Thursday, June 5, 2014

Maryland! My Maryland!

When the Confederate “army” of around 40,000 invaded Maryland in September 1862, the Marylanders greeted them by holding their noses and handing them their shoes.

The New York Times, as I recollect, reported that they smelled so bad that one could not put two of them in a 14 X 14 room with the windows open in a strong breeze and stay in the same room because they smelled so bad. 

The residents of Middletown caught wind of them coming toward the town from a mile away and shut their windows to block out their tangible stench. 

One North Carolinian wrote that he wished someone were there to wash his clothes because he had not done so since leaving home.

In Frederick, a young woman while standing along the sidewalk commented to her beau, a Confederate cavalryman, “John, how can just dirty, ragged men fight so well?” he replied, “Well, Molly, we don’t put on our best clothes to kill hogs.”

A contemporary photograph of the Rebels in Frederick shows that the Confederates wore consistently inconsistent uniforms. Much like McDonald’s ice cream cones, no two were the same.

Marylanders called them, “Dirty, stinking Rebels.” The Rebs cherished the image. Like the lice, the image of starving, poorly dressed soldiers dressed as motley farmers stuck to them throughout the war.

The Rebel army invaded Maryland singing Maryland!  My Maryland!, which, ironically, our very liberal state, still retains as its anthem.

After they left, some comic penned the following parody of the anthem, which, in the light of the pervasive political correctness, should probably be adopted by “The Old Line State.”

The Rebel feet are on our shores.
Maryland! My Maryland!
I’ve smelled them half a mile or more.
Maryland! My Maryland!
Your searchless throng are at our doors,
Your drunken generals on our floors.
What now can sweeten Baltimore?
Maryland! My Maryland!

Hark to our noses’ dire appeal,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Oh, unwashed Rebs, to you we kneel.
Maryland! My Maryland!
If you can’t purchase soap, oh, steal
That precious article, I feel
Like scratching from the head to heel.
Maryland! My Maryland!

You’re covered thick with mud and dust,
Maryland! My Maryland!
As tho’ you’ve been upon a bust!
Maryland! My Maryland!
Remember, that it is not just
To have a filthy fellow thrust
Before us till he’s been scrubbed fust!
Maryland! My Maryland!

I cannot see thy blushing cheek.
Maryland! My Maryland!
It’s not been scrubbed for many a week.
Maryland! My Maryland!
To get thee clean, the truth I speak
Would dirty every stream and creek
From Potomac to Chesapeake!
Maryland! My Maryland!