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Military Justice

Newly acquired letters illuminate the lives of Maryland's 'Old Line' soldiers

Newly acquired letters illuminate the lives of Maryland's 'Old Line' soldiers

Eight months after the founders signed the Declaration of Independence, Maryland sent its most battle-hardened fighting unit to the Eastern Shore to deal with a nest of British sympathizers.

Col. William Smallwood, commander of the 1st Maryland Regiment — the Maryland 400 — knew he’d be facing a recalcitrant bunch. But the depth of the Loyalists’ treacheries appalled him.

There in Worcester County, he met men who had chopped down the Americans’ Liberty Poles and replaced them with the British flag, who helped British prisoners escape, and who openly drank to the Crown and the death of the Patriot movement.

“I am daily discovering persons who are not only now disaffected,...

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