As this car neared Commerce street the brake was accidentally thrown out of gear, and the car stopped.
The crowd took advantage of the mishap at once, and began to attack the occupants with stones.
Windows were broken, and a few of the soldiers were hurt, but not seriously.
Finally the driver of the car became frightened, lost his head, and, having attached his team to the other end of the car, started to haul it back to the depot.
The mob followed the car, stoning it all the while, but the driver having urged the horses to a run, succeeded in distancing them.
A large portion of the mob, however, followed it into the depot.
The section of the mob which remained at the bridge on Pratt street then, under the advice of their leaders, many of whom, as I have said, were well known citizens of Baltimore
, began to build a barricade, Paris
They commenced by digging up the paving stones and the railroad track for a distance of some fifty yards. The stones were piled up with the iron rails, the bridges over the gutters were torn up, and eight large anchors which were found on the wharf near by were placed on the barricade.
A car loaded with sand attempted to pass, but was seized by the rioters, who backed it up to the barricade, and emptied the sand on the pile of stones and anchors.
A large number of negroes were working on the wharves at the time.
These were ordered to quit work, which they did with alacrity, and were directed by the rioters to assist them on the barricade.
They complied and, as Colonel J. Thomas Scharf
, in his “Chronicles of Baltimore
” relates, “worked away with a will for Massa Jeff Davis
and de Souf.”
At this stage of the proceedings Mayor Brown
, who had hurried from Camden Station
, arrived on the scene.
What followed is best given in Mayor Brown
's own words:
On arriving at the head of Smith's wharf,
he says in his official report, “I found that anchors had been piled on the track to obstruct it, and Sergeant McComas
and a few policemen, who were with him, were not allowed by the mob to remove the obstructions.
I at once ordered the anchors to be removed, and my authority was not resisted.”
This, in my judgment, is signal proof that had the passage of the troops been intrusted to the city authorities, it might have been effected in safety, as the Mayor
had the confidence of even the extreme secessionists.
In the meantime, the commander of the Massachusetts
troops, finding that the cars would not be permitted to pass through, decided to disembark his men and force a passage on foot through the mob. When this determination was announced, some confederates of the Pratt
street rioters at once communicated the news to them.
It was also rumored that the troops had decided to go by a