Chapter 17: events in and near the National Capital.
- The conspirators alarmed by the loyalty of the people, 409.
-- attack on Massachusetts troops in Baltimore, 411-413.
-- Pennsylvania troops attacked, 414.
-- the mob triumphant, 415.
-- attitude of the public authorities, 416.
-- destruction of Railway bridges authorized and executed, 417.
-- connection with the Capital cut off
-- the first Mail through Baltimore, 418.
-- degrading proposition to the Government rebuked, 419.
-- the President and Baltimore Emibassies
-- defection of Army officers, 420.
-- resignation of Colonel Lee 421.
-- his inducements to be loyal, 422.
-- Arlington House and its Surroundings
-- designs against Washington City, 423.
-- preparations to defend the Capital--“Cassius M. Clay Guard,” 424.
-- the massacre in Baltimore
-- the martyrs on that occasion honored, 426.
-- their funeral and Monument, 427.
-- the honor of Maryland vindicated
-- New York aroused, 428.
-- the Union defense Committee and its work, 429.
-- active and patriotic labors of General Wool, 430.
-- the Government and General Wool
-- his services applauded, 431.
became the theater of a sad tragedy on the day after the loyal Pennsylvanians
passed through it to the Capital
The conspirators and secessionists there, who were in complicity with those of Virginia
, had been compelled, for some time, to be very circumspect, on account of the loyalty of the great body of the people.
Public displays of sympathy with the revolutionists were quickly resented.
When, in the exuberance of their joy on the “secession of Virginia
,” these sympathizers ventured to take a cannon to Federal Hill
, raise a secession flag, and fire a salute,
the workmen in the iron foundries near there turned out, captured the great gun and cast it into the waters of the Patapsco
, tore the banner into shreds, and made the disunionists fly in consternation.
At about the same time, a man seen in the streets with a secession cockade on his hat was pursued by the populace, and compelled to seek the protection of the police.
These and similar events were such significant admonitions for the conspirators that they prudently worked in secret.
They had met every night in their private room in the Taylor Building
, on Fayette Street;1
and there they formed their plans for resistance to the passage of Northern troops through Baltimore
On the day when the Pennsylvanians passed through,
some leading Virginians
came down to Baltimore
as representatives of many others of their class, and demanded of the managers of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway not only pledges, but guaranties, that no National troops, nor any munitions of war from the Armory
and Arsenal at Harper's Ferry
, should be permitted to pass over their road.
They accompanied their demand with a threat that, if it should be refused, the great railway bridge over the Potomac
at Harper's Ferry
should be destroyed.
They had heard of the uprising of the loyal people of the great Northwest, and the movement of troops toward the National Capital
from that teeming hive, and they came to effect the closing of the most direct railway communication for them.
They had heard how Governor Dennison
, with a trumpet-toned proclamation, had summoned the people of Ohio
, on the very day when the President
's call appeared,
to “rise above all party names and party bias, resolute to maintain the freedom so dearly bought by our fathers, and to transmit it unimpaired
to our posterity,” and to fly to the protection of the imperiled Republic.
They almost felt the tread of the tall men of the Ohio Valley
as they were preparing to pass over the “Beautiful River” into the Virginia
They had heard the war-notes of Blair
, and Morton
, and Yates
, and Randall
, and Kirkwood
, and Ramsay
, all loyal Governors of the populous and puissant States of that great Northwest, and were satisfied that the people would respond as promptly as had those of New England
; so they hastened to bar up the nearest passage for them to the Capital
over the Alleghany Mountains
, until the disloyal Minute-men of Maryland
, and of the District of Columbia, should fulfill the instructions and satisfy the expectations of the conspirators at Montgomery
in the seizure of the Capital
They found ready and eager sympathizers in Baltimore
; and only a few hours before the coveted arms in the Harper's Ferry
Arsenal were set a-blazing, and the Virginia
plunderers were foiled, the “National Volunteer Association” of Baltimore
(under whose auspices the secession flag had been raised on Federal Hill
that day, and a salute attempted in honor of the secession of Virginia
), led by its President
, William Burns
, held a meeting in Monument Square. T. Parkins Scott
He and others addressed a multitude of citizens, numbered by thousands.
They harangued the people with exciting and incendiary phrases.
They denounced “coercion,” and called upon the people to arm and drill, for a conflict was at hand.
“I do not care,” said Wilson C. Carr
, “how many Federal troops are sent to Washington
, they will soon find themselves surrounded by such an army from Virginia
that escape to their homes will be impossible; and when the seventy-five thousand who are intended to invade the South
shall have polluted that soil with their touch, the South
will exterminate and sweep them from the earth.”
These words were received with the wildest yells and huzzas, and the meeting finally broke up with three cheers for “the South
,” and the same for “President Davis
With such seditious teachings; with such words of encouragement to mob violence ringing in their ears, the populace of Baltimore
went to their slumbers on that night of the 18th of April, when it was known that a portion of the seventy-five thousand to be slaughtered were on their way from New England
, and would probably reach the city on the morrow.
While the people were slumbering, the secessionists were holding meetings in different wards, and the conspirators were planning dark deeds for that morrow, at Taylor's Building.
There, it is said, the Chief of Police
, and the President
of the Monument Square
meeting, and others, counseled resistance to any Northern or Western troops who might attempt to pass through the city.
There was much feverishness in the public mind in Baltimore
on the morning of the 19th of April.
Groups of excited men were seen on the corners of streets, and at the places of public resort.
Well-known secessionists were hurrying to and fro with unusual agility; and in front of the
store of Charles M. Jackson
, on Pratt Street, near Gay, where lay the only railway from Philadelphia
, through Baltimore
, a large quantity of the round pavement stones had been taken up during the night and piled in a heap; and near them was a cart-load of gravel, giving the impression that repairs of the street were about to be made.
