Chapter 2: Maryland's First patriotic movement in 1861.
On April 12, 186, South Carolina
fired on Fort Sumter
, and on April 15th President Lincoln
issued his proclamation, calling on the States for 75,000 militia ‘to maintain the Union
and to redress wrongs already too long endured.’
He did not specify the wrongs nor the period of endurance.
With the proclamation went out from the secretary of war a requisition on the governors of each of the States for the State
's quota of the 75,000 troops.
promptly responded by passing her ordinance of secession on the 7th, not, however, to take effect until it had been ratified by a vote of the people, to be cast on the 24th of May; and the governor of Virginia
, John Letcher
, moved Virginia
troops to Harper's Ferry
and ‘retook, reoccupied and repossessed’ that property of Virginia
which she had ceded to the Union
for the common welfare and mutual benefit of all the States, East and West, North and South.
Now that it was being diverted to the injury of part and the exclusive use of one section, Virginia
resumed the control of her ancient territory.
Had she had the power, she would have had the right ‘to resume possession, control and sovereignty’ of all the six States she had ceded to the Union
, northwest of the Ohio river
But, alas, her own children, born of her blood and bred of her loins, were foremost in striking at the heart and life of their mother.
The Northwest was the most ardent in ‘suppressing the rebellion,’ the forerunner of which had been independence from the British
nation and the right of self-government for the English
, and had breathed into their nostrils the breath of Statehood.
With the defiance of old Virginia
, went that of North Carolina
, who spurned the demand of the government back of it for men and arms to make war on brethren, kinsmen and fellow citizens.
tried the impracticable role of neutrality, but she was soon overrun by Federal troops.
assured the people that no troops should be sent from Maryland
, unless it was to defend the national capital.
The mayor of Baltimore
, George William Brown
, also issued his proclamation, expressing his satisfaction that no troops would be sent from Maryland
to the soil of any other State.
‘If the counsels of the governor,’ he said, ‘shall be heeded, we may rest secure in the confidence that the storm of civil war which now threatens the country will at least pass over our beloved State and leave it unharmed, but if they shall be disregarded a fearful and fratricidal strife may at once burst out in our midst.’
So the governor and the mayor.
The first knew well that in the strife of the elements, which was about to burst, in which the foundations of the mountains would be broken up and the winds of the tempest would sweep the land, the cry of ‘Peace!
was but the whining of babes—for Governor Hicks
was no fool.
He was a shrewd, sharp, positive man. He knew what he wanted and he took efficient means to procure it. He wanted to save Maryland
to the Northern States
He believed the Union
In the Southern Confederacy, Maryland
must, in his opinion, play a subordinate part and he, himself, fall back into the political obscurity from which he had been recently raised.
With the North
in possession of the national capital, protected by the Northern
navy through her bay and great rivers, would be a conspicuous power, and he, as her governor, would fill a distinguished role.
He knew that Maryland
was as ardently Southern as Virginia
are the more excitable race.
They are ardent, sympathetic and enthusiastic.
And they were afire at the threat of invasion of Virginia
Had the governor hinted at his ulterior hopes and designs—at his purpose to keep Maryland
quiet until she could be occupied by Northern troops and delivered, tied and manacled, to the Union
authorities—had he given open ground for suspicion of treachery, the State
would have risen, he would have been expelled, his government eradicated, and a revolutionary government of action instituted.
was a high-minded, just and honorable gentleman.
But he was a lawyer and an old man. He was devoted to his State and to his city, and no purer patriot ever lived than George William Brown
But he believed in law;
he could conceive of nothing higher than law. Force to him meant riot, and in a great city riot always means arson, robbery, murder and license.
The mayor believed that with the police and the fire departments he could control revolution and subdue the fires of insurrection.
He faithfully did his duty as he saw it. He and his police commissioners tried to keep the peace, and in three months all were landed in Federal prisons, where they were incarcerated for fourteen months, beyond the reach of habeas corpus, without charge or indictment.
thus suffered ‘the crucifixion of the soul,’ for her heart was with the Confederacy
and her body bound and manacled to the Union
On April 18th a battery of United States artillery under Major Pemberton
, accompanied by six companies of unarmed Pennsylvania
militia, arrived by the Northern Central railroad from Harrisburg
and marched via Howard street to the Baltimore & Ohio railroad station at Camden street, whence they were promptly dispatched to Washington
They were escorted through the city by a howling mob, who displayed secession flags (the Palmetto
flag of South Carolina
being conspicuous), and who emphasized their feelings by cheers for ‘Jeff Davis
and the Southern Confederacy.’
