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Toms Creek Area Civil War Soldiers

(Company C, Cole’s Cavalry)

Letters of Charles Currens

Submitted By: Gary Fisher & Patty Squires

Thurmont Maryland, February 1st 1911

Wednesday, Cloudy and Cold

I Charles Clifford Currens, 6th child of Elijah and Amelia Jean Currens (now Snider) was born in Taneytown Carroll County, Maryland on October 21st, 1843 being Wednesday, in the house owned by Captain Nicolas Snider and seeded to my mother being the 2nd house built in Taneytown.

The first school was in front room of this house taught by my sister Emma Currens at the age of 13. I went to work for my board and clothes for two years to Mrs. Nancy Ridisal.

In the spring of 1859, I was hired for eight months for $44.00 to one Albert Valatine. She was a clutz on the farm owned by William Haugh, a blacksmith of Taneytown. The farm was situated on the road from Taneytown to Union Bridge and joined the farm of Abram Mill and others. It was upon this farm that we received the news of John Browns Raid on Harper’s Ferry from one John William Angell.

After my eights months was up, I went Hanover, Pa. to live with my sister Emma Forrest. I went to school at Pleasant Hill on Baltimore Street. Taught by Professor Essick, Wife Mary Howard taught French. I attended book store for my board. Left Hanover, fall of 1860, went to public school that winter. 1861 went to Littlestown, Pa. to learn the Saddle Trade, with Wm. Yount to receive $15.00 for first year, $20.00 for second year, $25.00 for three years. On Friday 19th, day of April 1861, the Riot in Baltimore 6th Massachusetts Regiment attacked by foot on it’s way to Washington. This attack fired the hearts of the North for "Old Glory" as Fort Sumter, South Carolina had been taken on April 12th or 14th by Rebel forces. On April 21st, walked from Littlestown to Hanover to see the first Union soldiers leave Hanover for York, Pa. This was in the afternoon of the 21st, Harvested for Judge John Thomson this year.

August 1861, left my trade for the war. Went on Monday from Hanover with others under command of one Captain G. Giller of Hanover. To Harrisburg Pa, near the old depot before the Justice of the Peace we were sworn in as U.S. soldiers and taken to old Camp Custain. From there east of town to new camp this was to be an infantry regiment the first of September, I concluded to leave this camp as we had not received any U.S. Clothes.

Asked William in command of (Bridge Keeper) to pass me out the gate, He did so and had thirty seven cents toll of it to walk across the old covered wagon bridge.

Editors note: Charles not yet received his uniform, left the camp and was walking back home. Charles came in contact with William who was the tollman at a covered bridge.

A man with a broken arm persuaded me to stay and take a nights rest. I did so, landed in York at 1 P.M. Went to Motter’s Hotel and could not get a bed, slept on a table until 4 A.M. Started for Taneytown 34 miles and walked nine miles bought a pack of crackers on the road between Littlestown and Hanover.

I met Thomas Reindholt walking to Hanover. He had a telegraph for me to come home that my brother had died (Thomas Currens). He went on to Hanover. I went to Littlestown until he returned. This was the eve of Saturday morning. Brother was burned the next week. I went back to my trade to one Thadeus Blocker. I remained there with him until August 12th, 1862. I walked to Taneytown, stayed all night. 13th 4 a.m. left old Taneytown door of home to the call of duty for 300,000 men.

Walk to Frederick missed train. Walk to Junction 3 miles. Stayed there with Captain Echs company until 9 p.m. had to take car fare one dollar Harper’s Ferry. Remained standing in bay window of an old store to keep warm. At eight o’clock I received a pass to Cole’s command. This was the 15th day of August 1862 being Thursday. Fair and warm. For duty I went on picket the river Potomac 6 miles stood all night. Left the other two sleep. Bud (Elias) O. Reck and I Isaac Richards both of Company C. On Sunday morning started for Smithfield Virginia. Our pickets had been captured Saturday by the rebels who had destroyed the railroad train and robbed the passengers of all on the Winchester rail road. It was in a meadow close by a farmhouse. Our command to a possession, ate all of the dinner they had. I did not take any. We then went to the next outpost of pickets at a railroad station. We fired on them, they proved to be our own men.

Then commenced the march northward out of Rebel army. Impossible to remember all the marches and countermarches until the second day of September 1862. Our command was ordered to Leesburg Virginia. He went into town then started home about 1 mi. north of town. They were surrounded by the advance of the Rebel army. I was not permitted to go with them, and no close but what I left home in.

General Miles had command at Harpers Ferry. We were soon surrounded by cannonading. Soon commenced from the Loudon Heights on Saturday, September 14. General miles withdrew all his troops from Maryland Heights over to Harpers Ferry having destroyed all his guns and stores.

Sunday 15th, the cannon commenced to boom. Counter fired all day until dark. Orders came to camp that all who could get a horse. Should assemble at headquarters at 9 p.m.. Cole’s Maryland Calvary should take the advance, some 2200 horsemen assembled. I was number five head of column. General Miles stood on the end of the pontoon bridge with head reinforced hiding us above as we passed him they cross over the bridge to the other side. We took the road leading to Sharpsburg reaching there at 1 PM 16th. While we halted their at the edge of town, on the road that leads to the Dunkard Church, the rebs fired a volley at us. This created a tangle for some. Then started a run to make for Cearsfoss Crossroads, in crossing the Pike between Hagerstown and Williamsport. We passed between the main army of 40,000 rebs and stragglers. A few we compelled to go with us.

