The Stars and Stripes in Rural Maryland:
Northern Troops Enter Caroline County, 1861
By JOK Walsh, President, Caroline County Historical Society
Within two weeks of Lincoln's Proclamation of Insurrection and the riots in Baltimore in April 1861, Maryland was overrun with thousands of Northern troops. After gaining control of key points such as Annapolis, Baltimore and Frederick, Union troops moved into the more remote areas of the Eastern Shore.
J. M. Satterthwaite, a resident of Denton, left a description of the first Northern troops to visit Caroline County, probably in June 1861. Satterthwaite's mother Rebecca Satterthwaite Tyler, who was a grandniece of Betsy Ross, had sewed a 34-star flag in the spring of 1861. According to Satterthwaite;
After she got it made, I went down into the swamps and cut a long pole, which was set up in the front yard.... When the union soldiers were occupying the country they marched by our house. The commander saw the Stars and Stripes flying as a greeting, and ordered his soldiers to halt. The commander made a speech, saying ours was the first union flag they had seen since they entered southern territory. The band played pieces as a salute to us before they went on.
The soldiers marched to the grounds of this Quaker Meeting House to camp. Satterthwaite recalled visiting the camp and beating a military drum.
Satterthwaite further recalled that prior to the arrival of Union soldiers, "It was almost treason to dare to say anything against Jeff Davis." By October 1861 it has been estimated that there were approximately 150,000 Northern soldiers in Maryland