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Wayne Post
  • Historically speaking — A peek at Palmyra’s past

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  • Labor Day is upon us and school will begin when this article comes out. Learning is a wonderful thing and can shape the rest of your life. So many things can shape a life and our topic of the 33rd Regiment Company B and the Civil War shaped the nation in September of 1862.
    Heading back to Washington, DC the 33rd was near Cub Run Creek where the 33rd reversed their movement to stop the stragglers and those retreating towards the capitol. Pope was relieved from duty by President Lincoln himself, after losing 16,000 soldiers and McClellan was back in command. The prize was Maryland and the south thought the shore counties and northern counties were with them. They marched into Maryland singing praises and “My Maryland”. The confederates said they had come to liberate Maryland from the Union. Those in Maryland were less than impressed and their excitement was less than jubilant. General Lee positioned his troops so that they were in the heart of the country with Washington DC, Baltimore, Maryland; and western Pennsylvania in their sites. Remember we are before Gettysburg which will not happen for about 10 months.
    As Lee’s Army reached Frederick, Maryland, General McClellan creped out of their camps. Confederates hit the railroads by destroying the Baltimore and Ohio leaving the Union at Harper’s Ferry and Martinsburg communications cut off. General Lee’s two great Generals Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson divided the area Longstreet attacking Hagerstown and Jackson attacking Harper’s Ferry. Lee would retain an edge over the supply lines. About 7 p.m. Lt. Col. Corning and Company B passed Pennsylvania Avenue it appears they were coming around the north and by 2 a.m. Lt. Col. Corning’s men stopped at Tanlytown. It was slow going as the 8th of September they only marked to Rockville and on the 9th to Johnstown. The pursuit was on and Generals Summer and Burnside followed the rebels to Frederick, Maryland. The Union came into town as the Rebels left. It is Sept. 12 and the 33rd was encamped at Monocacy Bridge near Sugar Loaf Mountain.
    The Virginians were spotted in Jefferson’s Pass. The 33rd and 20th New York were to support the 9th NY and drive the Rebels out of the Pass. A hard march and climb was ahead and the Union troops dropped all unnecessary baggage. Off they went, scaling the rock ledges, the trees and brush in a dangerous hike up the eastern side of the mountain. The Virginians retreated and as the Union troops finally made it to the top of the mountain they could see in a distance the mounting danger of Rebel troops, wagons, and guns. The Union soldiers descended the mountain into Jefferson a small Maryland community. The Marylander’s cheered the Yankees and their spirits were lifted.
    A hero’s welcome was not what they expected but was a welcome surprise. Some rebels had been left behind to guard certain areas. The yanks saw them and chased them out of town. One surrendered quickly as the others rode away. Thanks to George Contant for his book “Path of Blood” a story of the 33rd Regiment.
    Page 2 of 2 - Sept. 7 is the 3rd Annual Murder, Mystery and Tragedy Walk around the eastern and southern part of the Village. Events from 1811 to 1980 will come to life as we walk. The event begins at 8 to 10:30 p.m. and is $10 per person beginning at the Palmyra Historical Museum at 132 Market St. Call for information and reservations at 597-6981 refreshments will be served at the Alling Coverlet.
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