Local farmers attempted to maintain their agricultural operations despite disorder caused during the Civil War. Out of necessity, planters paid particular attention to weather and planting information provided by Almanacs and newspapers. The Rockville Sentinel
supplied regular updates on how Mother Nature actually affected routine farming practices and crop production in Montgomery County:
Our farmers during the past week have been quite busy planting corn, their oat seeding having been finished.... The destruction of much of the fencing in this county by the troops lately stationed in it, together with the wet weather, has necessarily interfered very much with many in getting in their oat and corn crops at the usual time.
(20 May 1862)
By 1864, sources of labor were of a much interest as the weather. Because of the war, the available number of both young white men and enslaved laborers was dwindling. The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln in January 1863, freed only the those enslaved in states that had seceded from the Union. It did not apply to border states like Maryland that remained loyal to the Union. Yet some enslaved were not willing to wait for a government proclamation to seek freedom:
The slaves have been leaving our [Montgomery] county in so continuous a
stream as to leave most of our farmers in the vocative (or lacking) for help to save their fodder, corn, and other outstanding crops. From present indications, the agriculturalists of our county well be compelled to abandon their pursuits altogether, or circumscribe them within such narrow limits as to minister to their own domestic wants.
(Baltimore Sun, 30 September 1863)
Farmers, like Edwin Muncaster who maintained 45 bondspeople in this very property in 1860, had "great apprehensions....that serious loss may occur from scarcity of labor necessary to secure the various crops."
On this 800 acre farm, enslaved men, women, and children worked fields of wheat, Indian Corn, Irish potatoes, rye, and hay. In time, hired hands and tenant farmers were employed to ensure peak cultivation of these cash crops." (Baltimore Sun, 28 June 1864)