150 years ago the nation was divided by a terrible conflict that killed and maimed more Americans than all other wars that the country has been involved in since. The peaceful green farms and the mills in the Herring Run Valley, which was then part of Baltimore County, was a rural countryside. It must have seemed far away from the cruel war fought over intractable sectional differences about slavery. Although Maryland was a slave state, strong differences of opinion divided Marylanders even among neighbors and family members.
Then as now Baltimore County was a mix of people. Even then, as seen in census records, the Lauraville area had some diversity with many recently naturalized German families perhaps fleeing political wars. Some names sounding of the British Isles and at least two free African Americans are listed in the September 1863 Civil War Draft Records kept by Provost Marshall Robert Cathcart. John List from Germany was a 41 year-old shoemaker listed on Ancestry.com and his family remained here up to the 1940 census when their trade was a pickle factory on Grindon Avenue. Not far from the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery where the List family is buried is a street named for them which crossed the List farm.
For John List as for Joshua Johnson, a 43 year-old African American Lauraville farmer, being drafted might mean service in a nearby state militia guarding trains or the Capitol or might mean service in a distant area of combat.
The draft in the North was passed by Congress in the Enrollment Act of 1863 on March 3, 1863 (one year after the Confederacy had done so) and met fierce resistance including acts of violence, attempts to run away and self-mutilation. The fact that a wealthy family could purchase for $300 a substitute draftee further aggravated controversy and is said to have harmed the morale of volunteer forces.
What past Lauravillians felt is not known but it is interesting to note that, unlike areas of Baltimore City or elsewhere in Baltimore County, all listed for Lauraville seemed to be very near the age of 40 or older. One can guess that this is because the younger men had already volunteered for the Union cause as many German farmers had done. Or it is possible that a fair share of younger men had gone South to join one of the Maryland Confederate units as occurred in other parts of the state. Perhaps the resistance to the draft caused some to run away and skewed the age of the Lauraville draftees. Less likely is that the population was somehow older or had a tendency to have female children.
Still, it must have been an anxious time to be called for a military duty with the possibility of family at home trying to live and run a farm in your absence. Maryland had been invaded by a large Confederate Army in September of 1862 during the Antietam Campaign. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued soon after that battle. Gettysburg was invaded via Maryland in July 1863 and then the Draft was instituted in response to dwindling volunteers. What awaited ahead for those who were here before us was not yet known.
|Lauraville Civil War Draftees, July 1863
2nd Congressional District
|Name||Age||Year of Birth||Where Born||Occupation|
|Upton Hammond (AA)||44||1819||Maryland||Farmhand|
|John Snyder Jr.||37||1826||Germany||Farmer|
|John T Thompson||43||1820||Maryland||Tailor|
|Joshua Johnson (AA)||43||1820||Pennsylvania||Farmer|
|Notes: 1John List is buried in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery|
If anyone has information about or can assist in researching any of these names please contact LIA Historians.