A New Home in Annapolis 

On the 5th of November 1861, the 8th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment arrived at Annapolis after what Private Oliver Case described as “a very pleasant trip down the Chesapeake.” [1] For the first two nights, the troops were billeted in the buildings of St. John’s College which was confiscated by the Union Army at the beginning of the war to be used as a transition station for units heading south or as a camp of instruction at Camp Hicks near Annapolis. Camp Hicks was named for Maryland’s wartime governor. It is somewhat ironic that Camp Hicks received its name from the first of two wartime governors of the state of Maryland. Thomas Holliday Hicks was, at best, a politician attempting to play both sides of the issues deeply dividing the northern and southern states at the beginning of the war. In early 1861, Hicks worked to portray Maryland as a sort of neutral state that would not become involved in the dispute. He addressed the citizens of his state in January of 1861:

I firmly believe that a division of this Government would inevitably produce civil war. The secession leaders in South Carolina, and the fanatical demagogues of the North, have alike proclaimed that such would be the result, and no man of sense, in my opinion, can question it. [2]

This became an untenable position after President Lincoln called for volunteers from the states including Maryland in April of 1861. The governor also struggled to maintain his credibility with Lincoln after he appeared to side with Confederate supporters during the aftermath of the Baltimore riots, also in April 1861.

Hicks would find redemption with the administration by helping to avoid the movement of Maryland toward secession by moving the General Assembly from Annapolis to Frederick in April of 1861 ensuring a vote for Maryland to remain in the Union. The governor claimed that he relocated the assembly to Frederick for “safety and comfort of the members.” [3]

Thomas Hicks, Wartime Governor of Maryland

As the 8th Connecticut arrived in the capital city of Annapolis, it had just recently been occupied by Union soldiers and Governor Hicks expressed concerns that the southern sympathies of eastern Maryland combined with the displeasure of the citizens at the military occupation of the city would have a detrimental effect of his efforts to have the state remain in the Union. Oliver Case would soon be on the front line of the efforts to improve relations between the citizens of Annapolis and the Union soldiers.


[1] Case Letters, 1861-1862. (11 November 1861)

[2] The Governors of Maryland 1777-1970, Frank F. White, Jr., The Hall of Records Commission, Annapolis, 1970.

[3] Governor Thomas Hicks of Maryland and the Civil War, George L. Radcliffe, Baltimore, 1901.