“Just South of Gettysburg”

Carroll County Times article for 19 October 1997

By Jay A. Graybeal

The Civil War Centennial was unique in American History. Unlike earlier celebrations that came and went, popular interest did not peak after the event but has increased steadily. For this writer attending the Antietam Centennial in 1962 started a lifelong interest in the Civil War era.

The Historical Society of Carroll County, like many local history organizations nationwide, sponsored special programs throughout the Centennial. Undoubtedly, the most enduring contribution was the publication of Just South of Gettysburg: Carroll County, Maryland in the Civil War, Personal Accounts and Descriptions of a Maryland Border County, 1861-1865, edited by Dr. Frederick Shriver Klein. Dr. Klein summarized the contents of his book in his preface, “These are the accounts of citizens and soldiers who described the Civil War events in Carroll County, Md., as they saw them during the war years a century ago. They are eye-witness accounts for the most part, by people who were there at the time, and who were the very first to begin recording the history of the war.”

Dr. Klein also wrote of the decision to concentrate on collecting and publishing original sources:

“Because the history of any event starts with the original sources, the committee, appointed by the Historical Society of Carroll County to prepare a Civil War Centennial publication, decided that a documentary history would be of most permanent value as an historical record, and would provide a valuable collection of many first-hand accounts which had never been assembled. Although some previously published accounts have been included in this collection, many new descriptions of Civil War events in Carroll County have been discovered. These documents speak for themselves, and provide an unusual opportunity to understand the effects of the war on Carroll County as it was described by those who were living at the time. It should be stated that many of the documents from Civil War years contained unconventional grammar and spelling, but in most cases, the exact form of the original has been published, in accordance with the usage at that time.”
Dr. Klein was assisted by researchers Rev. W. Harold Redcay and G. Thomas Legore and the members of the Civil War Commemorative Committee. The trio mined an extensive amount of resource materials including diaries, letters and personal accounts, official records, regimental histories, memoirs and autobiographies of participants, and local newspapers. The search yielded a wealth of documentary materials much of which had never been published before.Although nearly thirty-five years have passed since Dr. Klein edited Just South of Gettysburg, the book remains the definitive work on the Civil War in Carroll County. For this reason, the Historical Society has released a 4th printing of the book this month. As with the previous printings, it is dedicated “to the memory of the Civil War soldiers of Carroll County, who fought under both flags.” It is hoped that this new printing will provide another generation of students, buffs and scholars with information about Civil War history that took place just south of Gettysburg.
Photo caption: The first printing of Just South of Gettysburg (1963) featured an illustration of furled Union and Confederate flags behind Civil War objects. The Society reused the original cover for its new printing of the popular book. Historical Society of Carroll County.
Side bar copy: Just South of Gettysburg: Carroll County, Maryland in the Civil War, Personal Accounts and Descriptions of a Maryland Border County, 1861-1865, is again available. Copies can be ordered from the Historical Society of Carroll County, 210 E. Main St., (410) 848-6494.