History

Middletown, Maryland  – the small town with BIG Civil War history!

union-troops-in-middletown-md-september-13-1862

Middletown, Maryland is a picturesque town located along the Scenic and Historic National Road, in central Frederick County and is about an hour drive from both Baltimore and Washington, DC.  During the Civil War, Middletown was an important stop as both Union and Confederate troops marched along the National Road.

The Town was swept along with the rest of Maryland in the upheaval of the Civil War; not only was Middletown held for ransom days before the Battle of Monocacy, wounded soldiers from both sides of the conflict were cared for in homes and make-shift hospitals in the aftermath of the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam.

Summer, 1864.  Over three years of Civil War have taken their toll on Middletown Valley, Maryland.  Like much of Maryland, the small farming community of Middletown is divided in its loyalty.  The town has witnessed first-hand the blood of battles, the sorrows of lost family and neighbors.   Soldiers have taken food, livestock, supplies and fences.  Confederate General Jubal Early is marching nearly 15,000 troops up the Shenandoah Valley, intent on capturing Washington DC and toppling the U.S. government.  Middletown’s citizens hear the cannons, and refugees from Hagerstown tell tales of Confederate demands.

July 7-8, 1864.   On July 7, Major Gilmor’s advance unit occupies Middletown and demands a loaf of bread and a piece of meat from each household.   General Ransom’s artillery and cavalry follow on July 8 and demanded 8,000 rations be supplied within two hours for the main part of the army, encamped in the area by evening.  There is widespread looting, and the cavalry scours the valley for horses and provisions.

General Early demands a ransom of $5,000 to spare the town from burning.  Burgess William Irving and town citizens lead a door-to-door collection and negotiates an initial  payment of $1,500 — the town was spared and the troops moved on toward Frederick.  There, Early’s troops were defeated in the Battle of Monocacy, “the battle that saved Washington.”