Wat Bowie and The Battle of Rickett’s Run

Shady Grove Metro Station

If an armed posse of Quakers seems a contradiction, then you have to hear the story of the Battle of Rickett’s Run.

When Dorothy and I were interviewed for the Gazette article, the reporter asked if any of the stories could have been a book all on its own. Of course, we thought of stories that told a good tale, those with more history. Now that I consider it, I think he might have meant stories with more haunting (you just can’t take the history out of an historian). One that I think is tailor made to become an adventure story is the Battle of Rickett’s Run. (Of course, in Montgomery County the term “battle,” is misleading.While we were the site of a number of small skirmishes, the closest thing to an actual battle was the Battle at Ft. Stevens, on the district line.)

Walter “Wat” Bowie

But I digress…So why do I have an image of the METRO Station at Shady Grove? This station was built over Rickett’s Run (a “run” is another name for a creek). It is here that Wat Bowie is said to walk, still perplexed at the events surrounding his death on October 7, 1864. And we are back to that odd posse of armed Quakers.

After an ill-planned attempt to kidnap the governor of Maryland, Bowie and his cohorts took a detour through Sandy Spring on their way to Poolesville. Thinking that a bunch of Quakers would do little to stop them, they decided to take a little time and loot Alpin Gilpin’s general store. How wrong they were! Gilpin, along with his friends and family went after the gang.

Catching up with Bowie, at the site of the Shady Grove METRO Station, the posse shot. but against experienced soldiers they broke and ran. The Confederates were too surprised by the Quakers to fight back effectively. When the smoke cleared, the only casualties were Bowie and a horse. To paraphrase the Annals of Sandy Spring, truth is stranger than fiction.

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1 Comment

Filed under Civil War, Derwood

One response to “Wat Bowie and The Battle of Rickett’s Run

  1. Pingback: Port Tobacco, Maryland | peat o'neil

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