Located on the doorstep of the Confederacy and possessing, what was then, a sizable population, the Town of Poolesville was a strategic military crossroads during the Civil War.
Union Soldiers were encamped in Poolesville throughout the Civil War, in spite of the Confederate sympathies of its residents. The presence of these encampments and the conduct of the military operations had a profound effect on life in Poolesville and the surrounding farming community.
The historic 1826 Methodist Church was at the center of this activity in Poolesville. At different times during the War, the church served as a Union signal post, telegraph office, and hospital.
To the right is a map, hand drawn on December 29, 1863, illustrating the significant presence of Union soldiers in the Town of Poolesville.
The orientation of the map corresponds to the southward-facing placement of this exhibit sign.
The Methodist Church is depicted as ?Me. Church' and located to the south-east of the instersection of ?Main Street' (now Fisher Avenue) and the ?Road to Edwards Ferry' (now West Willard Road).
A short distance in front of you, Poolesville High School sits on land where, in Christmastime 1863, cavalry units and soldiers of the 39th Massachusetts were encamped. The commercial buildings and homes to your left were once fields in which the artillery of the 10th Massachusetts were stationed. To your right and back, St. Peter's Episcopal Church still faces onto Poolesville's main street as it did during the Civil War.
The congregation cemetery on the Methodist Church property also served as a burial ground for Union and Confederate soldiers. These burials were often poorly documented. However, available historical records indicate that about thirty fallen soldiers are interred here alongside the men, women and children of ante-bellum Poolesvile.