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By Bf"^F1'''''WATSON, Brkvet-Colonei. U. S. V. 




24 F "02 



An Oration 

Delivered at Huntington Hall, Lowell, Massachusetts, on April 19th, 1886, 
the hospitality of the City of Lowell being on that day extended to the 
Governor of Massachusetts and other distinguished Citizens, and the 
Municipal Authorities of Acton, Boston, Groton, Lawrence, Stoneham 
and Worcester, in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the 
passage through Baltimore of the 6th Regiment of Massachusetts 
Volunteers, April 19th, 1861. 


Comrades, Friends: 

In obedience to the commands of "The Old Sixth 
Massachusetts Regiment Association" at Acton one 
year ago, I have the honor now to present to you a few 
suggestions appropriate, as it seems to me, for your 
consideration on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 
march of "The Sixth" through Baltimore April 19th, 

It is meet that you indulge in exultation that your 
achievements, however fortuitous, have secured the 
homage of the people and Magistrates of this imperial 
Commonwealth ; a Commonwealth less, indeed, than 
many of its sister States in extent of territory and 
population, in wealth and commerce, but surpassed by 
none in the industry, intelligence and virtue of its 

people, in the wisdom of its laws and the uprightness 
and dignity of their administration. You are entitled 
to a just pride that you are the sons of sires who fought 
at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill; that you set 
out from Faneuil Hall — the very cradle of liberty ; that 
you bore in the van the ensign of a State, not content 
to send to the front one out of every thirteen of her 
male inhabitants of military age, as did the colonists in 
the War of the Revolution ; or one to every five, as 
did the loyal States in the War of the Rebellion, but 
only satisfied when she armed, equipped and marched 
159,165 volunteers, or about 15 per cent, of h^r entire 
population, it being about 5,000 more than the whole 
number of males of the military age residing in the 
State at the breaking out of the Rebellion ; a State 
whose active militia in time of peace numbered only 
about 5,500, in time of war about 160,000 ; a Common- 
wealth which cherishes to-day, enshrined in its Capitol 
and canopied by a hundred bullet-riddled battle-flags, a 
consecrated roll of honor, bearing the names of her 
dead heroes of a single war — 434 officers of all ranks, 
from Lieutenant up to General, and of privates more 
than 12,000. 

In the name of the Association which commemorates 
this thrice historic day, I am commissioned to express 
its thanks to those who honor us with their presence. 
Aside from our respect, eminently due to your high 
attainments and exalted personal character, we vener- 
ate, as was the ancient and should be the perpetual 
fashion, your dignity of office, the constitutional emblem 
of the wisdom and authority of the sovereign people of 
the State. 

Having from earliest childhood been taught the 
lesson that respect for the Magistrate must stand inde- 

pendent from opinions of the man and his views ; that 
the privilege of free men to elect their rulers and to 
enact their laws has co-relation with the duty to obey 
the magistrate and uphold the laws at the cost of any 
sacrifice, the men of the " Old Sixth " found it logical, 
if not easy, to march, in 1861, to the support of a 
President who, though elected by a minority of 350,000 
of the popular vote, and entertaining views of public 
policy at variance with the majority of the people, if 
not a majority of the regiment, nevertheless was con- 
stitutionally elevated to the Chief Magistracy of the 
Nation. The fundamental principle, then as now 
underlying government by the people — respect for the 
magistrate and obedience to the law — was on trial ; and 
even had disaster attended the great struggle to vindi- 
cate this principle, the duty to sacrifice all to sustain it 
would have remained imperative still. The glorious 
consummation, reached through untold sacrifice, should 
indelibly inscribe on every American heart the lesson 
that purity in office, respect for the magistrate, obedi- 
ence to Law, can alone perpetuate our liberties. 

Comrades of 1861, survivors of the 700, who to-day 
have come to re-form your skeleton ranks; to renew 
the friendships of camp and battlefield ; to revive the 
sacred memories of soldierly forms, who in their place 
rest ; to listen to the echoes of the midnight cry of 
danger to the Nation's Capital, which inspired your 
rally under the banner of the Republic ; welcome, 
thrice welcome here to-day. We forget not the absent 
who have been variously detained from this Quarter- 
Centenary ; in your name I send greeting to absent 
comrades everywhere, with wishes of health and pros- 

A quarter of a century has inscribed its unalterable 
record since the Sixth mustered and marched. The 
period of twenty-five years in the life of a nation which 
has just turned its first century point, constitutes an 
important factor in its history. 

Twenty-five years in the life of an individual, partic- 
ularly of one who has already reached maturity, as you 
had in f86i, are an important and dominating epoch in 
that individual existence, and justify us in "calling a 
halt" in the pursuits of life, and enjoying an hour's 
bivouac by the way-side, for rest, for reflection and for 

The National domain, starting with 820,680 square 
miles belonging to the thirteen Colonies, has reached 
the imperial magnitude of 38 States and 1 1 Territories, 
and 3,559,091 square miles, and has since 1861 
increased by the 600,000 square miles of Alaska. Since 
1 86 1 disjointed and widely separated States have been 
indissolubly tied together by the iron bands of three 
trans-continental railroads ; making the journey from 
Oregon to Washington shorter in point of time than 
that John Adams was forced to make from Boston to 
Washington to assume the Presidency ; and putting to 
rest the old-time theory that the Republic was doomed 
to break asunder by increasing extent of territory. 
Since 1861 the rebellion of 10 States and about 
9,000,000 of people has been put down at the cost of a 
four years' war, the last year requiring the expenditure 
by the North alone, of $3,000,000 a day ; and the 
sovereignty of the Nation, and the indissolubility of 
the Union have been established, upon an appalling 
aggregation of slaughter of nobler lives, on the whole, 
than any war ever before sacrificed. 

Since 1861 3,000,000 of slaves, a number exceeding 
all of the inhabitants of the country at the beginning of 
the Revolution, have been emancipated ; and our 
country, which once in every part of it tolerated the 
institution of slavery, first impressed upon it in 16 19, 
has abolished its presence forever from the domain of 
our flag ; and the black man, " for his two hundred and 
fifty years of unrequited labor" as President Lincoln 
expressed it, has been compensated with the elective 
franchise. Since 1861, Winfield Scott, McClellan and 
Lee, Grant and Albert Sidney Johnston, Hancock and 
Stonewall Jackson, Farragut and Foote, Meade and 
Polk, Halleck and Walker, Burnside and Breckenridge, 
Hooker and Toombs, Custer and J. E. B. Stuart, 
and a great host of lesser leaders of the forces ; Fill- 
more, Buchanan, Cass, Marcy, Guthrie and Cushing ; 
Lincoln, with Seward, Chase and Stanton, of his Cabi- 
net ; all of the then nine Judges of the United States 
Supreme Court ; Douglas and Alexander Stephens, 
Sumner and Benjamin, Andrew Johnson and Mason, 
Edward Everett and Yancy, Fessenden and Slidell, 
Morton, Trumbull, Hendricks, Henry Wilson, Thad. 
Stevens and Garfield of the Houses of Congress — all 
have passed away. A new generation of men has 
arisen ; new rulers guide the Ship of State, and tens of 
thousands of the present voters were born since you 
mustered and marched. 

These great changes remind us that the things 
whereof we affirm are fast becoming unfamiliar to the 
men of to-day, and if the story is to be preserved in 
incident, as doubtless it must be in outline, the narra- 
tive must soon be written from the facts of the case, 
that it may be as enduring as truth. 

Samuel Adams, on April 19th, 1775, exclaimed, " O, 
what a glorious morning is this," when his patriotic 
and prophetic soul contemplated the blessings to 
oppressed man everywhere which were to follow "the 
shot heard around the world "; other patriots re-echoed 
his exclamation when, eight years thereafter, on the 
19th of April, 1783, George Washington issued to the 
Continental forces the welcome order to cease hostili- 
ties in the successful war for Independence ; others 
again re-echoed the exclamation when, upon the 19th 
of April, 1 86 1, 86 years after Adams inspired it, the 
lineal descendants of the Minute Men of Concord, Lex- 
ington and Bunker Hill shed their blood in the streets 
of Baltimore, that they might reach and rescue the 
Capital of the Nation from impending peril. 

The names of Lexington, Concord and Baltimore 
are indissolubly linked as the initial events in the two 
great eras of our National history. The importance of 
each was accidental in the sense that they were not 
created by the designs of man, but came about through 
the providence of God. Neither engagement was 
great in splendor of circumstance or aggregation of 
force, or magnitude of immediate results, but both 
were memorable as the key note which controls the 
waiting forces of harmony and melody is memorable ; 
and as the signal gun which precipitates suspended 
battle is memorable. Alike in both cases their posi- 
tion as starting points admits of no rivalry, and suffers 
no diminution, but rather gathers importance, in com- 
parison with achievements of greater magnitude follow- 
ing them. They were the first blows in two great 
contests for the rights of oppressed man. If they 
differed in degree of moral significance, the palm may 
in some respects be diffidently claimed for 1861 ; for 

the war of Independence possibly might have been 
averted by the payment of revenue ; while the war of 
the Rebellion was evidently decreed as the only way to 
wipe the stain of slavery from the escutcheon of free- 
dom — an " irrepressible conflict " admitting of no 
pecuniary compromise. Indeed, it is a question of 
some doubt whether the war of Independence would 
ever have been fought if the events which preceded 
1775 had been controlled by the mature and cautious 
statesmen and soldiers of 1861, instead of by the 
3^outhful and impetuous leaders of 1775. "Old men 
for counsel, young men for war." 

In 1 86 1 the questions to be decided were as I 
have said, not of trade and taxation, but the gravest 
problems in the realm of national morals ever pre- 
sented to man for solution. They had passed the stage 
of compromise and were ripe for decision. How were 
three millions of black slaves to be disposed of in view 
of the fact that a part of the people of the country 
believed slavery morally wrong and a disgrace to a 
land boasting of its free institutions ; while the other 
part believed in the divine right of slavery, and that it 
was guaranteed by the Constitution ? In the opinion 
of President Lincoln as stated at Gettysburg, the 
momentous question at stake was, whether a " Govern- 
ment, of the people, by the people, and for the people, 
shall not perish from the earth." 

Even a cursory view of the causes which culminated 
in the resistance to the passage of the Union troops 
through Maryland, will make it evident that the seeds 
of the great Rebellion were unwittingly planted in the 
Constitution of the Republic, and consequently that 
there exists blood relationship between the affairs of 
Lexington and Baltimore. 


The Revolutionary war, nominally of eight years' 
duration, dating from Concord and Lexington, virtually 
closed at the surrender of Cornwallis to the American 
and French forces October 19th, 1781. The treaty of 
peace was signed at Paris, September 3, 1783, after 
England had expended 50,000 lives and 500,000,000 of 
dollars in the fruitless attempt to enforce on her colo- 
nies her Royal Governors, her stuffs and her teas. 
The new Confederacy for twelve years continued its 
efforts to establish a Nation under the Government of 
Committees of a Continental Congress. This experi- 
ment was a series of failures, and finally ended by the 
adoption of the Federal Constitution in 1 788. 

No fact in history is clearer than that the Confederacy 
was the sum of political inefficiencies, and that under 
it the Continental Congress came near losing the prize 
of Independence which had been bought at the price 
of so much blood and treasure. 

Of its foreign relations Washington said " We are 
one nation to-day and thirteen to-morrow ; who will 
treat with us on these terms ? " 

As to its domestic quality, it is sufiicient to cite the 
fact that Congress had issued 20,000,000 dollars in 
currency without the power to raise a dollar of it by 
taxation. To establish a Nation in place of a Confed- 
eracy became a necessity. This could only be accom- 
plished by a compromise which permitted the engrafting 
of national rights upon the existing structure of state 
rights ; so that the new Nation should be a composition 
of federal and national elements. This compromise 
was with difificulty effected, and like all compromises it 
had cost something to the parties concerned, and the 
sacrifices made and entailed were not all on one side. 

The newly adopted Constitution found the slave 
trade an institution of the country, venerable in years. 


existing since 1619, and by no means always confined 
to the South (Newport being at one time a famous 
port of entry for the cargoes in this human traffic) ; but 
a provision was inserted in the Constitution looking to 
its prohibition in or subsequent to 1808. 

The existence of slavery, at one time general through- 
out the country, was recognized in the Constitution 
and was protected where it then existed. 

The limits of this address do not permit me to trace 
out the interesting progress of the anti-slavery contro- 
versy, carried on in every intelligent home, on the 
hustings, in the forum, pulpit and press, from the 
Nullification and Missouri Compromise days of about 
1830, until its culmination in John Brown's Raid in 
1859, and in the election of Mr. Lincoln in October, 
i860, by the electoral vote of every Northern State ex- 
cepting New Jersey. Time suffices barely to refer to 
the sectional disruption of the Democratic party ; of 
the Republican party ; of the great National religious 
associations; the secession from the Union of South 
Carolina, December 20, i860, followed soon after by 
Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and 
Texas ; the formation of the Confederacy at Mont- 
gomery, February 8, 1861 ; the conspiracy in Mr. 
Buchanan's Cabinet to cripple the martial resources of 
the North and to build up those of the South ; the 
seizure of Forts, Government buildings and Navy 
Yards, excepting at Sumter and Pensacola ; the invest- 
ment of Fort Sumter by the troops of South Carolina, 
and subsequently by those of the Confederacy ; the 
conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln on his way 
to assume the Presidency ; the activity of the Confed- 
erate government in military preparations, in garrisoning 
the captured posts, and in forwarding 20,000 men to 


Virginia ; the ejfforts of both sides to conciliate the 
great Middle States ; the inactivity of the new National 
Administration for thirty days while deciding the novel 
problem of how to enforce a voluntary union of Sov- 
ereign States, a complication which had been foreseen 
and thus characterized by Alexander Hamilton, " To 
coerce a State would be one of the maddest projects 
ever devised ; no State would ever subject itself to be 
used as the instrument of coercing another ;" the final 
decision to issue the order on the 4th day of April for 
the sailing of Captain Fox's expedition to re-victual 
Sumter ; the bombardment, and, after a bloodless con- 
test of thirty-six hours, the surrender, of Forts Sumter 
and Pickens on April 14th ; the call for 75,000 troops 
on the 15th and the secession of Virginia, Arkansas, 
Tennessee and North Carolina soon after, and the 
removal of the Confederate Capital from Montgomery 
to Richmond. 

Thus the well-meant efforts of the Fathers to com- 
promise forever out of sight all obstacles to a Union of 
the States, returned to plague their children, and to 
threaten destruction to that Union which had been 
tried and approved by an experience of three-quarters 
of a century. 

Four generations of men essayed in vain to allay the 
spirit of disunion. Compromises were at an end. 

Not only was Maryland a border State, but through 
her territory lay the only routes from the North and 
West to the National Capital. Consequently it was 
considered of prime importance that she should not be 
incensed by the new administration, for which she had 
not voted, although the State had recently elected a 
Governor, nominally, at least, in favor of sustaining the 
Union. Baltimore, the chief city of Maryland, beside 


a large and controlling element among the rich and 
influential class, whose social and political predilections 
were with the South, also contained a turbulent class, 
then long notorious for deeds of violence and lawless- 
ness, and these offered ample material for the purposes 
of the Secessionists. 

These brief scraps of history, a quarter of a century 
and more old, will enable us now clearly to recall what 
the ''Sixth" undertook to do when it marched out of 
Lowell, and what that march entailed upon soldiers 
obeying the orders of their Government. 

The Sixth Regiment in April, 1861, was commanded 
by Colonel Edward F. Jones of Pepperell, who, May 
1 7th, was promoted to the command of the Post at the 
Relay House, and who was subsequently Colonel of 
the 26th Regiment and subsequently brevetted Briga- 
dier-General. The Lieutenant-Colonel was Walter S. 
Shattuck of Groton, who resigned because of age and 
infirmity before the march for Baltimore. 

The Major was Benjamin F. Watson of Lawrence, 
who, on the 17th of May, was elected Lieutenant- 
Colonel by the commissioned officers of the regiment 
in camp at the Relay House, and was promoted, on 
that day, to the command of the regiment, which posi- 
tion he held until the time of its enlistment expired. 
He was subsequently brevetted Colonel and made a 
Paymaster in the Army. The vacancy caused by the 
promotion was filled by the election as Major of Cap- 
tain Josiah A. Sawtelle of Lowell. 

The Sixth Regiment, prior to 1861, was venerable in 
years. In its Baltimore Campaign it became historic ; 
and because it did so become, Governor Andrew pre- 
served its organization and number. Subsequently, 
during the war of the Rebellion, it volunteered for 100 


days and again for nine months ; it is still one of the 
militia regiments of the State, and is in such a state of 
efficiency as to make it probable that in the future, as 
in the past, it will be ready for active duty in any exi- 
gency which may befall the State. I speak to-day for 
the Sixth Regiment of the Baltimore Campaign, rep- 
resented by this Association, and known as the " Old 
Sixth" Regiment. 

The "Sixth" of 1778 hailed from the same territory 
as that of 1861, including Concord and Lexington. 
Three new companies were attached to the eight con- 
stituting the regiment prior to its memorable march. 
The new companies were: The Worcester Light In- 
fantry, formerly Company B, Third Battalion of Rifles, 
which was formed in 1803 by Governor Levi Lincoln ; 
Company K, the Washington Light Guard of Boston, 
formerly Company C of the First Regiment, which was 
organized in 1810 as the Washington Artillery; Com- 
pany L of Stoneham, formerly belonging to the Seventh 
Regiment. Among the most ancient of the old organ- 
izations was Company B, the old Groton Artillery, 
which was organized in 1775, Lieutenant Farnsworth 
having received his commission on October 19, 1778, 
from the Council of Massachusetts Bay, the name of 
the royal Governor Gage being conspicuous for its 
absence. The new companies made an addition of 
about one-third to the effective force of the regiment. 
The union of the new and old elements was cemented 
by the blood of their martyrs, and consecrated by the 
memories of mutual trials and triumphs, and is indis- 
soluble forever. 

The names of Andrew and Butler cannot be omitted 
from any true history of the "Old Sixth." In their 
respective spheres they were faithful and tireless. The 


foremost War Governor ; the first volunteer General 
Officer ; wide apart in personal characteristics and the 
antipodes in politics, they early formed a united force 
in arraying the State against secession. 

