Initial Summary of David Ridgely Howard

In the mail today, I received a book “Marylanders in the Confederacy” by Daniel D. Hartzler, Willow Bend Books, Westminster, Maryland, 2001. In it, in one sentence confirmed by findings on Page 3.

“The 1st Marland under Kenley was the only Maryland regiment on the Union side. The Confederate Marylanders on the other hand, embodied faith and pride of the state. Not a historic family of Maryland was not represented in the Maryland Line. Five grandsons of John Eager Howard, of Cowpens carried sword or muskets in the 1st Maryland Regiment.”

Cowpens was a battle in the Revolutionary War with General George Washington. So, John Eager Howard is the “grandfather” that was talked about in the PBS series Gettysburg.



John Eager Howard (1752 – 1827) and his wife Margaret Oswald Chew (1760 – 1827) had 10 children. Two of their sons were James Howard (1797 – 1732) and Charles Howard (1802 – 1869) had the “5 grandsons”

Charles Howard and son Francis (Frank) Key Howard (Key from Francis Scott Key) were captured in Baltimore by the Union Army.

Sons Edward Lloyd Howard and McHenry Howard served in the 1st Maryland.

James Howard had three sons that served, John Eager Howard (1797 – 1870), James McHenry Howard (1839 – 1916), and David Ridgely Howard (1844 – 1927).

The best that I can tell, at this point, is the all 5 of John Eager Howards grandsons were at Gettysburg in 1863.

My calculations would make David Ridgely Howard my 5th Cousin, 4 times removed. I now have a Confederate Civil War Hero. Not to mention that my Great-Grandfather, Samuel Worthington, was a Union Civil War Hero.

8 Responses to Initial Summary of David Ridgely Howard

  1. Susan Clark says:

    Russ, I wrote recently about a Civil War order protecting a family home in Frederick, MD. That order was signed by a 1st Lt. Howard on behalf of Gen. Bradley Johnson. I cannot make out Lt. Howard’s first name, but he may be the George Howard referred to in this history of the 1st Maryland. I wonder if he fits in with your Howard family.

    Worthington also shows up in my husband’s family. His 2nd great-uncle John Palmer married a Louisa Worthington from western Maryland, daughter of Thomas and Jane Jamieson Worthington, in 1870.

  2. Susan,

    Thank you for your comments. Could the Lt Howard be McHenry Howard?

    I am not sure about the “George Howard”. There was a George Howard in the Union Army at Gettysburg. I spoke to the Guide that I mentioned at Gettysburg about George Howard and he was from Maine. One of the roads in the battle field is named after him.

    The 1st Maryland, that these Howard’s were in did not go to Monocacy. I was just there last week and asked that specific question.

    I have some notes “Recollections of a Confederte Soldier” by McHenry Howard, and he was an officer under Major Bradley T Johnson. I couldn’t see the image of that letter to help you with that. I will try again a little later.

    Louisa Worthington sounds familiar, but couldn’t find the connection. However, in Western Maryland, Charles Town (WVA / VA), Westmoreland, PA was another Worthington Line. I wonder it Thomas, Lousia, and Jane Jamieson Worthington were in the line that started in West Jersey and headed west to Ohio.

    Thank you for the two links. I have subscribed to your Blog.


  3. Susan Clark says:

    It could be McHenry. The order was written in pencil and is so faded that I found it impossible to decode the name. It is presently being examined by some archivists who may be able to make out the writing.

    I know little about these Worthingtons beyond the fact that this specific family ended up in Virginia near Kilmarnock where James Palmer was from.

  4. I’m a little curious about the quote from Hartzler’s book. Is he saying that there was only a single Union Maryland regiment? That certainly flies in the face of the two-volume *History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers, War of 1861-5* that details no less than 21 infantry, 6 cavalry, and 6 light artillery regiments in Volume 1 alone. See

    • Michael,

      I saw that but haven’t had a chance to look into that statement further. I know where were other Union Maryland units from the Eastern Shore.

      I am in the process of reading the entire book, I only looked by “my guys”.

      Thank you for the reminder.


  5. Sharon Ellis says:

    Hi Russ,

    I hope that you and all the gentle readers here are preparing for a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

    Antiques Roadshow is rerunning the 2009 Atlantic City episode during which a 3x great-grandaughter of Lt. Randolph Ridgely brought the sword awarded posthumously by the citizens of Baltimore for his bravery during the Mexican-American War.

    You may read the full transcript at this link and may want to check the tv guide online for the schedule of the program throughout this week in your area. Warm regards, Sharon

    “And this was given as a token of esteem for something that a young officer did a long way from home, and he lost his life. If we look at the scabbard, it says, “The Citizens of Baltimore to Lieutenant Randolph Ridgely, 3rd Artillery, USA, Palo Alto”– that’s the name of the battle– “Resaca de la Palma”– that’s the name of a battle. And then, it gives the dates that these happened. And then here in this panel, “‘The terrible fire kept up by Lieutenant Ridgely.'” And I believe that was probably in a dispatch or something that was written by his commanding officer, explaining his participation in these two battles. These were very awkward battles for the young U.S. Army, and they found themselves in and out of different levels of trouble. At the Battle of Palo Alto, he goes out of his way, he’s in terrible fire, he does things that other soldiers aren’t willing to do. He takes command after his commanding officer is killed. At the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, he finds his flying artillery out in front of the entire army, being assaulted by the Mexicans. He continues to fire. They take charge of the situation in time for the regular army and the dragoons to come up. As you said, unfortunately, he dies not long after that. He had an accident with his horse and fell off, but if that had not happened, he probably would have been one of these major figures in the American Civil War because he was well regarded while he was alive and he is what we would typically call a hero. Now, there are some interesting facets to this sword. This is a very high-grade sword.”

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