Intelligence came at an early hour of the evacuation and destruction of the public property at Harper's Ferry
, on the previous evening.
The secessionists were exasperated and the Unionists were jubilant.
was filled with the wildest excitement.
This was intensified by information that a large number of Northern troops were approaching the city from Philadelphia
These arrived at the President Street Station
at twenty minutes past eleven o'clock in the forenoon, in twelve passenger and several freight cars, the latter furnished with benches.
The troops, about two thousand in all, were the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, Colonel Jones
, and ten companies of the Washington Brigade
, of Philadelphia
, under General William H. Small
When the train reached the President Street Station
, between which and the Camden Street
or Washington Station
the cars were drawn singly by horses, a mob of about five hundred men were waiting to receive them.
These were soon joined by others, and the number was increased to at least two thousand before the cars were started.
The mob followed with yells, groans, and horrid imprecations.
Eight cars, containing a portion of the Massachusetts Regiment, passed on without much harm.
The mob threw some stones and bricks, and shouted lustily for “Jeff. Davis
and the Southern Confederacy.”
The troops remained quietly in the cars, and reached the Camden Street Station
There they were met by another crowd, who had been collecting all the morning.
These hooted and yelled at the soldiers as they were transferred to the Baltimore and Ohio Railway cars, and threw some stones and bricks.
One of these struck and bruised Colonel Jones
, who was superintending the transfer.
The mob on Pratt Street, near the head of the Basin, became more furious every moment; and when the ninth car reached Gay Street, and there was a brief halt on account of a deranged brake, they could no longer be restrained.
Massachusetts Regiment. |
heap of loose stones, that appeared so mysteriously in front of Jackson
's store, were soon hurled upon the car as it passed along Pratt Street. Every window was demolished, and several soldiers were hurt.
Then the cry was raised, “Tear up the track” There were no present means for doing it, so the mob seized some anchors lying on the
wharf near Jackson
's store, and, dragging them upon the railway track, effect tually barricaded the street.
The tenth car was compelled to go back to the President Street Station
, followed by a yelling, infuriated mob, many of them maddened by alcohol.
In the mean time the remainder of the Massachusetts
troops, who were in the cars back of the barricade, informed of the condition of affairs ahead,
Scene of the principal fighting in Pratt Street.5 |
alighted for the purpose of marching to the Camden Street Station
They consisted of four companies, namely, the Lawrence
Light Infantry, Captain John Pickering
; Companies C and D, of Lowell
, commanded respectively by Captains A. S. Follansbee
and J. W. Hart
; and the Stoneham Company
, under Captain Dike
They were speedily formed on the side-walk, and Captain Follansbee
was chosen the commander of the whole for the occasion.
He wheeled them into column, and directed them to march in close order.
Before they were ready to move the mob was upon them, led by a man with a secession flag upon a pole, who told the troops that they should never march through the city — that “every nigger of them” would be killed before they could reach the other station.
paid no attention to these threats, though his little band was confronted by thousands of infuriated men. He gave the words, “Forward, March!”
in a clear voice.
The order was a signal for the mob, who commenced hurling stones and bricks, and every missile at hand, as the troops moved steadily up President Street
At the corner of Fawn and President Streets
, a furious rush was made upon them, and the missiles filled the air like hail.
A policeman was called to lead the way, and the troops advanced at the “double-quick.”
They found the planks of the Pratt Street Bridge
, over Jones's Falls, torn up, but they passed over without accident, when they were assailed more furiously than ever.
Several of the soldiers
were knocked down by stones, and their muskets were taken from them; and presently some shots were fired by the populace.
Up to this time the troops had made no resistance; now, finding the mob to be intent upon murder, Captain Follansbee
ordered them to cap their pieces (which were already loaded), and defend themselves.
They had reached Gay Street. The mob, full ten thousand strong, was pressing heavily upon them, hurling stones and bricks, and casting heavy pieces of iron upon them from windows.
One of these crushed a man to the earth.
Self-preservation called for action, and the troops turned and fired at random on the mob, who were dismayed for a moment and recoiled.
The shouts of the ferocious multitude, the rattle of stones, the crack of musketry, the whistle of bullets, the shrieks of women, of whom some were among the rioters, and the carrying of wounded men into stores, made an appalling tragedy.
The severest of the fight was in Pratt Street, between Gay Street and Bowley's Wharf, near Calvert Street.
, alarmed at the fury of the whirlwind that his political friends had raised, attempted to control it, but in vain.
With a large body of the police (most of whom did not share the treason of their chief, and worked earnestly in trying to quell the disturbance) he placed himself at the head of the troops, but his power was utterly inoperative, and when stones and bullets flew about like autumnal leaves in a gale, he prudently withdrew, and left the New Englanders to fight their way through to the Camden Street Station
This they did most gallantly, receiving a furious assault from a wing of the rioters at Howard Street, when about twenty shots were fired, and Captain Dike
was seriously wounded in the leg. At a little past noon, the troops entered the cars for Washington
Three of their number had been killed outright, one mortally wounded, and eight were seriously and several were slightly hurt.6
Nine citizens of Baltimore
were killed, and many — how many is not known — were wounded.
Among the killed was Robert T. Davis
, an estimable citizen, of the firm of Paynter
& Co., dry goods
merchants, who was a spectator of the scene.
The cars into which the soldiers were hurried were sent off for Washington
as soon as possible.
The mob followed for more than a mile, and impeded the progress of the train with stones, logs, and telegraph poles, which the accompanying police removed.
The train was fired into on the way from the hills, but at too long range to do much damage.
