Something for the weekend. Maryland, my Maryland. Written by James Ryder Randall in white heat in 1861 after he learned that his friend Francis X. Ward had been killed by soldiers of the 6th Massachusetts in the Baltimore riot of 1861. A heart felt plea for his native state to join the Confederacy, set to the tune of O’Tannenbaum it became one of the more popular songs in the Confederacy. Tuberculosis prevented Randall from serving in the Confederate Army, so he joined the Confederate Navy. After the War he was commonly referred to as the poet laureate of the lost cause. A Catholic, his later in life poems were usually religious in nature.
Although the Civil War brought forth Maryland my Maryland, there are many references to Maryland’s proud Revolutionary history:
Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,-
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Howard is a reference to Colonel John Eager Howard who commanded the Second Maryland during Nathaniel Green’s Southern campaign. Greene held him in very high esteem saying that Howard deserved a statue of gold. This comment reflected not only upon Howard but upon the valor and ability of the Maryland troops he commanded. The Continental troops from Maryland, often fighting together with Continental troops from their sister colony of Delaware, earned a reputation as elite shock troops during the Revolution. In their ranks were well represented the old Catholic families of Maryland. Being freed from the civic disabilities, hitherto imposed upon them, by the Revolution, Catholics in Maryland were almost to a man and woman ardent patriots. I like to think the Catholic soldiers in the Maryland Line helped to impart to their regiments the spirit of a crusade. A fitting recent tribute to the Maryland Continental troops is the new book Washington’s Immortals. Go here to read about it.