Capt. Thomas Quantrill & the “Homespun Volunteers,” Hagers-town, Md.

“Volunteers —Attention!- ALL the volunteers attached to my Company, are ordered to repair to my quarters for the purpose of being uniformed – they are also ordered to bring their arms with them as they will be supplied with new arms for the purpose of marching immediately, according to orders. Thomas Quantrill, Capt. Hagers-town, August 11, 1812.”

Capt. Thomas Quantrill (1790-1854) was a blacksmith and slave-holder in Hagerstown, Md., who received on June 16, 1812 a militia commission for a rifle company known as the Homespun Volunteers, of the 24th Maryland Regiment from Washington County. In August 1812 they marched for Annapolis and garrisoned Fort Madison as part of Maryland’s militia quota for the War Department. A correspondent noticed that “they possessed all the essential qualities deemed necessary to form good soldiers…and will be found in merit, second to no company attached to the service…” In January they returned home having performed their first duty during the war.

In late August 1814 following the capture of Washington,  Captain Quantrill and his company marched for Baltimore and were attached to Lt. Colonel Joseph Sterett’s 5th Maryland Regiment, then transferred to the 39th Maryland Regiment who were in the front lines of the Battle of North Point, Sept. 12, 1814. Thomas and two others of the company of seventy-seven men were wounded.

After the war Capt. Quantrill migrated to Canal Dover, Ohio, married and had four sons, one of whom was William Clarke Quantrill (1837-1865) who became notorious in the Kansas border wars and his  infamous August 21, 1863 raid on Lawrence, Kansas.

Captain Thomas Quantrill died in Canal Dover, Ohio on December 7, 1854 apprently of tuberculosis.

Sources: Frederick-town Herald, Aug. 29, 1812: Maryland Adjutant General Papers, Militia Appointments, 2 1794-1816, Maryland State Archives, DE67-1; Niles’ Weekly Register, August 29, 1812;  Cincinnati Daily Gazette, May 14, 1869; Hagers-town Gazette, July 14, 1812.

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