That evening the Massachusetts
troops, wearied and hungry, arrived at the Capitol
, and found quarters in the Senate Chamber
, where, on the following day, they wrote letters to their friends on the desks lately occupied by Davis
and his fellow-conspirators.
Their advent gave great joy to the loyal inhabitants.
Already the Capitol
had been fortified by General Scott
The doors and windows were barricaded with boards, and casks of cement and huge stones.
The iron plates intended for the new dome of the building were used for breastworks between the marble columns; and the pictures in the rotunda and the statuary were covered with heavy planking, to shield them from harm.
While the fight between the Massachusetts
and the Baltimoreans
was going on, the Pennsylvanians, under General Small
, who were entirely unarmed, remained in the cars at the President Street Station
The General tried to have them drawn back out of the city, and out of reach of the mob, but failed.
The rioters were upon them before an engine could be procured for that purpose.
The mob had left Pratt Street when their prey had escaped, and, yet thirsting for blood, had hurried toward the armory of the Maryland Guard, on Carroll Street, to seize the weapons belonging to that corps.
A small guard at the head of the stairs kept them at bay. They then rushed toward the Custom House
, to seize arms said to have been deposited there, when they were diverted by information that there were more troops at the President Street Station
Thitherward they pressed, yelling like demons, and began a furious assault upon the cars with stones and other missiles.
Quite a large number of the Union
men of Baltimore
had gathered around the Pennsylvanians.
Many of the latter sprang from the cars and engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with their assailants for almost two hours, nobly assisted
The Pratt Street Bridge.8 |
by the Baltimore Unionists
The mob overpowered them, and the unarmed soldiers — some of them badly hurt-fled in all directions, seeking refuge where they might.
At this juncture, and at this place, Marshal Kane
appears for the first time in the history of that eventful day. He was well known to the secessionists, and his presence soon restored order, when the fugitive soldiers returned to the cars, and the Pennsylvanians were all sent
back to Philadelphia
After their departure, the mob proceeded to barricade the Pratt Street Bridge
, and to break open the store of Henry Meyer
, from which they carried off a large number of guns and pistols.
At that moment General Egerton
appeared in full uniform, imploring them to cease rioting.
He assured them that no “foreign troops” were in the city, and that Governor Hicks
had declared that no more should pass through it.9
The mob was quieted by four o'clock in the afternoon, when they had placed the city in the hands of the secessionists.
At that hour a great meeting of the dominant party was held at Monument Square, where General George H. Stewart
(who afterward joined the insurgents in Virginia10
) had paraded the First Light Division with ball cartridges.
Over the platform for the speakers floated a white flag bearing the arms of Maryland
; and under this Mayor Brown
, S. T. Wallis
, W. P. Preston
, and others, addressed the vast multitude, assuring them that no more Northern troops should pass through the city, and advising them to disperse quietly to their homes.
Already Governor Hicks
and Mayor Brown
had sent a dispatch to President Lincoln
, saying:--“A collision between the citizens and the Northern
troops has taken place in Baltimore
, and the excitement is fearful.
Send no troops here.
We will endeavor to prevent bloodshed.
A public meeting of citizens has been called, and the troops of the State
and city have been called out to preserve the peace.
They will be enough.”
They had also taken measures to prevent any more troops coming over the railway from Philadelphia
When the meeting at Monument Square was convened, a committee was appointed to invite Governor Hicks
to the stand.
His age was bordering on seventy years, and caution was predominant.
He was appalled by the violence around him, and after listening to Mayor Brown
, who declared that it was “folly and madness for one portion of the nation to attempt the subjugation of another portion — it can never be done,” --the Governor
arose and said :--“I coincide in the sentiment of your worthy Mayor
After three conferences we have agreed, and I bow in submission to the people.
I am a Marylander; I love my State, and I love the Union
; but I will suffer my right arm to be torn from my body before I will raise it to strike a sister State.”
The meeting adjourned, but the populace were not quiet.
They paraded the streets, uttering threats of violence to Union citizens, who were awed into silence, and driven into the obscurity of their homes.
About five hundred men, headed by two drums, went to the President Street Station
to seize arms supposed to be there.
They found none.
Disappointed, they marched to Barnum's Hotel, and called for Ex-Governor Louis E. Lowe
, who made a speech to them under a Maryland flag, from a balcony, in which he
assured them that they should have ample assistance from his county (Frederick
), when they marched off, shouting for “Jeff. Davis
and a Southern Confederacy,” and saluted the Maryland
flag that was waving from the Headquarters of the conspirators on Fayette Street.12
On the same evening, Marshal Kane
received an offer of troops from Bradley Johnson
, of Frederick
, who was afterward a brigadier in the Confederate Army.
telegraphed back, saying :--“Thank you for your offer.
Bring your men by the first train, and we will arrange with the railroad afterward.
Streets red with Maryland blood
! Send expresses over the mountains and valleys of Maryland
for the riflemen to come without delay.
Further hordes [meaning loyal volunteers] will be down upon us to-morrow.
We will fight them and whip them, or die.”
Early the next morning Johnson
posted handbills in Frederick
calling upon the secessionists to rally to his standard.
Many came, and with them he hastened to Baltimore
and made his Headquarters in the house No. 34 Holliday Street, opposite Kane
's office in the old City Hall.
passed the night of the 19th at the house of Mayor Brown
At eleven o'clock the Mayor
, with the concurrence of the Governor
, sent a committee, consisting of Lenox Bond
, George W. Dobbin
, and John C. Brune
, to President Lincoln
, with a letter, in which he assured the chief magistrate
that the people of Baltimore
were “exasperated to the highest degree by the passage of troops,” and that the citizens were “universally decided in the opinion that no more should be ordered to come.”
