Maryland Cracker Barrel Magazine
Proclaiming the Past: The Sisters and Daughters of Charity's Mission -- "to seek out and help those in need"
By Lisa Malandra-Shower
Reminisce with us as we look back on the memories of a few of Washington County's residents. Excerpts featured here are from the current Winter 2017 issue.
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Maryland Cracker Barrel Magazine: Sentinel of Washington County's Heritage
“At the start of the [Civil] War, the Daughters of Charity already had thirty years experience in American healthcare. They had served in both public and Catholic hospitals. The sisters from Emmitsburg had over fifty years of serving needy persons of all faiths and had opened facilities as far north as New York and Massachusetts and beyond the Mississippi as far west as California. Their institutions were well known for their strict standards and quality controls. In 1861 the Daughters were ministering in locations like New Orleans, St. Louis, Natchez, Norfolk and Richmond. The Daughters of Charity in New Orleans and Richmond were the first to become involved in military nursing. The events of the Civil War had a great impact on the Daughters of Charity and their ministries. To meet the emergency needs of sick and wounded, Daughter of Charity superiors withdrew sisters from schools, children’s homes, and hospitals to staff ambulances for both armies. Almost one hundred sisters were assigned to Satterlee Hospital in West Philadelphia and dozens more to military hospitals throughout the country...."
"Readers familiar with Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown, MD, have probably noticed a white life-size dog named “Rollo” resting near the road south of the stone water tower. It is said he’s been keeping guard over the “Hughes family plot” for over one hundred years. As a kid growing up in the south end of Hagerstown, I can remember playing Cowboys & Indians in Rose Hill Cemetery because it was safer than being on the streets. That was over sixty years ago and even back then, Rollo was sleeping there...."
"The orders were clear: '...employ the invaders of the Valley.'
These were the words of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston to Major General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on the eve of the First Battle of Kernstown on March 23, 1862, a battle said to be Jackson’s lone military defeat of the Civil War.
Johnston was in charge of defending Richmond as Union Major General George B. McClellan began his Peninsular Campaign in an effort to capture the Confederate capital in an operation that began in March of 1862.
For his role Jackson was to occupy as many Union troops as possible in the Shenandoah Valley, depriving McClellan of reinforcements that he felt would enable him to crumble the Confederacy long before it eventually fell at Appomattox in 1865.
In addition to forcing the Union to employ troops in the Valley to prevent an invasion into the North, more precisely the nation’s capital, Jackson’s presence was important to the “Breadbasket of the Confederacy” -- the Shenandoah Valley...."
Discoveries from Rollo, a Marble Dog
By Richard E. Clem
First Battle Of Kernstown:
Jackson’s Lone Civil War Military Defeat
By Frank Woodring
McNeill’s Rangers: Active In Local Area
By Steve French
Hoffman Farm Served As A Hospital
During The Battle of Antietam
By Linda Perry
"Have you ever wondered about how local farms and folks of the area were affected by the Battle of Antietam in September of 1862? One of our local farms, The Hoffman Farm, near Keedysville, Maryland played a significant role in the aftermath of the battle.
Recently I had the privilege of conversing with Mrs. Jean Scheller Hollyday, who grew up in Keedysville, concerning her family’s history and the Hoffman Farm. John Hoffman, her great-great-grandfather, migrated from Germany in the 1700s. The first house which appears to date from about 1810 uses native limestone and is built over a sizable spring. As you know from pioneer days, one chose a location where water was plentiful (a spring) and there built the structure to be free from invasions. John Hoffman and his family apparently lived in the spring house while the “new” house was built. “The second house, which dates from the 1830s or ‘40s is a prominent Germanic type with brick construction and a recessed double porch along part of the front elevation.” 1 The farm buildings consisted of a frame wagon shed, a log hog barn, and a frame forebay bank barn. 2
The Hoffman Farm is visible from the Antietam Battlefield. The Hoffman family played a significant role in caring for the wounded and dying after the battle. Their home, large barn, carriage house, and outbuildings served as a hospital. This farm was the property of 56-year-old Susan Hoffman, the widow of John Hoffman, so the farm became known as the “Widow Hoffman hospital” or the “Hoffman farm hospital.” 3 This hospital was the probably the largest Union hospital, and the headquarters for the Sanitary Commission, a private relief agency that tended to sick and wounded soldiers...."
"Over the last two and one-half years of the Civil War, McNeill’s Rangers was one of the most successful of the Rebel partisan bands. Allowed by Richmond to keep or sell captured plunder at auctions, these “land pirates,” proved to be a thorn in the side for troops charged with protecting the B&O rail line along the upper-Potomac and wagon trains trying to resupply remote Union outposts, such as Moorefield and Petersburg, WV. Led by 52-year-old Captain John Hanson “Hanse” McNeill, the company consisted of his friends and relatives from Hardy and Hampshire counties, numerous young Maryland hotspurs, and assorted unattached gray-backs who drifted into the Potomac Highlands looking for a share of the booty. Using American Indian battle tactics, McNeill’s well-planned ambushes usually resulted in bloodless victories. But on July 8, 1863, in an action near Clear Spring, some valiant Pennsylvania troopers showed that the Rangers could be defeated...."