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Shriver Family Correspondence
The Shriver correspondence is a small group of mostly war-related notes and letters, written from 1860 to 1865 by the brothers Andrew Keiser Shriver (four items) and Thomas Herbert Shriver (three items). The authors were two of the thirteen children of William and Mary Owings Shriver of Union Mills, Carroll County, Maryland. The earliest letters in the group, written by Kei Shriver to his brother Albert (26 April 1860) and to an unidentified sister (10 April 1863), are of limited relevance to the rest of the items, all of which pertain to (or were authored by) Herbert Shriver. Kei Shriver's third letter, written on 11 August 1863, describes for his mother his successful effort to gain Herbert's release from the army. Family accounts of the Confederate cavalry's stop in Union Mills (of which there are several) agree that Herbert joined Stuart enthusiastically, and with his parents' approval (some accounts suggest that assurances were made to the parents that Herbert's service would not outlast the campaign). But when Kei Shriver learned of his youngest brother's situation (he writes), he took immediate steps to reverse it. He left Richmond, rode in search of the army, spoke with Stuart and with Brig. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee (both of whom, he says, held Herbert in high regard), and brought the young man away. On the same day that Kei Shriver wrote to his mother Herbert also wrote, from Richmond, relating his experiences in the army (a transcription of this letter is held in the Gettysburg Military Park Library; it is reprinted in Lovelace, The Shrivers: Under Two Flags, pp. 31-2). By his own account Herbert saw action on the third day at Gettysburg: From Carlisle we went to Gettysburg where they were fighting, we were ordered to the extreme left about 4 or 5 miles from Littlestown where we had, some of them said the hardest Cavarlly fight they ever heard of. The sharpshooters were ordered to dismount (all who carry carbines are cawled sharpshooters), I being one of the number we charges the Yankee sharpshooters and drove them about a mile and a half and very near had a battery when their cavalry charged us and our cavalry not coming up in time the sharpshooters had to fall back, not however, till killed 45 Yanks in one little spot where they had to cross a fence and right together, then our cavalry charged their cavalry and drove them off the field. In that fight one of the fellows that was at our house first was wounded and captured another killed dead whilst charging next to me. (Lovelace, p. 31). He goes on to speak of cavalry engagements at Funkstown and Shepherdstown, on the retreat south. As Kei reiterates in his own letter of 11 August, Herbert was ambivalent about leaving the army: . . .we then retreated to Fredericksburg where I left them to come here i.e., to Richmond. I would much rather have stayed but Kie thought it was so much better for me to come and go to school and said he thought you would sooner have me to do so that I guess I will have a pretty hard time of it. (Lovelace, p. 32). For the rest of the war, Kei Shriver appears to have acted as a kind of guardian to Herbert, with an eye to keeping him out of the army. In a letter written while on furlough from the Institute, in the summer or early fall of 1864, Herbert tells his parents that: Ki has not determined wether he will let me go in the army I would not wait for him to deside but he has been so very kind to me since I have been here that I dont feal like doing any thing before he says. . .he is more like a father than a Brother In the same letter – or letter fragment, for the first sheet is lacking – Shriver expresses his enthusiasm for efforts to establish a "Maryland Line" within the Confederate army. Most Marylanders who fought for the Confederacy did so in regiments of the seceded states, especially Virginia – a source of considerable dissatisfaction. The "Marshall Kane" of the letter is George P. Kane, a former Baltimore police marshall then arguing the Maryland cause with the Confederate government and military, to little ultimate effect. On 2 April 1865 Kei Shriver wrote a note to the authorities at VMI, giving his brother leave "to do as he thinks proper as to remaining with the Corps or not". The evacuation of Richmond seems to have influenced Kei to accede to Herbert's wish to re-enlist. The events of the next two weeks cannot be precisely reconstructed. Possibly, Kei accompanied Herbert when the latter joined up with the 1st Maryland Cavalry. In any case, the two were together when Herbert paused to write his mother from Staunton, Virginia on 16 April. The brothers' presence in Augusta County – where the men of the dispersed 1st Maryland Cavalry were instructed to rendezvous on 25 April – lends credence to the idea that they were planning to rejoin the regiment. Or they may have had plans of their own – perhaps to proceed to North Carolina to continue the fight with Joseph Johnston. The "Mark" and "lum" mentioned in the letter are Mark Owings Shriver (1842-1924) and Christopher Columbus Shriver (1840-1921), brothers of Kei and Herbert who likewise worked for the Confederate cause. Mark Shriver had served in Company K of the 1st Maryland Cavalry since 1864, so his presence in the Valley makes sense. Lum Shriver had served with Kei in the Medical Purveyors Office at Richmond; his presence is more difficult to explain. Herbert also mentions Rev. Joseph Bixio (1819-1889), the Jesuit pastor of five Virginia parishes, including Staunton. Bixio had served the Confederate army as a chaplain and also appears to have engaged in espionage, most notably by impersonating Northern army chaplains.