the day was scarcely warm enough for them, and like the Serpent that Aaron cast down before Pharaoh, they very quietly went to work and devoured all the little poisonous snakes that were hissing out their venom around them. Stand firm, Democrats, be moderate, patient, long-suffering, stick together, and the story of Aaron’s big snake won’t be a circumstance to the way the “blacksnakes” and “blowers” will disappear before next fall.”

In another article entitled “Union or Loyal League” excerpts from the article reveal “They’ll keep the damned copperheads in their places, so this is the object of the organization, is it? They alone are to decide who are “copperheads,” and “copperheads” are to be “kept in their places” that is, in other words, to be prevented from expressing their opinions by voice or through the ballot box. Well, let the issue come; the sooner it is met the better. Such is the movement now being inaugurated in Pennsylvania.”

On March 27th, 1863, the Copperheads made the Waynesboro Village Record. It was reported that on two occasions rebel sympathizers met on the streets after dark and celebrated to honor Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and the Southern Cause, however the Copperheads were growing bolder. Another article in the paper stated that the Copperheads did not speak out against the use of African Americans in the Confederate army where blacks and whites would fight/work side by side even though they were opposed to African American men enlisting in segregated regiments of the Union army.

On April 1st, 1863, the Valley Spirit reported that the Democratic majority outweighed the Republicans in victories across the Commonwealth. However, when it came to the Democratic Copperhead and the radical Republication known as a Blacksnake, it was stated that a “copperhead is fearless, independent, and brave, while black snakes are cowardly, hissing, and thieving.”

Soon politics in the local papers began a political war with words. On April 3rd, 1863, the Waynesboro Village Record reported: “The focus of the piece is on the newspaper’s claim to political impartiality, which, they admit, has been called into question lately by local copperheads. It is a high crime in their estimation for a paper neutral in politics to denounce traitors of the Vallandigham stripe North, and thus advocate the cause of the Union and true democracy. They call this partiality, abuse of the democratic party, etc. It will be impossible for us to contend with present prices successfully, with the lying “copperheads” resorting to every means in their power.”

As the war with words stormed throughout the papers, the Waynesboro Village Record on April 14, 1863 reported that “The editors denounce the mounting criticism of Union Leagues made by copperhead newspapers, which contend that the organization is extremely partisan. Copperhead papers every where (says the Hanover Spectator) are making bitter and malignant attacks upon the Union Leagues and charge among other things that they are secret oath bound associations intended to suppress public sentiment by the sword and bayonet.”

On April 17th, 1863, the Waynesboro Village Record ran an article: “A Copperhead Corns Pinched.” It was a rebuttal to an article that appeared in the Chambersburg Valley Spirit, assailing one of the Record’s correspondents. The controversy was sparked by the views that disloyal northerners should be “strung up to the telegraph poles along the railroad.”

As the Copperheads’ reputation grew, so did the editorials in the papers. During the Union Loyal League Meeting held in May it was reported by the Waynesboro Village Record that “the organizational meeting for local chapter of the Union League went off smoothly with the exception of the expected interruptions of several copperheads who, like “slimy reptiles,” milled about the hall “bellowing” throughout the evening. The man who asserts that nobody is disloyal in the loyal states must be one of two things, a fool or full-fledged traitor. Who tore down under cover of darkness, in Waynesboro, months ago, the American flag? Were they loyal hands?”

Franklin County Copperheads would soon be at unease as their leader was arrested. Ohio Representative Clement Laird Vallandigham was the Copperhead faction of anti-war Democrats and was a vigorous supporter of constitutional states’ rights. He did not believe in supporting a war to end slavery, which he felt would lead to the enfranchisement of the African American people. He was arrested by the Union Provost because he had violated an army order against the public expression of sympathy for the Confederate States. He was ordered to be confined for the duration of the Civil War. However, on the order of President Lincoln, Vallandigham “the Copperhead traitor” was instead sent to the enemy lines.”

