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‘ [263] brass buttons to tell who you were.’ In point of fact no attack upon the fort had ever been meditated.

The climax in the excitement of this memorable period in the history of Baltimore was reached on Sunday, April 21. The town was like a powder magazine, and only needed a spark to produce an explosion. The spark came in the form of news that more troops were approaching the city from the North. Judge Brown, in his book, says: ‘It was a fearful day in Baltimore. Women and children and men, too, were wild with excitement. A certainty of a fight in the streets if Northern troops should enter was the pressing danger.’ People were gathering in the churches for the regular morning services. Telegraph communications with the North had been cut off, but a messenger arrived in the morning, saying that a Northern army had reached Cockeysville. At five minutes before eleven the bell of the town clock sounded the call to arms. The congregations which had gathered in the churches were dismissed and a large part of the male population, including boys and old men, thronged to the headquarters. The military proper were under the command of Major-General George H. Steuart, and the ununiformed volunteers were under command of Colonel I. R. Trimble. It was a formidable force. Full preparations were made for a conflict and ammunition for artillery and rifles was distributed. In the afternoon a dispatch came from Mayor Brown, at Washington, saying that the President would order the return of the troops to Harrisburg. The genuineness of this dispatch was doubted and no attention was paid to it.

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