Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Little Civil War...

One-hundred years ago on March 13, 1912, this is what was published in my local newspaper.

A hearing before the committee on War Claims of the U. S. House of Representatives on the bill, reimbursing Frederick the $200,000 paid General Early during the Civil War, has been arranged for Saturday morning at 10 o’clock, and a delegation of citizens from this city will go to Washington to appear in the interest of the claim. Mr. Robert M. Ranneberger, Jr. of near Doubs, lost a fine horse recently by death caused by lung fever. The animal was valued at $250.

It is true. General Jubal Early ransomed the City of Frederick, Maryland during the Civil War, as he marched his troops toward Antietam. He threatened the town leaders that if they did not pay up, he'd burn the entire city to the ground. Previously, he ransomed  Middletown and Hagerstown west of Frederick. The Frederick fathers paid Early $200,000, and the city, founded in 1745 was saved.

Frederick is my town. I cannot imagine the terrible loss of history that would have occurred if the city leaders had not come up with the ransom. Churches, homes, and other buildings built prior to the Civil War as far back as the Revolution, would have been lost forever. When I go downtown and see these beautiful structures their history cries out to me, and I am thankful they have survived.

If you write, or love to read, historical fiction, the next time you visit a historical place, think of the generations that have been committed to saving it. I am so thankful for the history in this part of Maryland. I feel wedged between Fort Frederick where the French and Indian War was fought, Antietam and Sharpsburg, the settlements of early pioneers, Prospect Hall where George Washington stayed on his way west. Just down the street from me is a little known area where General Braddock and his troops camped over what is called 'Braddock Heights'. 

Then there is the river I love more than any place in the world --- The Potomac. Here is where I found inspiration to write the historical series 'Daughters the Potomac'. I sat on the stone bench at the brink of the overlook near Harpers Ferry and the stories seemed to seep into my soul --- historical dramas that reflect the hardship women faced during the founding of America.

My next series leads me from the cities of Washington DC, Alexandria, and Baltimore, to the green foothills and mountain ranges of western Maryland and West Virginia. If you want to write well, go to the location of your story if you can and draw on its inspiration. Take loads of pictures and a notebook. 

To read more about the ransoming of Frederick and the Battle of the Monocacy that followed here is a link.



Sapphire said...

That is *so* interesting - I'd never thought before about previous generations having to put effort into making sure a city survived. Thanks for sharing! :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, so did Frederick personally keep that money or did it go into war coffers? Fascinating!!

Rita Gerlach said...

The ransom went to General Early, and what he did with the money we don't know. More than likely it went into the Confederate war coffers.

When the ransom was repaid to the City, it went into the City coffers. Frederick is rife with history. I'll have to share more at some time.

Thank you for your comment, ladies!

squiresj said...

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Rita Gerlach said...


My publishers sends books out for review. You might want to check out Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. Each month they have several books to review, and the reviewers get their copies from the publisher.

Also NetGalley is another good one. You request an electronic copy from publishers for review. You have to show them you have a review site. If you'd like a review copy of any of my books to review, go to NetGalley type in the title and request an e-copy.