Warren County, VA
Marker Text: The first Maryland Regiment, U.S.A., was a part of the force holding this town when it was attacked by Stonewall Jackson, May 23, 1862. With Jackson was the First Maryland Regiment, C.S.A. The two regiments were arrayed against each other.
Location: On Route 340, North Royal Avenue at intersection with Chester Street, in the town of Front Royal. Erected by the Conservation & Development Commission in 1932
Throughout the American Civil War one characteristic of the war were divided family loyalties between the North and South. Individuals within families often fought on opposing sides. Today's marker describes these tensions of brother against brother during the Battle of Front Royal on May 23, 1863.
Prior to the Civil War, Maryland had strong ties with Virginia and the other southern states. Maryland was quite different than many southern states being heavily populated and more industrialized than her southern sisters, most Marylanders still considered themselves "southerners" being south of the famed Mason-Dixon Line. When Virginia seceded from the Union many Marylanders clamored for their state to secede as well. President Abraham Lincoln, recognizing the strategic importance of keeping Maryland in the Union, suspended the writ of habeas corpus and arrested the most ardent secessionists.
Photo taken looking north on North Royal Avenue with Chester Street on the right.
Recognizing secession was impossible, 800 Marylanders fled across the Potomac into Virginia, offering their services to the Confederate States Army. Three infantry companies formed in Richmond while the remaining six formed in Harpers Ferry. Shortly thereafter, the companies were brought together and the First Maryland Regiment was born. The regiment participated at the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run), in Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862, and in the Seven Days' Battles. At the battle of Front Royal during the Valley Campaign, First Maryland, C.S.A., came up against and defeated their northern counterparts, the First Maryland Regiment, U.S.A., inflicting over 900 casualties to the Federal regiment.
Maryland newspapers told stories about the horrible atrocities the Confederate Marylanders inflicted on their brothers during the Battle of Front Royal. But they were all false. After the battle the Marylanders gained Stonewall Jackson's permission to tend to the wounded Union Marylanders and guard the Maryland prisoners. The regiment even provided a detachment to guard these men on their march South to a holding site. Not until Union Colonel J. R. Kenly of the 1st Maryland was paroled and returned to Baltimore, were the newspapers accounts set right about what happened at Front Royal.
After the Battle of Front Royal, Stonewall Jackson took off after Union General Banks as he retreated toward Winchester in the First Battle of Winchester. On May 25th the First Maryland was among the troops who captured Winchester.
At Harrisonburg, the 1st Maryland was on hand when the famous cavalryman Turner Ashby was killed. In this battle, the First Maryland drove back the 62nd Pennsylvania Bucktails and was awarded the privilege of affixing a bucktail on their regimental colors by General Jackson. It was the only such honor ever awarded by Jackson throughout the course of the war.
Re-formed as the First Maryland Battalion and later the Second Maryland, the survivors of the original regiment fought at Gettysburg, the 40 Days' Battles of 1864, Petersburg, and finally Appomattox, where 63 Marylanders surrendered.
Text Marker: May 23, 1862, General Jackson surprised General Banks’ forces in and around Front Royal, capturing many prisoners and army supplies and forcing Banks to flee in disorder out of the Shenandoah Valley into Maryland. This was the first move in Jackson’s celebrated ‘Valley Campaign’. Erected 1927 by Wm Richardson Camp, U.C.V.