Recently I was given access to a diary of a C & D Canal official based in Chesapeake City. Throughout 1864 this manager carefully made day-to-day entries into his diary, though he didn’t sign his name in the little book. These are fascinating reads, which provide insight into that troubling time. Here’s what he wrote early in July 1864:
July 10, 1864 —–
Went to Church, returned, Received a telegram from Mr. Gray asking if a tug could be procured here for the purpose of using a canon onboard, great excitement growing out of the invasion of Maryland by the rebels. Returned an answer that 5 or 6 tugs were here, ot of which one could be selected, but would visit him at NewCastle if he desired me to do. If so, at what hour this evening. Got a tug from Capt. Crooper & in company with [?] left here at 10 1/2 night, arriving at New Castle at 3 1/2 o’clock.
July 12, 1864 —
Morning — Wind easterly and quite pleasant. Somewhat cloudy; Night – 11 o’clock — Word received that the rebels were coming; 2nd report at 2 o’clock confirming the first. The rebels did not come.
July 14, 1864 —
Morning warm with scattered clouds; Breathed free on learning that the reports of last night in relation to the visitation on the part of rebels were fabrications. Thank God the canal is uninsured.
The lifting wheel was stopped at 10 o’clock this morning in order that everything at the water works might be quiet and escape the observation of the rebels; 6 1/2 o’clock. The rebels did not come, the wheel started at this hour; Later in the day, statements received to the effect that invading had retired and crossed the Potomac. No Rain.