Thursday, February 9, 2017

Major Harry Gilmor

On February 11, 1864, Major Harry Gilmor of the Confederate Army conducted his first of two war-time strikes against the B&O Railroad. Major General J.E.B. Stuart ordered Gilmor's command to split the B&O line, with the objective of preventing Union forces from moving eastward to reinforce the Army of the Potomac. Gilmor chose 28 men under his command to carry out the mission. He chose a halfway point between Duffield's Depot and Kearneysville, two stops along the B&O line in West Virginia, to carry out his mission.
Gilmor during the Civil War
The small confederate force was unable to dismantle the securely fastened track, so they laid down fence rails and logs to derail the next train. The B&O Engineer who sighted the timbers on the track tried to come to a stop in time, but was unsuccessful. Fortunately the engine slowed down enough to the point where it gently hopped off the rails, remaining largely undamaged. Despite explicit orders not to rob anyone on the train, Gilmor's men removed the passengers of their pocket watches and wallets. Gilmor was unable to break into the large iron safe located in the baggage car. With the threat of capture behind enemy lines, Gilmor's force fled before the arrival of federal troops.
Harry Gilmor, circa 1875
In the post-war, Gilmor had a brief stint as a commander of cavalry in the Maryland National Guard. In 1874 Gilmor became a Baltimore City Police Commissioner. In July 1877 Gilmor would find himself leading mounted police at Camden Station in Baltimore during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. Thirteen years after leading an attack on a B&O train, he defended B&O Railroad property around the city.

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