Carroll County Times

Remembering the Confederate raid on New Windsor

As the sesquicentennial of the Civil War rolls on, the town of New Windsor will honor the memory of the Confederate raid on the town during its annual Memorial Day program to be held Sunday.

"July 9 marks the 150th anniversary of the raid on the town by Gen. Bradley Johnson and Maj. [Harry] Gilmor," said Frank Batavick, a member of the New Windsor Heritage Committee and one of the coordinators of Sunday's ceremony.

Fellow local historian Dan Hartzler will portray Gen. Johnson during the program. Johnson was from Frederick, and he and Gilmor left the Battle of Monocacy, just outside Johnson's hometown, while the fight continued to pursue a different course of action.

"They were on a secret mission given to them by Gen. Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy," Batavick said. "The secret mission was to capture Washington and maybe even Lincoln himself. And to do that, they needed fresh horses, and they needed lots of troops."

To get those troops, Johnson, Gilmor and between 500 and 800 Confederate soldiers were going to travel to Point Lookout on the tip of Maryland's Western Shore, where they were planning to free 14,000 Confederate soldiers who had been taken prisoner. The combined troops would have headed back north to Washington to meet Gen. Jubal Early, Batavick said, and tried to take over the Union's capital, which was still in the District of Columbia.

"Coming through [New Windsor] was one very small step in them trying to turn the tide of the war," Batavick said.

Ultimately, their mission was unsuccessful, but the Confederates did spend the night in New Windsor before moving on, Batavick said, and caused a lot of trouble for town residents.

"They took chickens and hams and whiskey and whatever they could get their hands on," Batavick said, as well as set fire to a local train trestle and a warehouse. "It was pretty scary times as you can well imagine."

In character as Johnson, Hartzler will give an overview of the Confederates' purpose in raiding the town during the Memorial Day program.

"He ends the whole thing by saying 'Though I'm not apologizing for what happened back then, I thought you all deserved an explanation,'" Batavick said.

Batavick will portray Maj. Gilmor in the Memorial Day program, giving a short talk about how he visited Calvert College, which later became Blue Ridge College and is now the Brethren Service Center, while in town and talked to the young men about joining his troops.

Gilmor, who was a Baltimore County native, knew the region had many Confederate sympathizers, despite Maryland remaining with the Union. His recruitment speech at the college went well.

"He got enough young men out of Calvert College that it closed down the college - there weren't enough [students] to continue," Batavick said.

Mayor Neal Roop said that in addition to the living history portion of the program, which will feature several others dressed in period clothing, the Memorial Day ceremony will include a Boy Scout color guard and a wreath presentation in memory of fallen soldiers.

"Our main goal is still to recognize and remember those who have fought and died serving our country," Roop said.

But in light of this being the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the town wanted to combine the recognition of the war's impact on the town with Memorial Day, he said.

The program will begin at 6 p.m. at New Windsor Presbyterian Church, at the intersection of Church and High streets in New Windsor.

Carnival coming

The New Windsor fire company carnival will run June 2-7 at the carnival grounds at the intersection of Main Street and Water Street in New Windsor.

The carnival opens at 5:30 each night, with rides starting at 6 p.m. Special discounts on rides will be available June 2-5. The fire company parade will be at 7 p.m. June 4.

Lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and food will be available in the evening on the carnival grounds and in the fire hall. Windsor Station will have crab cakes and one-quarter fried chicken available every night, as well as a special. The specials are: roast turkey, June 2; meatloaf, June 3; roast beef, June 4; roast pork, June 5; a variety of seafood, June 6; and roast beef, June 7. Food available on the carnival grounds will include crab cakes, hamburgers, hot dogs, pit beef, chicken, french fries and more.

The entertainment acts will be DJ Jammin Jason spinning tunes June 2; The Silver Eagle Band playing country June 3; Rich Fehle playing southern and classic rock June 4; The Shades playing music from the '60s, '70s and '80s June 5; Problem Child playing rock June 6; and Half Serious playing rock June 7.

A silent auction will be open throughout the week with a wide range of items. A raffle with a total value of $7,000 in cash prizes will be drawn June 7.

For more information, call Marcy Munshaur at 410-635-2711.