Sunday, August 10, 2008

...Along the Powtomack....

"I guess I never heard of the C&O Canal along the Potomac (or "Potowmack") River or realized its strategic significance during the Civil War until I began to transcribe the portion of James Gilmour's letters that take place during the time he was stationed along the River/Canal from August of 1861 until March of 1862.

On August 11th 1861 James Gilmour wrote to his brother Robert Gilmour in Manhattan:

"Rockville Md Aug 11 th

Dear Brother I received your welcome letter

in due time which gave me welcome great pleasure

to hear that you were all in good health

we have moved our camp again we left camp

Powell on friday 9 th on our march for the

Point of Rocks we have marched on friday even

& halted after getting socking wet & lay on the

ground all night ~ we marched at 5. saterday morning

& halted for Dinner after marching over a

white flint rock from 5 to 1 o'clock we started

again at 3 & halted for the night at 7 in a wood

near the village of Rockville from which I now

write we have slept on our arms all night

under the shade of a tree with nothing but

our overcoats it rained a little but this

sunday morning is very fine ..."

Camp Powell was one of the many Union camps that ringed the Capital City. Point of Rocks is just beyond the Monocacy River and not as far along the Canal as Harpers Ferry. Rockville is very near Mechanicsville and only about one quarter of the distance between Washington and Harpers Ferry. "


This is an aerial view of the Civil War encampments,
around Washington during the Civil War.
The location of Camp Powell is not distinguishable.


The previous quoted text was an excerpt from a long time project that I have been working on and have as yet not published. A preview if you will, just to let everyone know I haven't been resting on my laurels....


Map of the Potomac Aqueduct.

Lets face it, I'm a Map~aholic. I LOVE Maps! I have been trying to find a map of the Potomac/C&O Canal that shows all the places my ancestor James Gilmour was either stationed at, mentions having visited, or was known to have been involved in a battle/skirmish near. Some maps show some locations, but leave out others. This has to do with the strategic significance to what ever is being discussed I suppose. Never the less its frustrating!


I can't make up my mind... Draw my own detailed map, or construct one on Google Maps. I think I'll do both, but it will take time with all the things I've managed to get myself involved in lately. I thought once I retired from Youth Ministry I would have more time. I should have known I wouldn't be able to say NO and would be just as busy with other things eventually.

So, I bought some very fine point pens... Some quality mapping paper... It may be a while but eventually I will post a map here following James Gilmour and the NYSM 2nd Regiment along the "Powtomack Canal" during the years 1861-62.


I've found some interesting stuff along the way, but nothing all encompassing or comprehensive enough to put all of their movements and engagements into perspective. These two images came from the Library of Congress and I found them with the help of my local librarian friend: Julie Stump.



Guess it's up to me. I've got the pens, I've got the paper, now all I need is to get the time...

The Google thing will have to come later. That one I can start in Killaloo and follow to every location of each family member from Londonderry to where ever... A genealogical tour map so to speak.


No comments:

Post a Comment