Three Days in July
The Confederates' daring march on Washington brought death and destruction to Montgomery County soil.
The areas adjoining the District line were not the only to suffer. Farms and communities throughout the county also would feel the devastation of war, with homes and businesses looted, barns emptied, livestock decimated, fields trampled and buildings reduced to ashes as much by occupying Federal forces as by raiding Confederates.
Years would pass after war’s end before relations between Northern and Southern sympathizers were fully restored. And despite the eventual political reunion, many in the county never forgot those native sons who “went South” and gave their all. On June 3, 1913, a monument to those fallen Confederates was unveiled on the Rockville courthouse lawn. Atop a granite pedestal, a life-size bronze statue of a Southern cavalry soldier stood with his eyes forever fixed on Dixie. That statue, moved years ago and now hidden in a grove of trees beside the old red brick courthouse, is said to be the northernmost monument in the United States honoring the Confederate soldier. The pedestal bears these words of remembrance: “To our heroes of Montgomery Co. Maryland. That we through life may not forget to love the thin gray line.”
Civil War sites nearby
Battery Bailey, the last surviving Civil War earthwork in Montgomery County, features interpretive markers and is in Westmoreland Hills Local Park, 5315 Elliott Dr., Bethesda.
Fort Stevens, partially restored and maintained by the National Park Service, is near 13th Street Northwest between Rittenhouse and Quackenbos streets. The Union battlefield cemetery is nearby, at 6625 Georgia Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C.
The grave and monument of 17 Confederates killed at the Battle of Fort Stevens are in the southwest corner of the Grace Episcopal Church cemetery, 1607 Grace Church Road, Silver Spring.
The 1850 summer house of Mary Blair, which housed Confederate forces during the Battle of Fort Stevens, still stands on the grounds of Jessup Blair Park at Georgia and Eastern avenues in Silver Spring. The park is owned and operated by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
All that remains of “Silver Spring,” the original estate of Francis Preston Blair—used by Confederate Gen. Jubal Early as his headquarters—is an ornate, acorn-shaped gazebo that was built in the 1840s and today is located at the intersection of East West Highway and Newell Street in Silver Spring. The site is thought to be the location of the mica-flecked spring that inspired the name of the estate and the community.
The 1913 Confederate Soldier statue stands in a small grove of trees to the east of the Red Brick Courthouse constructed in 1891 and today located at 29 Courthouse Square in Rockville.
Mark Walston is an author and historian raised in Bethesda and now living in Olney.