Middletown, MD 21769


History: In 1864, the main body of the Confederate "Army of the Valley" came into Middletown from the west by way of the National Road. Upon arrival on July 7, Major Harry Gilmor of the 2nd Maryland Cavalry Battalion demanded that each family of town provide a loaf of bread and piece of meat to his soldiers. The following day, Major Gen. Robert Ransom lived up to his name by placing the order for 8,000 rations to be provided in two hours. This second demand was met and depleted the town of most of its meat, sugar and coffee.

The third and final "forced request" on the citizens of Middletown involved a demand of $5,000 as ransom. Burgess William J. Ervin pleaded that the sum was too high for his small town to pay, which influenced Early to slightly modify the terms. He required a payment of $1,500 by the town by 7am on July 9, and the remaining $3,500 by 6pm. As the second deadline approached, Union cavalry action to the brigade's rear (to the west) caused the Confederates to leave Middletown, never collecting the remaining $3500.

More to Explore: Explore local history and outdoor activities in Middletown and the surrounding area, located on the Historic National Road byway. Visit the Central Maryland Heritage League/Lamar Cultural Heritage Center to discover local history through engaging exhibits. See the restored Dahlgren Chapel or take a self-guided driving tour of Middletown and the South Mountain Battlefield, part of the Antietam Campaign. South Mountain State Park also offers camping, hiking, fishing and lake swimming. Washington Monument State Park, home of the first monument erected to President George Washington, is a great place for birding and provides access to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Photo Credits:

  1. “Main Street looking west, oldest known photograph of Middletown from 1872." Courtesy of Rhoderick Family.
  2. "Major Harry Gilmor." Courtesy of Library of Congress.
  3. "Major Gen. Robert Ransom." Courtesy of Library of Congress.
  4. "Lt. Gen. Jubal Early." Courtesy of Library of Congress.
  5. "Ransom document signed by Lt. Col. Alexander "Sandie" Pendleton." Courtesy of Middletown Valley Historical Society.