The alarm goes out in Clear Spring, 150 years ago today

Posted on September 10, 2012 by


A glance at some of the Civil War “witness buildings” in Clear Spring

Following-up on my post from Saturday, I look back again at the village of Clear Spring. I have nothing to show how my ancestors felt… there and in nearby Four Locks. Instead, I rely on what is available… not so much as a reflection of what they also felt, but to add another dimension to the place that they called home, at the time all of these events were unfolding.

Otto Nesbitt

I’ve mentioned him before, but once again, Clear Spring’s more famous slaveholding Unionist, Otto Nesbitt left us something to consider in his diary* entry for the day.

Between noon and 1 p.m., folks from the town “put for the mountain,” leaving “scarcely anything…but women and children.” The day being cloudy and drizzling, Nesbitt predicted a difficult night for those who fled the comfort of their homes.

Just the day before, Nesbitt documented the fear in Clear Spring’s other residents…

The free Negroes nearly looked ashey, nothing like a laugh could be seen in any of their countenance. It was understood they were to be taken South and sold in place of hte ones taken of run off by the Union army.

Otto’s brother, Jonathan, was equally concerned and watched the horses for two or three nights, worried that the free blacks would take the horses with them as they fled.

* Otto Nesbitt’s diary is with the Clear Spring District Historical Association.