|Suffix||1st MD Cavalry|
|Birth||1824||prob Maryland |
|Census||1880||New Market, Frederick Co., Maryland |
|Military Note||Denton was a Private in Company D of the 1st Maryland Cavalry -- the same company his brother-in-law Private Oliver Hammond was in. The First Maryland saw no major action during the 3 day Battle of Gettysburg (from 1 July - 3 July 1863) although in the days that followed they were tasked with protecting the retreating Confederate army.|
Some time after that, Denton’s daughter, Miss Mary Hammond, received a letter from her “Aunt Serena” who was in Hagerstown, MD, in 1863. “I was called for by one of the Company D a Leu(tenant?) in your Pa’s and Uncle O (‘s) Company who I did not know. he gave his name Dorsey from near Newmarket. He was a very nice looking man. ... he told me all of his company had been killed or taken prisoner, about 2 miles from here.” (One assumes that Serena knew Mary had already heard of her father Denton’s capture -- Serena is quite cavalier about the fate of his company in this communication to a 13 year old girl.)
So although Denton and Oliver escaped injury and capture during the Battle, in skirmishes afterwards, on 4 July 1863, Oliver and his brother Denton were captured. Denton was 39 years old. (The Fort Delaware records say Oliver was captured in “Littleburg, PA” but while there is a Littletown, PA, it is more than 2 miles from Hagerstown, contrary to Serena’s letter. There is, however, a town called Leitersburg, MD, about 2 miles north east of Hagerstown, i.e., in the direction of Gettysburg.)
Denton was held at Fort Delaware, Delaware -- a Union prison that is described as a “mosquito-infested prison camp on a marshy piece of ground called Pea Patch Island in the middle of the river separating Delaware from New Jersey.” (Web site of the Fort Delaware Society, www.del.net/org/fort/, January 2004). Denton’s brother-in-law Oliver died of Typhoid Fever there on 4 March 1864.
Although Denton wrote many letters to his daughter, he did not reference the death of her uncle. On 31 March 1864, he wrote, “It is indeed a comfort to hear from any of my friends but - more particularly, from those of my immediate family, for it from them that I have recevied the assurances of a lasting affection which has bouyed me up so much under the trying and surrounding circumstances...My health at present is very good...I wish my present home and its surroundings offered anything of interest to relate...”
And if camp conditions were bad, he didn’t let onto his young daughter: “A few moments ago I finished my breakfast -- and if you could have looked in on me and the Gentlemen of my mess as we surround our scruption spread board with its clean tin plates and in the center a foraging pan well filled with smoking hash of beef and bread while our glittering tin cups gave token of something smoking, in the shape of Coffee...Pa does not live much like an epicruean but he certainly eats-to-live.”
In a letter to his daughter Mary from Fort Delaware and dated 22 Nov 1864, he writes, “...my dearest nothing but a deep sense of honor and the sincere respect and love for my family has kept me from availing myself of any means offered to join you again in the dear family Circle. I have been a prisoner over twelve months and away from my home and loved ones nearly 3 years, and it is impossible for me to tell you the deep anguish I have suffered in this time; and under no ordinary circumstances could the separation been endured by me. I am well at present and looking every day for a letter from My dear Wife. My dear Mothers picture is most excellent, and highly prized. My best love to all the family and friends. With a kiss to my wife & Mother, believe me to be Your Affectionate Father, Denton Hammond.”
In April 1865, the Confederate prisoner os Fort Delaware published the first edition of the Prison Times, 4 page handwritten paper including a few articles, advertisements, poetry and a directory. In the “Barricks Directory” is a listing for Division 23 whose “Chief” is Maj. D. Hammond, 1st Maryland.
Denton obtained some news of events back home, but the changes the War were bringing had him concerned. “I had the pleasure of reading some Frederick papers sent to Capt. Crampton (?) a member of my Division and a Marylander, and found much to interest me, and should be pleased to have one forwarded whenever convenient: in said papers I find the personal effects of J. G. Moberly (?) advertised for sale. Mac Young’s furniture in Frederick and a large portion of Dr. Shipley’s landed estate; what does this all mean?”
Note that in the Civil War muster rolls, there is a private in the first Maryland cavalry...The family story was always that he was a Major, but muster rolls for the 1st MD Cavalry show he was a private. I note that the Fort Delaware Prison Times shows a Major D. Hammond who they assume is Denton Hammond. Greg Stone presumes that the Major was bestowed sometime after the war.
Email correspondence with Warren Harrison, a 1st Maryland Cavalry history buff and professor at Portland State University (19 Jan 2004; firstname.lastname@example.org):
Thanks for your interest in the 1st Maryland, CSA.
Indeed, Oliver and Denton Hammond are both listed on the roll of Company D, of the First Maryland. However, they are both listed as privates. Company D was commanded by Captain Warner G. Welsh, and the comamnd staff included 1st Lt. W.H. Doresy and 2nd Lts Stepehn D. Lawrence and Milton Welsh.
No Jesse Wright Downey is listed as having served in any Maryland (CSA) unit.
As far as the fight in which your ancestors were captured, it was most
likely part of the Monterey Pass action (see http://www.cybcon.com/~warren/FirstMaryland/generate.cgi?PAGE=monterey).
After Emack's command was overwhelmed, the Federals hit Welsh's
Compnay D which was positioned a little farther back down the road - it
was said that "Emack and Welsh lost heavily for the number engaged in this
affair, the greater part of their men being killed, wounded or made prisoners ..."
If you have an opportunity, I would suggest getting a copy of
/The Maryland line in the Confederate Army, 1861-1865 / <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/080468619X/firstmarylandbat> by W.W. Goldsborough, while it only devotes a few pages to Company D, if that, it is a fascinating read.
Good luck on finding out more about your ancestors.
Warren [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]
|Died||1882||New Market, Frederick Co., Maryland (prob)|
|Person ID||I1403||Owings Stone Genealogy, Ancestry & Heritage|
|Last Modified||11 Feb 2009 00:00:00|
|Father||DENTON HAMMOND, b. 1781, Frederick Co., Maryland|
|Mother||ELIZABETH M. HAMMOND, b. 19 Feb 1797, Frederick Co., Maryland|
|Family ID||F488||Group Sheet|
|Family||ELIZABETH REBECCA WILSON HAMMOND, b. 1828, New Market (prob), Frederick Co., Maryland|
|Married||10 Mar 1845||Frederick Co., Maryland|
|Family ID||F486||Group Sheet|
|Histories||Hammond: 1864 Letter|
Letter from Denton Hammond to his daughter Mary, written from Fort Delaware, a Northern prison during the Civil War. (One of several letters we have from this time period.) Dated 31 March 1864.
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