They were unarmed
and as weak looking as a drove of cattle as the regulars escorted them through the streets.
But the telegraph flamed out the news of the secession of Virginia
, and at night the story of the capture of Harper's Ferry
by the Virginia
troops, with whom were Marylanders led by Bradley Johnson
The town was afire the night of the 18th.
From all quarters came tidings of troops from the North and West, concentrating on Baltimore
The efficient militia of Massachusetts
, under Maj.-Gen. Benjamin F. Butler
, a man of ability, vigor and executive capacity, were on the march to protect the capital and to save the nation.
The New York Seventh, the ideal soldiers of peace parades, but in reality a gallant and game set, was filling its ranks, its cartridge boxes and its haversacks, and standing at attention, waiting word of command and tap of drum.
was rallying to the call of her great governor.
The Democracy of the West
, roused by Douglas
, was rising as one man to defend the flag, and one serried, unbroken line of steel stretched from the northeast corner of Maine
to the Mississippi river
, ready to march forward to invade, to crush and to conquer the South
There could be no misunderstanding as to the meaning of all this.
It meant war
—nothing but war
. War by one section on another.
War urged on by hatred, by malice, by greed, by desire for conquest, to overthrow institutions existing before the republic, to destroy a social order which had given the world soldiers, statesmen and philosophers, the peers of any who had ever lived.
The common people of Maryland
understood it. The plain people think with their hearts, and hearts
on questions of right and wrong are more unerring than heads.
They were all for the South
, and they were all for arming and fighting—fighting there on the spot—the first man or men who should presume to attempt to cross Maryland
to get at Virginia
But the upper class is always conservative.
, the ex-senators
, the exjudges
everywhere are always afraid.
The ‘have beens’ ever recur to the peaceful times when they directed affairs, and always will be abhorrent of noise, of tumult, of violence, of force and of change.
They cannot be leaders in revolution.
. at this crisis of her history was cursed by just such ‘conservatism.’
It was caused by her geographical position.
She could only follow.
She can never lead in such a crisis.
She lacked young leaders.
was in a worse situation, for her leaders led her into the quagmire of neutrality.
was better off, for Jackson
on the one side and Frank Blair
on the other were positive men, and promptly ranged the people of the State
in arms, for their respective sides.
had sons who were educated soldiers.
Robert Milligan McLane
came of soldier blood.
His grandfather, Allan McLane
, had been the comrade of Light Horse Harry in the campaign of Valley Forge
and had led the Delaware Legion, as Lee
had the Virginians.
graduated at West Point
, served with distinction in the Florida
campaign, but after that left the army and entered politics in Maryland
He had served in the State legislature, as representative in Congress from Maryland
, and occupied a conspicuous place in the confidence of the State
rights Southern people of Maryland
. George W. Hughes
had served with distinction for many years in the army of the United States and had won the grade of colonel in Mexico
He was now living in affluence and retirement on his plantation in Anne Arundel county
The party of action, the young men, looked to these old soldiers for advice and leadership.
But they were too old soldiers to plunge into a fight without troops, arms, ammunition or a commissary department.
and other young men were ready, but they had neither the experience nor the knowledge to qualify them for immediate leadership.
So on the night of April 18, 1861, Maryland
was standing alert, braced up, ready to charge at the word.
had seceded, the North
was the outpost to receive the first attack.
At that hour there was no division of opinion.
The State rights clubs had been flying the secession flag, the stars and bars of the Confederacy
, and the palmetto of South Carolina
The Union clubs had over their halls the stars and stripes; but during the afternoon of April 18th the Union
flags were hauled down and the State
flag of Maryland
And the black
was everywhere saluted with cheers, with shouts, with tears.
The telegraph gave hourly notice of the approach of the enemy.
had left Boston
; he had passed New York; he had gone through Philadelphia
; he was on the Susquehanna
held her breath.
Through New England
their route had been an ovation.
in New York the people went wild, as they did through New Jersey
There were eleven companies of Massachusetts
troops attached to the Sixth Massachusetts under command of Colonel Jones
an unarmed and ununiformed mob of Pennsylvanians, called a regiment, under Colonel Small
, was added to Colonel Jones
They came in a train of thirty-five cars and arrived at the President
street station at 11 a. m. Thence it was the custom of the railroad company to haul each car across the city, over a track laid in the street, to Camden station
of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, a distance of a little over a mile.