About this time, we discovered the reb wagon trains and turned it our way. 87 seven wagons loaded with General Longstreet's ammunition, and we reached the state line before the rest. The reb commenced to shell us as we went on to Greencastle, Pa. where they gave us bread and apple butter. To the cellars was full of it. We reached Chambersburg about sunset. Slept on the road in front of church. General Miles surrendered all his forces at Harper's Ferry on this day at ten a. m. He was killed about the same hour. From Chambersburg we were ordered to Frederick, Maryland.

After the battle of Antietam, the Reb General Stuart made a raid into Maryland crossing the river at Williamsport. Northward going to Emmitsburg, Woodsboro, Liberty, New Market, and to Hyattstown. Then to the Potomac and crossed. We expected them into Frederick, Saturday night. I stood picket on the pike, north end of Frederick on Pike.

On Sunday morning, Colonel Vernon formed a squad and started to find the rebs. We went on the Hyattestown Road. When nearing Hyattestown, to our left we saw, the stragglers of Stuart's cavalry coming. We blocked the lane compelled them to surrender. There were seven of them. Among them a Dane from Emmitsburg. Oliver A. Horner knew him. This was on Sunday October 10th, 1862.

Moved camp to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Bolivar Heights was orderly for General James R. Kenley of 3rd Maryland Infantry. Forming past the winter of 1863.The balance of the time was on scouting duty and picketing duty until camp was moved to Kearneysville, Virginia, eight miles east of Martinsburg on the B&O Railroad. Remained there until the rebs caused us to leave for Harper's Ferry about June 28th. Burnt tents and foraged.

Next we were ordered to Knoxville, Maryland. We scouted and picked duty until ordered to Gettysburg, Pa. July 2nd, 1863. The cavalry taking the lead, I was in the advanced guard. We searched Frederick City at dark at the north end of Main Street, where we were halted. The order being countered marched. (We would have reached Gettysburg, by daylight July 4th, 1863.)

Went into camp, did duty at headquarters for some months. Brother William and myself with some others were detailed to go to Westminster and to collect Government Property. We bordered at the hotel, near the courthouse, kept by M. Allen. Had quite a good time with the ladies.

George Gelwicks, Henry Smelcer, (Sponceller?) and myself was detailed to go to Union Bridge as body guard to one Jonathan P. Creager. Called Colonel Cregar who was ordered to recruit colored men for the U.S. Army. Bordered at hotel, the only one at town then. Kept by William Engles, long beard. Shipped a carload to Baltimore, the first that was sent from Carroll County.

Note: No further recordings of this transcript.

Old Virginia reader of the Sun finds it interesting and fine.

(Originally Published in the Baltimore Sun January of 1911)

Some days ago I read in your most interesting paper that Coles Calvary held a reunion in your city. I am an old Confederate just about as old as your paper 73 years old and I have been reading your fine paper ever since I was a child, and I can recall the time before the war when we waited for the old Stagecoach to come with the mail and bring us are best paper. The Sun of Baltimore.

I started to write you about one other member of Cole's Calvary and here I am writing you of the sun. All old people grow re-undiscent.

A few days before the battle of New Market May 13, 1864, a regiment of Yankee Calvary was coming down the Mannaputton Mountain, about 2 miles from New Market. General Imboden was in command here with his Calvary and McClaunlans battery of artillery. The Yankee's were caught in a trap that day. They though General Sigel was here and came on to meet him. In ignorance of the mistake they were making it would surely have run into our camp of Confederates but for the information they received at the foot of the Mountain. Someone from new market sent word the Confederates were here in camp. We had some good Union people here in the war, but the majority of our citizens were loyal and true to the south.

Now I want to tell you of a member of Coles Calvary, Augustus McFarland was his name. I have often wondered if the boy soldier by that name met home. I saw the cavalry charge as they started in a fast gallop down the mountain road with their swords drawn. Oh, my how the horses did run, and the mud flew. They pitched right at the Yankee's, they wheeled about and struck pell-mell everyone for himself in the mountain road. We got more horse than men for the mountain shrubbery hid most of the men. A fine old lady Mrs. Hollie Holtsnon, lived right on top of the mountain in the gaps. She was good and kind to everyone and when young McFarland ran to hide. She took him in and hid him in the garret for some time. My brother, Captain William Rive, paroled him and sent him down the mountain. I hope he reached his home. An old neighbor of my T. Combs, was working in the mountain some time ago and found a lot of Yankee buttons down in a secluded place, also some bones. We think many of the men hid in the mountain and starved to death.

I read the Sun every night, but the print is most to small for old eyes. I wish you much success in your grand paper.

Mrs. E. C. Crim New Market, Virginia, January 20.

This is in reply to the letter to Mrs. E. C. Crim

Charles Currens, Thurmont Maryland, January 31, 1911

Mrs. E. C. Crim New Market, Virginia

I have read your letter to the Baltimore Sun of January 20, I know certainly pleased to find out after 47 years that someone saw the charge made by Coles Maryland Cavalry, remembers the spot. Augustus McFarland was in the same company with me, Company C. I also was taken prisoner the same day May 13, 1864. We were taken to New Market that evening and camped on a hill south of town and right of the pike are going south. We were taken Andersonville Georgia then to Florence South Carolina. Release the Charleston harbor December 6, 1864 he lived until sometime ago. His remains was brought to us over Pennsylvania and is buried. He has a sister living there by the name of Mrs. William Welsh of York County, Pennsylvania. Some 25 years I started to drive to the spot you describe to look after a young man by the name of George Witmore who was killed close by me. I found him in a treetop in a lovely spot close by where I was taken. He called me by name asking for some water. I am certain he died at that spot. We found the buttons and bones as I feel certain they are those of George Witmore.