were informed that the President
had slipped through the city incognito
, citizens of all shades of opinion resented it as an undeserved reflection upon the city.
The act at once suggested the thought that the government regarded the city of Baltimore
with suspicion and hostility, and did more than anything else to create a bad feeling toward the administration.
Arrangements were made by the city authorities for the reception and entertainment of President Lincoln
in this city, and, it is safe to say, that Mr. Lincoln
might have passed through Baltimore
without fear of molestation.
It is a mistake to suppose that the riot was an outburst of the rougher classes, or, as some have alleged, simply a rebel demonstration.
On the contrary, the rioters were composed of three distinct elements, two of which were distinctly respectable, while the third, a very small one by the way, was composed of young men and boys — some of them roughs, but many of them respectable in their connections — who were attracted to the scene by the noise and excitement.
The first and most influential class — the class, in fact, without whose encouragement and assistance the disturbance would have been almost impossible — was composed of sober, intelligent then, many of them Union sympathizers, who were knocked clear off their balance by the announcement that Northern troops were marching on the city.
This class had hitherto restrained the most aggressive of the Southern
sympathizers; but, having always been opposed to coercion, were infuriated by the announcement that the Northern
troops were actually invading “the sacred soil of Maryland
The second class was composed of more advanced Southern sympathizers, together with the few extremists who were openly in favor of coercion.
Of this class the most prominent were the late Judge T. Parkin Scott
, then prominent at the bar, and William Byrne
, the famous politician and gambler.
was the recognized head of that class which advocated armed resistance to the passage of the troops from the first, and, with his companions, did inconceivable damage by loud talk and bravado.
He was, at the time, the most influential man in Baltimore
with that large class of hot-headed young men, ward politicians, gamblers, “floaters,” idlers, etc., who are to be found in every large city.
A man of good address and strong sense, kind and liberal, he carried with him a large clientele of adventurous spirits.
represented the soberer, but not less aggressive, wing of the extremist faction.
One of the most curious features of the riot was the attitude of the city and State governments.
The city government was largely composed of ardent Southern men, but, at the same time, men who