On May 22nd, it was reported “The arrest of Vallandigham has sparked considerable unrest among copperheads, even in Waynesboro. Some of his supporters proposed having a rally in town to voice their displeasure with the arrest, but opted not to because it was deemed inexpedient at this time.” A week later the Waynesboro Village Record on May 29, 1863, reported “The Original Copperhead, Utilizing an extract from an address given by Benedict Arnold to validate its claim, the piece casts copperheads as the heirs to his legacy of shame.”

Upon returning to Pennsylvania, Company B of the 126th Pennsylvania had their flag inscribed “Copperheads Beware.” Unknown to the soldiers at the time, the flag was soon adopted by the Fulton Union League.

While, disarray was all surrounding the arrest of Vallandigham, the Waynesboro Village Record on June 05, 1863, reported that another demonstration was made by the Copperheads at the Waynesboro Square voicing their support to Jefferson Davis and Vallandigham “who, it appears, has become their “pet.”

On June 12th, 1863, just days before the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, the Waynesboro Village Record reported that close to 2,000 clergymen in France and England have united to condemn the “Slave Aristocracy.” The religious leaders assert that the Confederacy, based as it is on slavery, “is at war with Christianity.” In fact, proclaims the piece, outside of the South, with the exception of northern copperheads, this sentiment “is the view of the Christian world.”

Another article in the same edition read “it is quite easy to determine the motives underlying copperheads’ support for the Confederacy: naked self-interest. Proponents of the southern cause in New York advocate “peace at any cost” because they “lost the Southern trade” as a consequence of the war. Similarly, supporters of the rebel cause in Illinois are spurred primarily by the drop in the price of corn occasioned by the onset of the conflict.” These malcontents, the article declares, would rather “break up the nation” than sacrifice their own personal economic interests.

With the introduction of new publications in Philadelphia, the Copperheads were given the opportunity to reach a broader audience with their political statement. However, several anti-Copperhead supporters stated that the new publications “Expresses sentiments so treasonable, that a man would have to be a bold, bonified traitor to endorse such opinions.” In New York, an elderly gentleman was heckled and dragged from the stage at a copperhead meeting because he asserted that South Carolina started the war.

Soon the Copperheads would be tested in Waynesboro and the surrounding areas as Confederate soldiers would embark upon their town. Many Copperheads had long anticipated this moment, thinking that their support of the Confederate cause would be warmly received by the soldiers. This turned out to be the exact opposite; in fact many Copperheads were shunned by the Confederate soldiers. Many area newspapers headlined the “Rebels Snub the Copperheads”. Pennsylvania residents were treated poorly by the Confederate soldiers such as one case where a Confederate soldier threatened harm to a woman if she did not cut down a Liberty pole. This was according to reporters “one of the most ‘malignant copperheads’ in town.”

As Confederate Albert Jenkins and his cavalry brigade made their way northward into Pennsylvania, several Copperheads were surprised to see that the Confederate general refused to shake their hands. In one case Jenkins was reported as saying “Lincoln ought to have hung you and the rest of the Copperheads long ago. We would not tolerate such men in the Southern Confederacy. We respect those who are against us in the North much more than the Copperheads.” Many Confederate soldiers voiced their opinions to the Copperheads telling them that if they truly supported the South, they should pick up a musket and join the fight. This stunned the Copperheads to their core.

Soon, in July, violence began in New York by the Copperheads when they resisted the draft. The Copperheads were blamed for hanging men from lamp posts as well as trying to start another riot. Many papers criticized the inconstancy of the Copperheads. “To opponents of black enlistment, Copperheads declare a “white man’s war.” To government calls for white enlistments, Copperheads cry “black man’s war.” To opponents of black enlistment, Copperheads charge racial inequality.”