"The Sixth" was first to volunteer — First in 
the field first to shed its blood first to 


Governor Andrew, who had been inaugurated on 
January 5, 1 861, on the i6th issued his famous General 
Order No. 4, requiring the militia of the State to be 
forthwith put into a state of efficiency, to the end "that 
Massachusetts should be at all times ready to furnish 
her quota upon any requisition of the President of the 
United States, to aid in the maintenance of the laws 
and the peace of the Union." 

On the third day thereafter, the 19th of January, just 
three months before the affair in Baltimore, at a meet- 
ing at the American House in Lowell of the Field 
Officers and Commanders of Companies of the Regi- 
ment, Colonel Jones presiding, I had the honor of 
offering the following resolution, which had been sug- 
gested to me by General Butler (who had from a 
private successively risen through every grade in the 
"Sixth" Regiment to that of Colonel, and who was 
then a Brigadier-General of the State militia): 

"Resolved: That Colonel Jones be authorized and 
requested forthwith to tender the services of the Sixth 
Regiment to the Commander-in-Chief and Legislature, 
when such services may become desirable, for the pur- 
poses contemplated in General Order No. 4." 

This resolution was unanimously adopted and by 
General Butler presented to the Governor and to the 
Senate, of which the General was a member. On the 
23d of January the Legislature " Resolved : That the 


Legislature of Massachusetts, now, as always, convinced 
of the inestimable value of the Union and the necessity 
of preserving its blessings to ourselves and our poster- 
ity, regard with unmingled satisfaction the recent firm 
and patriotic special message of the President of the 
United States, to amply and faithfully discharge his 
constitutional duty of enforcing the laws and integrity 
of the Union ; and we proffer to him through the Gov- 
ernor of the Commonwealth such aid in men and money 
as he may require to maintain the authority of the 
National Government." This resolution was, by the 
Governor, on the same day forwarded to the President. 
This act of volunteering, beyond controversy the 
earliest and most conspicuous, bore fruits in according 
to the " Sixth " the honor of being the first regiment 
called, and to General Butler the honor of receiving 
the first commission as a General Officer of Volunteers. 
It is not a gracious office for the historian to distin- 
guish among those who have labored and suffered 
alike, and all of whom in their motives and in their 
efforts are equally deserving of honor and commenda- 
tion. But in view of recent criticisms, which perhaps 
are inseparable from political campaigning, you, my 
Comrades, would not tolerate silence as to the credit 
belonging to Colonel Jones in the inception of the 
movement upon Baltimore. It is not too much to say 
that while every officer and soldier quickly responded 
to his orders, it was his skill which had disciplined the 
Regiment, his impetuous zeal which without a moment's 
loss of time promulgated the order to assemble, his 
executive tact which, combined with an iron will, forced 
preparations for the march, and assumed, without con- 
sultation, to mould and direct all of the movements of 
that eventful march, even to their minutest detail. To 


him this credit belongs and with it of course is coupled 
the responsibility. The merit of the military efficiency 
of the Regiment prior to the War, and the celerity of 
its movements when called, which must ever constitute 
in great part the glory of its record, are by his com- 
rades freely accorded to him ; and this without claiming 
for him honors by the fortunes of war belonging to 
others and which he has never claimed. 

The proclamation of President Lincoln calling for 
75,000 men and convoking an extra session of Congress, 
was dated April 15, but did not reach Boston until the 
1 6th and was not received at Albany until the 17th, 
receiving from the Governor of New York on the 19th 
the response by telegram to the President that the 
" Seventh " would start for Washington that evening. 
On the 15th of April Governor Andrew received a 
telegram from Senator Henry Wilson announcing the 
call for troops. The Governor at once issued his 
Special Order No. 14 commanding the Colonels of the 
Third, Fourth, Sixth and Eighth Regiments forthwith 
to muster their commands in uniform on Boston Com- 
mon, and sent it by special messengers. Colonel Jones, 
who was in Boston, received his order first, took it to 
Brigadier Gen'l Butler for regular transmission, and 
issued his orders the same day by telegraph to the 
" Sixth," to assemble at 7 o'clock on the morning of the 
i6th, at Huntington Hall in Lowell, uniformed and 
ready to proceed to Washington. The order reached 
me at Lawrence about four o'clock in the afternoon and 
found me professionally engaged in a law-suit. Within 
an hour's time I was in uniform and on my way across 
country to Lowell, reporting there ready for duty about 
six o'clock in the evening. At the request of the 
Colonel I at once drove back to Lawrence and person- 


ally superintended the preparations for departure of 
the two Lawrence Companies, at eleven o'clock that 
night was summoned to address a public meeting assem- 
bled at the Lawrence City Hall, and again reported for 
duty before daylight on the i6th. Surgeon Norman 
Smith of Groton left his practice, and Chaplain Charles 
Babbidge of Pepperill left his ministerial charge, and 
the other members of the Staff responded with equal 
alacrity. The efficient and soldierly Adjutant, Alpha 
B. Farr, lived in Lowell, and was early and constantly 
at the Colonel's side. Company I, Captain Pickering 
of Lawrence, with 52 officers and men ; Company F, 
Captain Chadbourne and subsequently Captain Beal, 
also of Lawrence, with 62 ; the Lowell troops, Com- 
pany A, Captain Sawtelle, with 52 ; Company C, Cap- 
tain Follansbee, with 56 ; Company D, Captain Hart, 
with 53 ; Company H, Captain Noyes, with 53 ; Com- 
pany E, Captain Tuttle of Acton, with 52, notwith- 
standing the drive of 15 miles to Lowell, after assem- 
bling the men from several towns ; Company B, Cap- 
tain Clark of Groton, with 74, notwithstanding the 
drive of 16 miles to Lowell, after assembling the men 
from several towns ; all reported at Lowell ready for 
duty as ordered, and with them also the Lowell Brigade 
Band of 16 pieces. Over 480 men had assembled 
within 17 hours from the time when the Colonel, 25 
miles from the Regimental Head Quarters, received 
his marching orders. The record of the three addi- 
tional Companies which united with the " Sixth " at 
Boston, shows equal promptitude. It was not until 
after 9 o'clock in the evening of the i6th that Governor 
Andrew decided to attach Companies L and K to the 
Regiment. Company K was drilling in its Armory 
when, after ten o'clock at night, the order was delivered 


to join the " Sixth " at Boston the next morning at 
seven o'clock. The order was received with nine cheers 
and promptly the next morning Company K, Captain 
Sampson, reported with 62 officers and men ready for 
duty. The order reached Stoneham at 2 o'clock in the 
morning of the 17th. Captain Dike, awakened out of 
a sound sleep, to the summons to report at the State 
House with his command at 1 1 o'clock that mornine 
replied: "Tell the Adjutant General I will obey the 
order and report in time." The bells in Stoneham 
rang out the people from their homes before the break 
of day, and Captain Dike with 67 officers and men re- 
ported at the State House before 11 o'clock. Late in 
the night of the i6th Captain Pratt of Company G re- 
ceived his orders to join the "Sixth" at Boston at 
noon on the 17th, and although the members of his 
command were scattered through Worcester and the 
adjoining towns, he so reported on time at Boston, 
forty miles from Worcester, with 100 officers and men 
ready for duty. The Regiment after receiving parting 
benedictions from the assembled people of Lowell, ar- 
rived in Boston at about noon of the i6th and was 
quartered first at Faneuil and afterwards at Boylston 
Hall, being the first Regiment to report in Boston. 

You remember how one of our poets has sung of the 
midnight ride on April i8th, 1775, of one who was 

" Ready to ride and spread the alarm 
Through every Middlesex village and farm 
For the country folk to be up and to arm. 
■a- ****** * * 

So through the night rode Paul Revere ; 

And so through the night went his cry of alarm 

To every Middlesex village and farm — 
A cry of defiance and not of fear, 

A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, 

A word that shall echo forevermore ! ' ' 

The night of the T5th of April, 1861, witnessed the 
ride of many Paul Reveres through the cold storm of 


sleet and rain and over roads heavy with snow and 
yielding frost, to rouse men to whom this message was 
startling and well nigh incredible. With unparalleled 
alacrity this regiment, scattered over four counties and 
through thirty towns and cities, assembled around the 
colors, not to repel invasion of their own firesides, but 
to march hundreds of miles away to the Nation's en- 
dangered Capital. This midnight summons was not in 
turbulent times and to professional soldiers, but to men 
of peaceful pursuits, nigh whose dwellings war had not 
come for nearly a century. Fifty years of profound 
peace, interrupted only by the Mexican War, to which 
New England contributed only a single regiment, had 
left them unaccustomed to the duties, the sacrifices and 
the dangers of war. God only knows what it cost these 
men to sunder family, social and business ties at a 
moment's notice, for the purpose of engaging in deadly 
conflict far from home with brothers of the same Union 
and flag, misguided, but brethren still. They were 
adventurous, but had no ambition to excel in strife. 
Their schemes of life required, for development, unre- 
mitting attention to the labors and daily duties in which 
they were involved. These were not mercenaries or 
conscripts, but independent farmers, mechanics, shoe- 
makers, operatives in mills, merchants and their clerks, 
lawyers with their students, editors and printers, physi- 
cians engaged in ministering to the sick, and clergymen 
of godly counsels. When they marched beyond the 
region of their daily avocations they were sure to leave 
behind them homes desolated and business ruined, and 
yet, with an alacrity unequalled, they obeyed this night 
order, prompted by no possible inducement but devo- 
tion to the imperilled Union. It is true that one-half 
of the four millions of Northern men of military age, 


in the four succeeding years, followed their footsteps 
and fought gloriously. Familiarity, however, accustoms 
the human mind to calmly contemplate any inevitable 
disaster. The "Sixth," it must be remembered, was 
suddenly awakened out of peaceful slumbers to face the 
grim visage of War, which none of them had ever be- 
held. If they had hesitated, if they blundered, what 
wonder? If they rushed to the front and triumphed, 
give them the glory. 

Before sunset of the i6th the regiment was at Bos- 
ton awaiting the order to march. So imminent seemed 
the daneer to the authorities at Washingrton that the 
steamers, with steam up, in which, by way of the 
Potomac, it was designed we should reach Washington, 
were abandoned, and railroading was substituted, in 
obedience to the following telegram from the Secretary 
of War : " Send the troops by railroad ; they will arrive 
quicker; the route through Baltimore is now open." 

Inquisitiveness is supposed to be a Yankee trait, 
though one least becoming soldiers. 

' ' Theirs not to make reply, 
Theirs not to reason why, 
Theirs but to do and die." 

One of the best evidences of your sudden but per- 
fect transformation into soldiers is in the fact that none 
of the men who were to encounter the dangers of that 
"perilous journey" knew or inquired the cause of this 
change of programme. Upon this point I will venture 
here to introduce an extract from Adjutant-General 
Schouler's " Massachusetts in the Rebellion." It is as 
follows : 

"The true history of Mr. Lincoln's perilous journey to Washington in 
1861, and the way he escaped death, have never been made public until 
now. The narrative was written by Samuel M. Felton * * * President 
of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Railroad Company. It has a direct bear- 
ing upon events which transpired in forwarding the Sixth Massachusetts 
Regiment to Washington." * * * "It came to my knowledge," said 


Mr. Felton, " in the early part of 1861, first by rumors, and then by evidence 
which I could not doubt, that there was a deep-laid conspiracy to capture 
Washington, destro}' all of the avenues leading to it from the North, East 
and West, and thus prevent the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln in the Capital 
of the country ; and if this plot did not succeed, then to murder him while 
on the way to the Capital, and thus inaugurate a revolution which should 
end in establishing a Southern Confederacy, uniting all of the slave States, 
while it was imagined that the North would be divided into separate cliques, 
each striving for the destruction of the other. * * * The sum of it all 
was, that there was then (early in 1861) an extensive and organized con- 
spiracy throughout the South to seize upon Washington, with the archives 
and records, and then declare the Southern conspirators de facto the Gov- 
ernment of the United States. The whole was to be a coup d'itat. * * i' 
In fact, troops were drilling upon the line of our road and the Washington 
and Annapolis line and on other lines; and they were sworn to obey the 
commands of their leaders, and the leaders were banded together to capture 

On the 17th the " Sixth " was paraded in front of the 
State House, the officers were presented with pistols 
and the Regiment with its State colors, and it then 
took up its line of march through the thronged streets, 
the people waving farewells in most impressive silence. 
At sunset the train started. Throughout the night the 
scene was one of excitement as we traversed the States 
of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Bonfires, cheers 
and salutes greeted us everywhere. New York City 
was reached early in the morning of the i8th, but not 
until our military friends there had lost their patience 
and departed for their homes after a night's waiting. 
The Regiment proceeded down Broadway to the Cort- 
landt Street Ferry amid demonstrations of good will 
and sympathy. A gentleman who witnessed the scene 
wrote, " I was always proud of my native State ; 
but never until now did I realize how grand she is. 
-X- * The enthusiasm was perfectly overwhelming. 
* "' * Those who had witnessed all of the 

great demonstrations of the City for a half a century 
back, remember none so spontaneous and enthusiastic." 
Through New Jersey many demonstrations were made 
in honor of the " Sixth "; at Newark a salute was fired 
and another at Trenton by order of the Governor of 


the State. At sunset of the iSth Philadelphia was 
reached, and amid the shouts of the people, the display 
of fireworks and the booming of cannon, the '' Sixth " 
made its way to the Girard House through streets so 
thronged that a march by the flank became a necessity. 
A member of the Regiment wrote : " The reception at 
Philadelphia was a fitting climax to what had taken 
place elsewhere. So enthusiastic were our friends that 
they rushed into our ranks, threw their arms about the 
necks of our soldiers, and, emptying their own pockets 
for our benefit, seemed fairly beside themselves with 
joy." It was late in the evening before the tired 
soldiers had supped, and, wrapped in their blankets, had 
sought the rest to be found upon the Girard House 
floors, the house being without furniture. It was later 
still when the officers arose from the sumptuous feast 
spread for them at the Continental Hotel, at which 
prominent citizens of Philadelphia insisted upon serv- 
ing in the place of the colored waiters. At about one 
o'clock on the morning of the 19th, Colonel Jones 
ordered the long roll to be beaten, and the Regiment 
silently took up the march through what seemed miles 
of deserted streets to the station of the Baltimore and 
Philadelphia Railroad. The contrast between the 
entrance into and the departure from Philadelphia was 
extreme. The delusion, fostered by recent experience, 
that military service was a grand picnic, an affair of 
martial music and applause, was at an end, and in place 
of enthusiastic crowds we saw empty streets, in which 
the occasional form of a night watchman afforded 
positive relief to the all-pervading loneliness. All 
excepting Colonel Jones marched in ignorance of the 
occasion for disturbing that rest of which all stood 
much in need. It subsequently appeared that Colonel 


Jones had been in consultation with President Felton, 
who had heard rumors of the preparations to attack 
and turn back the " Sixth " on its reaching Baltimore ; 
and then to organize in Baltimore an expedition to 
capture Washington. Colonel Jones at once deter- 
mined to proceed on the march, as Baltimore would be 
more safely encountered early in the morning than 
later in the day. Whether the propriety of communi- 
cating by telegram with the military authorities in 
Washington, or of awaiting reinforcements, was or was 
not considered, does not appear ; neither, so far as I 
am aware, has any explanation been given why the 
railroad authorities made up a train of such unwieldy 
bulk as to make it impossible for the "Sixth " to reach 
Baltimore until ten o'clock in the forenoon, instead of 
at five or six o'clock in the morning ; neither does it 
appear whether it was through design or from inadver- 
tence that the President of the road failed to inform 
Colonel Jones of the practice of drawing the cars by 
horses through Baltimore, as he must have been aware, 
if he reflected, that such a proceeding would separate 
the Colonel from his command in the face of an 
impending attack, and derange his plan of marching 
through the City. 

The " Sixth " was carefully placed in the cars of the 
train in Philadelphia in order of each Company's place 
in line of battle, from right to left, as it had been for 
that purpose determined by the Colonel, the left 
Company K, or most of it, occupying the rear car. 
The Field and Staff officers occupied the first car. 
The railroad authorites sent a pilot engine ahead of the 
train as far as Perryville, but whether any similar pre- 
caution beyond there to Baltimore was taken does not 
appear. The distance from Philadelphia to Baltimore 


is one hundred miles. At Perryville and Havre de 
Grace, about 35 miles from Baltimore, the railroad is 
crossed by the Susquehanna River, which there empties 
into Chesapeake Bay, and in those days the cars were 
run upon a ferry boat, conveyed across the river, and 
the train again made up on the other side. It appears 
that another train was attached to that containing the 
"Sixth," in which were about 1,000 or 1,200 unarmed 
and un-uniformed young men hailing from Philadelphia 
and calling themselves Small's Brigade. In crossing 
the Susquehanna the order of the cars was disarranged, 
and no one seems to have discovered that fact, which 
proved to be a very important one. Soon after leaving 
Philadelphia I sought Colonel Jones and informed him 
of my acquaintance with Baltimore, and that I had little 
doubt that the Retjiment would be attacked. Owino- 
to the pressing duties this novel experience had forced 
upon the Colonel, this was the only personal communi- 
cation that passed between us from the start at Lowell 
until Washington was reached. Alluding, perhaps, to 
this interview, Colonel Jones, in his Official Report, 
dated at the Capital, April 22, 1861, says : 

"After leaving Philadelphia, I received intimations that our passage 
through Baltimore would be resisted. * * i caused ammunition to be 
distributed and arms loaded ; and went personally through the cars and 
issued the following order : ' The Regiment will march through Baltimore 
in columns of sections, arms at will. You will undoubtedly be insulted, 
abused and perhaps assaulted, to which you must pay no attention what- 
ever ; but march with }'our faces square to the front, and pay no attention 
to the mob, even if they throw stones, brickbats or other missiles ; but if 
you are fired upon, and any one of you is hit, your officers will order you 
to fire.' " 

The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Rail- 
road from the North, in 1861, entered the southeastern 
corner of Baltimore, and skirted along the shore of the 
North West Branch of the Patapsco River, which forms 
the harbor of that City, and this railroad terminated in 
its President Street Station in Baltimore. 


