Village by Moonlight
In June 1863, as Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia marched north, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's Confederate cavalry rode east of the main army. Soon, Federal cavalry hunted Stuart. Gen. David McM. Gregg's division left Frederick about 4 p.m. on July 28, and bivouacked between New Market and Poplar Springs. It spent the next day around New Market, Ridgeville, Mt. Airy, and Lisbon. That night, the exhausted men and horses, wrote a New York cavalryman, passed through "a small but beautiful village New Windsor. It was about 10 o'clock when we arrived there. The moon shined beautifully, and as we looked over the place so still it reminded me of some moonlight picture. I think it is the prettyist place I ever saw." The division halted about four miles from Westminster.
That same night, Gen. John Sedgwick's Union VI Corps bivouacked near New Windsor after a grueling 26-mile-march from New Market. Lt. George W. Bicknell, 5th Maine Volunteer Infantry wrote, "The country round about was most beautiful. ... A sight met the eye here, which did the hearts of the Maine boys much good. It was a modern school house. So seldom had one of these institutions been seen since the regiment left home, that the appearance of this one excited considerable comment and remark."
At dawn on June 30, Gregg's cavalry charged into Westminster and captured Stuart's stragglers from the previous day's skirmish. Hours later VI Corps marched through en route to Manchester.