In Kentucky, it was reported that “contempt for the Copperheads who have little respect for the Union soldiers who fight to preserve the Union. The author sees little difference between the rebels and the Copperheads.” In Tennessee, the Knoxville Register states that “consideration of those Germans here and elsewhere, who have been led, against their better judgment and the tradition of their Faderland, by copperhead demagogues, to sympathize with the rebels, or at least to place themselves in an attitude of opposition to the administration of the United States Government. We think that with this knowledge of what the rebels think of the Germans and how they purpose to treat them, any German who still blindly follows their Copperhead leaders, is utterly destitute of self-respect and of brotherly feeling for the gallant Germans in our army”

In the Franklin Repository published on August 5, 1863 “The Fulton Democrat, edited by the member of the Democratic State Committee for this district, seems exceedingly ambitious to get up a small draft riot in Fulton County. In a late issue an editorial review of the conscription bill thus apologizes for the copperhead thieves and murderers of New York.”

As the Copperheads’ reputation grows they will soon be attacked by their words, actions and political stand regarding several key issues of the day. Many articles in the local Franklin County papers state that African Americans are superior to the Copperheads. Other headlines state that the Copperheads were whispering into the ears of people stating the Government is neglecting the people. Eventually other Democrats began leaving the party.

The Union ticket even tried to influence women. On September 30th, 1863, the Franklin Repository stated “To the young women we would say, that if after trying all their persuasive eloquence on their suitors they prove to be incorrigible Copperheads, give them the mitten at once. Don’t waste a smile on a fellow who refuses either by bullet or ballot to help put down the rebellion. Make these bucks face the Union music square, or go under!”

President Lincoln issued a proclamation that was published in the New York Tribune, “How good a work the President has done for the army and the nation, by his timely interposition between the Copperheads and their cherished object, of defeating the draft and so preventing the reinforcement of the army, when he issued his recent proclamation suspending the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus in certain cases. The schemes of the conspirators of copperheadism have been brought to naught.”

In Waynesboro, Major B. M. Morrow of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Cavalry responded to accusations that he and his soldiers disrupted a Union meeting previously reported in the Franklin Repository. Major Morrow stated “As for the term of Copperhead applied to me. I care not, as my attachment to the army for more than two years will give the lie to that.”

While the papers kept fueling the intense political fire regarding Copperheads, this one article is, at the very least, comical. On October 7, 1863, the Franklin Repository wrote “John M. Cooper, formerly of the Spirit, is a Copperhead working as a clerk in Harrisburg and assessing mortgages for the county.” The Repository jokes that in order for the county to avoid paying its taxes, Cooper should recommend inviting the rebels to come and visit in order to destroy their property, thus eliminating the need to pay taxes.

In late October it was reported that the rebel invasion brought an increased influence to Copperheads who encouraged local citizens to vote against Governor Curtin because the state government was slow in its compensation to the invaded areas. The Copperheads wanted Democrat George Woodward to gain control of Pennsylvania. By the elections of 1863, it was reported that the Copperheads unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the representatives from several states from voting. To make matters worse, all the Pennsylvania Copperheads voted against offering any encouragement for the enlistment of African Americans. During this period many Pennsylvania news editors wanted a “conscription bill that will “gobble up” a due share of the whining, cowardly, copperheads.” Even the papers stated that many Union soldiers who deserted from the ranks of the army were aided by the Copperheads.

As the Spring of 1864 was winding down, the papers continued to wage war against the Copperheads and “their decisive discomfiture in November” by running several columns in the papers for the Lincoln and Johnson ticket. With this new ad campaign, “A sardonic celebration of the new “marriage” between Copperheads and radicals, joined together by their mutual hatred of Lincoln.” The Copperheads would loose that cause when Lincoln was reelected as the President of the United States.

Until the close of the war and even during reconstruction, the Copperheads were still viewed as traitors to the Union, and as a result the Republicans held the public’s support up to the Great Depression. The term Copperhead would soon fade away as a footnote in history as the nation was coming together as one.