Samuel Batson Hearne

Samuel Batson Hearne was born to an old Delaware family. The Hearne’s who were staunch supporter’s of Oliver Cromwell,  fled after Cromwell’s death fearing for their safety, arrived in Delaware in the late 1600’s. Samuel was born January 28th, 1841 on the Maryland side of Delmar. Though the Hearne’s lived on the Delaware side of this small hamlet which is divided by the Mason-Dixon line, Mrs Hearne was probably visiting her relatives on the Maryland side when Samuel arrived. Delaware, much like Maryland, recieved brutal treatment at the hands of Union troops that were stationed there by the Lincoln administration to quell any Confederate sympathies. Many young men detested how they were being treated by the Occupation troops and decided to do something about it. Samuel decided to head south, much to the disatisfaction of his father who was a Union man. Crossing the Cheaspeake with 12 other men on August 22nd, 1862 he eventually arrived at Charlottesville and enlisted in the 1st Maryland Cavalry Co. B on September 10th, 1862. The 1st Maryland Cavalry was made up by many Marylander’s who entered the war at the very beginning, many serving with Jeb Stuart in the 1st Virginia Cavalry. According to family legend, when Samuel shot his first Yankee he rushed to aid the wounded man. The grateful Union soldier gave Samuel his pocket watch as a token of appreciation. After serving for some time in the Hard fighting 1st Maryland, Samuel was granted a leave and traveled home with several friends. Things went well while at home as his family hid him to keep him safe. When time came to return however, his father hatched a plot to take his son out of combat and keep him safe. He told the authorities that his son along with several comrades would be heading back south. The cavalrymen were captured April 26th, 1864 on the Chesapeake Bay by a Union Gunboat and taken to Ft McHenry. The Confederates were tried and convicted as spies and sentenced to death. Several powerful and well to do Marylanders appealed for the lives of the young men, But General Lew Wallace ignored their pleas.

Enter the Gitting’s family. Though they were powerful Southern Democrats and were known to be aiding the Confederate Cause, they had also aided someone else that owed them a favor.  In 1861 when President-elect Abraham Lincoln was heading to Washington DC with his family, there were rumors of an assination plot. Lincoln, on a train headed to Washington was to pass through Baltimore. Baltimore, who voted heavily for Breckenridge, detested Lincoln.  Lincoln left the train at Harrisburg and rode a special train to Washington leaving his family on the original train. When the train arrived at Baltimore it was met by an angry mob, that got angrier when it found out that Lincoln wasn’t aboard the train. John Gittings used his personal carriage and picked up Mary Lincoln and her sons and brought them to his house. Gittings entertained the Lincoln’s and protected them from danger. Gittings then took the Lincoln’s to the train station after the dire situation quieted down to travel on to Washington. Fast forward to August 28th, 1864 when Gittings traveled to Washington DC to request an appearance with the President. During the meeting Lincoln realized that the Gitting family had protected his family and told them he was glad he could finally repay an old debt. Lincoln commuted the sentences of the young men and their lives were saved on the very day they were to be executed. Sentenced to hard labor at Albany, New York, they were sent to Ft Monroe in early January of 1865 to be exchanged. Hearne was exchanged on March15,1865 and headed towards Richmond. Upon hearing of Lee’s surrender he went south to North Carolina, hoping to hook up with Johnston. Johnston, however surrendered before he could reach that command. Traveling back to Richmond, Hearne took the oath and headed back to Delaware. The lure of the South would call Samuel back and he eventually settled at Port Royal, Virginia on his estate named “Hickory Hill”. Samuel Hearne died October 9th, 1917

Published in: on November 11, 2006 at 4:30 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Mark,

    I believe that Samuel Hearne was a descendant of one William Hearne, a merchant from London. If that is the case then he served as a Captain under Oliver Cromwell during our Civil War.

    Best wishes,


  2. You would be correct Mark!

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