James Rigby

Captain James H. Rigby

Captain James H. Rigby

Continuing in Loudon Park National Cemetery, we come to the grave of our first Civil War artillerist: Capt. James H. Rigby.

Capt. Rigby commanded Battery A of the 1st MD Light Artillery. At Gettysburg, Rigby’s battery was part of the Fourth Volunteer Brigade in the Artillery Reserve, and his six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles were posted on Powers’ Hill, firing in support of the Union operations on nearby Culp’s Hill on July 2 and 3.

This was not exactly a front-line posting, and the unit’s casualty figures reflect that. The battery brought 106 men to Gettysburg, and did not report any losses in the action.

Over the last few years, Powers’ Hill has been cleared to return the ground to the look it had in 1863, and some new property has been acquired in that area by the park, but I still don’t think most visitors are aware of the monuments up there. The hill is not included on the auto tour route – not even as a drive-by – so for now, the contributions of these men will go largely unknown by the general public.

Capt. Rigby’s grave is located in the southern part of the cemetery, under a large, old tree. It’s easily recognizable from a distance:

Location of James H. Rigby's gravesite.

Location of James H. Rigby’s gravesite. Map by Apple Maps.

James H. Rigby's Monument.

James H. Rigby’s Monument. Photo by the author.

The Front of James H. Rigby's Monument.

The Front of James H. Rigby’s Monument. Photo by the author.

The Rear of James H. Rigby's Monument.

The Rear of James H. Rigby’s Monument. Photo by the author.

Joseph Sudsburg

Colonel Joseph M. Sudsburg

Colonel Joseph M. Sudsburg

I want to make sure that I’m clear on this: we’re leaving Loudon Park Cemetery temporarily and going next door to Loudon Park National Cemetery to find another veteran of the Battle of Gettysburg - and a Union man this time: Col. Joseph M. Sudsburg.

A Bavarian by birth, Col. Sudsburg had emigrated to America after taking part in the failed revolution in Poland in 1846. He ended up settling in Baltimore, and his previous military experience (even though he was on the losing side) led to a Colonel’s commission and the command of the 3rd MD Infantry when the Civil War broke out. His leadership of the unit also helped to attract many other European immigrants to service in the 3rd MD.

At Gettysburg, he was still in command of the 3rd MD, attached to McDougall’s brigade of the 12th Corps. The unit participated in the combat at Culp’s Hill on the morning of July 3, but spent most of that day in a reserve position. Their casualty figures tell the story pretty well: of the 290 men present for duty, they lost only 8 – and only 1 of those was a fatality.

Col. Sudsburg’s monument is located in the Officer’s section, near the eastern fence in Loudon Park National Cemetery:

Location of Joseph M. Sudsburg's gravesite.

Location of Joseph M. Sudsburg’s gravesite. Map by Apple Maps.

Joseph M. Sudsburg's Headstone.

Joseph M. Sudsburg’s Headstone. Photo by the author.

In the next installment, we’ll see the grave of a Union artillerist who was present at Gettysburg.

James Herbert

James R. Herbert

Colonel James R. Herbert

Another of the Confederate burials in Loudon Park Cemetery with a connection to Gettysburg is Col. James R. Herbert, the commander of the 1st MD Battalion (later renumbered to the 2nd MD).

As a Lt. Col. at Gettysburg, Herbert led his unit – part of Brig. Gen. George Hume “Maryland” Steuart’s brigade – in the assault on the Union right at Culp’s Hill. From the night of July 2 to the morning of July 3, Herbert’s men were almost constantly fighting – at one point even going up against other men from Maryland who had sided with the Union.

It was a tough fight. The 1st MD Battalion lost 189 of the 400 men present (47.3%) – the highest losses by number and percentage for a Maryland unit at Gettysburg. Among the wounded was Lt. Col. Herbert himself. Hit three times in the confused crossfire, he fell just after the sun went down on the evening of July 2.

Herbert survived his wounds and the war and went on to become the commander of the Maryland National Guard in the post-war years. He also served as the Baltimore City Police Commissioner until his death in 1884.

His gravesite is located across the street from Confederate Hill, and is marked by a large, distinctive monument with crossed flags on the front:

Location of James R. Herbert's Gravesite.

Location of James R. Herbert’s Gravesite. Map by Apple Maps.

James R. Herbert's Monument.

James R. Herbert’s Monument. Photo by the author.

In the next post, we’ll see the gravesite of the man who took over command of the 1st MD Battalion after Lt. Col. Herbert’s wounding at Gettysburg.