In 1861, as has been intimated, it was the practice to 
attach horses to each car of the train for Washington 
and the South, and to draw it about one-fourth of a 
mile northerly through President Street to its junction 
with East and West Pratt Street ; thence along West 
Pratt Street in a westerly direction about seven-eighths 
of a mile to South Howard Street ; thence southerly 
about a quarter of a mile to the Camden Street Station 
of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad where the train 
was re-united and moved by steam power in a northerly 
direction about one-quarter of a mile, thence in a west- 
erly and southerly course past Mount Clair Station 
until the city limits are reached at the Carrolton 
Viaduct over Gwinn's Falls, a distance from Camden 
Street Station of about two miles and a quarter. In 
eoins: south throuo^h Baltimore, about one-sixteenth of 
a mile after the abrupt turn from President Street to 
West Pratt Street, the bridge over the Canal which 
empties into the North West Branch is encountered. 
Pratt Street from there to South Howard Street is 
lined on its left side with docks, shipping and store- 
houses. On the right thirteen streets enter West 
Pratt Street, Concord Street and Union Dock being 
the first in order. Significant number and names these. 

The inevitable confusion of facts to which all are 
liable, in attempting to arrive at an understanding of 
the events in Baltimore, and which have led to partial 
narratives, and in some quarters to controversies, will 
be avoided by following the plan of Hanson's History 
of the " Sixth " where he sub-divides the Affair under 
three heads, namely : — 

" The Passage Through " — in cars by Colonel Jones 
and his Staff, and Companies A, B, E, F, G and H, 
without serious impediment. 


'' The Attack " — made on Company K, Captain 
Sampson, with whose fortunes my lot was cast. 

"The March Through" — by Company C, Captain 
Follansbee ; Company I, Captain Pickering ; Company 
L, Captain Dike, and Company D, Captain Hart. 

These three detachments were accidentally separated, 
and operated independently of each other, and the ex- 
perience of each was distinct, and beyond the observa- 
tion of the others. 

It was my intention to narrate the events in Baltimore 
by quoting the Official Report of Colonel Jones, 
already alluded to ; the written statement of Captain 
Sampson, which I have, and extracts from Hanson's 
history and Schouler's history, as to the experience of 
Company K, and myself ; the statement of Captain 
Follansbee written in 1861, and another statement of 
his written in April, 1885, the statement of Lieutenant 
Jepson written in 1886, and extracts from Hanson, as 
to the experience of the detachment of four Companies 
under the command of Captain Follansbee ; and the 
statement of A. S. Young of the Band, as to their ex- 
perience and the experience of the drummers and fifers 
of each Company, and as to the experience of Colonel 
Small's unarmed Brigade. But the limits of this 
address render impracticable, not only the plan, but 
also any notice of the Campaign subsequent to the 
fight in Baltimore. My narrative, however, reproduces 
in substance each of the statements enumerated. 

Our train reached Baltimore about ten o'clock in 
the forenoon of the 19th, and as it slowly passed 
through that region of the city called " Canton," it was 
plain that some great excitement stirred the people, for 
through the cross streets men could be seen, as we 
passed, running and gesticulating toward the train. 


A few minutes before the train arrived at the 
President Street Station Adjutant Farr informed me 
that, by the Colonel's order I was to repair, upon the 
stopping of the train, to the left Company, Captain 
Sampson, and to remain in the car with that Company 
until ordered to file out into place in column, and to 
see the rear of the Battalion through the city ; that the 
Regiment would march through in column of sections, 
and that no firing should be allowed, whatever oppo- 
sition or insults should be offered, unless some of our 
number were actually shot. In obedience to this order 
I immediately left the front car, and passed along the 
street toward the rear of the train, said to have con- 
tained thirty cars. While thus proceeding, much 
threatening and insultino; lano-uagre was addressed to 
me by Policemen and others of the constantly increasing 
and excited crowd. I was assured in language neither 
gentle nor polite, that not a soldier would live to pass 
through the city ; that Baltimore would, to a man, repel 
the invasion of Maryland by " Northern Abolitionists." 
In response they were informed that our intentions 
were peaceable ; that, as soldiers, we were under orders 
to defend Washington, and that if we were opposed, 
they would learn that we were armed and disciplined 
and not cowards. After passing several cars, through the 
car windows I recognized the uniform of Company K, 
and entered that car and informed Captain Sampson of 
my orders, and we stood discussing the serious aspect 
of the situation, with backs to the front door of the 
car, awaiting orders. Neither had a suspicion that 
Company K was not in line where it belonged. We 
waited seemingly a long time for the promised order 
to file out and take place in the Column, but no order 
and no notice of change of orders came. On turning 


to look out it was discovered that all of the cars pre- 
ceding ours had disappeared, and with them the Regi- 
ment. At the same moment horses were attached to 
our car and it was drawn away along President street. 
At the turn upon Pratt street the car was thrown from 
the track by an anchor and other obstructions which 
had been placed on the rails. After a hurried consul- 
tation with Captain Sampson I left the car and with 
the aid of a passing team which was impressed into the 
service, succeeded in replacing the car upon the track, 
amid the jeers and violent threats and demonstrations 
of the dense crowd. Nothing could then be seen of the 
other cars or the Regiment in Pratt street in front, or 
in President street in the rear, and information as to 
what had become of our comrades was sought in vain 
from the crowd, which by this time was as dense to the 
rear as in front, and it seemed to me no more dangerous 
to move forward with this handful of troops (62 all 
told) than to attempt to return to the station. The 
driver was ordered to proceed. The starting of the 
car was the signal for volleys of stones and other 
missiles and occasional shots. Up to this time fire- 
arms, though plentifully displayed, had not been used. 
While Captain Sampson and his officers were employed 
in giving directions to their men how to avoid, as far 
as possible, injury from the paving stones, pieces of 
iron and other heavy missiles which were fast carrying 
away glass, sash and sides of the car, it became my 
duty to take my position in the front door to control 
the driver, whose place was a dangerous one, and whose 
loyalty was not above suspicion. The car moved 
slowly through the crowd, which was excited to a degree 
beyond description. Repeated requests were made to 
me by soldiers injured by the missiles of the mob for 


leave to fire, but they were reminded of my orders, 
and promised that the permission should come if any 
wounds from fire-arms were received. Presently my 
attention was called to a soldier in the middle of 
the car who triumphantly held up his hand, from 
which the thumb had been shot away. I then gave 
them the order to fire at will, and to shelter themselves 
as far as possible while loading. The order was 
received with demonstrations of satisfaction by officers 
and men, who up to that time had submitted, but not 
without murmurs, to this one-sided affair. The firing 
then became general and deliberate from the car. 
While this order was being given the car was again 
stopped near large piles of paving stones, and, when 
discovered, the driver and horses were making off 
through the crowd. Captain Sampson advised that the 
car be abandoned, as the position was one of extreme 
danger. It seemed to me, however, that the car would 
afford some protection to the men, and I directed that 
no one should be permitted to leave the car until my 
return. Captain Sampson ordered Lieutenant Emery 
to guard the rear door, while he himself took position 
at the front door, and I started in pursuit of the driver, 
who was still in sight but several rods away, and sur- 
rounded by the crowd. Overtaking him, I ordered him 
to return to the car with his team ; hastily weighing 
the relative danger to be apprehended from the 
weapons of the crowd and from my leveled revolver, 
he decided to surrender to the latter, preceded me 
with his horses through the mob, the horses were 
reattached, and the car again moved on amid 
renewed volleys, the driver still requiring constant and 
armed attendance. While I was pursuing the driver 
Captain Sampson witnessed the proceeding from the 


front platform of the car. Standing there with one 
of his soldiers by his side, he observed a leader of the 
mob haranguing them at a point between the car and 
the place reached by the driver before he was over- 
taken. When he had finished his harang-ue he turned 
towards Captain Sampson and pointed him out. The 
Captain, suspecting his purpose, ordered his soldier to 
shoot him should he make any demonstration. When 
the man drew and aimed his pistol his purpose was 
frustrated by a bullet from the soldier's rifle. That 
and other shots from the car scattered that portion of 
the crowd, and probably facilitated my return with the 
driver and horses. The ficrht was severer here than at 
any other point of the attack upon this detachment. 
The car became almost a complete wreck, and we could 
proceed but slowly owing to the crowd. Seeing that 
they could not induce us to abandon the car, the mob, 
shortly before South Howard street was reached, tore 
up the track. Orders were then given to file out, and 
we marched to the Camden street station, over the short 
distance remaininor throuorh the dense crowd. The 
exposure of the men by attempting to march all of the 
way, through the lively shower of bullets and missiles 
which prevailed along the whole distance on Pratt 
street, must inevitably have resulted in great loss. The 
officers and men of Company K could not have 
behaved with more coolness had they been veterans. 
Several of Company K were injured, but only four of 
the 62 received gun-shot wounds. The names of these 
four were reported and have always formed a part of 
the list of the Regiment's wounded. 

This detachiMent unquestionably shed, and 
drew from their orponents, the first blood of the 



On arriving at the Camden street station Company 
K was reunited with the main body of the Regiment, 
and the first intelligence was then obtained of its 
experience. The unknown fate of the Regiment had 
caused us more anxiety than our own dangerous 
position. On our arrival Colonel Jones ordered us 
into the cars, where his command was awaiting orders. 
It was now between ii and 12 o'clock. 

From some of the Staff officers it was then first 
learned that Colonel Jones was unacquainted with the 
practice of drawing the cars across the city, and that 
his order to march across had been frustrated by his 
having been rapidly drawn through the city, and it was 
also learned that four companies and the Band were 
still missing. It was also then ascertained that the first 
car, containing Colonel Jones and his Staff, and the 
other seven or eight cars, containing the six companies 
in the Colonel's detachment (for Company G must 
have filled two cars, and Company B, also, probably), 
had met with no resistance and only with an occasional 
missile thrown at the last of these cars. 

Some details have been indulged in in describing 
the experience of Captain Sampson's Company, because, 
perhaps owing to my neglect to report, or otherwise 
to publish it, no allusion was made to it in Colonel 
Jones's Official Report, and it is often omitted entirely 
from the account of that day's proceedings, as it ought 
not to be, for that single Company of men are entitled 
to the credit of forcing their way through obstacles 
before which they, raw recruits, might well have quailed. 
The success attending the efforts to get Captain 
Sampson's car through, doubtless inspired the mob to 
tear up the bridge on Pratt street, so that no other car 
could pass. After Company K had started from the 


President street station, in probably the tenth car 
(there is confusion in all of the accounts as to the 
numbering of the cars), there were still left behind, 
awaiting orders or transportation, four companies which 
had lost their order in line by the handling of the cars 
at the crossing of the Susquehanna, and also the Regi- 
mental Band, which at Philadelphia had been placed in 
the extreme rear car. These companies were, as 
before stated, C, Captain Follansbee ; I, Captain Pick- 
ering ; L, Captain Dike ; and D, Captain Hart ; officers 
and men all told numbering 220, and said to have 
carried 196 guns. Lieutenant Lynde, of Company L, 
had been ordered to escort the Band across the city, 
but being unarmed they refused to encounter the 
danger. After waiting 15 minutes or more from the 
departure of Company K, Captain Follansbee was 
informed by some citizens, or railroad ofificicals, that 
the track had been torn up and that no other cars could 
go through the City, and they advised him to march 
through. This he communicated to the other three 
Captains, and they ordered their commands to leave 
the cars and form on the sidewalk. This they did 
amidst the jeers, violent threats and annoying demon- 
strations of the crowd surrounding them on President 
street. A consultation was held among the four Cap- 
tains, and, according to the wishes of the others, 
Captain Follansbee assumed command of the detach- 
ment. He then placed Company C on the right, I, 
next, L, next, and D on the left, and wheeled into 
column by sections. This evident determination to 
force a passage through the city increased the anger of 
the crowd, and the soldiers were not only saluted with 
vile epithets, called " White niggers " and '' Nigger 
thieves," and assured that their graves were already 


dug, and that not a man of them would live to march 
into Camden street station, but the occasional throwing 
of bricks, stones and other missiles was indulged in. 
Captain Follansbee placed himself at the head of the 
column, and not knowing the way, asked a policeman 
to lead them to the other station. Some accounts say 
this request was complied with, others say that the 
policeman paid no heed to the request, and when one 
of their number quietly told Captain Follansbee to 
follow the railroad track he was instantly felled to the 
earth with a stone. Before the order to march was 
given, a Confederate or Palmetto flag, attached to a 
pole, was brought to the front and defended by about a 
dozen of the mob, who led the cheers for " Jeff Davis 
and South Carolina." When the order was finally 
given, and the march of the detachment along Presi- 
dent street toward Pratt street was commenced, the 
whole column was saluted with yells, curses, missiles 
and gun and pistol shots. The Palmetto flag was 
borne at the head of the column, which so exasperated 
the soldiers that a number of them assailed its defend- 
ers, and in the struggle the flag was thrown upon the 
pavement and marched over until it was rescued by its 
defenders, just as the rear of the column was passing 
it ; whereupon Lieutenant Lynde with the hilt of his 
sword knocked its possessor to the ground, and button- 
ing the flag beneath his coat continued his march. As 
the detachment reached Pratt street, and turned to the 
left on West Pratt street, it was seen that many of the 
planks of the bridge across the Canal, over which the 
march lay, had been removed, and barricades thereon 
had been hastily erected with boxes, barrels and planks, 
and the leaders of the mob were distinctly heard order- 
ing that the use of firearms should be reserved until the 


bridge was reached and an attempt to pass it was 
made. The bridge was successfully passed by the 
whole detachment, by jumping from plank to plank, by 
running on the string-pieces, and by leveling and 
removing such of the obstructions as could not be easily 
scaled. For some reason there was a lull in the assault 
while the bridge was being crossed. It was then dis- 
covered that a battery was nearly in readiness, and it is 
believed that five minutes later it would have swept the 
approach to the bridge so successfully as to have 
prevented its passage and resulted in great loss to the 
soldiers. Possibly the knowledge of the existence of 
the battery deferred the assault with small arms during 
the crossing of the canal. The crowd was infuriated at 
this partial escape from their toils, and began a more 
determined use of firearms. Captain Follansbee asked 
Lieutenant Jepson, of Co. C, what he thought should 
next be done, and the Lieutenant advised taking the 
" double quick " step, whereupon Captain Follansbee 
gave the order, and the column commenced the rapid 
mbvement. This, through the impression that the 
troops had no ammunition or dared not open fire, so 
emboldened the crowd that their assault became more 
deadly, and hand-to-hand fighting became frequent 
during the remainder of the march. Many notable acts 
of bravery might be recited did time permit. 

It appears that up to this time Captain Follansbee 
had not given the order to fire, but seeing men in an 
upper window shooting at the soldiers, and that their 
fire was effective, he gave the order to fire at will. 
This order was obeyed at once by about half of the men, 
and when the smoke cleared away a great many of the 
crowd were seen lying on the pavement dead or 
wounded. From this time the firing by the soldiers 


was general and promiscuous, they dragging their guns 
between their legs while loading. Lieutenant Jepson 
directed the attention of his men to assailants in a high 
window or hoistway, and one or more of them came 
tumbling to the pavement in response to the deadly aim 
of the soldiers. The rapidity of the movement separated 
somewhat the rear of the column from the front, and 
Lieutenant Lynde, not being able to see Captain 
Follansbee or hear his commands, gave orders to his 
men directing their fire in an effective manner. At 
times when the fire became more general from the 
detachment, the mob would for a few moments give 
way, but would soon, with great persistency, return to 
the assault, specially directing their attention to the 
flanks and rear of the column. Pratt Street and the 
cross streets seemed to be filled with twenty thousand 
people, more or less, all vying with each other in 
efforts to injure and destroy the soldiers, and keeping 
up continuous cries and yells. Every place of advan- 
tage for their marksmen seemed to be occupied ; and, 
from the windows above, furniture and household uten- 
sils were hurled into the street by those who had 
exhausted their ammunition, or had not the command 
of firearms. 

Lieutenant Jepson says: "The first man I saw killed in the war was 
about ten minutes after starting. He had been struck by a rock ; he lay in 
the middle of the road, and was trampled upon by the crowd. I thought 
then it was one of the most horrible sights I ever saw, and I am not sure 
now that it was not." * * * " It has always been a wonder to me that 
we were not annihilated there." * * * "I have been in many a battle, 
but I had rather, any time, face the enemy in the open field than go through 
such a scene as that was in the streets of Baltimore. It is worth something 
to know that your enemy is in front of you, and not above, behind and on 
every side." 

Soon after the march commenced, the Mayor, intro- 
duced to Captain Follansbee by a policeman, asked 
permission to march by the Captain's side. After 
marching a few rods, admitting that he could not 


control the crowd, he left, saying it was too hot a place 
for him. 

The colors of the Regiment were with Company L. 
They were, all through the march, proudly borne aloft 
by Sergeant Timothy A. Crowley, of Lowell, who, 
with his gallant aids, Marland and Stickney, marched 
as though on parade, and showed no sign of faltering 
when the fight was thickest. They seemed to have no 
thought but the duty to protect the ensign around 
which all were to rally and die rather than betray the 
trust implied when it was committed to the " Sixth " 
by the beloved Commonwealth. No better example, 
although there were many others, can be cited of the 
fact that patriotism and gallantry in the late war were 
by no means confined to the native-born than this 
intrepid soldier, Crowley, who was one of a family of 
six brothers early to enlist and bravely to serve in the 
Union ranks, they being the sons of foreign parents. 
The wounded men were helped along by their com- 
rades, excepting in case of entire disability, when they 
were necessarily left behind with the killed. Captain 
Dike was so badly wounded that he was left as fatally 
hurt. He, however, had strength and determination 
enough to enable him to hobble to the sidewalk, where 
he found himself at the door of a public house, which 
he entered, and was by the friendly landlord concealed, 
just in time to escape death from the hands of the pur- 
suing crowd, who were deceived into the belief that he 
had escaped from the house. He was long protected 
and cared for under this hospitable roof, and reported 
killed. He never quite recovered from the injury, 
although he lived some years thereafter. Finally this 
detachment, with the loss of 4 killed and 32 wounded 
by gunshot, arrived at the Camden Street station, and 


forced its way through the howling and frantic crowd, 
which filled it in every part. It was about noon. 
Never did the " Sixth " experience more relief than 
when this brave and determined band joined their 
comrades. Colonel Jones received them, and at once 
ordered them into the cars. Such was the fury of the 
mob that the scenes in that station are almost inde- 
scribable. The troops were exasperated, and, now that 
they were reunited and under their proper officers, 
would gladly have responded to an order to march out 
in search of their still missing comrades, and leave the 
Regimental mark on that murderous crowd. Shots 
were fired from the cars in several instances ; one of 
them was known to have killed a prominent merchant, 
alleged by the citizens to have been unoffending, but 
claimed by the soldiers to have been engaged in the 
assault. Few, if any, shots entered the cars, although 
firearms were freely pointed at and into the car win- 
dows. One man aimed his pistol through the windows 
into the very faces of the Chaplain and Surgeon, who 
coolly contemplated it for a moment, when the latter, 
uttering a short but expressive remark — probably a 
professional term — said, as he drew and leveled his 
own revolver at the assailant, " Two can play at that 
game." That particular aggressor did not again molest 
any member of that staff. 

