One hundred fifty years ago today Mayor George W. Brown wrote Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew and described the riot that took place the previous day in Baltimore, Maryland. The Sixth Massachusetts Regiment had left Philadelphia in the morning of April 19, 1861, but while crossing the between the President Street and the Camden railroad depots in Baltimore they were attacked in the streets by southern sympathizing rioters. The Sixth Massachusetts reached their Washington-bound train but not before they had suffered three killed and others wounded and opened fire in response, killing thirteen rioters. “Our people viewed the passage of armed troops to another State through the streets as an invasion of our soil, and could not be restrained,” as Mayor Brown explained. As “all communication between this city and…Boston by steamers [had] ceased,” Brown noted that “the bodies of the Massachusetts soldiers” had to remain in Baltimore and that they were “placed with proper funeral ceremonies in the mausoleum of Greenmount Cemetery.” Governor Andrew later replied that he was “overwhelmed with surprise that a peaceful march of American citizens over the highway to the defence of our common capital should be deemed aggressive to Baltimoreans.” You can read more about the Baltimore riot in David Detzer’s Dissonance: The Turbulent Days Between Fort Sumter and Bull Run (2006).
Listen to Mayor George Brown’s letter to Governor John Andrew:
Listen to Governor John Andrew’s reply to Mayor George Brown: