Muffled Oars: St. Mary's County in the Civil War
Written by the late Annie Chunn Candee in the 1940s, Muffled Oars: A Story of St. Mary’s County During the Civil War is the first novel to be published by the St. Mary's County Historical Society. A novel of intrigue and romance, it is the story of a family caught between sympathies toward the South and Union occupation.
During the Civil War, Maryland was divided with significant Confederate leanings, especially in Charles and St. Mary’s Counties in the Southern part of the state.
President Lincoln took legally-questionable steps to keep Maryland in the Union, including placing Baltimore under Martial Law, arresting members of the Maryland General Assembly to prevent secession, suspending the writ of Habeas Corpus, and stationing Union troops throughout State. Union troops were especially prevalent in Southern Maryland to keep sympathizers and supplies from crossing the Potomac River to reinforce the Confederate army. The book's title, Muffled Oars, refers to the practice of putting cloth between the oars and oarlocks of a boat to silence its passage across the river. Despite Union attempts to stem the flow, men and supplies continued.
Muffled Oars tells that story.