Nine cars with seven companies got through to Camden station
But that was as much as human nature could bear.
The mob of infuriated men increased every minute and the excitement grew.
The stones out of the street flew up and staved in the car windows.
The drivers unhitched their teams, hitched to the rear of their cars and made all haste back to President Street
station, where had been left the unarmed Pennsylvanians
and the rest of the Massachusetts
These men were marched out of the station,
formed in front of it, and then moved in a column of fours.
toward Camden station
In the meantime the railroad track had been torn up, the bridge on the south dismantled and obstructed, and the march of the troops was necessarily laborious and very slow.
The streets were packed with a dense mass of infuriated and excited men, encouraged by the apparent retreat of the troops and the success of the opposition to them.
The foremost files had to force their way through this pack of humanity.
George William Brown
, mayor of the town, with a gallantry and chivalry beyond imagination, for he was a Southern man and certified his fidelity by fourteen months imprisonment in Union dungeons, placed himself by the side of the captain of the leading company and forced their way through the crowd.
No man in Baltimore
was more loved, respected and admired than Brown
, and his escort of the ‘invader’ was submitted to while he was present.
But as soon as he had passed stones began to hail on the column.
The officers became rattled.
Instead of halting and confronting their enemy, they accelerated the step until the march became a half run. Then a pistol went off; then a musket; then two muskets, three muskets cracked, and citizens fell and died in their tracks.
Then reason fled.
The mob tore the muskets out of the hands of the soldiers and shot them down.
One man jerked the sword out of the hand of an officer and ran him through with it. Frank Ward
, a young lawyer, snatched the flag out of the hands of the color bearer and tore it from the lance, and while making off with it was shot through both thighs.
He survived though, to serve gallantly as adjutant of the First Maryland regiment, and is alive to-day.
had gone to the Camden station
to protect the troops there, when news came of this melee on Pratt street. He swung fifty policemen down the street in a double-quick, formed them across the street in the rear of the soldiers and ordered their pursuers to ‘halt.’
They halted, and then with the mayor of Baltimore
in front, the chief of police
in rear, the baited, harried, breathless preservers of the Union
reached Camden station
, where they were loaded on trains and dispatched, panic-stricken, to Washington
Outside the city limits, however, after the danger had passed, some heroic soul signalized his devotion to the flag by shooting in cold blood Robert W. Davis
, a reputable and well-known citizen and merchant, whose crime was alleged to have been a cheer for Jeff Davis
and the South
That evening, April 9th, Marshal Kane
telegraphed to Bradley T. Johnson
: ‘Streets red with Maryland
Send expresses over the mountains of Maryland
for the riflemen to come, without delay.
Fresh hordes will be down on us to-morrow.
We will fight them and whip them or die.’
, since the failure of the conference convention of March to act, had been engaged in organizing companies of minute men to resist invasion, by bushwhacking or any other practicable method.
He had corresponded with the captains of many volunteer companies in the State
, and all were moving toward concert of action.
The receipt of Kane
's telegram was the match to the magazine.
By seven o'clock on the 20th the Frederick company was assembled, took possession of the moving train on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad to Baltimore
, and by eleven o'clock marched down Baltimore street to Monument Square. Monument Square was the forum of Baltimore
, where the citizens always assembled in times of peril to consult and determine that the commonweal should receive no harm.
They were the first reinforcements to Baltimore
Next came two troops of cavalry from Baltimore county
, and next the Patapsco Dragoons
from Anne Arundel
rode straight to the city hall and presented themselves to Mayor Brown
to assist in the defense of the city.
The afternoon papers of the 19th spread all over the State
during the next day, and the State
Early on the morning of the 20th the city council appropriated
$500,000 for the defense of the city, to be used at the discretion of the mayor.
The banks furnished the money in two hours. Capt. Wilson Carey Nicholas
, with the Garrison Forest Rangers
—afterward Company G., First Maryland regiment, seized the United States arsenal at Pikesville
, where there was a deposit of antiquated arms and a considerable supply of gunpowder.
All the city companies of militia were under arms in their armories.
Col. Benjamin Huger
, of South Carolina
, who had been in command at Pikesville
for some years, but who had just resigned from the army of the United States, was made colonel of the Fifty-third regiment, Maryland
militia, composed of the Independent Grays
and the six companies of the Maryland Guard.
