Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 19, 1861 (Friday): Mayhem in Baltimore

Image of the Baltimore Riot of 1861

Statement of George M. Gill.

Baltimore, July 12, 1861

Hon. Geo. Wm. Brown, Mayor of the City of Baltimore:


My impression on that day was and still is that the events arose from a sudden impulse which seized upon some of our people, and that after the firing commenced and blood was shed many persons took part under an impression that the troops were killing our people, and without knowing the circumstances of provocation which induced the troops to fire.  Matters reached their height after Mr. Davis was killed, and the intense excitement resulting from this and other causes produced a state of feeling which for a time was beyond control on the part of the city authorities.

Yours, very respectfully,


Gill joined Baltimore Mayor Brown in trying to calm a mob which attempted to stop Union troops traveling through the city from continuing South.   The rail line was not continuous through the city and horses had to pull cars across to where the line resumed.  As the Pennsylvania and Massachusetts troops walked between the stops, a mob attempted to block their path.  Despite the efforts of the mayor and Baltimore police, bricks were thrown and a few shots came from the crowd.  The troops returned fire, killing 12 civilians.  Four of their number died.

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