A History of Rebellion
Tiny Chaptico was home to many daring men, beginning with John Coode who led Maryland's 1689 Protestant Rebellion. During the Civil War, Chaptico's blockade runners carried medicin and other supplies at night across the Potomac River past Union gunships to Confederate Virginia. A Chaptico merchant who supplied them, Charles Clement Spalding, was confined at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C.
Other residents joined the Confederate Army. George Hayden, mortally wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg, is bured in the nearby Christ Church Cemetery. James Waring, captured at Gettysburg, was imprisoned at Point Lookout. He was among the few who escaped, hiding beneath cadavers piled on a buckboard and then slipping from under the grisly cargo to flee to Virginia.
William Charles Love, another Chaptico resident, had the distinction of being the only man in St. Mary's County to vote for Abraham Lincoln during the 1860 presidential campaign. Afterward, Love shot his way out of an ambush at Plank Bridge near Leonardtown as he started home.
(text in center): Oath of Allegiance
. I William Blair of St. Mary's County, Maryland, do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith, allegiance, and loyalty to the Government of the United States, that I will support and defend its constitution, laws, and supremecy against all enemies whether domestic or foreign; any ordinance, resoluiton or law of any State Convention or Legislature to the contrary notwithstanding. Further, that I will not in any wise give aid or comfort to, or hold communication with any enemy of the Government, or any person who sustains or supports the so-called Confederate States; but will abstain from all business, dealing, or communication with such persons. And I do this freely, without any mental reservation or evasion whatsoever, with full purpose and resolution to observe the same; I also fully acknowledge the right of the Government to require this oath, the authority of the officer to administer it, and its binding force on me. Subscribed and sworn to before me at Chaptico this 13th day of May 1865. Oath of allegiance signed by William Blair in Chaptico, Maryland. Confederate soldiers who surrendered were required to sign oaths before they could return to their homes. - Bernard Johnson Collection, St. Mary's County Museum Collections.
(text on right): "THE FRENCH LADY"
Chaptico's Richard Thomas gained fame as "the French Lady." Adopting the name Zarvona while fighting with Garibaldi in Italy, he led a daring attempt early in the war to capture the U.S. sloop Pawnee
for the Confederate navy. Disguised as a French maid, with cutlasses and carbines hidden in millener's trunks, he boarded the Baltimore steamer St. Nicholas
. At midnight, he and 16 accomplices seized it, planning to range alongside Pawnee
, then board and capture her, but she failed to appear. Zarvona instead took three cargo ships and delivered them to Fredericksburg, Virginia. Zarvona and his men seize control of the St. Nicholas. - Nimitz Library Collection, U.S. Naval Academy.