The command was admirably instructed, drilled and officered, and a majority of its officers and men afterward served in the army of the Confederate States
The mayor issued a notice calling on all citizens who had arms to deposit them with the commissioner of police, to be used in the defense of the city, and upon all who were willing to enroll themselves for military service.
Under this call over fifteen thousand volunteers were enrolled and partly organized on Saturday, the 20th, and Col. Isaac R. Trimble
was assigned to command them.
The railroad stations and State tobacco warehouses were used for drill rooms.
On Saturday night the bridges on the railroads leaving north from Baltimore
were burnt or disabled by a detachment of police and of the Maryland Guard, acting under the orders of Governor Hicks
The governor was in Baltimore
during the attack on the troops and was carried off his feet and out of his head by the furor of the hour.
He gave the order to burn the bridges.
He afterward strenuously denied giving it, but he gave it.
On Sunday morning, April 21st, the Howard County
Dragoons, Capt. George R. Earltree
, came in, and by the boat two companies from Easton
, and news came that the companies from Harford
George's were on the march.
Three batteries of light artillery were out on the streets, and the city was braced up in tense excitement.
Just after the people had gone to church on that day, about half-past 10, two men rode down Charles Street, in a sweeping gallop, from beyond the boundary to Lexington
and down Lexington
to the city hall.
They shouted as they flashed by, ‘The Yankees
are coming, the Yankees
Twenty-four hundred of Pennsylvania
troops, only half of them armed, had got as far as Cockeysville
, twenty miles from Baltimore
, where they had been stopped by the burnt bridges, and had gone into camp.
These couriers of disaster brought the news of this fresh invasion and it flashed through the city like an electric shock.
The churches dismissed their congregations, their bells rang, and in the twinkling of an eye the streets were packed with people—men and women in the hysterics of excitement pressing guns, pistols, fowling pieces, swords, daggers, bowie knives
, every variety of weapon, upon the men and beseeching them to drive back the hated invader.
In an hour Monument Square
was packed, crammed with such a mass of quivering humanity as has rarely been seen in human history.
Early that morning the mayor had gone to Washington
on a special train to see the President
and General Scott
at the invitation of the former to the governor and mayor to visit him for conference as to the best way to preserve the peace.
They arrived at an understanding that no more troops were to be marched through Baltimore
They were to be brought from Harrisburg
down to the Relay House
on the Northern Central railroad, seven miles north-west of the city, and thence by rail to Washington
proposed this plan to the President
, if the people of Maryland would permit it and would not molest the troops
. But if they were attacked, the general of the army said, he would bring troops from Perryville
boat to Annapolis
and thence by rail to Washington
The President and General Scott
both seemed to take it for granted that the Potomac
would be blockaded.
returned from Washington
with the assurance that the detachment at Cockeysville
would be ordered back, and that no troops should attempt to pass through Baltimore
The wires were all cut north of the city and all communication by rail or telegraph between the capital and the Northern States
was absolutely closed for several days.
The Eighth Massachusetts, with Brig.-Gen. B. F. Butler
, arrived at Perryville
on the 20th, took the steamboat Maryland
, and arrived at Annapolis
on the 21st.
On the 22d, the governor called an extra session of the general assembly to meet at Annapolis
on the 26th.
On the 24th the governor, ‘in consequence of the extraordinary state of affairs,’ changed the place of meeting to Frederick
On its meeting there the Hon. James Murray Mason
appeared before it, as a commissioner from the State of Virginia
authorized to conclude a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, between the two States.
The legislature had been elected in 1859 and was charged with no mandate for revolutionary times.
Ten members from Baltimore
were elected at a special election held in that city on the 24th, in the place of the delegation returned as elected in 1859, but unseated on account of fraud and violence at the election.
The new members were the leading men of the town—merchants, lawyers, representatives of the great business of commerce and trade of a great city.
They were John C. Brune
, Ross Winans
, Henry M. Warfield
, J. Hanson Thomas
, T. Parkin Scott
, H. Mason Morfit
, S. Teakle Wallis
, Charles H. Pitts
, William G. Harrison
, and Lawrence Langston
It was evident in twenty-four hours that ‘conservatism’ would rule the councils of the general assembly, as it had done those of the governor, and that all the influence of that body would be exerted against any action by the
State looking toward taking part in the revolution, which it was clear, was upon the whole country.
had brought back his company from Baltimore
, armed with Hall
's carbines, an antiquated and rejected breechloader, and had got his men into some sort of shape.
