On the 18th of April notice was received from Harrisburg that two companies
of United States artillery and four companies of militia would arrive in the city
that afternoon. A large crowd assembled at the station, and followed the soldiers
on their march through the streets to take the train for Washington, with abuse
and threats. Outbreaks occurred in various parts of the city and a meeting was
held, attended by men well known and respected in the community, at which
strong ground was taken against the passage of any more troops thro'ugh
Baltimore, and armed resistance to it was threatened.
On the forenoon of the 19th of April the Sixth Massachusetts regiment
arrived in Baltimore on its way to Washington. The cars were, according to
daily custom, to be detached from the engine at the Philadelphia station and
drawn by horses for the distance of a mile to the Washington station. Nine cars
made the passage, although missiles were thrown and some of the windows were
broken. But obstructions having been placed on the track, the other cars turned
back, and four companies formed on the street, and began their march to the
station. The crowd on the way was not large, and there was no concert in its
action, but the attack on the troops was violent. Rioters rushed at the soldiers,
and attempted to seize their muskets. Men fell dead or wounded on both sides.
The police bravely protected the soldiers, and, although there was confusion
when the station was reached, the soldiers were safely placed in the cars, the
train moved out, and passed on to Washington.
After the news of the fight spread through the city, the excitement became
more intense. The Governor of the State, the Mayor and prominent citizens
were all agreed that if more troops should pass through the city there would be
a bloody conflict ; and the Mayor sent a letter to Washington requesting that no
more troops should be ordered by the Government to do so. Next morning, the
20th, the excitement and alarm had deepened. The City Council assembled and
appropriated $500,000 to be used in putting the city in a complete state of defense
against any danger that might arise, and the banks promptly advanced that sum.
Next came a letter from the President to the effect that troops would march
around Baltimore, but not throngh.it. Preparations for the defense of the city
were nevertheless continued. Armed men marched through the streets, military
companies moved about in every direction, and the various railroad bridges
leading into the city were burned by order of the authorities. On the 21st it
was rumored that 3,000 troops were near the city on their way from Pennsylvania,
but they halted at Cockeysville, and were finally ordered to return to their own
State. For days the city was in a feverish condition, but the authorities were
determined to resist all open acts of hostility to the Federal Government, and
they accomplished their purpose.
On April 22 Governor Hicks convened the General Assembly of the State