A general assault from the mob in the station was 
believed to be imminent ; and the Regiment was pre- 
pared for it, by Colonel Jones's order, in case of an 
attack, that each Company should file out on either 
side of its car, and, with backs to the car, resist the 
assault. At last, yielding reluctantly to the importu- 
nities of the railroad authorities, who were in mortal 
terror of the possible consequences of any concerted 


movement on the part of the Regiment or of the mob, 
Colonel Jones, between one and two o'clock, gave the 
order for the train to start, although it involved leaving 
behind about 130 missing, including the Band and the 
Field Music, concerning whose fate no tidings were 
then to be had, although subsequently all were 
accounted for. The crowd preceded and followed the 
train until the city limits were reached and passed, 
tearing up the rails and obstructing the progress with 
fences and telegraph poles, which were removed by 
workmen of the road and policemen, who accompanied 
the train for several miles, the latter finally taking their 
leave with as much satisfaction as ever entertainers felt 
at parting with guests. Without further incident, we 
proceeded by rail forty miles to Washington, where we 
arrived at about six o'clock in the afternoon of the 
19th, and were received at the station by Major 
McDowell — afterwards Major-General McDowell — 
then of General Scott's Staff, who conducted us to our 
quarters in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol. It 
was ascertained that about half of the ammunition 
issued to the men who had been engaged in actual 
conflict had been expended. It is probable that ten 
rounds of ammunition to a man were distributed just 
before Baltimore was reached, although some claim 
that there were twenty rounds. After the Band had 
declined to accept Lieutenant Lynde's escort, they 
remained in their car, and despatched one of their 
number to consult Colonel Small as to the best thingf 
to do. The messenger seems to have found no relief 
from Colonel Small, as his men were scattering and 
being chased in all directions by the crowd. The mes- 
senger of the Band was followed back to his car, and 
the mob assaulted it. The inmates being without 


arms, taking to flight, were pursued and beaten, receiv- 
ing no help from the poHce, but, on the contrary, 
taunts and insults. Substantially every man attached 
to the " Sixth " who was unarmed, and the whole of 
Colonel Small's Brigade, were subsequently sent back 
to the North, with four hundred policemen to protect 
them so long as they were within the limits of the City 
of Baltimore. 

If, as is estimated after a careful consideration, over 
1,500 rounds of ammunition were expended by the 300 
soldiers under fire, in both of the assaulted detach- 
ments, it is probable that the damage was great, as the 
mark was a large one, and was presented on every 
hand. Chaplain Hanson, in his history of the "Sixth," 
in speaking of the Baltimore Affair, says : " Loyal men 
in Baltimore who were careful to collect all of the 
facts, are of the opinion that about one hundred of the 
mob were killed by the guns of our soldiers." If the 
estimate of one hundred killed is correct, and if the 
killed and wounded among the citizens bear the same 
proportion as they do among the soldiers, there must 
have been over nine hundred wounded. Most of the 
firing upon Captain Follansbee's detachment seems to 
have been upon the flanks and rear of the column ; for, 
while Company C, at the head of the column, miracu- 
lously escaped with only one man wounded, Company 
I, the next to C, had four wounded and one killed ; 
Company L, the next to I. had sixteen wounded, 
including its Captain and Lieutenants Leander F. 
Lynde and James F. Rowe ; Company D, on the left 
of the detachment, had eleven wounded and three 
killed. Company K was probably not under fire an 
hour, and the other four marching companies probably 
not so long as an hour and a half, during which time 


about fourteen per cent, of the soldiers exposed were 

Marshal Kane, Chief of Police of Baltimore, tele- 
graphed Bradley F. Johnson, at Frederick City, as 
follows : 

"Streets red with Maryland blood — send express over the mountains 
of Maryland and Virginia for the riflemen to come without delay. Fresh 
hordes will be down upon us to-morrow. We will fight them, and whip 
them or die." 

In the battle of Lexington, the Americans had 8 
killed and 9 wounded by the deliberate fire of six com- 
panies of the flower of the British army, commanded by 
Major Pitcairn. In return, no account makes the British 
loss more than i killed ; and to this day it remains a 
disputed question whether the Americans under Cap- 
tain Parker succeeded in doing any execution upon the 
foe who had approached them openly and deliberately. 

In the battle of Concord, and during a retreat of 
over fifteen miles, the whole expedition occupying the 
entire day from dawn until sunset (the British troops 
during most of that time consisting of eight companies 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, with whom was Major 
Pitcairn, and a brigade of a thousand men under Lord 
Percy, who, to reinforce Colonel Smith, had insultingly 
marched out of Boston to the tune of Yankee Doodle), 
the British had 68 killed, 178 wounded and 26 missing. 
The American loss, not including that at Lexington, 
was 85 killed and wounded. 

In this comparison between the men of '75 and their 
sons of '61, it should not be lost sight of that the sires 
were pioneers accustomed to the presence of danger 
and the handling of arms, and that, not only had the 
military spirit been fostered and kept alive by frequent 
conflicts with the Indians, but the Colonists had seen 
active service many times during the hundred years 
preceding the Revolution. 


The brief story of the youthful martyrs of Baltimore 
has been often rehearsed. Charles A. Taylor was a 
stranger who enlisted on the morning of the departure 
of the Regiment from Boston, and was about twenty- 
five years of age. No tidings of his history or rela- 
tives have ever been received. 

Addison Otis Whitney was twenty-four years of age, 
and in the full vigor and promise of youth. Sumner 
Henry Needham was twenty-four years old, and thus 
early in life had, by his industry and fidelity, established 
a happy home, to which his loss was irreparable. On 
that fatal morning he said to a comrade : *' We shall 
have trouble to-day, and I shall never get out of it 
alive. Promise me, if I fall, that my body shall be 
sent home." The body of Taylor, not being uniformed, 
was supposed not to be that of a soldier, and was 
buried in Baltimore. The body of Needham was 
buried with distinguished honor by the City of Law- 
rence, which afterwards erected a suitable monument 
to his memory. The bodies of Whitney and Luther 
Crawford Ladd, after lying in state in this Huntington 
Hall, were buried here, with fitting honors, beneath a 
noble monument, reared by the City of Lowell and the 

Ladd was a youth of only seventeen years. As he 
fell, a comrade heard him exclaim, " All hail to the 
Stars and Stripes." 

Comrades, after the lapse of a quarter of a century, 
standing here " in the peace of the Commonwealth," 
let us, from our heart of hearts, with reverence, re-echo 
the dying boy's parting salute — " All hail to the Stars 
and Stripes." 

Governor Andrew's telegram to Mayor Brown of 
Baltimore, like all of the utterances of that noble 
patriot, touched the popular heart : 


" To his Honor the Mayor : I pray you to cause the bodies of our Massa- 
chusetts soldiers, dead in Baltimore, to be immediately laid out, preserved 
with care, and tenderly sent forward by express to me. All expenses will 
be paid by this Commonwealth." 

John A. Andrew, Governor of Massachusetts." 

Alluding to the Governor's despatch, the New York 
Times eloquently said : 

" Few men can read it without tears ; those bodies, battered and bruised 
by the brutal mob, are sacred. 'Tenderly ' is not too gentle a word to be 
used for the care of them. Yes, bear their bodies ' tenderly ; ' they are 
more sacred than the relics of saints. Wherever they pass, let the Nation's 
flag, which they died to defend, wave over them ; let cannon thunder the 
martial honor, and let women and children come to drop a tear over the 
Massachusetts dead, who died for country and liberty." 

Who, looking back over the intervening years, can 
contemplate, without emotion, without advantage to 
his patriotism, the Rally, March and Conflict of the 
"Sixth?" If to resolve to set the example in some 
great emergency in the affairs of mankind ; if to 
devote all you are or hope to be as a sacrifice to the 
interests of society at large, which seem to tremble on 
the verge of disaster ; if to cast all of goods, affections 
and life itself into the defense of a sentiment which 
elevates the race and ennobles existence, — is not hero- 
ism, what is it ? 

Is there no distinction between giving and getting — 
between self -gratification and self-sacrifice? The 
Divine Image and Superscription is stamped on deeds 
of unselfish devotion. Heroic deeds, called out and 
multiplied by great national emergencies, constitute 
heroic periods or times. He who sets the fashion in 
such times is magnified by the results, and by their 
greatness he is exalted, for they germinated in the 
purposes of his soul. Heroism can no more be 
measured by rule, or comprehended by enumeration, 
than the depth of a principle can be sounded, or the 
power of a passion gauged. It is heroic, single-handed, 
to hold the pass for an hour that an army may be 


aroused, arrayed and saved ; or to tread a dark and 
untried path that leads through peril and death, that 
communities may be warned of approaching danger, 
and aroused to deeds of valor ; or for a handful of 
militia to penetrate a hostile country to rescue a men- 
aced and defenceless Capital. Test heroism always by 
motives, and its magnitude by consequences, not by 

In 1 86 1 all appreciated full well that questions of 
vital importance to Americans, if not to men every- 
where, were awaiting solution, and the dread of disaster 
was suspended like a pall over our institutions ; all men 
hoped the issue would not be one of arms ; most men 
believed it would not be ; few indeed had accepted the 
contrary conclusion, and fewer still had so prepared for 
such an emergency as not to be surprised at its appear- 
ance. No one considered it in any degree a problem 
affecting material interests ; whatever the result, labor 
was still to receive its wages, and capital its usury ; it 
was generally and justly estimated as being a question 
of sentiment, of principle if you please, but that senti- 
ment proved to be patriotism, and that principle the 
love of freedom for freedom's sake. Everyone knew 
that necessarily the questions were not of personal con- 
cern ; in other words, every man could decide for him- 
self whether to meddle in the matter or absorb himself 
in his own affairs ; whether to serve country or self. 
Every man could count the loss sure to follow desertion 
of home and business, and no one could foresee the 
result so far as to estimate any advantages of going 
that could possibly compensate for the certain disad- 
vantage and probable dangers. You were suddenly 
called, but need not have gone, or might have dallied 
until your neighbor's course had been ascertained, yet 


you responded without hesitation. It was hard parting, 
but easy enough to accept ovations, so long as your 
progress was cheered by them ; they ceased, and the 
obstacle of a hostile city of two hundred thousand in- 
habitants appeared, to stop your farther progress. You 
were but a handful, and as thinking men you knew 
then as well as you do now, that to persist was dan- 
gerous. Millions of people whose lives were not more 
precious to them than yours to you, had equal interest 
in defending the country's Capital. As Massachusetts 
soldiers you were beyond the jurisdiction of its Laws, 
or its Officials. You were not yet sworn in to the 
United States service. You had been introduced into 
a dangerous city by Authorities who ought to have 
known the conspiracies openly organizing there, and 
who had made absolutely no preparations for your 
safety or protection, and had even concealed from you 
any anticipated danger ; accident left you without 
orders, or with contradictory orders, and separated 
leaders from men ; nothing prevented your returning 
or waiting ; nothing but sentiment, and that sentiment 
was patriotism, it could be none other. 

You, the pioneers in the conflict ! A band of 62 
men ! Never questioned that whatever the disparity 
of numbers, or the certainty of danger, the march must 

You, who followed ! The fragment of a Battalion, 
paraded in a hostile street, and in the presence of a 
dangerous foe, chose your new Commander, rectified 
your alignment, received your Colors with the honors, 
and bestowed them in position properly guarded, 
proudly unfurled them to the breeze, wheeled into 
column facing the hostile South, and ordered the 
march towards known dangers, and an uncertain fate. 


History will do justice to the character and quality 
of your achievements. 

What was this Affair judged by its results? In 
itself it was a triumph ; superior numbers were met, 
and overcome by force, but not until after insult was 
borne, injury was unrepelled, patience was exhausted, 
and blood was to be atoned for ; the Nation's highway 
to its Capital, blocked by Rebellion, was opened, and 
that Capital was rescued. 

These were only minor results. Your example was 
contagious ; armed men sprang up from every acre of 
ground in the North and West ready to sweep Balti- 
more into the sea for her assault and her presumption ; 
Baltimore bowed in submission, and was saved ; your 
blood shed in her streets transformed a million of 
peace-loving men, who had bewailed war, into soldiers, 
clamoring to be led against Rebellion and Slavery; 
your unquestioning devotion and swift response taught 
cautious capital that your patriotism was but the type 
to be followed by as many millions of Volunteers as 
the government required, and capital offered its 
treasure ; the Flag triumphed, and to-day, as of old, its 
unalterable Stripes and its increasing Stars symbolize 
the patriotism of a United People. 

Comrades, those who come after you will institute 
no inquiry as to what rank you bore ; with what par- 
ticular detachment your fortunes were cast on that 
eventful day ; with what special opportunities the for- 
tunes of war favored others or you, for the glory of 
that campaign sheds its lustre over and upon all of you 
alike. The offering was the offering of all ; the sacri- 
fices were made by all ; you all swiftly assembled, 
obediently marched, and faithfully served. If it was 
yours to resist force by force, you resisted ; if yours to 


be insulted and menaced in silence for your country's 
good, you bravely submitted to the sterner trial ; and 
the fame of the deeds of the "Old Sixth" shall as a 
grateful blessing be transmitted to your children's 
children, a rich inheritance undivided and indivisible. 

Your own eloquent Choate, in defining the char- 
acteristics of an Heroic Period, said: 

** I mean by a heroic age and race * * one the course of whose his- 
tory and the traits of whose character, and the extent and permanence of 
whose influences, are of a kind and power, not merely to be recognized in 
after time as respectable or useful, but of a kind and of a power to kindle 
and feed the moral imagination, move the capacious heart, and justify the 
intelligent wonder of the World. I mean by a Nation's heroic age, a time 
distinguished above others, not by chronological relation alone, but by a 
concurrence of grand and impressive agencies with large results, by some 
splendid and remarkable triumph of men over some great enemy, some 
great evil, some great labor, some great danger, by uncommon examples of 
the rarer virtues and qualities, tried by an exigency that occurs only at the 
beginning of new epochs, the accession of new dynasties of dominion or 
liberty when the great bell of time sounds out another hour." 



On August 2(1, i86r, the " Sixth " was dismissed by the following order 
from the Executive : 

"The Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, Colonel Jones, 
has returned home. It was the first which went forward to the defense of 
the National Capital. It passed through Baltimore, despite the cowardly 
assault made upon it, and was the first to reach Washington. Its gallant 
conduct has reflected new lustre upon the Commonwealth, and has given 
new historic interest to the 19th of April. It has returned, after more than 
three months of active and responsible service. It will be received by our 
people with warm hearts and generous hands. The Regiment is now dis- 
missed until further orders." 


" Thirty -seventh Congress of the United States, at First Session, in the 
House of Representatives, July 22, 1861. 

Resolved. That the thanks of this House are due, and are hereby ten- 
dered, to the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, for the alacrity 
with which they responded to the call of the President, and the patriotism 
and bravery which they displayed on the 19th April last, in fighting their 
way through the City of Baltimore, on their march to the defense of the 
Federal Capital. 


Speaker of the House 

of Representatives. 
Attest — Em. EfHEREDGE, 


In response to the following letter from I/ieutenant-Governor Jones, the 
accompanying statement is cheerfully inserted : 

State of New York, ) 

Lieut. Governor's Room, |- 
Ai,BANY, April 20, 1886. ) 
Coi.. B. F. Watson. 

My dear Colonel : 
The oration was a good one, and I was not disappointed, for I knew that 
your interest therein would command your best efforts. It is the only 
history of the Regiment, and as such it will be received, and therefore, 
should have added some things of which you were not cognizant, which jus- 
tice to the Regiment demands should be a part thereof. If you will hold 
the printing, I will endeavor to give you these points which, as it is your 
oration, you, of course, will use or not, as you deem best. 




"The Regiment was met at Philadelphia by General P. L. Davis, whom 
Governor Andrew had sent in advance to arrange transportation, etc. He 
informed me that our passage through Baltimore would be opposed, and he 
also said, I shall not take the responsibility to advise you what to do. My 
reply was, ' my orders are to go to Washington, and I propose to go; ' he 
replied, ' if you go, I will go with you.' 

" As soon as the Regiment were bivouacked in the Girard House, we took 
a carriage and went to see S. M. Felton, President of the Philadelphia and 
Baltimore Railroad to arrange for transportation. President Felton said 
that very likely our trains would be obstructed, possibly bridges burned, 
etc., and asked whether it was my intention to go on. 

" I told him that my orders were imperative ; that we must go on at the 
earliest possible moment : that I had no hesitation in taking the risks, 
but I did not wish to take the chances of my men being slaughtered in a 
railroad accident, but asked him to send a pilot engine in advance of the 

" I was aware of the usual custom of drawing the cars through the city 
with horses, and so expected to go until I was met at Havre de Grace by an 
agent of the railroad, who informed me that they could not draw us across 
the city. It was then that I ordered Quartermaster Monroe to distribute 
ammunition, and went through the cars and issued the order to which you 
adverted in your oration. On arrival at Baltimore, I stepped off the first car 
in which I was and gave orders to file out, but was scarcely on ground before 
horses were hitched on, and away went the car ; and so with the second ; I 
could get no information, and seeing that without consultation with me the 
plan had been changed, I jumped on to the third car. I afterwards learned 
that as the train had arrived earlier than was expected, the railroad authori- 
ties thought they could run us across before the people found out we were 

" The following quotation from my address at the Re-union of the old 
Sixth, in 1883, will answer an oft-made inquiry, as to why we did not punish 
the rioters then and there : 

" ' So far as any criticism may apply to my personal responsibilities, they 
are only of individal importance and will never be answered by me. But 
any imputations or insinuations against the courage or discipline of the old 
Sixth Massachusetts Regiment I repel with the scorn they merit. The most 
important and momentous epoch in my life-time was when, after the attack in 
Baltimore, officers and men gathered around me and begged that they might, 
then and there, avenge the death of their comrades. At that moment, when 
every influence of manhood impelled me to lead where all would follow, 
the line was sharply drawn between desire and duty by a telegram from 
General Scott saying ' Let nothing delay you. ' By my side stood William 
Prescott Smith of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, who appealed ' for 
God's sake, Colonel, give the orders to move, or it will be too late ; the track 
is now being torn up.' 

" ' The surging crowd of thousands of maniacs, as far as the eye could 
reach, and so dense that their very bodies blocked the wheels of our cars, 
yelled defiance. 

" ' Every impulse bade me accept the challenge, but I remembered that 
obedience to orders was a soldier's first duty.' 

" Such was the anxiety at Washington, that on our arrival we were met 
by the President and Cabinet. President Lincoln grasped my hand, and, 
with tears in his eyes, said, 'Thank God you are here. If you had not 
come, we should be in the hands of the rebels before morning. Your brave 
boys have saved the Capital. God bless them.' " 


{From Boston Herald of April igth, 1886.) 

Capt. Walter S. Sampson of Company C, ist Regiment (the Washington 
Light Guard), which was attached to the 6th Regiment as Company K on 
April 16, 1861, makes the following statement of the passage of his com- 
mand through the city of Baltimore on April 19, 1861. It is a portion of 
that famous encounter which has always been lightly treated, although it 
bears an important part in history. 

In 1861 I commanded, as captain, the Washington Light Guard of Boston, 
then Company C of the ist Regiment. After 10 o'clock on the night of the 
i6th of April, I was notified by Adjt. Gen. Schouler that my company had 
been attached to the 6th regiment and that I was to report ready for duty 
the next daj', at 11 o'clock in the forenoon, to go to Washington. When 
the order was given, I was drilling my company in its armory. They gave 
nine cheers when they were informed of the order. The next day at 11 
o'clock I reported with 62 officers and men, and became known as Company 
K of the 6th. When we left Philadelphia for Baltimore, at about i o'clock 
in the morning of April 19th, my company was in its order placed on the 
train as the left company. During the passage, and before we reached 
Baltimore, 10 rounds of ammunition to a man were distributed to my com- 
pany, and information was given that rough treatment might be expected 
when we arrived at Baltimore, and that the regiment would march through, 
and that no firing was to be done by the regiment unless some of its soldiers 
were wounded with firearms, and that in such case the officers would give 
the order to return the fire. I was also notified that when my company 
was to file out and take place in column. I should be further notified. The 
train we were in arrived at the President street depot at about 10 o'clock in 
the forenoon of the 19th, before which, as we were passing slowly through 
the city, the people exhibited considerable excitement. I carefully in- 
structed my company as to their duties under the orders received, adding 
what I thought useful in the waj' of instructions in case we were involved 
in any engagement. Very shortly after the train arrived at the President 
street depot Maj. Watson entered the front of my oar, and while standing 
near the front door, informed me that he had been ordered there by the 
colonel to see the rear of the battalion through the city ; that we were to 
remain in the car until ordered to file out into column, in which form the 
regiment was to march through the city, according to Col. Jones' directions. 
He also informed me that he had received similar orders as to not firing as I 
had received. We stood at the front end of the car, facing to the rear end, 
discussing the probable outcome of the attempt to go through the city, both 
agreeing that rough times would probabl}- be experienced before we got to 
Washington. Maj. Watson told me that, in passing alone through the 
crowd from the front car, he had talked with the policemen he had met, 
and with some of the excited crowd, and that they had threatened to bury 
all of us before we could reach the Camden street depot, and that he had told 
them we were ordered to Washington by the President, and that it would be 


dangerous for anybody to try to stop us, as we were armed and disciplined, 
and had no intention of shirking a duty because it was dangerous. We 
waited, seemingly, a long time for the order to take place in column, but it 
never came, and no intimation came from anybody that the programme had 
undergone any change. Impatience at the delay caused one or both of us 
to turn and look out of the front door of the car, when we saw that all of 
the cars ahead of us had disappeared, and horses were being attached to our 
car. This surprised both of us, as we did not know what had become of the 
regiment. Our orders being to remain in the car until ordered to file out, 
we had nothing to do but to watch the movement of the car, which, so far 
as we knew, was being moved to some other part of the yard to join the 
other part of the regiment. It was but a few minutes before the car reached 
the corner of President and Pratt streets, where the mob was assembled in 
great numbers, evidently eager to give us a warm reception. As the car 
was turning to the left into Pratt street, it was thrown from the track and 
stopped. The mob had placed a large anchor and other heavy obstructions 
across the track for the purpose of throwing the car off. Maj. Watson held 
a short consultation with me, and we both thought it safer to remain in the 
car, if possible, and it was determined that the soldiers should be kept 
in the car and the crowd kept out, while Maj. Watson saw what could be 
done toward replacing the car on the track. I ordered both doors guarded 
and myself stood at the front door or on the platform, while Maj. Watson 
got off and succeeded in getting a passing team to aid the car driver in put- 
ting the car on the track. Some little time was consumed in this proceed- 
ing, and during it the mob so increased as apparently to completely block 
up President street and Pratt street. They were very insulting and noisy, 
and threw at the car bricks, pieces of iron and coal and paving stones. 
Firearms were pointed at the windows and threats to shoot were frequent, 
accompanied with the vilest epithets they could invent for us. When the 
car was replaced the major ordered the driver to proceed, standing by him 
with the big navy revolver presented to the officer in Boston, and threaten- 
ing that he would blow his brains out if he did not keep the horses moving 
and the car on the rails. I was frequently by the major's side to aid him in 
forcing the driver to obey, for it seemed our only chance to get out of that 
crowd. I was frequently called to other parts of the car by some of the 
men who had been hit by the flying missiles, and the men constantly called 
for permission to fire. I referred to the major, who only had the authority. 
He told them he had been ordered not to fire until some one was shot ; that 
when that occurred he would give the order, and then they could take a 
hand in the game. When the car started after it was replaced we caught a 
perfect shower of paving stones and other missiles and some few gun or 
pistol shots, which latter had not up to that time troubled us. The car 
moved slowly, and had crossed the canal bridge on Pratt street, the firing 
both of missiles and shots constantly growing worse, when my attention 
was called to a soldier in the middle of the car who had had his thumb shot 
away, and who held it up as though he thought that ought to warrant the 
order to fire. I called Maj. Watson's attention to this wound, which he 


looked at and then said: "Boys, you may fire; shelter yourselves while 
loading, and then take good aim as you fire through the windows." The 
men were not long in obeying this order. They did not cheer aloud, but 
they looked it, and went regularly at work firing at will as fast as they could 
load and get aim out of the windows, without too much danger of their 
being hit themselves. While we were looking at the man's thumb the car 
was stopped, and the driver and his horses were surrounded by the mob and 
being urged away from the car along toward the direction we had been 
traveling. The pavement had been torn up and laid in piles at the place we 
were then stopped, and they were thrown at the car with so much force as 
to break in window frames and the car panels. I thought it impossible to 
go farther in the car, and told Maj. Watson I thought he had better lead us 
out, so we might sell our lives as dearly as possible. It seemed to me that 
we must be annihilated before we could fight our way through that great 
crowd, and what disaster had befallen the remainder of the regiment we 
knew not, but could, from our own prospects, only imagine the worst. The 
major said it was his duty to get as many of them through the city safely as 
possible, and that the car was a safer place than the open street, and that he 
would try to compel the driver to return to the car, and directed me to see 
that no one left or entered the car. I ordered Lieut. Emery to guard the 
rear door while I took a position at the front door, calling Private Spencer 
to my side. The driver and horses were then several rods away, making 
off. Maj. Watson started after him with his pistol in his hand, and I 
watched his progress from the front platform. I could not see him all of 
the time for the crowd, but I did see him on his way back with his pistol 
pointed at the driver's head. Why they did not shoot the major I never 
could imagine, but he got safely to the car with the driver, who, at the 
point of the major's pistol and mine, reattached the team to the car. While 
Maj. Watson was after the driver I noticed a man addressing a part of the 
crowd out at the front of the car, and I thought he meant mischief. I saw 
him pointing at me, and I told Spencer if he made any demonstrations to 
shoot him. The fellow drew a revolver, aimed at me, when Spencer 
instantly shot him dead, and that scattered the crowd in that direction just 
before the major reached the car with the team. The car again moved, the 
assault continuing with greater fury than ever. The driver was told that if 
he again left the platform he was a dead man. Just before we reached 
South Howard street the mob had torn up the track so that we could go no 
farther on it, and, under the major's orders, I formed my company in the 
street and commenced the march for the Camden street station, leaving the 
car completely smashed. The distance was short and the dense crowd that 
blocked the way was pressed aside as we entered the depot to find the main 
body of the regiment seated in the cars and Col. Jones on the platform 
awaiting our arrival. He ordered us into the cars, and we then heard that 
he had been rapidly drawn across the city and had no time to countermand 
his order to march, and that the cars containing him and his staff and Com- 
panies A, B, E, F, G and H had passed across the city without being 
attacked, excepting an occasional stone and constant abuse. We were 


astonished to hear that four companies and the band were still missing, for 
we supposed Company K was the extreme left of the regiment. I went to 
Col. Jones and oflFered the services of my company to march back in search 
of the missing men, but he ordered me to remain in the car. Many of the 
men of Company K were hit and bruised, but only four of them were 
wounded with gun shots. Their names were reported and appear in the list 
of the wounded of the regiment. The statements I have seen published 
give a pretty accurate account of the trying scenes endured while we waited 
in the Camden street depot. I saw no one show cowardice. On the con- 
trary, all were remarkably cool, considering the circumstances. 

Wai^ter S. Sampson, 
Captain Company K, 6th Massachusetts Volunteers. 
Boston, April 8, i886. 

Letter of Rev. Charles Babbidge, Chaplain of the " Old Sixth " and 
the first graduate of Harvard College to enlist. 

" PeppERELl, June 6th, i886. 
"Col. B. F. Watson: 

" Dear Friend and Comrade: — The Oration, so interesting in the hcar- 
ins, proves even more so in the reading. * * * Your work is admir- 
able for its clearness, calmness, and accuracy. It could not by any 
means do more perfect justice to the subject and to the writer. 

One of my copies I shall deposit in Harvard College Library; the 
other I shall treasure up as a memento of events and friends of other 

" Respectfully yours, 



A Review 

{From the Editorial columns o/"The Independent [N. X.\Jtine 2d, i8g6.) 

Baltimore and the Nineteenth of April, 1861. A Study of the 
War. By George William Brown, Chief Judge of the Supreme Bench 
of Baltimore, and Mayor of the City in 1861. Published in Extra Vol- 
ume III of the Series of Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical 
and Political Science. 


The Hon. George William Brown, Chief Judge of the Supreme Bench 
of Baltimore, and formerly Mayor of the city, has, after twenty-five 
years acceded to frequent requests that he should give an account of the 
events which occurred in Baltimore on the 19th of April, 1861, about 
which, he says, " much that is exaggerated and sensational has been 
circulated," a statement which if accurate, would not be remarkable with 
reference to a most dramatic opening struggle, on a historic day, in a 
historic war. 

The author has made a very readable book in which he has, fairly and 
otherwise, but in general with marked ability, dealt with several subjects, 
including the attack upon the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts in the 
streets of Baltimore; the administration of the City Government under 
his Mayoralty; the administration of the Military Department which 
included Baltimore; the plot to assassinate President Lincoln; the inter- 
view between the President and himself at the White House; the conflict 
between Chief-Justice Taney and martial law; the arrest of Ross Winans, 
the Police Commissioners, Marshal Kane and other prominent Mary- 
landers; and a personal chapter. 

The prominence of the author and the influential auspices under which 
the publication is made, as well as the importance of the subject from a 
historical point of view, combine to make it desirable to correct some of 
its more evident errors. 

Judge Brown starts off with the decided disadvantage, if sincerity be 
considered, of a seeming desire to assert that in 1861 he was not a Seces- 
sionist, and a seeming equal desire to prove that he really was one. The 
latter fact seems to us clearly established. Whether the exacting society 
of his section, which tolerates no adulteration of Southern sympathies, 
and to which this side of his book appears to be anxiously addressed, 
will accord him the same verdict, is doubtful. His consistency is also 
made to carry heavy burdens, for while engaged in belittling the exploits 
of the soldiers of the " Sixth " by damaging contrasts with the efforts 
of his ofificial associates, he is compelled temporarily to reconstruct most 
advanced disunionists into most efficient defenders of Union soldiers; 
as, for instance, the Board of Police Commissioners, Marshal Kane and 
his police. 


Quoting a few specimen extracts, we leave the reader to determine for 
himself on which side of the historical question Judge Brown really be- 
longs, while reserving to ourselves the right to doubt that he impartially 
occupies both sides. ^The italics in most cases are ours.) 

He says: 

" I was deeply attached to the Union from a feeling imbibed in early 
childhood, and constantly strengthened by knowledge and personal ex- 
oerience " "I did not believe in secession as a consitutional right. in 
my speech * * * I denied the right of a state to secede from the 
Union was guaranteed by the Constitution."^^ " It was my opmion that 
the Confederacy would prove a rope of sand. 

He then illustrates his veneration for the Union as follows: 
" I thought the seceding states should have been allowed to depart in 
peace." " There can be no true union in a Republic unless the parts are 
held together by a feeling of common interest, and also of mutual re- 
spect." ''" Moreover, it is not pleasant to disturb the ashes of a great 
conflagration, which, although they have grown cold on the surface, 
cover embers still capable of emitting both smoke and heat." "What 
course, then, was left to the South if it was determined to maintain its 
rights 'under the Constitution? What but the right of self-defense?" 
" The house of every man is his castle, and he may defend it to the death 
against all aggressors. When a hostile hand is raised to strike a blow, 
he who is assaulted need not wait until the blow falls, but on the instant 
may protect himself as best he can * * * and where constitutional 
rights of a people are in jeopardy, a kindred right of self-defense belongs 
to them." " In my proclamation I concurred with the Governor in his 
determination to preserve the peace and maintain inviolate the honor 
and integrity of Maryland, and added that I could not withhold my ex- 
pression of satisfaction at his resolution that no troops should be sent 
from Maryland to the soil of any other state." 

Is this historian a Unionist or a Disunionistf 

It is fair to recall the fact that this defense of Baltimore, for that is its 
real title, was written over twenty-five years after Judge Brown first knew 
that the assault in Baltimore was made upon the " Sixth " in its orderly 
march through Maryland, the only route by which the Capital of the 
country could be reached and protected from capture by Southern troops 
which had been in open warfare against the national authorities for about 
three months. 

A just discrimination upon the above quotations will aid in determining 
the reliance to be placed upon Judge Brown's narrative of the March of 
the " Sixth " through Baltimore, in which he says he participated " for 
more than a third of a mile." If his memory is accurate as to the dis- 
tance he marched, his opportunity for observation was even then limited 
to about one-third of the distance marched by one of the three detachments 
in which the " Sixth " separately encountered the reception- given to them 
by the Judge's constituents. In charity it must be borne in mind that 
under some circumstances, distances seem longer than the facts justify. 
The Judge was making his admeasurements under circumstances, he 


would have us believe, of no special danger except from an occasional 
brickbat, and from these circumstances he calmly and reflectively with- 
drew himself, of course in no degree quickened in his movements through 
apprehension of harm. He says: 

" I immediately felt that, as Mayor of the city, it was not my province 
to volunteer such advice" [to shoot down the assailants]. "It then 
seemed to me that I was in the wrong place, for my presence did not 
avail to protect either the soldiers or the citizens, and I stepped out from 
the column." 

Captain Follansbee, who was in command of that detachment, asserts 
that the Mayor did not, audibly at least, indulge in any such philosophic 
reasoning, but after walking beside him for " about a hundred yards " sud- 
denly exclaimed, "This is too hot a place for me," and left without say- 
ing " by your leave." 

Among the other truly wonderful things the Judge saw during his brief 
conjunction with the " Sixth " were the exploits of a " qjiiet " citizen. 
He says: " A young lawyer then and now known as a quiet citizen, seized 
a flag of one of the companies and nearly tore it from its staflF." For 
this quiet proceeding the Judge says the young lawyer got shot through 
the thigh, but the author draws consolation from the fact that " he sur- 
vived to enter the Army of the Confederacy." The puzzle presented bv 
this thrilling incident is to know where the young lawyer found a flag of 
one of the companies to seize, as neither of them had any Hag. 

Throughout the book the situation in Baltimore is represented as not 
very serious, when the deeds of a handful of Northern soldiers forcing a 
march through its hostile streets are under consideration; but when 
Baltimore officials advance to the front, language is scarcely sufficient 
to describe the terrible uprising of all classes of the people. In the en- 
deavor to magnify the efforts of the authorities on the 19th of April, their 
omission to take the most obvious precautionary measures, is thought to 
be sufficiently palliated by representing that the Mayor had only half an 
hour's notice, before the arrival of the " Sixth," that the city was in 
danger of invasion. When he received this important notification Judge 
Brown represents himself as rushing to the wrong depot — the Camden 
Street station — the depot of departure, more than a mile from the one 
where the troops must arrive. Why he did not attempt to protect the 
troops, with his very efficient police, before the march, instead of after 
the fight was nearly finished, he makes no attempt to explain. This same 
Mayor, it seems, more than a month before, fell into the same error when 
he undertook to prevent the assassination of President Lincoln. He 
then, so his book records, repaired to the wrong depot. Is it credible 
that the authorities of Baltimore were not aware of the march of the 
" Sixth " across the country from Boston to Baltimore, when the news 
of that march, and the ovations it called forth, was sent by telegrams all 
over the country, and filled the newspapers of the land? It is a well 
established fact that organization and preparation had been long previ- 


ously made to prevent the passage of the " Sixth " through Baltimore. 
An officer of the " Sixth " testifies, that he not only saw, as the train 
slowly passed by the lateral streets before it reached the President Street 
depot, armed men in great numbers frantically running to intercept it, 
but that while passing through the street from front to rear of the train, 
when it was first stopped, he was informed by policemen who accosted 
him, that preparations had been made to receive the regiment, that their 
graves were already dug, and that not a man of them would get through 
the city alive. Even Marshal Kane — whom this book decks out in a 
misfit patriot's garb — had been for days engaged, with or without the 
connivance of the Mayor, in attempting to bully the railroad officers into 
a refusal to transport troops to the defense of Washington, menaced 
though it was by an organized Southern army having at that moment 
recruiting stations in Baltimore; and menaced as well by an organizing 
Expeditionary Corps which was, from Baltimore, to seize Washington 
in the interests of secession. Judge Brown, on page 40, prints the fol- 
lowing insolent note of the City Marshal to the Railroad Agent, written 
three days before the assault on the " Sixth." 

