Carroll County Times

New historical exhibit in Westminster focuses on Carroll's part in Civil War in 1864

A bullet passed through Pvt. David Royer's diary, striking the Union soldier.

He died at a field hospital the next day, May 6, 1864. But his diary, with a bullet hole through the pages, has become a part of history at the Historical Society of Carroll County's new "The Civil War in Carroll County: 1864" exhibit that opened May 17.


It's the second in a three-part series that aims to localize the Civil War and it will remain until the end of the year. Each exhibit looks back 150 years. Last year's focused on 1863, and the following exhibit will focus on 1865, according to Sam Piazza, the historical society's Board of Trustees vice chairman.

"We're commemorating the part that Carroll County played in the Civil War," said Piazza, who is also the collections committee chairman. "It's important that people understand that we were part of the war and that the history of it is important to understand."


The one-room exhibit in Cockey's Tavern in Westminster contains Civil War memorabilia from a parade torch to a hand-painted flag, a Union sword to a Confederate pistol and more.

There's a draft notice and enrollment books, which hold the name, age and occupation of enlistees, according to Cathy Baty, the historical society's curator of collections.

"People don't realize in the Civil War, that was the first time people were actually drafted into the service," Baty said, "and it was very controversial."

Campaign badges for both President Abraham Lincoln and Democratic presidential candidate George B. McClellan show residents the 1864 race was contested, particularly in Carroll. Lincoln received only 56 votes in all of the county, according to Baty.

There's a piece in the exhibit from just an hour outside of Carroll in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. In July 1864, Confederate troops burned Chambersburg, but a sideboard from the incident has remained in a Westminster resident's family, according to the historical society's list of collected items.

In addition, the exhibit holds a travel trunk and personal equipment - such as a hymn book, a discharge certificate and more - of Frederick Richter, a German immigrant living in Carroll County. He enlisted in the Union army in August 1863, serving throughout the war, according to the historical society's list of collected items.

Some Carroll residents fought for the Union, while others sneaked into Virginia to fight for the Confederacy, according to Baty.

"Carroll County is split," she said. "It had soldiers on both sides, and that's an interesting part of that story - a divided county within a divided state."


That's part of what makes the history of the Civil War in the county rich, Piazza said, and what he hopes attendees take away from the exhibit.

"I want them to understand that we were an active part of the Civil War," he said. "There were residents both on the Confederate and the Union side."