The Baltimore Riot

The Baltimore Riot. Engraving from Wikipedia.

The Baltimore Riot. Engraving from Wikipedia.

Today marks the 153rd anniversary of the Baltimore Riot. The 6th Massachusetts Infantry, trying to make its way through town to Camden Station, on the way to Washington D.C., ended up firing into an angry mob in the streets of Baltimore.

The 14 people left dead that day comprised the first blood shed in the Civil War.

I posted about this event in more detail a few months ago as part of a series of posts about local Civil War history.

Harry Gilmor

Colonel Harry Gilmor

Colonel Harry Gilmor.

The first Civil War burial that I discovered at Loudon Park was Confederate Col. Harry Gilmor. He was present at the Battle of Gettysburg as a Major in command of the 1st MD Cavalry Battalion (CSA) - part of Fitzhugh Lee’s brigade - though they did not participate in the action at the East Cavalry field.

After Gettysburg, he continued his service in the cavalry, serving most notably under Lt. General Jubal Early during his campaign through Maryland which culminated in the Battle of Monocacy in July of 1864. I actually found out about his burial in Loudon Park from the book I read about that campaign recently. He didn’t fight to the end of the war though; he was captured by Union troops in February of 1865 while on a raid in West Virginia.

After the war, he wrote a book about his experiences, and went on to serve as the Baltimore City Police Commissioner for 5 years.

Col. Gilmor is buried in the Confederate Hill section of Loudon Park. A very prominent headstone marks his gravesite:

Location of Confederate Hill

Location of Confederate Hill. Map by Apple Maps.

Harry Gilmor's Monument

Harry Gilmor’s Monument. Photo by the author.

Detail on the front of Harry Gilmor's Monument.

Detail on the front of Harry Gilmor’s Monument. Photo by the author.

Detail of the left side of Harry Gilmor's Monument.

Detail of the left side of Harry Gilmor’s Monument. Photo by the author.

Detail of the rear of Harry Gilmor's Monument.

Detail of the rear of Harry Gilmor’s Monument. Photo by the author.

Detail of the right Harry Gilmor's Monument, marking his wife's burial.

Detail of the right side of Harry Gilmor’s Monument, marking his wife’s burial. Photo by the author.

As you may guess (with a whole section named “Confederate Hill”) there are certainly a few more prominent leaders with Gettysburg connections buried at Loudon Park. In the next installment, we’ll show the grave of one of the infantry commanders from that battle.

The Conspirators

Earlier today, I posted about the burials in Loudon Park Cemetery with connections to the Lincoln Assassination, but these are not the only graves in Baltimore that have a connection to that tragic event in our nation’s history.

There were ten people involved in the conspiracy to kill Lincoln and other government officials in April of 1865. Fully half of these (bolded) are buried in Baltimore cemeteries:

  • John Wilkes Booth (Greenmount)
  • Lewis Powell
  • David E. Herold
  • Michael O’Laughlen (Greenmount)
  • Mary E. Surratt
  • John Surratt (New Cathedral)
  • Edman Spangler
  • Samuel Arnold (Greenmount)
  • George A. Atzerodt (Old Saint Paul’s)
  • Dr. Samuel A. Mudd

Eventually, I’m going to get around to covering each of these on the blog – maybe around the anniversary of the trial – I just wanted to make a note about those local Baltimore connections while the topic is fresh.

Also, if you haven’t seen it – The Conspirator is a recent movie that does a pretty good job of telling the story of the trial. It’s not available to stream at this point, but Netflix has it as a DVD (and so does Amazon).

The Lincoln Assassination

The Assassination of President Lincoln.

The Assassination of President Lincoln.

149 years ago tonight, John Wilkes Booth famously shot Abraham Lincoln during a performance of the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. While the Civil War had more-or-less ended a few days before with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, the bloodshed and bad feelings clearly had not.

John T. Ford

John T. Ford

There are two burials in Loudon Park Cemetery that have a tangible connection to this tragic event in U.S. history. The first is John T. Ford – the owner and manager of the aptly-named Ford’s Theatre. A friend of John Wilkes Booth, Ford admitted to mentioning in one of their conversations that Lincoln would be attending the play, and he was thus jailed as a suspected member of the famous conspiracy. After more than a month in prison, Ford was finally cleared of wrong-doing and went on with his life, albeit embittered by the experience of being falsely accused of a capital crime. He continued to manage many theatres in the region until his death in 1894.