"Dear Sir: Is it true, as stated, that an attempt will be made to pass 
the volunteers from New York intended to war upon the South over 
your road to-day? It is important that we have explicit understanding 
upon this subject. 

" Your friend, 


That the progress of the " Sixth " was well known in Baltimore is 
shown by the book itself. If Baltimoreans furnished, without notice, the 
reception which history has recorded, it is fearful to contemplate what 
that reception would have been if notice had been furnished. The rail- 
road bridges in such case might have been burned before the regiment 
reached Baltimore instead of afterward. 

Judge Brown says: 

" Seven companies of the Massachusetts Sixth reached the Camden 
Street station, the first carloads being assailed only with jeers and hisses; 
but the last car containing Company 'K' and Major Watson, was delayed 
on the passage and, according to one account, was thrown off the track 
by obstructions and had to be replaced by the help of a passing team; 
paving-stones and other missiles were thrown, the windows were broken, 
and some of the soldiers were struck." 

With these few lines Judge Brown completes for posterity the history 
of this episode of the fight in Baltimore wherein was shed the first blood of 
the great Rebellion. 

Hanson's history, to which Judge Brown refers, occupies pages in the 
barest outline of it. It is there stated: 

" The car containing Captain Sampson and 62 men of his Company K, 
under the immediate command of Major Watson was three times thrown 
fro!n the track; Major Watson each time getting out and compelling the 


driver to assist in removing the obstructions and getting in motion again. 
Referring to the roster of Company K, the reader will see the names of 
the first men who were wounded in this war." 

Again Hanson says: 

" It [the car] was no sooner started, than it was attacked by clubs, 
paving-stones and other missiles. The men were very anxious to fire 
on their assailants, but Major Watson forbade them until they should 
be attacked by firearms. One or two soldiers were attacked by paving- 
stones and brickbats; and at length one man's thumb was shot off, when, 
holding the wounded hand up to the Major, he asked leave to fire in re- 
turn. Orders were then given to lie on the bottom of the car and load, 
and, rising, to fire from the windows at will. These orders were 
promptly obeyed." 

We do not know who furnished Mr. Hanson this account, but it diflfers 
materially from Judge Brown's. We rely mainly for details of the ex- 
periences of the " Sixth " in Baltimore upon the oration of the Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel, who was present, which is the most carefully prepared ac- 
count yet published, and the one indorsed by the survivors. 

This particular episode of the fight, viz., the " attack," is chiefly re- 
markable, when it is considered that 62 raw militiamen forced their way 
through Baltimore against the resistance of a mob estimated at about 
20,000. Judge Brown was not present at this fight; he was still at the 
wrong depot. To quote again from the book: "The nation has learned 
many lessons of wisdom from its Civil War, and not the least among 
them is that every truthful contribution to its annals, or to its teachings, 
is not without some value." One of the most undeniable facts of that 
affair was that a most determined attack was made upon the ninth car, 
containing Company K, to prevent its passage. It was thrown from the 
track, obstructed by anchors and loads of sand, and in various other ways 
stopped and its horses forcibly removed, assaulted by paving-stones and 
brickbats, and occasional bullets; and at last, when it had been thor- 
oughly smashed, permanently stopped by tearing up the track, many of 
the soldiers in it had been injured and four of them shot, the fight having 
lasted not far from an hour, and during the last part firearms were freely 
used on both sides. And yet Judge Brown says: "It happened that a 
number of laborers were at work repaving Pratt Street, and had taken 
up the cobble-stones for the purpose of relaying them." This was a 
singular coincidence, but when in addition it happened "that a cart coming 
by with a load of sand, the track was blocked by dumping the cart-load 
upon it"; and when it happened "that some anchors * * * were 
dragged up to and placed across the track," the coincidence was most 
remarkable. When Company K had successfuly fought its way through 
the city, the track and the bridge were so torn up as to prevent the re- 
mainder of the companies, accidentally left behind, from forcing their 
way through in the cars, so they bravely undertook and triumphantly ac- 
complished the " march through," which has become historic. This 
detachment of four companies, under Captain Follansbee, numbering 220 


men all told, in this perilous march was opposed by every device in the 
power of an infuriated mob of 20,000 men to invent. It was assailed with 
a great variety of missiles; guns and pistols were used; barricades and 
other means of obstruction were resorted to, such as tearing up the 
planking of the bridge, and extemporizing a battery with which to con- 
test the passage. In this detachment alone, 32 soldiers were wounded, and 
4 were killed. Left behind, the soldiers of this detachment were at liberty 
to halt and retreat; instead of doing which, there in the hostile street 
they organized their battalion, voluntarily faced the danger and success- 
fully forced the passage. Judge Brown treats this brave feat by stranger 
militiamen with belittling comment. He says: "One of the band of 
rioters appeared bearing a Confederate flag, and it was carried a con- 
siderable distance before it was torn from its stafif by citizens." It is a 
well-authenticated fact that this flag was captured by the soldiers, and 
the officer (Lieutenant Lynde) is now alive, who finally secured it by 
knocking down its possessor with the hilt of his sword. 

The Judge says: "In crossing Pratt Street bridge the troops had to 
pick their way over joists and scantling which by this time had been 
placed upon the bridge to obstruct their passage." The undoubted fact 
is that the planking of the bridge was removed and the troops compelled 
to cross upon the string-pieces, and then to scale barricades erected near 
the bridge. Again he says: 

" I hurried on, and approaching Pratt Street bridge, I saw a battalion, 
which proved to be four companies of the Massachusetts regiment, which 
had crossed the bridge, coming toward me in double-quick time." "They 
were firing wildly." " The mob, which was not very large, * * * 
was pursuing with shouts and stones, and, I think, an occasional pistol 
shot." " There was neither concert of action nor organization among 
the rioters." " They were armed only with such stones and missiles as 
they could pick up, and a few pistols." " Rioters rushed at the soldiers 
and attempted to snatch their muskets, and at least on two occasions 
succeeded." " The bystanders * * * seemed to sufifer most, because 
* * * the mob, pursuing the soldiers from the rear, they * * * 
could not easily face backward to fire, but could shoot at those whom 
they passed on the street." " Three soldiers, at the head of the column, 
leveled their muskets and fired into a group standing on the sidewalk, 
who, as far as I could see, were taking no active part." " Marshal Kane, 
with about 50 policemen (as I then supposed, but I have since ascertained 
that in fact there were not so many) came at a run from the direction of 
the Camden Street station [wrong depot] and, throwing themselves in 
the rear of the troops, they formed a line in front of the mob, and with 
drawn revolvers kept it back. This was between Light and Charles 
Streets [just before the Camden Street depot was reached]. Marshal 
Kane's voice shouted, ' Keep back, men, or I shoot ' ! This movement, 
which I saw myself, was gallantly executed, and was perfectly successful. 
The mob recoiled like water from a rock." 

Thus first for Baltimorean bravery our author indulges in heroics. The 
" not very large " mob, which had " neither concert of action nor organ- 
ization," which was " armed only with such missiles as they could pick 
up " in one of Baltimore's clean and paved streets, and perhaps a few 


pistols; that mob by which 220 armed soldiers were being pursued, "re- 
coiled " before the only " gallant " thing Judge Brown saw, at all events 
mentions, on that occasion, namely, Marshal Kane forming a line with 
less than fifty of Baltimore's police, to protect Massachusetts soldiers, 
who. while he was out of sight and danger at the wrong depot, and his 
secession police were looking on passively, if not approvingly, had, in 
two independent and unsupported detachments, one numbering 62 and 
the other 220, fought their way for nearly a mile and a half through the 
streets of a city of 200,000 inhabitants filled with 20,000 infuriated rioters; 
and had all but reached the point of destination before the " gallant " ap- 
pearance of the police " nearly ended the fight "; and, says Judge Brown, 
" the column passed on under the protection of the police, without seri- 
ous molestation to Camden Street station." This station was at this 
time held by Colonel Jones and his detachment of about 500 men, whose 
presence alone held in check the rioting and confusion which our author 
mentions as prevailing there. 

Would it have weakened Mr. Brown's position, as Mayor, Judge, 
historian or apologist, or his claim to consideration from readers North 
or South if he had freely and fairly awarded to this regiment from the 
North the credit of having shown, in at least a respectable degree, 
soldierly persistence and pluck in this their first — the generation's first — 
taste of war? 

Who composed the "mob"? Judge Brown shall answer. The only 
rioters to whom he gives us a personal introduction are: "a quiet 
citizen," in the person of a " young lawyer," who afterward " rose to the 
rank of Captain" in the Confederate service; "a peaceful merchant," 
he being "a young man" and "one of the leading rioters"; "a well- 
known dry goods merchant," who was shot by the soldiers while he 
and his friends " raised the cheer for Jefferson Davis and the South." 
Significantly just here we may again quote: 

" After it became plain that no movement would be made toward 
secession, a large number of young men, including not a few of the flower 
of the State, and representing largely the more wealthy and prominent 
families, escaoed across the border and entered the ranks of the Confed- 
eracy. The number has been estimated as many as 20,000." 

Who was Marshal Kane, according to this author? Herein, as ever, 
Judge Brown is contradictory. 

" It is due to Marshal Kane to say that subsequently, and while he 
remained in office, he performed his duties to the satisfaction of the 
Board " [that is. Mayor Brown and the Police Commissioners, all of 
whom were subsequently arrested and imprisoned as disunionistsl. 
" Some years after the war was over, he was elected Sheriff, and still 
later Mayor of the city, and in both capacities he enjoyed the respect 
and regard of the community." 

Yet Judge Brown records the fact that Marshal Kane on this same 
19th day of April, when he with less than fifty of his hundreds of police- 
men protected (sic) the " Sixth " in such a " gallant " manner, that the 


mob " recoiled from them as water from a rock " telegraphed to Bradley 
T. Johnson at Frederick, as follows: 

" Streets red with Maryland blood; send expresses over the mountains 
of Maryland and Virginia 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." 

Judge Brown says: 

" It was considered that the services of Colonel Kane were, in that 
crisis, indispensable, because no one could control as he could the seces- 
sion element of the city, which was then in the ascendant." 

It is intolerable that a Judge on the Bench, under the auspices of a 
great University should attempt to palm off as history the statement that 
the few hundred Yankee militiamen who forced their way through Balti- 
more against the will of its mob, and its " secession element * * * 
which was in the ascendant," were dependent for protection upon the 
disunionist head of a disloyal police, who in this telegram was referring 
to journeying strangers, to whom, as such, Baltimore owed the protec- 
tion of asylum; to American citizens in this regard entitled to the guar- 
anty of the same constitutional rights in Maryland as belonged to them 
in Massachusetts; to soldiers obeying the lawful orders of the Com- 
mander-in-chief of the National forces. These were the men whose 
hordes " the riflemen " were summoned to meet with the vain boast, " we 
will fight them and whip them or die." 

It is impossible in a brief review to relate the facts which made the 
march through Baltimore of the " Sixth " Regiment famous at the time, 
and which called out unusual plaudits from the loyal people and press, 
and secured from Congress a vote of thanks for the gallantry displayed; 
but in reply to Judge Brown's belittling statement: " as the fighting was 
at close quarters the small number of casualities shows that it was not 
so severe as has generally been supposed," a single quotation will be 
given from the oration before referred to. 

" It was ascertained that about half of the ammunition issued to the 
men who had been engaged in actual conflict, had been expended." It is 
probable that ten rounds of ammunition to a man were distributed just 
before Baltimore was reached, although some claim there were twentv 
rounds. After the band of the (" Sixth ") had declined Lieutenant 
Lynde's escort, they had remained in their car, and dispatched one of 
their number to consult Colonel Small (the commander of the unarmed 
Pennsylvania troops to which Judge Brown refers, and whose train was 
attached to that containing the " Sixth," but with whom there was no 
communication by the ofificers of the " Sixth ") as the best thing to do. 
The messenger seems to have found no relief from Colonel Small, as his 
men were scattering and being chased in all directions by the crowd. 

The messenger of the band was followed back to his car, and the mob 
assaulted it. The inmates, being without arms, taking to flight, were 
pursued and beaten, receiving no help from the police, but, on the con- 


trary, taunts and insults. Substantially every unarmed man attached to 
the " Sixth " and the whole of Colonel Small's brigade were subse- 
quently sent back to the North, with lour hundred policemen to protect 
them so long as they were within the limits of Baltimore. If, as is esti- 
mated, after a careful consideration, over 1,500 rounds of ammunition 
were expended by the 300 soldiers under fire, in both of the assaulted 
detachments, it is probable that the damage was great, as the mark was a 
large one, and presented on every hand. Chaplain Hanson, in his historv 
of the " Sixth," in speaking of the Baltimore affair, says: 

" Loyal men in Baltimore, who were careful to collect all of the facts, 
arc of opinion that about 100 of the mob were killed by the guns of our 
soldiers. If the estimate of 100 killed is correct, and if the killed and 
wounded among the citizens bear the same proportion that they do 
among the soldiers " (four killed to thirty-six wounded with gun-shots) 
" there must have been over 900 wounded. * * * Company K was 
probably not under fire an hour, and the other four marching companies, 
C, I, L and D, probably not so long as an hour and a half, during which 
time about fourteen per cent, of the soldiers exposed were shot." 

Judge Brown rightly concluded that the defense of Baltimore would 
not be complete until he had disproved the existence of a conspiracy 
among its people to assassinate Mr. Lincoln on his way through that 
city in February, 1861, to assume the office of Chief Magistrate to which 
he had been elected. To this task he accordingly devoted 42 of his 170 
pages, and is satisfied that he has accomplished it, chiefly by the testi- 
mony of Colonel Lamon, who accompanied Mr. Lincoln on that journey, 
and who subsequently held close personal and official relations with him. 
Colonel Lamon confesses that after implicitly believing in the cofispiracy for 
ten years — that is long after Mr. Lincoln had really been assassinated — 
he had, upon what evidence is not stated, come to the conclusion that the 
conspiracy was all a delusion. The impression is sought to be given that 
Mr. Lincoln finally came to disbelieve in it. but this rests upon no found- 
ation better than Colonel Lamon's assertion that Mr. Lincoln afterward 
regretted the occasion his precautions gave to his enemies to cast de- 
rision upon him. This is far from proof that he had changed his mind 
as to the existence of a plot which, after mature deliberation, he believed 
to be so real that he, a man of unquestioned personal bravery, felt it his 
duty to the country to circumvent it. Such men as Samuel M. Felton, 
the President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad 
are not easily deceived upon a subject which has engaged their investiga- 
tion for weeks. 

History has demonstrated that the assassination of a President for his 
political views is not an impossible occurrence. Many facts tending to 
establish the existence of the deliberate design to take Mr. Lincoln's life 
while passing through Baltimore are known to the prominent actors in 
the scenes of those times, and additional evidence is constantly being 
unearthed. These facts may not singly, or even when combined, be 
sufficient to secure conviction in Judge Brown's Court of Law, but they 


are ample to produce the moral conviction of the existence of that das- 
tardly conspiracy. A gentleman of undoubted veracity and respectability 
now lives in this city of New York, who recently related the fact that 
his father was the conductor of the train which, on this occasion, bore Mr. 
Lincoln through Baltimore, and that he was offered by the conspirators one 
hundred thousand dollars if he would simply pass through the car and lay his 
hand upon the berth occupied by the President. The man who refused this 
bribe so tempting to a poor man was politically opposed to Mr. Lincoln, 
and was well known to the people of Baltimore, he having been a con- 
ductor on that railroad for over twenty-five years. These facts he com- 
municated to his son a few days before his approaching and certain death, 
and the statement can be substantiated under oath. Judge Brown will 
find he has undertaken a difificult task in attempting to disprove the 
existence of this plot, for in the course of events many similar pieces of 
corroborative testimony will doubtless come to light. 

A letter from Major-General Charles Devens, Judge of the Supreme 
Court of Massachusetts. 

Boston, July 6th, '87. 
Col. B. F. Watson. 

Dear Sir : 
I am much obliged by a copy of the article in the Independent of June 2. 
I have read it with the greatest interest, as I did your Address at Lowell 
three or four years since on the same subject. I hope you will not cease 
to insist that this story shall be truthfully told. 


A letter from Chaplain Babbidge. 


PeppERELL, June 8th, 1887. 

My dear Friend and Comrade: 

It is now nearly midnight, and I have been amusing myself with the 
hoe and spade until I am nearly " played out." Still, immediately up» n 
its reception, I began to read your Article in the Independent, and nobly 
have you done your work. Mayer Brown may now hang up his Histori- 
cal fiddle. I am too tired to unburthen my mind, but will only say, that 
though we have overwhelming proofs of a Special Providence directing 
human affairs, I want no better proof of the fact, than we have in the 
connection of Col. Watson with the affair in Baltimore in April, 1861. 
I shall write. 

Ever yours, 






? > 

{From the editorial columns of The; Independent, May, 1886.) 


In speaking of the exercises in Massachusetts commemorating the 
twenty-fifth anniversary of the passage of the Sixth Regiment through 
Baltimore, The Independent of 22nd April said that the Sixth (Regiment, 
of course) " was the first to respond to the call of President Lincoln for 
troops. It was the first to shed its blood in defense of the Union, and 
the first to shed hostile blood." Henry C. Russel, of Pottsville, Penn., 
takes exception to our statement, and shows that a Pennsylvania company 
ofYered its services to Mr. Cameron, then Secretary of War, on the nth 
of April, 1861, which was accepted by him on the 13th, and that four other 
companies located near Harrisburg also volunteered, and that these com- 
panies, on the 16th and 17th of April, were ordered to Harrisburg, where 
they, to the number of 540 men, were mustered into the United States 
Service on the i8th, and, with forty men of Company F, 5th Artillery 
U. S. A., on that day took the train for Washington, about 100 miles 
distant from Harrisburg, and that, in passing through Baltimore on the 
i8th, a colored attendant upon one of the companies was hit with a brick, 
" which," writes our correspondent, " was the first blood shed in the 
War." To this statement of facts is appended Mr. Cameron's certificate 
that " these were the first troops to reach the seat of Government "; also 
an extract from a speech of General Grant at Philadelphia in 1879, in 
which he said: 

" Up to this time I had supposed the Massachusetts Sixth Regiment 
was the first to enter the National Capital in 1861, after the President's 
call for 75,000 men, and I suppose I fell into the mistake by reports made 
at the time in the newspapers." 