He remained in Frederick
at the request of the State
rights members of the legislature to guard and protect them from the Unionists of the town, who were loquacious and loud in their threats against ‘the Secesh
And the legislature was prompt to range itself on the side of peace and Union.
It met on the 26th of April.
On the 27th it issued an address disclaiming all idea, intention or authority to pass any ordinance of secession.
It appointed Otho Scott
, Robert M. McLane
and William J. Ross
commissioners to confer with the President
of the United States
and see what arrangements could be made to preserve the peace of the State
On May 6th these commissioners reported that they had had an interview with the President
, and that he had assured them that the State of Maryland
, so long as she did not array herself against the Federal
government, would not be molested or interfered with, except so far as it was necessary for the preservation of the Union
. But neither governor, general assembly nor commissioners to the President
had the faintest conception of the real state of things in Maryland
She was devoted to the Union
She was hostile to secession.
She abhorred the men who precipitated the Gulf
States into revolution.
She had no sympathy with slavery, for she had emancipated more than half her slaves and had established a negro State of Maryland
, where she was training her emancipated servants to take control of their own destiny as free men, and this colony she supported by annual appropriations out of her public taxes.
There was no involuntary servitude in Maryland
, for as soon as a servant became discontented he or she just walked over the line into Pennsylvania
, where they were safely harbored and concealed.
Therefore there was no sympathy in Maryland
for the proceedings convulsing the Southern States
But the proclamation of the President
, calling for 75,000 men ‘to redress wrongs already too long endured,’ changed the whole situation in the twinkling of an eye. It was no longer union or disunion, secession or State rights.
It was a question of invasion and self-defense.
The President had declared war on her sister State.
to support that war, or was she to stand by with hands folded and see her friends and kindred beyond the Potomac
put to the sword and the torch?
War on a State was against the common right.
The cause of each was the cause of all; and precisely as Maryland
had responded in 1775 to the cry of Massachusetts
for assistance, so now did the people of Maryland
, over governor, over general assembly, over peace commissioners, respond to the call of Virginia
The peace commissioners reported on May 6th.
On the 8th Captain Johnson
, having secured from Mason
an engagement that all troops that would go from Maryland
should be promptly received into the army of the Confederate States
, and from Colonel Jackson
, in command at Harper's Ferry
, permission to rendezvous on the Virginia
side, opposite Point of Rocks
, marched out of Frederick
to that place, crossed the Potomac
and reported to Capt. Turner Ashby
, then posted there with his troops of horse.
was to feed the Marylanders until further orders.
This pioneer company showed the way, and in a few days detachments of companies began to straggle in—the debris of Trimble
's fifteen thousand enrolled volunteers in Baltimore
Some marched with a semblance of order from Baltimore to the Point of Rocks
Some straggled in by twos and threes.
Some came in squads on the railroad.
But the State
was aflame and a steady stream of gallant youth poured into the rendezvous at Point of Rocks
and Harper's Ferry
By May 21st there were the skeletons of eight companies collected at Point of Rocks
Co. A. Capt. Bradley T. Johnson
Co. B. Capt. C. C. Edelin
, at Harper's Ferry
Co. C. Capt. Frank S. Price
Co. D. Capt. James R. Herbert
Co. E. Capt. Harry McCoy
Co. F. Capt. Thomas G. Holbrook
Co. G. Capt. Wilson Carey Nicholas
Co. H. Capt. Harry Welmore
They were mustered into the service of the Confederate States
on May 21st and 22d by Lieut.-Col. George Deas
on the staff of Gen. Jos. E. Johnston
, who in the meantime had superseded Colonel Jackson
in command at Harper's Ferry
. Captain Johnson
, as senior captain, refused to recognize the Virginia
Relying on the promise of Mr. Mason
, he insisted that the Marylanders should be received into the army of the Confederate States
, and not into the army of Virginia.
On May 21, 1861, Virginia
was not one of the Confederate States
He believed that Maryland
ought to be represented in the army by men bearing arms and her flag.
It was impossible for her to be represented in the political department of the government; therefore it was of vital importance that the flag of Maryland
should always be upheld in the armies of the Confederate States
In these eight companies there were about five hundred men. They effected a temporary organization among themselves under their senior captain, and sent up through the regular channels to President Davis
their application to have their battalion organized into the army of the Confederate States
, with Charles S. Winder
, late captain
Ninth infantry, U. S. A.
, as colonel, and Bradley T. Johnson