The Civil War Memories of William E. Zimmerman

William Edward Zimmerman of Baltimore Co.

Confederate Civil War Veteran, Served in Captain James Breathed's Battery of Stuart's Horse Artillery, and transfered 29 April 1864 to Co. F. of the 2nd Maryland Batt'n Calvary. After the war he was a trucker (farmer) and operated stalls in Baltimore's Lexington Market (including stall #197 in 1875 & #201 in 1879). Was an Orphans Court Judge of Baltimore County. He was born 1 March 1842, at Dickeyville, Baltimore County; son of Jousha Zimmerman and Mary Elizabeth Spurrier. Married 19 November 1868 to Martha Jane Steele, daughter of John and Harriet Steele. Died 20 September 1937, at Woodlawn, Baltimore Co., MD


"True Story of a Civil War Veteran of the Confederate Army" (copied from the old worn handwritten manuscript of the Veteran Wm. E. Zimmerman)

In June of 1861, I decided to go South and join the Confederate Army. With four other comrades who also had decideded to join this same army. We left for the South in the middle of the night. We were walking and intended to go to Leesburg, Virginia where we would cross the Potomac River. We got to Eldersburg about the break of day, and from here we tool off, and finally arrived at Frederick Maryland. The Yankee Army had gotten there ahead of us on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning the two armies met at Antietam, and not being familiar with this section of the country, we decided to return home. We separated as we were afraid we would be arrested if we stayed together. After we separated my four comrades returned home on Saturday night. And I left for home on Monday morning. After I reached home, I remained there until the following June of 1863. Then with four other boys and myself we left home again and reached Eldersburg the following morning. We hid in the woods, and then after a while I went out to get something to eat for the five of us. I met a farmer and he gave me a basket filled with grub, and while we were talking a boy came along that this farmer knew. The boy had two horses, and the farmer asked him where he was going so early in the morning, and the boy replied that the Rebels were crossing the Washington Road headed for Westminster. Upon reaching Westminster it was dark, and in the early morning we found a lot of Confederate Soldiers. We stopped a while, and when we saw the Yankees who were coming from Baltimore, we again took off and followed the Confederates who were on their way to Hanover, Pennsylavania. My brother George, who was a minister, preached in Charles County, and in 1861 he crossed the Potomac River to Virginia to join the Confederate Army. I did not know which section of the Army he was with, but, on my way to Hanover I talked with a soldier and I told him that I had a brother in the Confederate Army, but did not know which branch of the service he was in. Upon telling him my brother's name, he said that my brother belonged to the same section of the army that he did. He informed me that he belonged to Breatheds Battery, Stuart's Horse Artillery. Two guns of this Battery were in the front and two were in the rear. My brother George was at one of the front guns, and the soldier told me that the Battery would soon get together, and that if I stayed with him I would soon find brother George. We reached Hanover, and there had been cannonading for about half an hour, and then we went to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. We reached Carlisle late in the night, and here the Battery got together and sure enough I met brother George. In the morning we moved on toward Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and when we got within three miles of Gettysburg we halted. We stayed here for two days, and early on the morning of July 4, 1863 the main army started its march back to Virginia. It rained very hard the night of July 3rd and continued raining into the 4th of July. We had a considerable number of captured wagons, and because of the heavy rain they became mired in the mud. We could not procede with them and to prevent Yankees from getting them back again, we destroyed them with fire. On arriving Williamsport, Virginia (sic. or Maryland?) which is on the Potomac River, our army had to camp there because of the heavy rains, which had caused the river to rise making it impossible to cross at that time. We had enough horses so that the men were able to cross the river on horseback, and there the four boys that I had started out with became separated. I had a talk with Captain Breathed and he took me to the Battery where my brother George was. After this there was nothing but one conflict after the other and many other engagements that I cannot now recall. As you no doubt are aware, there was hardly a day passed that we did not have a scrap of some kind.

We went into winter quarters for about two months near Charlottesville, Virginia. After Marshall Kane came South from Baltimore, there was an attempt made to organize a Maryland organization. There were transfers issued to Marylanders in the different commands to the new Maryland group which was then organized at Harrisonburg, Virginia. A large part of Breathed's Battery were Marylanders, and as it was nearing the time for hostilities to begin, General Stuart asked us to remain in the Battery until the spring campaign would let up. Otherwise it would have injured the effectiveness of the Battery, as the Battery would have to be operated by men from other parts of the command not use to handling artillery. The men readily consented to remain. The spring campaign opened with a three days fight at Spotsylvania Courthouse, or near the Courthouse, and on the evening of the third day, the infantry came up and that relieved us. The Yanks started toward Richmond and we after them. We struck them at Beaver Dam and put them on the run. The next was North Anna River, and following that at Yellow Tavern, nine miles from Richmond. There our beloved General Steuart was killed in action, after which we drifted down to Cold Harbor, and then went on the south side of the James River. There we intercepted a raiding party at Beams Station below Petersburg. After this there was a lull in the cavarly fighting, as it had been a strenuous campaign for both armies. While there we received our transfers. At that time General Early was in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and another soldier and myself, who had our own mounts, started out to reach General Early's command and we intercepted them at Martinsburg, West Virginia. There I connected myself with the Second Maryland Battalion under Genral Harry Gilmore. Soon after this I was wounded in an engagement at Smithfield and left on the battlefield unconscious, and after regaining consciousness I was in the hands of the enemy a prisoner, and was sent with others to Camp Chase, Ohio, where I remained for about seven months as they had stopped exchanging prisoners again and I stated on exchange and came to Baltimore by train and there took the boat that was waiting for use with other prisoners aboard, five hundred from Johnstown, five hundred from Elmira, and our five hundred from Camp Chase, Ohio. Then we were on our way for City Point on the James River, and as we got near to Point Lookout, at the mouth of the Potomac River, fighting commenced around Richmond, and we were held up off the Point until Richmond fell, after which we were landed at Point Lookout, and remained there for two months, when finally the war was declared ended, and a few days later I was released from prison and homeward bound. At the time of my joining the Confederate Army, I resided at Dickeyville, Baltimore County, Maryland.

At the United Daughters of the Confederacy Maryland Annual Meeting of Baltimore Chapter 8, May 25, 1932, it is noted in their newletter that crosses were bestowed upon two Confederate veterans William E. Zimmerman, eighty six years old and James L. Merrill, eighty years old.

This is a photograph of the last two surviving Confederate Civil War Veterans in Baltimore Co., William E. Zimmerman and E. Scott Dance of Towson. William E. Zimmerman was born 1 March 1846 in Dickeyville (Weatherdsville) and died at his home in Woodlawn 20 Sept 1937. His home became the parsonage of Woodlawn Methodist Church. Mr Dance was the last surviving Confederate veteran, was born ca. 1842 and died after 1937. Mr. Zimmerman was a Judge of the Orphans Court and Mr Dance served as the bailiff of the Orphans Court for Baltimore County.


This page © Jan 1999 by Lee Garlock