And also a resolution of the House of Representatives at Washington, 
passed July 22nd, 1861, thanking " the five hundred and thirty soldiers 
from Pennsylvania who passed through the mob at Baltimore, and 
reached Washington on the 18th day of April last, for the defense of the 
National Capital." 

We learn from Colonel Watson's " Oration at Lowell," which 
we were reviewing, that he offered at a meeting of the field 
officers and commanders of companies of the Sixth, assembled at 
Lowell on the 19th day of January, 1861, a resolution, tendering the ser- 
vices of the regiment, which passed unanimously, and which was, on the 
23rd of January, 1861, indorsed by the Massachusetts Legislature, and on 
the same day forwarded to President Lincoln by Governor Andrew; that 


the President's call for seventy-five thousand troops was issued on the 
15th of April; that at seven o'clock, on the morning of the i6th, the 
Sixth had assembled from four counties and thirty towns and cities, com- 
pletely organized (as a regiment), armed and equipped, ready for duty; 
that on the morning of the 19th of April, after a march of about 500 
miles, they fought their way through Baltimore, having four killed and 
thirty-six wounded by fire-arms, not counting a great number injured by 
bricks and other missiles, and leaving of the mob, as estimated, about 100 
killed and 900 wounded, reaching Washington on the afternoon of the 
19th, when they were met by President Lincoln, who, with tears in his 
eyes, welcomed the Sixth, and said that if they had not arrived Washing- 
ton would be in the hands of the rebels before morning. " Lossing's 
Civil War," to which our correspondent refers us, says that these Penn- 
sylvania companies were almost entirely zvithout arms. We learn from re- 
liable sources that General Scott informed the Sixth, on its arrival, that 
he depended upon it to save the capital, and that it was at once put upon 
important duty, and was the only military reliance the General had until 
eight days after its arrival, when the Seventh New York and Eighth 
Massachusetts reached Washington, by way of Annapolis. Our Pennsyl- 
vania friends are entitled to great credit for their patriotic promptness, 
and, doubtless, to the credit of having reached Washington several hours 
before the Sixth, and, had they been armed and organized as a battalion, 
they would have afforded great comfort to the anxious and bewildered 
authorities in Washington during the week when it was cut off from 
communication with the North. Governor Andrew, in his order dismiss- 
ing the Sixth, says: 

" The Sixth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia * =!= * has 
returned hon:e. It was the first which went forward to the defense of the 
National Capital. It passed through Baltimore despite the cowardly 
assault made upon it, and was the first to reach IVashington. Its gallant 
conduct has reflected new luster on the commonweaUh, and has given 
new historic interest to the 19th of April." 

The House of Representatives at Washington on July 22nd, 1861 : 

" Resolved, That the thanks of this House are due, and are heartily 
tendered to the Sixth Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteers for the 
alacrity with which they responded to the call of the President, and the 
patriotism and bravery which they aisplayed on the 19th of April last in 
fighting their zuay through the city of Baltimore on their march to the defense 
of the Federal Capital." 

Colonel Watson in his oration claims that " the Sixth was first to vol- 
unteer, first in the field, first to shed its blood, and first to triumph"; 
and his claim, as well as our statement, seems to be justified by the facts; 
certainly so, when it is remembered that both statements were made as 
applying to a regiment of soldiers armed and equipped. 


(From the New York Evening l-'ost of February 12, 1896J 

Statements by Ofticers of the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment — Some 
Interesting History. 

[General Jones' Despatch.] 
[Special Despatch to The Eveninu Pl^^•^] 

Washington, February 12. 1896. — The author of the recent communi- 
cation to the Bvening Post, who from a long distance kindly corrected 
these despatches as to what was going on in Washington, will doubtless 
be interested in the following letter, written by ex-Lieut. -Gov. Jones of 
New York to one of the Congressmen who is espousing the cause of the 
Massachusetts '' first defenders " against those of Pennsylvania: 

■' It has just come to my knowledge that an unjust claim is being made 
from Pennsylvania for recognition as having supplied the first troops in 
the defense of the capita! in April, 1861. As Colonel of the Sixth Massa- 
chusetts Regiment, which was prominently in evidence at that time, I 
nuist. in behalf of the brave boys whom I had the honor to command at 
that time, make a vigorous protest against the recognition of such claim, 
and ask your good offices as a member of the House of Representatives 
to prevent this proposed injustice. I will appear before the committee 
ii" it should be deemed necessary." 

Coi.ONEi, Watson's Communication. 

To THE Editor of the Evening Post: 

Sir: In your issue of the 6th instant your correspondent, William F. 
McCay, commenting on a special despatch printed in the Evniiiig P.ost of 
January 20 with reference to the bill introduced in the National House of 
Representatives by Mr. Erdmann of Pennsylvania, conferring medals 
upon five companies of Pennsylvania volunteers as " First Defenders " of 
Washington in April, 1861, refers in very courteous terms to " the gallant 
Sixth Massachusetts Regiment," and says, " There is no hostility exist- 
ing between it and the ' First Defenders.' " Although a constant reader 
of the Evening Post for more than a quarter of a century, I failed to notice 
the special despatch referred to. but I feel impelled to correct some of the 
statements of Mr. McCay concerning an historical event which happened 
nearly thirty-five years ago, lest silence might be misconstrued. 

Mr. McCay denies that the five Pennsylvania companies were " Wide- 
Awakes." I do not know whether they were or were not such in the 
political sense; they certainly were such in the patriotic sense, and are 
entitled to all honor for the alacrity of their response to the nation's 
need. The " Old Sixth " has never grudged them the fame which they 
undoubtedly earned by reporting at Washington, about 100 miles away 
from their homes, on the night of April 18, 1861, or by the meritorious 
services rendered subsequently during the war as members of other 


The present request is for medals, which is liable to be construed as a 
Congressional endorsement of their claim to be " First Defenders," and 
it is made without giving precedence or even reference to the " Old 
Sixth," and to the latter naturally seems a derogation of its rights. A 
similar claim of precedence made by the " First Defenders " was met in 
the press nine years ago, so that its repetition occasions the "Old Sixth" 
no surprise, except as an instance of persistence against adverse fortune. 
The same claim was renewed and resisted upon the occasion of the Grand 
Encampment of Veterans at Washington, referred to by Mr. McCay as a 
proof that precedence was on that occasion accorded to the " First De- 
fenders." Mr. McCay says: "The First Defenders and the Sixth held 
the post of honor in the grand review and, at the head of that mighty 
army of veterans who wore the blue, marched side by side in fraternal 
honor and pride, each conceding to the other all due honor and con- 
sideration." The fact is that in response to the urgent request of the 
" First Defenders " for the right of the line, the commanding ofHcer 
accorded the right to the " Old Sixth," and assigned the " First Defend- 
ers " to the lead of the second of the double parallel-column formation 
in which that procession marched, the other column, led by the " Old 
Sixth," being the directing flank, the post of honor, as the march was 
right in front, and the guide, left. Persistent claim for first place thus 
secured for the " First Defenders " second place, which fact does not 
amount to proof of acknowledged precedence, as claimed. 

A defender is " one who defends." Whom did these unarmed com- 
panies as such defend? The moral influence of their patriotic presence, 
however reassuring to the capital and creditable to themselves, could 
hardly be included in the category of defense in time of war. To what 
military service, as such companies, were they assigned in the twenty - 
four hours which they passed in Washington before the arrival of the 
" Old Sixth," or at any other time during the eight days after its arrival 
and before the city was relieved by the arrival of Gen. Butier with the 
Eighth IMassachusetts and the Seventh New York? No such service is 
specified. I am unable to confirm Mr. McCay's statement that " when 
the Sixth reached Washington they found the five companies of Pennsyl- 
vanians occupying the House wing of the capitol, which they had barri- 
caded," except as implied in the statement of the fact that, upon the 
arrival of the Sixth in Washington, on the 19th of April, after its fight in 
Baltimore, it was met at the station by Major McDowell, then chief of 
Gen. Scott's staff, and conducted to the capitol, which the Colonel of the 
Old Sixth was ordered to take possession of and to defend. At that time 
Major McDowell casually remarked that there were a few unarmed Penn- 
sylvania militiamen in the building, but that they were without military 
organization. I was then second in command in the regiment. In pur- 
suance of the duties of officer of the day. I posted my sentinels that even- 
ing around the capitol grounds and at all places of ingress into the 
building. That guard was maintained by the " Old Sixth " during the 
ensuing eight days, while Washington was beleaguered, and the capitol 


during the same period was victualled and barricaded under the orders 
of the Colonel of the " Old Sixth." During this period members of the 
Pennsylvania companies were occasionally seen about the capitol, but no 
ofiicial intercourse took place between us, and nothing occurred to ap- 
prise us that they were " defenders " of anybody or anything, or that they 
constituted an organized military force. It was not until long after the 
war that the " Old Sixth " learned that these were " First Defenders." 

Irrespective of the question whether they were defenders, were they 
"First"? If they were merely associated patriotic citizens, as they 
doubtless were, rushing unarmed to offer their services to their distressed 
government, they were not, even as such, " First," for Washington, at 
the time of their arrival, contained more than one such unarmed associ- 
ation of its own patriotic citizens, strenuously tendering their services to 
defend the government. Moreover, how can they be said to be '' First 
Defenders " when in fact they were escorted through Baltimore and to 
Washington on the i8th of April by a battery of the regular army? The 
regulars, as escort, certainly preceded these five companies, and, being 
armed, possessed the essential qualification of defenders, which the help- 
less volunteers lacked. Mr. McCay refers to these five companies as 
■' Pennsylvania volunteers who were the first to respond to the call of 
President Lincoln, and the first troops to reach and save the almost de- 
fenseless capital city and imperilled government." If by any military 
deeds they are entitled to medals for saving the capital, those deeds 
should be disclosed. When the Sixth arrived, Washington had not 
appreciated such salvation. 

Can unorganized companies of unarmed militia, while outside the State 
having military control of them, be properly termed "troops "? In the 
communication to which I am referring no admission is made that the 
" Defenders " were unarmed. An attempt to excuse such a defenseless 
condition of " Defenders " seems to appear in the narrative, which says: 
" There was no time to organize regiments. * * * Jn response to 
the frantic appeals of the government at Washington * * * they 
rendezvoused at Harrisburg on the 7th of April. * * * Everything 
was in chaotic disorder and confusion at that early period, and early the 
ensuing morning they were sworn and mustered into the service of the 
United States and started for the capital city. All of these companies 
were regular militia companies, organized long before, some of them 
preceding the Mexican war." Are the regular militia companies of the 
"old Keystone State" ordinarily without arms? If not, why did these 
" Defenders " stack their arms at home and march for war in a defense- 
less condition? Such "chaotic" military "confusion" in itself would 
hardly entitle the old Keystone State to a monopoly of medals, but this 
should not detract from the merit of its patriotic wide-awake men. 

Mr. McCay again says: "The 'First Defenders' * * * claim for 
themselves the great honor of being the first volunteers, not only to en- 
counter the bloodthirsty mob at Baltimore, Md., on April 18, just twenty- 
four hours preceding the attack on the brave old Sixth Massachusetts, but 


also to be the first to reach the capital, on the same evening; * * * " 
also they " were the first to respond to the call of President Lincoln." 
The mob in Baltimore on the 19th of April, 1861, is well known to his- 
tory. I confess that it is news to me that there was a " bloodthirsty 
mob " there on April 18. The only casualty ever reported or claimed 
before by the " First Defenders " while being escorted through Balti- 
more was a bloody nose, belonging to a colored attendant of the "' First 
Defenders," and received at the hand of some Baltimorean who did not 
fancy a " Defender " of that particular complexion. At other times and 
on proper occasions, by appointment of my surviving comrades, it has 
fallen to my lot to tell, for history, the story of the " Old Sixth " Massa- 
chusetts Regiment's afifair in Baltimore, April 19, 1861. I do not pro- 
pose to repeat it now, except in so far as to endeavor to frustrate this 
attempt, after the lapse of thirty-five years, to appropriate, by act of 
Congress, credit which belongs alone to the Sixth, and which history has 
accorded to it. 

The Sixth Regiment has long been a part of the organized militia of 
Massachusetts. One if not more of its companies was chartered before 
the Revolution. President Lincoln's call, April 15, 1861, for 75.000 
troops, found the " Old Sixth " dispersed in forty cities and towns. This 
call reached Col. Jones about five o'clock on the afternoon of the 15th. 
That night the call to arms was so effectively promulgated that the regi- 
ment, fully organized, uniformed, armed and equipped, assembled at its 
headquarters at Lowell, early on the morning of the i6th, proceeded to 
Boston, twenty-five miles away, and reported ready for duty to the 
Governor of the State during the afternoon of the i6th. This was before 
the " First Defenders " reported at Harrisburg in their " chaotic " con- 
dition. Three months before this time, on the 19th of January, 1861, the 
regiment had regularly volunteered its services in view of possible neces- 
sity, and this act of volunteering was endorsed by both houses of the 
Legislature and by Gov. Andrew, and was at the time communicated to 
President Lincoln. Therefore, in any event, the " First Defenders " were 
not " first to volunteer " or " first to respond." On the 17th of April, 
the Sixth, under orders, started for Washington. The " First Defend- 
ers " claim that they started for Washington from Harrisburg on the 
18th of April. They accomplished their 100 miles on the same day, while 
the " Old Sixth " was on its 500 miles' journey. It travelled day and 
night, and reached Baltimore in the forenoon of the 19th of April, en- 
countering there a mob of many thousands expressly assembled to pre- 
vent its reaching Washington to rescue it from its perilous condition. 
In the conflict which ensued, and which lasted several hours, the " Old 
Sixth," among other losses, lost four men killed and forty wounded, and 
it inflicted greater damage upon its assailants. At about dark the regi- 
ment reached Washington, where it was met by President Lincoln, who 
informed its officers that its arrival would probably save the city from 
capture that night. Gen. Scott at once utilized the " Old Sixth " in 
various ways for the defense of the city, and stated, during the eight days 


next following, that he depended upon the " Old Sixth " to save the 
capital. Neither the President nor the commanding General expressed 
or intimated to us any reliance upon the five Pennsylvania companies 
who since the war have called themselves the " First Defenders." 

It is true, as stated by Mr. McCay, that Congress thanked the five 
companies for their patriotism in " passing through " Baltimore on their 
way to the capital. It is also true that Congress, in July, 1861, thanked 
the " Old Sixth " for '' the alacrity with which they responded to the call 
of the President, and the patriotism and bravery which they displayed on 
the 19th of April last in fighting their zuay through Baltimore, on their 
march to the defense of the federal capital." Gov. Andrew, in his order 
dismissing the " Old Sixth," said: " It was the first which went forward 
to the defense of the National Capital. It passed through Baltimore de- 
spite the cowardly assault made upon it, and was the first to reach Wash- 
ington. Its gallant conduct has reflected new luster upon the common- 
wealth, and has given new historic interest to the 19th of April." The 
motto of the " Old Sixth " regiment is " First to volunteer — First in the 
field — First to shed its blood — First to triumph." History has con- 
firmed this claim. It is most unlikely that Congress will listen to a de- 
mand which is a virtual denial of it. 


New York City, February 8, 1896. 




Delivered at Ivowell, Mass., April rgth, 1901, preceded by an eloquent intro- 
ductory address by the Hon. Caleb Saunders, Ex-Mayor of Lawrence 
and a gallant member of Company I, with which he encountered the 
thickest of the fight in Baltimore. 


Comrades — Friends : 

With a sense of pride and of profound obligation, 
I to-day comply with the flattering invitation of the 
Board of Officers of the " Old Sixth Massachusetts 
Regimental Association " to address you upon this 
Fortieth Anniversary of the conflict of the "Old 
Sixth" in the streets of Baltimore, on the 19th of April, 
1 86 1. At this late day the survivors of that conflict 
do not deem it necessary to revise their story of their 
campaign for the defense of Washington. 

Comrades : Fifteen years ago, on the 25th anni- 
versary of the Baltimore affair, I had the honor, by 
your express appointment, to narrate for history the 
main facts of that campaign, as the actors therein 
remembered them, in an oration, as you termed it, 
before the survivors and other distinguished citizens, 
which oration, by your direction, was printed, deposited 
in many of the public libraries of the country, and 
distributed among all accessible comrades of the "Old 

It is obvious that the limits of an oral address 
would not allow of the barest mention of many per- 
sonal episodes of bravery and patriotic sacrifice. To 
that story, as history, the actors therein point for the 
information of posterity. When the eye-witnesses 
agree, who can question ? Those comrades who were 


then present and listened to that narrative signified no 
sign of disapproval, but voted assent, with the excep- 
tion of our old commander and first colonel, General 
Jones, who subsequently, by letter, claimed that a few 
details had been omitted, and his letter specifying the 
corrections was, with pleasure, printed at the end of 
the oration. In it the General wrote: "The oration 
was a good one, and I was not disappointed, for I knew 
that your interest therein would command your best 
efforts. It is the only history of the Regiment, and, as 
such, it will be received." 

