Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 15, 1861 (Wednesday):"Guarding the Wires"

The Railroad Bridge over the Monacacy

BALTIMORE, May 15, 1861-1.25 a.m.

I have just received the following telegram:

FREDERICK, May 14-11.10 p.m.
Danger is apprehended at the Monacacy Bridge to-night. An engine and cars were seized at Harper’s Ferry at 2 o’clock to-day. All connections west are cut off since 8 o’clock to-night. We are guarding the wires as far as our forces enable us. Please send an immediate relief. Answer quick as possible by telegraph.

What instructions have I upon this point, which is not within my department? Please answer immediately. Ross Winans is now in Annapolis under arrest.

Brigadier-General, Commanding.
Lieutenant-General Scott

Shriver was a lawyer from Frederick, a past member of the Maryland House of Delegates, and after the war postmaster of Baltimore. He was a charter member and past president of Independent Hose Company Number 1 in Frederick. As to the title used here, Brigadier-General, it is far less certain. In all likely, Shriver was officer of a small local force at best. When Butler asks Scott for instructions he mentions Ross Winans, the Maryland railroad officer we featured in an earlier entry for his involvement in attempting to transport a steam cannon to Harper’s Ferry to sell to the Confederates.

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