Target of a Raid
Confederate authorities frequently stored arms and supplies in civilian warehouses, commercial buildings, and depots. County seats, with their commodious courthouses, jails, and offices, also were used, and Federal authorities routinely raided these places.
"I went into the Court House. The window sashes and frames, doors and shutters, tables and stoves, and witness boxes were all immediately battered to pieces by an excited and frantic crowd [of soldiers]. ... Several employed in dragging the refuse to the fire place where a fire had already been build from the debris. ... [The hotel] was deserted and the boys took everything of value as lamps, etc. ... [A]ll the stores were broken open, and ... not less than five were on fire including the Court House but were put out."
- Lt. Samuel Rodmand Smith, 4th Delaware Infantry, Apr. 11, 1863. Smith received the Medal of Honor for leadership under fire near Petersburg in Feb. 1865.
On April 7, 1863, a detachment of the 4th Delaware Infantry, three companies of the 169th Pennsylvania Drafted Militia, and detachments from the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry and the 6th New York Cavalry occupied Gloucester Court House for two hours. The force, under the 4th Delaware's Col. Arthur H. Grimshaw, had marched from Camp Gilpin at Gloucester Point, 16 miles southeast, to destroy grain, intercept Confederate mail, and forage for supplies. Grimshaw commented "the good conduct of the men," but the courthouse and other buildings were looted and damaged. According to local tradition, the jail may have been used as an armory during the war, but Grimshaw did not report finding weapons here. He and his men marched back to Gloucester Point the same day, taking "16 fine horses, 20 mules, 110 cattle... 80 sheep, 41 lambs, 6 yoke oxen, 3 wagons [and] turkeys, geese, ducks, [and] chickens."
Gloucester survived its brush with war, and the buildings were repaired. In 1889, the Confederate monument was erected in the square. A memorial to county native Pvt. James D. Gardner, 36th U.S. Colored Troops, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm in 1864, was placed here in 2005.