His grave is located almost in the middle of the cemetery, in Section XX:

Location of John T. Ford's gravesite.

Location of John T. Ford’s gravesite. Map by Apple Maps.

John T. Ford's Gravesite

John T. Ford’s Gravesite. Photo by the author.

Samuel J. Seymour

Samuel J. Seymour

Another Loudon Park Cemetery connection to that night is Samuel J. Seymour. As a 5 year-old boy, he attended the April 14, 1865 performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre with a family friend and was seated directly across from the Presidential box. While he didn’t remember seeing the gunshot, he did see Booth leap from the balcony to the stage, and his immediate reaction was that the commotion in the theatre was due to the man who fell. When Mr. Seymour passed away in 1956, he was the last surviving witness of the assassination.

He made an appearance on the television game show I’ve Got a Secret a few weeks before his death where his story was told. A video from that appearance has made its way onto YouTube.

Both Wikipedia AND FindAGrave have his gravesite location as being in Loudon Park National Cemetery, but it is in fact located in the private Loudon Park Cemetery. Specifically, it’s in the newer part of that cemetery, in the Bethel Section (and as far as I can tell, his grave is unmarked):

Location of Samuel J. Seymour's gravesite

Probable Location of Samuel J. Seymour’s gravesite. Map by Apple Maps.

Next time, we’ll get to some of the Confederate burials in Loudon Park that are directly related to the Battle of Gettysburg.

Mary Pickersgill

Mary Pickersgill

Mary Pickersgill. Photo from the Maryland Archives.

So I’m going to start my series on Loudon Park with a non-Civil War burial, but it’s a big one. Mary Pickersgill is probably the most famous person resting in Loudon Park.

Apart from being a successful business owner and charitable figure in 19th century Baltimore – remarkable achievements for anyone let alone a woman back in those days – she is best known for sewing the giant garrison flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on September 12, 1814.

Her headstone is small and understated, but a plaque that briefly explains her importance was placed on her grave by a few historical preservation groups in 1976. In addition, the old cemetery gatehouse has a large, 15-star Star Spangled Banner draped on its eastern wall at all times – a subtle tribute to Mrs. Pickersgill.

Her grave is located near the Frederick Road entrance (which appears to be permanently closed these days) in Section AA in the northern part of the cemetery:

Map to Mary Pickersgill's Gravesite.

Location of Mary Pickersgill’s Gravesite. Map by Apple Maps.

Close-up of Mary Pickersgill's Headstone.

Close-up of Mary Pickersgill’s Headstone. Photo by the author.

The historical plaque placed at the grave.

The historical plaque placed at the grave. Photo by the author.

If you weren’t actually out looking for her grave, you’d never know it was here. With so many other large, ostentatious monuments in Loudon Park, seeing a simple set of markers is actually somewhat refreshing. It certainly speaks to what kind of woman she was.

In the next installment, we’ll see a pair of graves relating to one of the most famously shocking events of the Civil War era.

Loudon Park Cemetery

As part of the research I’m doing for an upcoming trip to Gettysburg, I’ve been looking more deeply into the Maryland connections to the battle.

There were 11 regiments present with a Maryland designation – 6 Union and 5 Confederate – but what I learned is that many of the officers of those units are buried right down the street from where I grew up, at Loudon Park Cemetery. Aside from those Civil War veterans, there are many other notable people buried there – in fact, I created new categories for Loudon Park so that I can share what I’ve found over several posts in the next few weeks.

Some of the sites on the Internet are a little confused about Loudon Park because there are actually two cemeteries there. Loudon Park Cemetery is owned and run by a private company. The northeast corner of the property houses Loudon Park National Cemetery, a separate burial ground run by the VA, and operated by nearby Baltimore National Cemetery. I’m going to try to clear up some of the confusion by actually visiting the gravesides and verifying their locations. It should be an interesting trip through Maryland history.

“Legitimate State Interest”

27 years ago today, in 1987, the case of Nollan v. California Coastal Commission was argued before the Supreme Court of the United States.

A few months later, when the opinion was delivered, it included one of the dumbest (or maybe scariest) lines in the history of American law:

Our cases have not elaborated on the standards for determining what constitutes a “legitimate state interest”…

To paraphrase Tim Sandefur‘s thoughts on the matter: On the 200th anniversary of the Constitution of the United States – even with the aid of the Federalist Papers – the nation’s best lawyers, on the highest court in the land, still have no idea what the government exists to do.

This is the state of things, folks.