“The Home Brigade”

Posted on January 9, 2010 by


Just a quick plug-in to yesterday’s post

All this talk about Unionists in western Maryland… well, what were their motivations for enlisting (those that did) and what was their intent (in regard to the manner in which they would deal with the secession crisis) after donning blue? For the most part, it may be a bit more different than we might think…

From the Hagerstown Herald of Freedom and Torch Light, August 28, 1861:

THE HOME BRIGADE. – The work of organizing the Regiments, ordered to be raised by the Secretary of War as a Home Brigade to Western Maryland, is rapidly progressing. In Allegany county one regiment has been nearly completed, nine of the ten companies having been raised, with the assurance that the tenth one will be speedily forthcoming. In Frederick county, the 1st Regiment of the Brigade will be full in a few days. – Large numbers of Washington County men have joined this Regiment. Last week a company of eighty-five from Sharpsburg, under the command of Capt. Cook, reached Frederick, and were mustered into service. An Infantry company of eighty [Capt. Samuel G. Prather‘s company] and a cavalry company of fifty from Clearspring [this is Capt. William Fiery’s company, which would later become Co. B of Cole’s Cavalry] and the upper portion of this county, also proceeded to Frederick during the week, and were received as part of the Brigade. In this town a company for the same purpose is rapidly filling up, its head quarters being at the Town Hall, where applicants will be received and all necessary information given. The field officers of the 1st Regiment have been appointed by the President, and are WILLIAM P. MAULSBY, Colonel, CHARLES G. TRAIL, Lieutenant Colonel, and LEWIS P. FIERY, Major.

The object of the Home Brigade is the “protection of the Canal and of the property and persons of loyal citizens from Monacacy to the Western boundary of Maryland.” The men are enlisted for this purpose only, and cannot be required to serve beyond these limits. The pay is $13 per month and $3.50 per month for clothing and also rations. Each man will receive $100 in cash on his discharge from service and Bounty Land.

*As indicated, the brigade was not to serve beyond the stated “limits,” but many of the regiments, most especially Cole’s Cavalry, ended up serving well outside the designated area.