But for the exertions of the authorities, he said, a fearful slaughter would have occurred that day; and he conceived it to be his solemn duty, under the circumstances, to inform the President
that it was “not possible for more soldiers to pass through Baltimore
, unless they fight their way at every step.”
He concluded by requesting the President
not to order or permit any more troops to pass through the city.
“If they should attempt it,” he said, “the responsibility for the bloodshed will not rest upon me.”
Having performed this duty, the Governor
and the Mayor
went to bed. Their slumbers were soon broken by Marshal Kane
and Ex-Governor Lowe
, who came at midnight for authority to commit further outrages upon the
Government and private property, which had been planned by the conspirators some days before, and “had been proclaimed in other parts of the State
said that he had received information by telegraph that other troops were on their way to Baltimore
by the railways from Harrisburg
, and proposed the immediate destruction of bridges on these roads, to prevent the passage of cars.
approved the plan, but said his jurisdiction was limited to the corporate boundaries of the city.
The Governor had the power to order the destruction; and to his chamber the three (with a brother of the Mayor
) repaired, Mr. Hicks
being too ill to rise.
They soon came out of that chamber with the Governor
's acquiescence in their plans, they said; but which he afterward explicitly denied in a communication to the Maryland Senate, and later
in an address to the people of Maryland
Their own testimony.shows that his consent was reluctantly given, if given at all, in the words:--“I suppose it must be done ;” and then only, according to common rumor and common belief, after arguments such as South Carolina
vigilance committees generally used had been applied.15
With this alleged authority, Kane
, accompanied by Mayor Brown
and his brother, hastened to the office of Charles Howard
, the President
of the Board of Police, who was waiting for them, when that officer and the Mayor
issued orders for the destruction of the bridges.16
The work was soon accomplished.
A gang of lawless men hastened out to the Canton bridge
, two or three miles from the city, on the
Destruction of the Bridge over gunpowder Creek.17 |
Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railway, and destroyed it. As the train from the North
approached the station, it was stopped by the interference of a pistol fired at the engineer.
The passengers were at once turned out of the cars, and these were filled by the mob, who compelled the engineer to run his train back to the long bridges over the Gunpowder
and Bush Creeks
, arms of Chesapeake Bay
These bridges were fired, and large
portions of them were speedily consumed.
Another party went up the Northern Central Railway to Cockeysville
, about fifteen miles north of Baltimore
, and destroyed the two wooden bridges there, and other smaller structures on the road.
In the mean time the telegraph wires had been cut on all the lines leading out of Baltimore
, excepting the one that kept the conspirators in communication with Richmond
by the way of Harper's Ferry
Thus, all communication by railway or telegraph between the seat of government and the loyal States of the Union
was absolutely cut off, or in the hands of the insurgents.18
The Committee sent to the President
by Governor Hicks
and Mayor Brown
had an interview with him at an early hour on the morning of the 20th.
The President and General Scott
had already been in consultation on the subject of the passage of troops through Baltimore
, and the latter had hastily said: “Bring them around
Acting upon this hint, the President
assured the Committee
that no more troops should be called through Baltimore
, if they could pass around it without opposition or molestation.
This assurance was telegraphed by the Committee
to the Mayor
, but it did not satisfy the conspirators.
They had determined that no more troops from the North
should pass through Maryland
, and so they would be excluded from the Capital
Military preparations went actively on in Baltimore
to carry out this determination, and every hour the isolation of the Capital
from the loyal men of the country was becoming more and more complete.
The excitement in Washington
was fearful; and at three o'clock on the morning of the 21st (Sunday) the President
sent for Governor Hicks
and Mayor Brown
The former was not in the city.
The latter, with Messrs. Dobbin
, and S. T. Wallis
, hastened to Washington
, where they arrived at ten o'clock in the morning.
At that interview General Scott
to bring troops by water to Annapolis
, and march them from there, across Maryland
, to the Capital
, a distance of about forty miles. The Mayor
and his friends were not satisfied.
The soil of Maryland
must not be polluted anywhere
with the tread of Northern troops; in other words, they must be kept from the seat of government, that the traitors might more easily seize it. They urged upon the President
, “in the most earnest manner, a course of policy which would give peace to the country, and especially the withdrawal of all orders contemplating the passage of troops through any part
When the Mayor
and his friends reached the cars to return, they were met by an electrograph from Mr. Garrett
of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, informing them that a large number of troops were at Cockeysville
, on their way to Baltimore
They immediately returned to the President
, who summoned General Scott
and some of the members of the Cabinet
to a conference.
The President was anxious to preserve the peace, and show that he had acted in good faith in calling the Mayor
; and he expressed a strong desire that the troops at Cockeysville
should be sent back to York
,” said the Mayor
in his report, “adopted the President
's views warmly, and an order was accordingly prepared by the Lieutenant-General
to that effect, and forwarded by Major Belger
of the Army,” who accompanied the Mayor
Even this humiliation of the Government
did not appease the conspirators and their friends, and they so far worked viciously upon the courage and firmness of Governor Hicks
, that he was induced to send a message to the President
on the 22d, advising him not to order any more troops to pass through Maryland
, and to send elsewhere some which had already arrived at Annapolis
He urged him to offer a truce to the insurgents to prevent further bloodshedding, and said: “I respectfully suggest that Lord Lyons [the British Minister
] be requested to act as mediator between the contending parties of our country.”
