Leonardtown (HM641)

Location: Leonardtown, MD 20650 St Mary's County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 17.373', W 76° 38.16'

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Spies, Intriguers and Blockade Runners

When the white citizens of St.Mary's County voted here in the1860 presidential election, JohnBreckenridge, the secessionist candidate who carried Maryland, got920 votes. Abraham Lincoln received 9 percent of the popular Maryland vote; the only man known to have voted for him here was waylaid on his way home. On April 23, 1861, in a public meeting here,citizens declared allegiance to theSouth and resolved to raise $10,000 for weapons and ammunition.

The old port town teemed with spies, intriguers, and blockade runners. During the summer of 1861,U.S. naval forces landed here and searched house-to-house. Union troops occupied the courthouse and camped nearby in the Sheep Pen Woods. Locals arrested for suspected disloyalty were imprisoned at Point Lookout. Authorities closed the Beacon and jailed its editor to stem its secessionist commentary. After the war, which devastated the local economy, many residents moved west.

"When the mail arrived in ourvillage on Monday night, bringing the intelligence that Fort Sumter had fallen, the wildest enthusiasm broke forth among our people, and huzzahs and congratulations and rejoicings were the order of the hour ...It indicates in the most unmistakable manner that the sympathies of our people are exclusively with the South." —St. Mary's Beacon, April 18, 1861

Local U.S. Congressman Benjamin Gwinn Harris, who gave impassioned speeches favoring recognition of the Confederacy, is the only representative ever convicted of treason. Days after President Abraham Lincoln's assassination, Harris was arrested for giving money to two Confederate soldiers on their way home, tried, and imprisoned. President Andrew Jackson later ordered his release.
HM NumberHM641
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 3:41pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 356925 N 4239207
Decimal Degrees38.28955000, -76.63600000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 17.373', W 76° 38.16'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 17' 22.38" N, 76° 38' 9.60" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 301, 240
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 41625 Court House Dr, Leonardtown MD 20650, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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