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7j. MD vs MD

It is probably inevitable that in any Civil War, brothers are pitted against brothers. I am (not yet) aware that this precise scenario played out at Gettysburg, but it would not surprise me in the least.

My family roots are in Maryland so I am drawn to the clash of Marylanders on 2 July 1863. As a border state, Maryland had split loyalties. The Eastern Shore (the portion of the State east of the Chesapeake Bay) had much in common with the South. There were large tobacco plantations that employed slaves. In general although far from universally, the rest of the State sided with the Unionist.

It appears as if the Marylanders that saw action at Gettysburg on both sides were assigned in the same Divisions for the most part. On the Union side, the 1st MD (Potomac Home) and the 1st MD (Eastern Shore) Regiments were in BG Lockwood’s Brigade of Williams’ Division in Slocum’s XII Corps. There was also COL Sudsburg’s 3rd MD Rgt in COL McDougall’s Brigade of that same division. There was also a small (64 man) element of cavalry known as Purnell’s Legion Company and a larger (280-man) unit of cavalry in Gregg’s Division of Pleasonton’s Cavalry Corps.

Within the ANV, the Maryland infantry were all in Johnson’s Division of Ewell’s Corps: the 400-man 1st MD Battalion assigned to Steuart’s Brigade. BG George Steuart was nicknamed Maryland based on his residence. There were also standard Artillery and Horse Cavalry units. The former were the Chesapeake Arty and the 1st MD Battery under the overall command of MAJ Latimer. The latter were known as Griffin’s Battery under MAJ Beckham’s Horse Arty in Stuart’s Cavalry. In the Reserve Artillery was CPT Rigby’s Light Arty Battery.

[NOTE BG Steuart and MG Stuart are not the same person.]

The clash of Marylanders came on the morning of Day 3 when MG Johnson renewed his efforts to wrestle Culp’s Hill from Union hands. The two Union 1st Maryland Regiments were defending an area known as Pardee’s Field near Spangler’s Spring when they were attacked by Steuart’s 1st MD CSA Regiment under the command of LTC Herbert. The Union troops refused the assault and the ANV Marylanders had to withdraw with heavy casualties.

Details of this clash are not well documented except that it looked like a slaughter house after the brief but bloody clash. My go-to books on Gettysburg (out of the thousands in print) are by Stephens Sears and Edwin Coddington. Coddington gives it nary a mention although his focus is on command philosophy and less so on battle events. Sears gives it a few paragraphs (pg 370-71 but not much detail. Jack Kunkel provides a bit more detail and include this sidebar statement:

It is unknown to me at this time if indeed any actual brothers clashed at Pardee’s Field. Surely since two units recruited on the Eastern Shore, there must have been family members of some ilk. It will be interesting to pursue this deeper in the future.

Not surprisingly, there do not seem to have been any full units from Pennsylvania in the ANV, although there were reported to have been individual soldiers even from the Gettysburg area itself.

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