Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Howard Dragoons

Not all HoCo Civil War history is centered around Ellicott City and Elkridge. Citizen soldiers once drilled around Oakland Manor in Columbia Town Center before they headed south to join the Confederacy. They called themselves the Howard Dragoons and were led by the owner of the manor, George Riggs Gaither, Jr.

They actually served the Union side before later casting their lot with the secessionists. Captain Gaither and his Howard Dragoons helped keep the peace in Baltimore in the aftermath of the Baltimore Riot of 1861.

The marker at Oakland also tells the story of HoCo’s slavery history. Three Shipley brothers, William, Moses and Joseph who at the beginning of the conflict were slaves at Oakland, went on to fight for the Union. In 1863 they enlisted in the 9th U.S. Colored Troops and saw action in Virginia. William Shipley was killed in battle at Deep Bottom near Richmond in 1864.

Captain Gaithers own wartime exploits were somewhat inglorious. He was hospitalized in Richmond in 1864 with a bad case of Hemorrhoids thereby ending his service in “K” Company, 1st Virginia Cavalry.
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