Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 24, 1861 (Wednesday): Government or Anarchy?

Map of Pennsylvania Railroad

P., W. & B. R. R. Co.,
Philadelphia, April 24, 1861

Hon. Simon Cameron:
Dear Sir:  Mr. Thomason, Mr. Sanford, and myself organized a plan to supply Washington with troops and provisions, &c, by way of Annapolis.  A part of this plan was for Fort McHenry to allow no hostile force to leave Baltimore to seize transports.  This we have not effected, of course, as we had no means to do it.  We want command of the railroad from Washington to Annapolis and of the telegraph.  This, of course, the Government must effect.  The rest we can do, and are doing as rapidly as we can.  We have assumed great responsibility, both pecuniarily and otherwise, but no good man ought in these times to shrink from any amount of responsibility within his reach.  It is a question between government or anarchy, and who can hesitate?
Your, truly,


Felton was in charge of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad Company and was active in defense of the Union from before the start of the War.  His trains brought Abraham Lincoln on the final leg of his trip to Washington to assume office, getting the President-Elect safely through a hostile Baltimore.  His company and private detectives, kept up a running duel with Confederate sympathizers under Isacc Trimble (also a railroad man) as Trimble's men burned bridges along the rail lines leading to Washington.

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