I have been recently studying the contributions that the Maryland Guard of the 53rd Maryland Militia which eventually had most of it’s troops join the Confederacy. The Maryland Guard was a Zouave unit formed by the elite sons of Baltimore in December 1859. The Maryland Guard was a smart and well dressed unit that was well recieved by the public. McHenry Howard of Company C states..”The French Zouave was the model soldier of that period according to the American ideas and the Maryland Guard uniform was patterned on his“. While the Maryland Guard did it’s best to protect the city during the rioting caused by the marching of the 6th Massachusetts through Baltimore, the majority of it’s members were staunch secessionists. Many of the Guard felt they would have to face the hordes of Union troops that would coming through Maryland to protect Washington DC. With Maryland being seized by the Union Army in May of 1861 however, most of the Maryland Guard dispersed and headed South.
I have found a couple of quotes about the Maryland Confederate Infantry that I believe shows the elan of the Maryland Guard was evident in the Maryland Infantry:
” We had a large drum corps, and its quick-step march was unique in that army of 30,000 men around Manassas that summer. It was a fine sight to see the 1st Maryland Infantry marching with that quick Zouave step by which they were distinguished. It was sturdy body of men, not as tall as the Virginia regiments usually were, but well set up, active and alert and capable of much endurance.” Randolph McKim
After the battle of Antietam, a Federal prisoner writes of the Soldierly bearing of the Maryland Confederate Infantry:
“On the road between Sheperdstown and Winchester we fell in with the Maryland Battalion – a meeting I have always remembered with pleasure. They were marching to the front by companies, spaced apart about 300 or 400 feet. We were an ungainly, draggled lot, about as far removed as well could be from any claim to ceremonious courtesy; yet each company, as it passed, gave us the military salute of shouldered arms. They were noticeable, at that early stage in the war, as the only organization we saw that wore the regulation Confederate gray, all the other troops having assumed a sort of revised regulation uniform of homespun butternut – a significant witness, we thought, to the efficacy of the blockade.” David L Thompson 9th Ny Volunteers Co. G
I would be interested in hearing from anyone with information on the Maryland Guard or if you feel I can help you regarding the Maryland Guard please leave a way I can contact you.