Follow the Money: The 1864 Confederate Ransom of Hagerstown, Maryland


Written by Stephen R. Bockmiller.

In 1864, the Civil War entered a new stage. The Union expanded its strategy to include destruction of the southern citizen’s ability and willingness to continue the conflict. In June, General David Hunter took the war to the people of the Valley of Virginia, burning schools, homes, and other private property in and around Lexington, Virginia. Later, Sherman’s “March to the Sea” caused widespread devastation in Georgia and the Carolinas.

In July, the South introduced its own new tactics in retribution for Hunter’s actions. During the last Confederate invasion of Maryland, several towns and cities in Maryland and Pennsylvania were threatened with destruction unless they paid substantial sums of money to the Confederacy. Ransom.

On July 6, the first city to be ransomed was the transportation hub of Hagerstown, Maryland.

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