I had not retired to my bed when the scuttling of the ferry boat was proposed to me. It was not proposed by men in whom I had no confidence. Highly respectable gentlemen urged it as the easiest and most lawful means of effecting the desired object. Yet I unhesitatingly refused my consent to the step. But the people of Maryland are asked to believe that, after this, in the still watches of the night, when requested by Enoch L. Lowe and George P. Kane to consent to the destruction of the bridges, I gave an “unequivocal, and decided, and distinct reply in the affirmative.” I leave my vindication from such an absurd charge to the good sense of the people, in the full confidence that justice will be done me. It will readily occur to the reader that the time when the bridges were destroyed is a material point of this subject. The Mayor and his witnesses concur in their statement of the hour when they went to my bed-chamber to solicit my consent to the destruction of the bridges. They say it was 12 o'clock at night. The bridges destroyed on the Northern Central Railroad were at Ashland and Monkton, 16 and 18 miles from Baltimore. The parties who destroyed them left Baltimore in omnibuses. The bridges were fired a little after one o'clock. It being impossible for the men to have left Baltimore after it was alleged my consent was given, they must have started before my consent was asked. Thus showing that the destruction of the bridges was determined upon, and would have been consummated, no matter what might have been my opinion in the premises. As evidence of this, I offer the following letter from a highly respectable citizen, who has been kind enough to ascertain the particulars for me: reason for such refusal that you had no right to interfere with the passage of troops of the United States through Maryland to the National Capital; but in view of the wild excitement then prevailing, which overwhelmed and defied the restraints of civil authority, as a measure of humanity, and regard for the loyal citizens of Baltimore, you agreed to unite with the Mayor in a telegraphic despatch to the President, and to the Governors of the Northern States, invoking them to send no more troops through Baltimore while the laws were set at defiance. It is alleged that your consent to the destruction of the bridges was given at the residence of the Mayor.--Of this, of course, I cannot speak, not having accompanied you there. But if such be the fact, you have committed a most monstrous and improbable inconsistency. If you acquiesced in this work of destruction, you departed (in the Mayor's house) from a principle which in his office, during the trying events of the day, you had consistently and manfully insisted upon: the right of the Government to pass troops through Maryland to the Capital. This sentiment you reiterated on the next day, on board of the steamer Pioneer, as I accompanied you to Annapolis. You can use this statement as you think best. I could make it more full if you wish it. I could allude to the liability of every one in Baltimore, on the 19th, confused by the excitement, to be mistaken. Indeed I remember an instance of this. General Egerton was ordered by you to drive back the mob who were pressing upon the Pennsylvania troops. He drove back the troops. I heard you give the order to Egerton, and I heard him report to you. You disapproved of his act, and he pleaded misapprehension of your order. I remain, sir, respectfully, yours, &c.,R. S. Mercer, Col. Third Regiment, M. C.
I have not the slightest doubt that the destruction of the bridges referred to was an important part of the secession programme. TheMr. Bryson, and I at once started to Cockeysville in company with Mr. Bryson and our friend Edward Rider, Jr., and after getting such facts connected with the burning of the bridges as we could obtain, I hasten to answer your inquiries. On the night of the 19th ultimo I left Baltimore at precisely ten minutes past ten o'clock, and in about ten minutes more reached a point about one hundred yards nearer the city than the cemetery entrance, at which place I saw an omnibus with four horses, heads turned northward, or up the road; and about one hundred yards nearer the city I had passed previously two groups of men, about fifteen each; and when we passed the omnibus I remarked to a friend who was with me, “there is some devilment connected with that omnibus.” Well, after I was home in bed, at about a quarter past eleven o'clock, the same omnibus, full of men, passed here, and a lady informed me that she saw it pass her house at precisely twelve o'clock, nine miles and a half from the city. The watchman at the bridge, whom I saw to-day, states positively that when they arrived at the bridge, and penned him in his shanty, it was about ten minutes past one o'clock; and that after cutting the telegraph wires, which took but a few minutes, they fired the bridges at about twenty or twenty-five minutes after one o'clock. As to who the party were, I cannot say; but a gentleman at Cockeysville said that a man named Philip Fendall (I think of the firm of Duvall, Keighler & Co.) was one of the party, but I am not prepared to say so positively. He is a cousin to the wife of John Merryman, now under arrest. Any thing further that I can do for you, I will do with great pleasure. Please excuse this hurried account of the affair, as Mr. Bryson is waiting. Your obedient servant,