To these degrading propositions Secretary Seward
replied, in behalf of the President
, in which he expressed the deepest regret because of the public disturbances, and assured the Governor
that the troops sought to be brought through Maryland
were “intended for nothing but the defense of the Capital
He reminded his Excellency
that the route chosen by the General-in-chief
for the march of troops absolutely needed at the Capital
, was farthest removed from the populous cities of the State
; and then he administered the following mildly drawn but stinging rebuke to the chief magistrate
of a State professing to hold allegiance to the Union
, who had so far forgotten his duty and the dignity of his Commonwealth as to make such suggestions as Governor Hicks
“The President cannot but remember,” he said, “that there has been a time in the history of our country  when a General [Winder] of the American Union, with forces designed for the defense of its Capital, was not unwelcome anywhere in the State of Maryland
, and certainly not at Annapolis
, then, as now, the capital of that patriotic State, and then, also, one of the capitals of the Union
If eighty years could have obliterated all the other noble sentiments of that age in Maryland
, the President
would be hopeful, nevertheless, that there is
one that would ever remain there as everywhere.
That sentiment is, that no domestic contention whatever, that may arise among the parties of this Republic, ought in any case to be referred to any foreign arbitrament, least of all to the arbitrament of a European monarchy.”
Still another embassy, in the interest of the secessionists of Baltimore
, waited upon the President
These were delegates from five of the Young Men
's Christian Associations of that city, with the Rev. Dr. Fuller
, of the Baptist Church, at their head.
The President received them cordially, and treated them kindly.
He met their propositions and their sophisms with Socratic reasoning.
When Dr. Fuller
assured him that he could produce peace if he would let the country know that he was “disposed to recognize the independence of the Southern States
--recognize the fact that they have formed a government of their own; and that they will never again be united with the North
,” the President
asked, significantly, “And what is to become of the revenue?”
When the Doctor
expressed a hope that no more troops would be allowed to cross Maryland
, and spoke of the patriotic action of its inhabitants in the past, the President
simply replied, substantially, “I must
have troops for the defense of the Capital
are now marching across Virginia
to seize the Capital
and hang me. What am I to do?
have troops, I say; and as they can neither crawl under Maryland
, nor fly over it, they must come across it.”
With these answers the delegation returned to Baltimore
The Government virtually declared that it should take proper measures for the preservation of the Republic
without asking the consent of the authorities or inhabitants of any State; and the loyal people said Amen!
Neither Governor Hicks
, nor the Mayor
, nor the clergy nor laity of the churches there, ever afterward troubled the President
with advice so evidently emanating from the implacable enemies of the Union
The National Capital and the National Government
were in great peril, as we have observed, at this critical juncture.
The regular Army, weak in numbers before the insurrection, was now utterly inadequate to perform its duties as the right arm of the nation's power.
's treason in Texas
had greatly diminished its available force, and large numbers of its officers, especially of those born in Slave-labor States, were resigning their commissions, abandoning their flag, and joining the enemies of their country.22
Among those who resigned at this time was Colonel Robert Edmund Lee
, of Virginia
, an accomplished engineer officer, and one of the most trusted and beloved by the venerable General-in-chief.
His patriotism had become weakened by the heresy of State Supremacy, and he seems to have been easily
seduced from his allegiance to his flag by the dazzling offers of the Virginia
So early as the 14th of April, he was informed by the President
of the Virginia Convention that that body would, on the nomination of Governor Letcher
, appoint him commander of all the military and naval forces of the Commonwealth
When, on the 17th, the usurpers, through violence and fraud, passed an ordinance of secession, he said, in the common phrase of the men of easy political virtue, “I must go with my State;” and, on the 20th, in a letter addressed to General Scott
, from his beautiful seat of “Arlington House,” on Arlington Hights, opposite Washington
Arlington House in 1860.24 |
, he proffered the resignation of his commission in terms of well-feigned reluctance.25
He then hastened to Richmond
, and offered his services to the enemies of his country.
He was received by the Convention
with profound respect, for he was the representative of one of the most distinguished families of the State
, and brought to the conspirators an intimate knowledge of General Scott
's plans, and the details of the forces of the National Government
, with which he had been fully intrusted.
Alexander H. Stephens
, Lieutenant Maury
of the National
Observatory,26 Governor Letcher
, and others who were present, joined in the reception of Lee
He was then greeted by the President
, who made a brief speech, in which he announced to the Colonel
that the Convention
had, on that day, on the nomination of Governor Letcher
, appointed him General-in-chief
of the Commonwealth
; to which the recipient replied in a few words, accepting the so-called honor.27
In time, Lee
became the General-in-chief
of all the armies in rebellion against his Government, at whose expense he had been educated, and whose bread he had eaten for more than thirty years.28
No man had stronger inducements to be a loyal citizen than Robert E. Lee
His ties of consanguinity and association with the founders of the Republic
, and the common gratitude of a child toward a generous and loving foster-parent, should have made him hate treason in its most seductive forms, instead of embracing it in its most hideous aspect.
He was a grandson of the “Lowland beauty,” spoken of by the biographer as the object of Washington
's first love.
He was a son of glorious “Legion Harry Lee
,” who used his sword gallantly in the old war for independence and the rights of man, in New York, New Jersey
, and especially in the Southern States
, and who was the leader of an army to crush an insurrection.29
He was intimately associated with the Washington
family, having married the daughter of an adopted son of the Father
of his Country (George Washington Parke Custis
); and his residence, “Arlington House,” was filled with furniture, and plate, and china, and pictures, from Mount Vernon
, the consecrated home of the patriot.
It was one of the most desirable residences in the country.
Around it spread out two hundred acres of lawn, and forest, and garden; and before it flowed the Potomac
, beyond which, like a panorama, lay the cities of Washington
A charming family made this home an earthly paradise.
The writer had been a frequent guest there while, the founder of Arlington House (Mr. Custis
) was yet alive.
He was there just before the serpent of secession beguiled the later master.
It was his ideal of a home that should make the possessor grateful for the blessings, political and social, that flow from our beneficent Government, under which all rights are fully secured to every citizen.
