“Union Bridge During the Gettysburg Campaign”
Carroll County Times article for 2 July 2000
By Jay A. Graybeal

The recent state designation of Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties as a Recognized Heritage Area, focusing on Civil War history, has encouraged local communities to explore their heritage during this critical time in county history. A group of Union Bridge residents are exploring their past with the goal of raising awareness and perhaps creating some interpretive materials that tell the story of their town during the conflict.

Union Bridge like most Carroll communities was touched in several ways by the war. Overwhelmingly Union in sentiment, town residents answered President Lincoln’s calls for troops. During the summer of 1862, Capt. Daniel Rinehart, brother of the famous sculptor William Henry, raised Co. F, 7th Regiment, Maryland Volunteer Infantry. The unit first saw action at Funkstown, Washington County, Maryland on July 12, 1863 in the final days of the Gettysburg Campaign. The unit later fought in the Virginia battles including Spottsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Five Forks and was present for the surrender of Lee’s army at Appomatox on April 9, 1865.  Capt. Rinehart was discharged for medical disability and more than twenty members of his company lost their lives during the war.

The Gettysburg Campaign brought great excitement to the community as the armies passed and later clashed nearby. Two Union army corps, the 2nd commanded by Winfield S. Hancock and the 5th by George Sykes, marched through Union Bridge on the eve of the battle. Major E. M. Woodward, a 5th Corps officer, recalled that ” a pontoon train that accompanied us created much wonderment among the rustics, who did not believe we could do much with our ‘gun boats’ up in the mountains”. As it turned out the so-called rustics were right!

During the first day’s fighting, Gen. John F. Reynolds was killed in action while placing the men of his I Corps along the Chambersburg Road. His body was placed in a rough coffin and brought to Union Bridge, then the newly completed terminus of the Western Maryland Railroad. Cabinetmaker John Forney was asked to make a suitable coffin so that the body could be transported by rail to Baltimore for embalming and later to the general’s home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for burial. Forney asked Western Maryland Railroad patternmaker John Hollenberger to make the coffin. The completed coffin, filled with ice, was marked with the widow’s name, Harriet B. Reynolds, and shipped on July 2.

The battle at Gettysburg placed great demands on the Union Army’s quartermaster corps to supply the troops in the field. Gen. Herman Haupt, the talented head of U. S. Military Railroad, was tasked with opening and maintaining the supply lines. Gen. Haupt arrived in Westminster on the evening of July 1st and began organizing supply and communication systems. Initially, some supplies were sent to Union Bridge for shipment by wagon to the troops in the field. Haupt quickly  determined, however, that Westminster was better suited to be the main depot and asked that supplies be sent there. Eventually, Westminster endured the mixed blessings of a month-long occupation by thousands of army mules, wagons, and support troops.

Photo caption: Following his death at the Battle of Gettysburg, the body of Union Gen. John F. Reynolds was brought to the Union Bridge residence of undertaker John Hollenberger (photographed from the rear in 1965). Historical Society of Carroll County collection.