After the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, some units of the Army of the Potomac were sent south to deal with the remaining Confederate Army in the field - General Joe Johnston's. My great grandfather's pension application states that the march to Danville was a forced march of 110 miles carrying 40 rounds of ammunition and eight days rations and I assume full field gear. They made it in 4 days and 4 hours. Now that's an afternoon stroll. Jim Fisher - gg grandson of Sandford Fisher, Pvt. Co. D.
William A. McKellip, a native of Taneytown, was directly responsible for the formation of Company A, Sixth Regiment Infantry, Maryland Volunteers and assisted with the organization of companies C and F of the same regiment. He was commissioned a lieutenant and advanced rapidly to captain, major and finally to Lieutenant Colonel of the Sixth. In 1862, the regiment was in need of better arms. Col. McKellip and Governor Hicks went to Washington and obtained an interview with the President. The result was the following note written on the back of the President's personal card:
"Secretary of War:
Please give bearer, Major McKellip,
of the 6th Maryland Regiment, the
best arms possible, and oblige.
Col. McKellip served with his regiment through the Virginia campaign and was wounded as a result of an exploding magazine at Maryland Heights. This disablement rendered him unfit for service and he was retired.
Twenty years later when Col. McKellip and his daughter were in Washington, he requested admittance to the office of the Secretary of War. He was advised that the secretary was engaged and could not receive visitors. The Colonel then presented the worn but valued card which he had carried so many years. It was taken to the secretary who immediately came to the door and received the Colonel and his daughter personally. Col. McKellip stated that he had no particular business to transact, but wanted to know if a card from President Lincoln would be received by his son, who twenty years after had become the Secretary of War.
The December 12, 1863 edition of the Cecil Whig listed the casualties of Companies B, E, and G of the 6th
Maryland Volunteers at Locust Grove, Va. during an advance of the Army of the Potomac.
"Company B - Killed - John B. Pratt. - Wounded - Sergeant Mansel B. Moore, hand, severely; Color Corporal John D. Hall, arm, severely; Corporal Wm. Biggs, leg, severely; Private Francis Moore, arm and side, severely; Alexander Burley, face, slight; Wm. Davis, arm severely, Wm. Alexander, hand, slight.
Company E - Killed - Sergeant Ebenezer N. Watts and Private Alexander McCrey; Corporal Thos. Murray, slightly wounded in the head.
Company G - Wounded - Privates John Cantwell, George Spence, Albert Gregg, Moses Temple, John Himberly.
This letter to the editor of Cecil Whig dated December 11, 1863 was written from the Methodist Church Hospital in Alexandria Virginia.
"FRIEND EWING: - Presuming you would like to hear of the trials and tribulations of the Boys of My Maryland, who are trying to find the road to Richmond with the army of the Potomac, I drop you a few lines. There are a number of the 6th Md. at present in the hospital, suffering from their wounds received in that skirmish, as the press called it, on the 27th ult. Now if that was a skirmish, I hope never to see a battle, by-the-by I believe a fight which does not last for four or five days is not termed anything but a skirmish; but such as it was, it has caused many a happy fireside a mournful Christmas, and left many a gallant youth a cripple for life.
But I am digressing. On Thanksgiving Day, while our friends were enjoying the dainties of life, we were nibbling hard tack, and marching to pay our respects to the Johneys. At night we crossed at what is called Jacob's Mills, five miles above Germania Ford. On Friday, the second division of our corps took the advance; we did not expect we would meet much opposition, but soon skirmishing commenced, and we knew that some of our misguided brothers were in the vicinity. The firing grew faster, and we took up our line of march to take a hand at the game in which death was the dealer; we did not have long to wait, for a few minutes walk soon brought us to within 300 yards of the Butternuts.
Nothing but a small clearing intervened between the enemy and ourselves. The woods were so thick that artillery could not be brought in to advantage, but a section of the 6th R.I. battery soon began to talk and the Johneys not to be outdone in exchanging iron compliments, brought on a section also, and the way the canister flew among the trees was a caution to the gray squirrels; here and there a comrade would drop, some would crawl to the rear, while others had fought their last fight, and their proud spirits took their upward flight to appear before the Great Chieftain of us all.- Peace to their remains; memory will drop a tear on their rude graves in the wilderness.
Night soon drew her sable robe over the scene, and friend and foe rested. Now came strategy, which as a writer says, is a fine thing when one does not understand it. The Johneys tried to flank us, but not succeeding in that, they fell back; when morning broke, the bird had flown, and we left the field to join the main body of our army. The rebel dead and wounded were left, as we had not enough transportation for our own. At 4 P. M., on Saturday, the army came up to Lee, who had fell back to Mine Run, a small stream some five miles from Orange Court House, there they worked like beavers, throwing up intrenchments. A flank movement was in contemplation, when an order came to fall back; and on Tuesday, after having escaped nearly freezing to death, we recrossed the Rapidan at Culpepper Mine Ford, reaching Brandy Station on Thursday; and then after escaping starvation and being jolted to death in the ambulances, we took the cars for Alexandria, and here our trouble for a time ended. - The deed was done. Lee was scared; and the army has gone into Winter quarters; and now the old telegram will be: "all quiet along the line."
But, I fear, I am trespassing on your valuable columns, and as the Surgeon is coming, I will, for the present, close.
All honors to old Cecil; her sturdy sons have been tested, and their wounds show it today. The 6th Regt. Md. Vols. has won its place in the pages of history; long may it stand an emblem of its country's rights. The noble Flag, the presentation of the loyal ladies of Elkton, floated over us while we met the traitors and put them to flight.
CRIPPLE FROM CECIL COUNTY"