War came and wrought great changes in the relations of men and things.
The writer visited Arlington House again with two traveling companions (F. J. Dreer
and Edwin Greble
, of Philadelphia
), not as a guest, but as an observer of events that sadden his heart while he makes the record.
It was just before sunset on a beautiful day in early May, 1865, when the possessor of Arlington30
had been engaged for four years in endeavors to
destroy his Government, and to build upon its ruins a hideous empire founded upon human slavery.
How altered the aspect!
The mighty oaks of the fine old forest in the rear of the mansion had disappeared, and strewn thickly over the gently undulating ground, and shaded by a few of the smaller trees that the ax had spared, were the green graves of seven thousand of our countrymen — many of them of the flower of the youth of the Republic
— who had died on the battle-field, in the camp, or in the hospital.
It was a vast cemetery, belonging to the National Government
, having long graveled lanes among the graves.
Even in the garden, and along the crown of the green slope in front of the mansion, were seen little hillocks, covering the remains of officers.
In the midst of this garner of the ghastly fruits of the treason of Lee
and his associates — fruits that had been literally laid at his door
--were the beautiful white marble monuments erected to the memory of the venerable Custis
and his life-companion — the founders of “Arlington House” and the parents of Lee
On that of the former we read the sweet words of Jesus, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy
Then we thought of Belle Island
, in the James River
, which we had just visited, and of the hundreds of our starved countrymen held there as prisoners in the blistering summer's sun and the freezing winter's storm, into whose piteous faces, where every lineament was a tale of unutterable suffering vainly pleading in mute eloquence for mercy, Robert E. Lee
might have looked any hour of the day with his field-glass from the rear gallery of his elegant brick mansion on Franklin Street, in Richmond
It seemed almost as if there was a voice in the air, saying, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”
While army and navy officers were abandoning their flag, it was painfully evident to the President
and his Cabinet that Washington City
was full of resident traitors, who were ready to assist in its seizure.
Many of the District
militia, who had been enrolled for the defense of the Government
, were known to be disloyal;32
and when, on the 18th of April, word came to some guests — true men — at Willard's Hotel, that a large body of Virginians
were to seize Harper's Ferry
and its munitions of war, and the rolling stock of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, that evening, and, during the night, make a descent upon the Capital
, while secessionists in Washington
were to rise in rebellion, set fire to barns and other combustible buildings, and, in the confusion and terror that conflagration would produce, join the invaders, and make the seizure of the President
and his Cabinet, the archives of the Government
, and public buildings an easy task, it seemed as if the prophecy of Walker
, at Montgomery
was about to be fulfilled.
It was one of those
moments upon which have hung the fate of empires.
Happily, the men at Willard
's at that time, to whom the startling message came, comprehended the magnitude of the danger and had nerve to meet it. They assembled in secret all the loyal guests in that house, and, forming them into committees, sent them to the other hotels to seek out guests there who were known to be true, and invite them to a meeting in a church on F Street, in the rear of Willard
A large number assembled at the appointed hour.
They took a solemn oath of fidelity to the old flag, and signed a pledge to do every thing in their power in defense of the Capital
, and to be ready for action at a moment's warning, when called by General Scott
. Cassius M. Clay
, the distinguished Kentuckian
, was among them.
He was appointed their leader, and thus was formed the notable Casius M. Clay
Battalion, composed of some of the noblest and most distinguished men in the country, in honor, wealth, and social position.
They chose efficient officers; and all that night they patroled the streets of the city to guard against incendiaries, and prevent the
assembling of the secessionists.
Another party, commanded by General Lane
, of Kansas
, went quietly to the “White House
” --the Presidential mansion — to act as a body-guard to his Excellency
They made the great East Room
, their quarters, where they remained until the danger was passed.
The principal passages of the Treasury building
were guarded by howitzers.
, as we have observed, occupied the Halls of Congress, in the Capitol
; and General Scott
took measures to make that building a well garrisoned citadel.
Thither stores and munitions of war were carried, and in it howitzers were planted; and behind the massive walls of that magnificent structure, with a few hundred men as defenders, the President
and his Cabinet and the archives of the nation would have been safe until the thousands of the men of the loyal North
, then aroused and moving, could reach and rescue them.
Although the President
and his Cabinet were not actually compelled to take refuge in the well-guarded Capitol
, yet for several days after the affair in Baltimore
, and the interruption of communication with the Free-labor States, they and the General-in-chief
were virtually prisoners at the seat of Government.
Soldiers from the Gulf
States and others below the Roanoke
, with those of Virginia
, were pressing eagerly toward the Capital
, while the Minute-men of Maryland
and the secessionists of Washington
were barely restrained from action by the Pennsylvanians and the Cassius M. Clay Battalion
, until the speedy arrival of other troops from the North
gave absolute present security to the Government
The massacre in the streets of Baltimore
and the dangers that threatened the isolated Capital, produced the most intense anxiety and excitement throughout the Free-labor States, while the conspirators and insurgents were jubilant, because they regarded the stand taken by the secessionists of that city as a sure promise of the active
The East room.35 |
and effective co-operation of all Marylanders in the work of seizing the Capital
That massacre seemed to the loyal people as an imperative call to patriotic duty, and like one of the repetitions of history.
It was on the 19th of April, 1775, that the blood of the citizen soldiery of Massachusetts
first that was shed in that revolution in which the liberties of the American
people were secured, moistened the green sward at Lexington
; now, on the 19th of April, 1861, the blood of the citizen soldiery of Massachusetts
was the first that was shed in defense of those liberties endangered by a malignant internal foe. The slain at Lexington
, in 1775, and the slain in Baltimore
, in 1861, were regarded as equal martyrs; and with the hot indignation that burned in every loyal bosom was mingled a reverential recognition of the dignity and significance of that sacrifice, for thoughtful men read in it a prophecy of the purification and strengthening of the nation by the good providence of God.
