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[469] Seizing the spacious and commodious railroad ferry steamer Maryland, he embarked his men thereof, and appeared with them early next morning before Annapolis, the political capital of Maryland, thirty miles south of Baltimore, and about equidistant with that city from Washington, wherewith it is connected by a branch or feeder of the Baltimore road. He found this city virtually in rebellion, with its branch railroad aforesaid dismantled, and partially taken up, in the interest of Secession. Here, too, were the Naval Academy and the noble old frigate Constitution; the latter without a crew, and in danger of falling, at any moment, into the hands of the enemy. He at once secured the frigate, landed next day unopposed, took possession of the city, and was soon reinforced by the famous Seventh regiment, composed of the flower of the young chivalry of. New York City, which had been transported from Philadelphia direct by the steamboat Boston. The Maryland returned forthwith to Perryville for still further reenforcements, munitions, and supplies — no one in Annapolis choosing, or daring, for some time, to sell anything to the Union soldiers. Gen. Butler was met at Annapolis by a formal protest from Gov. Hicks against his landing at that place, or at any other point in Maryland; the specific objection to his occupying Annapolis being that the Legislature had been called to meet there that week. Gen. Butler, in reply, suggested that, if he could obtain means of transportation to Washington, he would gladly “vacate the capital prior to the sitting of the Legislature, and not be under the painful necessity of incommoding your beautiful city while the Legislature is in session.”

On the morning of the 24th--several other regiments having meantime arrived--Gen. Butler put his column in motion, the Massachusetts Eighth in advance, closely followed by the New York Seventh. They kept the line of the railroad, repairing it as they advanced. A dismantled engine, which they found on the way, was refitted and put to use. The day proved intensely hot. Many of the men had had little or nothing to eat for a day or two, and had scarcely slept since they left Philadelphia. Some fell asleep as they marched; others fell out of the ranks, utterly exhausted; one was sunstruck, and had to be sent back, permanently disabled. The people whose houses they passed generally fled in terror at the first sight of the Northern Goths, who, they had been told, had come to ravage and desolate the South. Nothing to eat could be bought; and, as they did not choose to take without buying, they hungrily marched, building bridges and laying rails by turns, throughout the day and the following night. The Seventy-first New York followed the next day, and passed, four miles out, the camp of Gov. Sprague's Rhode Island regiment, by whom they were generously supplied with provisions. Arrived at the Annapolis Junction, the soldiers were met by cars from Washington, in which they proceeded on the 25th--the New York Seventh in the advance — to that city, and were hailed with rapture by its loyal denizens, who composed, perhaps, one-half of its entire population. Washington had, for a week, been isolated from the North, while surrounded

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Benjamin F. Butler (3)
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