Burning the Gunpowder River Bridge
On July 6, 1864, Confederate cavalryman crossed the Potomac River into Maryland as part of a 12,000 man force under Gen. Jubal A. Early, who planned to attack lightly defended Washington, DC., and draw off part of the Union army menacing Richmond and Petersburg. Union Gen. Lew Wallace's force, however, delayed Early at the Monocacy River on July 9. Early Ordered Gen. Bradley T. Johnson's cavalry brigade to cut off Baltimore and Washington from the north, then to free 14,000 Confederate prisoners at Point Lookout, Maryland.
After destroying the Northern Central Railroad bridge in Cockeysville, Johnson detached Maj. Harry Gilmor with 135 troopers to destroy the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad drawbridge over Gunpowder River near Magnolia Station and Joppa. Gilmor arrived at the Station at 8:30 A.M. on July 11 and captured the stopped northbound train from Baltimore. The engineer disabled the controls and fled. Unable to operate the train, Gilmor burned it.
Train burning at Magnolia StationLeslie's Illustrated Newspaper (1864)
Destruction of the Bridge Over Gunpowder CreekBenson J. Lossing, Pictorial History of the Civil War (1866)
The next train arrived an hour later and fell into Gilmor's hands along with Union Gen. William B. Franklin. Gilmor detrained the passengers, set the train on fire and backed it onto the Gunpowder River bridge. Although the Union gunboat Juanita and detachments from Co. F, 159th Ohio National Guard, and the Delaware Volunteers were guarding the bridge,