Luther C. Ladd
, a young mechanic of Lowell
, only a little more than seventeen years of age; Addison O. Whitney
, another young mechanic of Lowell
, but twenty-one years of age; and Charles A. Taylor
, a decorative painter, of Boston
, who were killed outright,37
and Sumner H. Needham
, of Lawrence
, a plasterer by trade, who was mortally wounded, were the slain of the New England
troops in Baltimore
“I pray you, cause the bodies of our Massachusetts
soldiers, dead in battle,” telegraphed Governor Andrew
to Mayor Brown
, “to be immediately laid out, preserved in ice, and tenderly sent forward by express to me. All expenses will be
paid by this Commonwealth.”
promised acquiescence in the request; reminded the Governor
that the Massachusetts
troops were considered invaders of the soil of Maryland
; told him that the wounded were “tenderly cared for,” and said: “Baltimore
will claim it as her right to pay all expenses incurred.”
The Governor thanked the Mayor
for his kind attention to the wounded and dead, and then, with rebukeful words that will ever be remembered, he exclaimed: “I am overwhelmed with surprise that a peaceful march of American citizens over the highway to the defense of our common Capital, should be deemed aggressive to Baltimore
Through New York the march was triumphal.”
It was several days before the bodies of the young martyrs reached Boston
On the 6th of May,
those of Ladd
arrived at Lowell
by a special train.
The day was dark and stormy.
All the mills of the city were stopped running, the stores were closed, and all business was suspended.
The bodies were received by a great concourse of citizens and six military companies just organized for the war, and escorted to Huntington Hall, which was draped in black.
There funeral services were held, during which, the Rev. W. R. Clark
, of the Methodist Church, preached an impressive sermon before the authorities of the city and the people ;38
and then the two bodies were laid in a vault
in the Lowell Cemetery
A little more than four years afterward, the remains of these “first martyrs” were laid beneath a beautiful monument of Concord
granite, erected, to commemorate their history, in Merrimack Square, in Lowell
It was formally dedicated on the 17th of June, 1865, in the presence of nearly twenty thousand people, who were addressed by the same chief magistrate of the Commonwealth
who had besought the Mayor
to send the bodies of the young men “tenderly” to him. In the mean time Maryland
had disappointed the hopes of the conspirators, and dissipated the cloud that then hung over her like a pall.
had soon attested and vindicated its loyalty and at tachment to the Union
; and Maryland
had not only spurned the traitors, but had purged her soil of the evil root of slavery,39
for the perpetuation of which they had taken up arms.
At the conclusion of the consecrating ceremonies at the tomb of the young martyrs in Lowell
, Lieutenant-Colonel Morris
Martyrs' Monument.40 |
of the staff of Governor Bradford
, of Maryland
, presented to Governor Andrew
, as the representative of Massachusetts
, a beautiful National banner, made of silk, and wrought by
the loyal women of Baltimore
for the purpose.
It was of regimental size, and surmounted by a carved eagle holding thunderbolts in its talons, and an olive-branch in its beak.
On the polished black-walnut staff was a silver plate, bearing an engraving of the arms of Maryland
and of Massachusetts
, and the words, “Maryland
, April 19, 1865.
May the Union
and friendship of the future obliterate the Anguish of the past.”
This was the crowning evidence of the sorrow of true Marylanders for the wrongs inflicted on citizens of Massachusetts
in their commercial capital, and a desire to obliterate the feelings occasioned by them.
Only a few months after the occurrence, and when the Union
men of the State
had obtained partial control of the public affairs of the Commonwealth
, the Legislature took steps
to “wipe out,” as they expressed it, “the foul blot of the Baltimore
riot;” and on the 5th of March, 1862, the General Assembly appropriated seven thousand dollars, to be disbursed, under the direction of the Governor
, for the relief of the families of those who were then injured.
cordially embrace each other as loving sisters in the great family of the Nation.
“ Through New York the march [of Massachusetts
troops] was triumphal,” said Governor Andrew
It was so. The patriotism of the people of that great city and of the State
had been thoroughly aroused, as we have observed, by the attack on Fort Sumter
; and now, when the National Government
was struggling for life in the toils of the conspirators, with no ability to make its perils known to the loyal people, they put forth the strong arm of their power without stint.
Already the Legislature had authorized the Governor
to enroll thirty thousand troops for two years, instead of for three months, and appropriated three millions of dollars for war purposes.
Now, the citizens of the metropolis, in concert with General Wool
, performed services of incalculable value, which the General-in-chief
afterward declared had been mainly instrumental in saving the Capital
from seizure, and the Republic
They heard the call of the President
for seventy-five thousand men with profound satisfaction.
On the same evening some gentlemen met at the house of an influential citizen, and resolved to take immediate measures for the support of the, Government.
On the following day,
they invited, by a printed circular letter, other citizens to join them, for the purpose of making arrangements for a public meeting of men of all parties, “to sustain the Federal Government
in the present crisis.”
The arrangements were made, and the
great meeting at Union Square, already mentioned,43
was held on the 20th of April, when a Committee of Safety was appointed.
It was composed of some of the most distinguished citizens of New York, of all parties.
They organized that evening, with the title of the Union
Intelligence had already gone over the land of the attack on the Massachusetts
troops in the streets of Baltimore
, and the isolation and perils of the Capital
; and the first business of the Committee
was to facilitate the equipment and outfit of regiments of volunteer militia, and their dispatch to the seat of Government.
