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The Old Line’s Bugle, Fife, and Drum

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,
Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland!
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.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

4 Comments

  1. This glorious tune rang from the chapel bells at the University on the hours. I read that the liberals had it stopped a few years back, because we apparently don’t want to be Confederates anymore.

    The U of Md is heavily populated by northerners, but at least back in the 70s they were different. I remember one of my NJ friends had a CSA flag logo printed on his checks.
    .
    The Naval Academy glee club still sings the State song at the Preakness race every year.

  2. The song brings back memories of this teen-aged Connecticut Yankee marching to its rhythm on the “grinder” in Bainbridge MD. during navy boot camp training.
    This wasn’t so bad, but then we were forced to keep an impossible cadence to a new piece that winter– “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

  3. Bring on Maryland Stuffed Ham and Double Fried Oysters!

    Maryland Day is a legal holiday in the U.S. state of Maryland. It is observed on the anniversary of the March 25, 1634, landing of the first European settlers in the Province of Maryland, the third English colony to be settled in British North America. On this day settlers from “The Ark” and the smaller “The Dove” first stepped foot onto Maryland soil, at St. Clement’s Island in the Potomac River. The settlers were about 150 in number, departed from Gravesend on the Thames River downstream from London. Three Jesuit priests were collected from Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England where they avoided having to give the oath of allegiance and supremacy to the King. The colony’s grant was renewed to Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore,, two years prior by Charles I of England, after first being given to his father Sir George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore,, along with the title of “Lord Baltimore”, and a first grant in Acadia, in Newfoundland,, who had served the King in many official and personal capacities as Secretary of State, 1619-1625 and erected a large cross. The landing coincided with the Feast of the Annunciation, a holy day honoring Mary, and the start of the new year in England’s legal calendar. Maryland Day on 25 March celebrates the 1634 landing at St Clements. Later the colonists and their two ships sailed further back down river to the southeast to settle a capital at St. Mary’s City near the point where the Potomac flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
    en.wikipedia.org · Text under CC-BY-SA license

  4. Thanks for the link to Washington’s Immortals…looks like a good read.
    Catholic priests were ferried from St. Mary’s county across the Potomac to our VA peninsula to meet the spiritual needs of Catholics since colonization until went into the 20th cen.

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