So zealously and efficiently did they work, that within ten days from the time when the President
made his call for troops, no less than eight thousand well-equipped and fully armed men had gone to the field from the city of New York
Already, before the organization of the Committee
, the celebrated Seventh Regiment of the National Guard of New York, Colonel Marshall Lefferts
, had left for Washington City
; and on the day after the great meeting (Sunday, the 21st), three other regiments had followed, namely, the Sixth, Colonel Pinckney
; the Twelfth, Colonel Butter
-field; and the Seventy-first, Colonel Vosburg
, next in rank to the General-in-chief
, and the Commander
of the Eastern Department, which comprised the whole country eastward of the Mississippi River
, was then at his home and Headquarters at Troy, New York
When he heard of the affair at Baltimore
, he hastened to Albany
, the State
capital, to confer with Governor Morgan
While he was there, the Governor
received an electrograph, urging him to send troops forward to Washington
as speedily as possible.
At the same time he received an offer of the regiment of Colonel Ellsworth
, whose skillfully executed and picturesque Zouave tactics had lately excited the attention and admiration of the country.
These volunteers were accepted, and the Governor
determined to push forward troops as fast as possible.
at once issued orders
to Colonel Tompkins
, the United States
Quartermaster at New York, to furnish all needful transportation; and Major Eaton
, the Commissary of Subsistence
, was directed to issue thirty days rations to each soldier that might be ordered to Washington
went to New York on the evening of the 20th, and was followed by General Wool
on the 22d.
The veteran made his Headquarters at the St. Nicholas Hotel
, and there he was waited upon by the Union Defense Committee
on the 23d, when a plan of operations for the
salvation of the Capital
was arranged between them.
No communication could be made to the Government
, as we have observed.
could not speak to a single regiment outside of the District of Columbia; and General Wool
was compelled, in order to act in conformity to the demands of the crisis and desires of the loyal people, to assume great responsibilities.
He did so, saying :--“I shall probably be the only victim; but, under the circumstances, I am prepared to make the sacrifice, if thereby the Capital
may be saved.”
Day and night he labored with the tireless energy of a strong man of forty years, until the work was accomplished.
Ships were chartered, supplies were furnished, and troops were forwarded to Washington
with extraordinary dispatch, by way of Chesapeake Bay
and the Potomac River
The transports were convoyed by armed steamers to shield them from pirates; and one of them — the Quaker City
--was ordered to Hampton Roads
, to prevent the insurgents transporting heavy guns from the Gosport Navy Yard
with which to attack Fortress Monroe
, the military key to Virginia
To that immensely important military work, Wool
sent gun-carriages, ammunition, and provisions, that it might be held, and command the chief waters of Virginia
A dozen State Governors applied to him, as the superior military officer that could be reached, for advice and for munitions of war, and he assisted in arming no less than nine States.45
In reply to Governor Yates
, of Illinois
, asking for five thousand muskets and a complement of ammunition, he directed him to send a judicious officer, with four or five companies, to take possession of the Arsenal at St. Louis
, which he believed to be in danger of seizure by the secessionists of Missouri
He also telegraphed to Frank P. Blair
, of St. Louis
(afterward a major-general in the National Army
), to assist in the matter.
By judicious management, twenty-one thousand stand of small arms, two field-pieces, and one hundred and ten thousand rounds of ammunition were transferred from St. Louis
also ordered heavy cannon, carriages, et coetera
, to Cairo, Illinois
, which speedily became a place of great interest, in a military point of view.
He authorized the Governors
of New Hampshire
to put the coast defenses within the borders of their respective States in good order, and approved of other measures proposed for the defense of the seaport towns supposed to be in danger from the pirate vessels of the “Confederacy,” then known to be afloat.
He also took the responsibility of sending forward to Washington Colonel Ellsworth
's Zouave Regiment, composed principally of New York firemen, who were restrained, for the moment, by official State authority.46
Troops and subsistence so promptly forwarded to Washington
by the Union Defense Committee
, under the direction of General Wool
, and with the cordial co-operation of Commodores Breese
, saved the Capital
from seizure.47 Fortress Monroe
, made secure by the same energetic measures, held, during the entire war, a controlling power over all lower
and eastern Virginia
and upper North Carolina
; and the possession of the arms in the St. Louis Arsenal by the friends of the Government
, at that time, was of the greatest importance to the National
cause in the Mississippi Valley
We shall consider this matter presently.
When the troops sent forward had opened the way to Washington
, the first communication that General Wool
received from his
superiors was an order from the General-in-chief
to return to his Headquarters at Troy
, for “the recovery of his health, known to be feeble.”
The General's health was perfect.
He, and the Union Defense Committee
(who appreciated his services, and heartily thanked him for them), and the people, were surprised.
The Secretary of War
by the veteran why he had been sent into retirement at that critical juncture of affairs.
A month later,
the minister replied:--“You were ordered to return to your Headquarters at Troy
, because the issuing of orders by you, on the application of the various Governors, for arms, ammunition, et coetera
, without consultation, seriously embarrassed the prompt and proper administration of the Department.”
This sentence in the letter seemed more extraordinary than the order of the General-in-chief
The Government, during the time alluded to, could not be consulted.
It was, as it were, shut up in prison, and its rescue from imminent peril had been effected only by the employment of unauthorized measures, less grave than the Government
itself was compelled to resort to for its own preservation — measures which it afterward asked Congress to sanction by special act.48
The people were
not satisfied, and, they complained.
Their murmurs were heeded; and, a few weeks
later, General Wool
was called from his retirement and
a August 17, placed in command of the Department of Southeastern Virginia, 1861
. which had been recently created, with his Headquarters at Fortress Monroe
He succeeded General Butler
, who was assigned to another field of active duty.