Of the few prominent actors in that campaign then 
alive, but absent from the 25th Anniversary Reunion, 
but to whom the oration was subsequently sent, all, 
with the exception about to be noted, gave flattering 
testimony to its accuracy. One of the exceptions, if 
they may be called such, was the late gallant Captain 
A. S. Follansbee, of Company C, who, by the selection 
of his associate captains, made on the spot, commanded 
the four marching companies in their passage through 
Baltimore. As set forth in the oration, these companies 
had been left behind by the disarrangement of the order 
in which the Regiment had been embarked in the train. 
The conflict arising from their passage constituted the 
principal event of that memorable day. It is fully 
described in the oration. Any occasion for dissatisfac- 
tion on Captain Follansbee's part would be deplored. 
On the 7th day of May, 1886, and after the oration was 
printed, he wrote : " My Dear Colonel Watson : Yours 
of the 7th inst. came to hand, and am delighted to hear 
from you. * * I thank you very kindly for the papers 
sent. It was the first report of the celebration I had 
received. I have read your address and have no objection 
to its being printed and given to the public as the history 


of our march through Baltimore in April, 1861, with the 
exception of one statement that alluded to me personally 
and which is entirely erroneous. * * The particular 
statement I refer to is that of Lieutenant Jepson, * * 
that after passing the bridge, I asked him what he 
thought should be next done, and he advised moving at 
double quick, and that I gave the order at his suggestion. 
'^' * The fact is I did not ask the advice of any officer. 
I cannot say that Lieutenant Jepson did not suggest 
such a movement, when near the bridge, but I do not 
recollect it. If he did, it was not acted on at that time. 
Much has been said about my giving the order to 
double quick, but the thing really has no significance, 
and only happened when we were probably about two- 
thirds across the city, and the probable distance travelled 
that way did not exceed one hundred yards, and that at 
a time when there was a lull in the firing on both sides, 
and after a// the rapid firing had ceased. My idea was 
to connect with the balance of the Regiment as soon 
as possible, but, seeing that the rear companies did not 
keep properly closed up, I at once ordered quick time 
and shortened the step on the right of the batallion, 
until the ranks were in their proper position. These 
are the facts in the case and all there was of it. * * As 
regards the difference in my statement of 1861 and 
1885, can only say that of 1861 was written under a 
strain of excitement the night we arrived in Washing- 
ton, and my statement that the Mayor shot one of the 
rioters, came from the report of some of my men, and 
the statement that a policeman led the way, should 
have read' 'he attempted to do so.' * * I was pleased 
to read that part of your address referring to Company 
K, with whom it was your fortune to be. I have never 
before read a detailed statement of that company's 

doings on that eventful day, and am glad it is to be 

Perhaps I may be pardoned for a digression 
enabling me to put on record the fact that the most 
accurate and complete account of the experience of 
Company K, on occasion of the fierce efforts of the 
rebels to prevent its passage through Baltimore, that 
has ever fallen under my notice, is that by the gallant 
Captain Walter S. Sampson, printed in the Boston 
Herald, April 19, 1886. It was attached to the oration 
as printed. For obvious reasons, the oration dealt 
lightly with that particular episode. 

The other exception was General B. F. Butler, 
who was to have followed me with an address on the 
25th Anniversary, but who was suddenly called to 
Washington. On May 23d, 1886, he wrote: "My 
Dear Colonel Watson, — I am in receipt of your ele- 
gantly bound oration at the gathering of the ' Old 
Sixth ' Massachusetts, or rather the few remaining 
veterans, on the 25th Anniversary of the 19th of 
April, when from their ranks flowed the first blood 
of the great Civil War. I dare not say what I would 
about the speech — in which there is but a single 
mistake of fact, and that one which has nothing to 
do with the action of myself or the officers of the 
Regiment, because ofyour highly complimentary mention 
of myself. I thank you most sincerely for putting on 
record in this form, what is on record elsewhere, the 
early action of myself as Brigadier-General, Lieu- 
tenant-Governor Jones, of New York, then Colonel of 
the Regiment, and yourself, in relation to putting in 
proper discipline the military forces of Massachusetts to 
meet the great crisis which it did meet first of all. 
Please accept my assurances of reciprocation of the 


cordial friendship which has for so many years been 
between us." My subsequent efforts to learn from 
General Butler what the mistaken fact was proved 

The edition of one thousand copies of the oration 
having been exhausted, it is the intention to issue 
for distribution among Comrades and Libraries a 
new edition and to bind with it this address, together 
with the Judge Brown and the "First Defenders" 
controversies referred to hereinafter, which are too 
voluminous to be quoted on this occasion. 

It was one of the purposes of my comrades in invit- 
ing the preparation of the oration to correct the public 
misapprehension of the conflict in Baltimore derived 
from accounts narrating it as a single contest of the 
regiment as a whole with the mob instead, as was 
the fact, of an accidental series of three encounters of 
three separate detachments under different commanders, 
entirely disconnected and out of sight and sound of 
each other. This purpose seems to have been effectu- 
ally accomplished. 

It was also the intention to avail ourselves of that 
opportunity more or less extensively to set forth the pe- 
culiar distinctions to which the "Old Sixth" was entitled, 
and to differentiate them from the conceded accom- 
plishments of other organizations in that grand army of 
patriots who followed your lead. No praise is too great 
for the merits of the "Minute Men of '6i," whether of 
Massachusetts or elsewhere. The time for the " Old 
Sixth " to speak for itself is fast passing away forever. 
The record must be left clear even at the expense of some 
trouble. Since the publication of the oration I have 
been called upon to appear in print in defense of your 
exclusive rights to coveted honors which you alone had 


earned. Some of these attempts have in friendly 
rivalry claimed precedence of readiness and they have 
produced no feeling of resentment; others, more serious 
and emanating from a less friendly source, have sought 
to disparage the danger of the situation in Baltimore 
and the magnitude of the undertaking which the "Old 
Sixth " accomplished in forcing a passage through that 
city. "The First Defenders of Washington," as their 
title indicates, contest your right to the credit of sav- 
ing from capture the Capital of your country. While 
you will not yield in silence to such an assumption, no 
more will you deny the honor due to them for patriotic 
devotion and prompt sacrifice of selfishness in the hour 
of the country's danger. The "First Defenders" con- 
sisted of four or five detached companies of Pennsylvania 
militia, residing in the vicinity of Pottsville, a place 
located at about loo miles from Washington ; who, with- 
out battalion organization or officers, or uniforms, arms 
or equipments, on the afternoon of the eighteenth day of 
April, 1 86 1, started for Washington under the escort of 
a Battery of the United States Army, which had been 
ordered to Washington by a route which passed 
through a portion of Baltimore. In that city they 
were not molested, excepting that one of their colored 
attendants was hit with a stone, so as to draw blood. 
Thus escorted, and in this helpless plight, they 
reached Washington about the same time on the 
1 8th of April that you, as a Regiment, fully organized, 
armed and equipped, were arriving at Philadelphia, 
about the same distance from Baltimore that their 
homes were from Washington ; and your march had 
then already been more than 300 miles from home. 
The Capital sadly needed " First," or any kind of 
" Defenders," when, twenty-four hours later, you arrived. 


For the eight days following, Washington was beleag- 
uered and communication was cut off from the North. 
You heard of and saw an organization of citizens calling 
itself the "Clay Battalion," which, on the i8th of April, 
volunteered to defend Washington, and was disbanded 
a few days after your arrival, but I doubt if you 
ever heard of the " First Defenders " as an organ- 
ization, under that, or any other name, or ever saw 
them, excepting as occasional Pennsylvanians astray, 
until, long years afterwards, in the year 1886, they ap- 
peared in print, and again appeared at the encampment of 
the ''Grand Army of the Republic," in Washington, in the 
year 1892, upon which occasions the " First Defenders" 
were armed with a certificate of the late Simon Cameron, 
late Secretary of War, that they were the first " troops " 
to arrive in Washington, and with another certificate 
from Gen. U. S. Grant, saying, that until he was 
informed of their claim he had always supposed the 
Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts were the first troops 
to reach Washington. Upon the occasion of that 
grand encampment they made strenuous application for 
that place of highest honor, the right of the column 
of the Veterans of the War, in the proposed grand 
march up Pennsylvania Avenue, which position had, by 
the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the 
Republic, been assigned to the " Old Sixth." Through 
the opposition of Gen. Jones, this last claim of the 
"First Defenders" was frustrated. The " First Defend- 
ers," whatever their other merits may or may not have 
been, are certainly entitled to appreciation for their 
siaymo- quaWt'ies, for they were again heard from as apply- 
ing to Congress for a medal as the " First Defenders" of 
the Capital. The proofs which General Jones and I fur- 
nished (see New York Evening Post, February 12, 1896) 


brought the "First Defenders" to the conclusion that if 
permitted their petition would be withdrawn ; and so 
was it. Possibly you may be of the opinion that the 
Representatives of Massachusetts in Congress should, 
after so much persistence, have forced the issue, which 
you had not sought, and called upon Congress to settle 
this question by voting the medal to the " Old Sixth " 
as the real and true " First Defenders." 

The only other instance which will be referred to 
was a book entitled '' Baltimore and the Nineteenth of 
April, 1861. A Study of the War by George William 
Brown, Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of Balti- 
more and Mayor of the City in 1861 ; published in 
Vol. III. of the Series of Johns Hopkins University's 
Studies in Historical and Political Science." 

This is a prominent and ambitious attempt to 
belittle the affair in Baltimore and to disparage 
your conduct therein, coupled with a purpose of 
eulogizing the brave deeds and the patriotic char- 
acter of the city authorities and the police, including 
their commanding officer. Marshal Kane, who, on the 
19th of April, and after the fight, telegraphed to 
Bradley N. Johnson, at Frederick, Md,, as follows: 
" Streets red with Maryland blood ; send express over 
the mountains of Maryland and Virginia for the rifle- 
men to come without delay. Fresh hordes will be down 
upon us to-morrow. We will fight them and whip 
them or die." It requires but little consideration to 
locate the writer of this dispatch in his proper place in 
the Rebellion, when it is understood that the "hordes" 
he referred to were loyal and peaceable troops obeying 
the call of the President of the United States to defend 
Washington, and that Baltimore offered the only 
passage to the Capital from the loyal States. After a 


short study of that dispatch, it will not require much 
proof of the fact that if you were not beaten back or 
annihilated in the streets of Baltimore, it was not the 
lack of disposition, but of preparation and ability, on 
the part of the authorities of Baltimore, that saved you. 
Only a brief reference can here be made to Judge 
Brown's book of many pages. The New York Inde- 
pe7ident of June 2d, 1886, contains a review of it. In 
my experience in the streets of Baltimore, I did 
not meet Mayor Brown, but I did meet several 
of his policemen, and exchanged compliments with 
them. I was not fascinated with their manners or 
with their patriotism. The first time I ever met Mayor 
Brown was on Sunday forenoon, April 21, 1861, when, 
as your representative, I visited the White House to 
ask of the President or General Scott that the rations 
supplied to the " Old Sixth " should be such as could 
be eaten, as those supplied were absolutely offen- 
sive. President Lincoln came out to meet me from a 
Cabinet meeting, followed by General Scott, Mayor 
Brown and other Maryland officials, who afterwards 
claimed that they were there for the purpose of exact- 
ing from the President of the United States the pledge 
that he would not in the future allow Northern troops 
to cross Maryland on their way to Washington, and it 
was claimed that this pledge was given. General Scott 
said, in answer to my application, " The Massachusetts 
Sixth Regiment shall have anything it wants. We 
depend upon the Massachusetts Sixth Regiment to de- 
fend this Capital." Mr. Lincoln introduced to me the 
Mayor of Baltimore, saying that he had just assured 
them that he did all he could to protect our Regiment 
on the Friday before, and asked me if I confirmed that 
statement. Smarting under our recent experience in 


Baltimore, I so plainly refused to confirm it, and so 
pointedly alluded to my experience with his police and 
citizens, that the Mayor turned from me with apparent 
disinclination for further intercourse. His book was 
printed after the oration was published, but it nowhere 
refers to the oration, although in several places it indi- 
cates a knowledge of its contents. Judge Brown finds 
nothing of pluck or patriotism to praise in a single 
regiment of militia which dared to force its way through 
a hostile and turbulent city of 200,000 inhabitants, and 
that did so force its way, with the risk of annihilation 
and actually at the cost of much bloodshed, and this, 
too, without one particle of support, moral or physical, 
from the city authorities until its own deter- 
mination had assured victory, and yet this con- 
tributor to the Johns Hopkins University's Study in 
Historical and Political Science represents that when 
Marshal Kane, with his fifty policemen, more or less, 
intervened between the troops and the mob and threat- 
ened to fire his pistol at the mob, it recoiled from the 
police force " like water from a rock," and that there- 
after there occurred little difficulty in the troops 
reaching their station. Johns Hopkins' History, and 
probably no other reliable history, never recorded such a 
fortunate rescue from danger, by half a hundred police- 
men, of a trained and armed body of soldiers, of many 
times their number, who, before such rescue and with- 
out any assistance, had successfully forced the greater 
part of its march, after losing four killed and thirty-six 
wounded, and after expending upon that rebellious mob 
1,500 rounds of ammunition, killing of it an unknown 
number, estimated at 100, and wounding nine times as 
many, in all probability, although the number could 
never be definitely ascertained. 


This fortieth anniversary seems an appropriate 
time for the refutation of adverse claims and a charac- 
terization of maHcious attacks, and I propose to assign 
that task to disinterested histories contemporary with 
the Rebellion period, extracts from a few of which, 
taken at random, will be convincing of the views of your 
contemporaries held of your services. 

To avoid misleading, from even the most imma- 
terial inaccuracies in the details occurring in the ex- 
tracts cited, it may be useful to recall that the oration 
compressed most of your peculiar distinctions into the 

** First to volunteer — First in the field — 
First to shed its blood — First to triumph." 

To substantiate these claims, convincing facts were 
cited in the oration, and among them the following : 


The tender of the "Old Sixth" (as a fully organ- 
ized, uniformed and armed Regiment, it must be 
remembered), took place on the 19th of January, 1861, 
just three months before the fight in Baltimore. Un- 
impeachable records prove this tender. Who shows 
the tender of a regiment at an earlier date ? It was 
not an organization improvised for the occasion, but 
even then was "old." Some of its company charters 
dated back to 1775, and some of us could trace lineal 
descent of patriotic services through Lexington, Con- 
cord, Bunker Hill and the War of 181 2, at the time 
that resolution of tender was offered. When it marched 
for Washington, the "Old Sixth," strengthened by 
three detached companies, numbered about 700, includ- 
ing two Field officers, the Staff and the Band. In the 


streets of Baltimore, the detachment, under the immedi- 
ate command of the Colonel, consisted of six companies, 
aggregating about 400 men, one of them (G) having 100; 
that under my immediate command as Major (Company 
K, Captain Sampson, of Boston) numbered about 62; 
and that under Captain Follansbee consisted of four 
companies, in all about 220 men. It is obviously imma- 
terial, under this specification, at what time any individual 
or other body less than an effective regiment tendered 
their services. It could in no event contradict your claim. 


The call for 75,000 volunteers by President Lin- 
coln was dated April 15, 1861. The order did not 
reach Boston until the i6th, and Albany until the 17th. 
By a private dispatch, Governor Andrew was notified 
of this call on the 15th, and on the same day he issued 
his Special Order No. 14 for the assembly of the 3d, 
4th, 6th and 8th Regiments forthwith on Boston Com- 
mon, for the purpose of proceeding to Washington. 
Colonel Jones, on the afternoon of the 15th, received 
his order, and that night notified the companies of the 
Regiment, scattered through about thirty cities and 
towns, to appear at Lowell, the Headquarters, at nine 
o'clock on the morning of the i6th. At that hour the 
Field, excepting the Lieut.-Colonel, Staff, Band and 
Regiment, uniformed, armed and equipped, reported 
ready for duty. At about noon of the i6th, the 
Regiment reported to the Governor at the State 
House ready for duty. It, on the 17th, at about 
dark, took the train and started for Washington, 
arriving at New York City at about sunrise on 
the 1 8th, and arriving at Philadelphia at about 
sunset the same day. It left Philadelphia about 


one o'clock in the morning of the 19th, and arrived at 
Baltimore at noon and fought its way through that 
city, and arrived at Washington at about sunset on the 
19th, a distance of nearly five hundred miles from the 
homes of most of you. It will be difficult to recall the 
name of any full regiment '' in the field " before the 
" Old Sixth." Any organization less than an effective 
regiment cannot count under this specification. As in- 
dividuals and as companies you were "in the field" 
before daylight of the i6th. At nine o'clock in the morn- 
ing of the 1 6th, as a Regiment, you had left homes, with 
all of the sacrifice and distress which that implies, had 
left your Armories, and were at Headquarters as a Regi- 
ment of soldiers, formed in column, awaiting the order 
which should assign you to the duty before you. From 
that morning hour of nine o'clock, and especially from 
the hour of noon of that i6th day, when you reported 
at Boston ready for the march to Washington, you 
were " in the field." The exigencies of State or Na- 
tion which delayed you in Boston until the 17th does 
not militate against the conclusion that the Regiment 
was " in the field " awaiting orders. Was it not " in the 
field" when, in the night of the 17th, it passed through 
Massachusetts and Connecticut, preceding all other 
Regiments; when, on the i8th, it passed through New 
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, preceding all other 
Regiments called to Washington under the orders of 
the President of the United States? This is not a 
question of any body of less importance than a com- 
plete and effective Regiment being first " in the field ;" 
neither is it the question of which one of the noble com- 
panies of " Minute Men," as such, first reached Boston, 
or even which one of the Massachusetts Regiments 
first, on the i 7th, crossed the State of Massachusetts ; 


for the "Old Sixth " was already " in the field " as a 
Regiment, on the i6th. The same inexorable facts 
apply to the so-called " First Defenders," who, when 
on the morning or noon of the i6th, the " Old Sixth " 
was as a Regiment already "in the field," were 
still, in their helpless condition, at their own homes in 
Pennsylvania, awaiting escort. In any event, they are 
not in this competition, for they were not a regiment. 
Upon the whole, was not the " Old Sixth " the first 
Regiment in the field ? 


No one contests your dear relationship to the first 
martyrs who shed their blood for the preservation of the 
Union, unless the " First Defenders " intend to be taken 
seriously when they parade the fact conspicuously that 
on the 1 8th of April their colored attendant was struck 
on the nose so that it bled on the pavements of Balti- 
more. The inference they draw seems to be that, as the 
1 8th is before the 19th, therefore a happening on the 
19th cannot be " first." This logic might prove stagger- 
ing to your claim if only the colored boy, or even they, 
were a Regiment as implied in this specification. Not 
being a Regiment, they have no standing as a contestant. 
Was this shedding of blood on the i8th in consequence 
of Baltimore's prejudice against color, or was it for such 
a grand principle as preservation or destruction of the 
Union of the States? If one of the " First Defenders" 
was assaulted on principle, why did not the other 
" First Defenders " slay the traitors, as the " Old 
Sixth" did? If this was really the blood of martyrdom, 
then the streets of Baltimore was the place for atonement, 
even if it must be exacted by the spilling of other blood. 
There is a chance for the suspicion that the claim that 


this was a sacrifice of blood in the War for the Union, 
fit to be set against the sacrifice made by the "Old 
Sixth, "is an afterthought. Surely it did not arouse the 
country. Who ever heard of the fame of the i8th day of 
April in consequence of that instance of racial anti- 
pathy? Many have heard of the 19th of April through 
the traditions of Lexington and Concord ; through the 
fact that Washington on that date proclaimed that 
peace was established after the Revolution ; through 
the fact that sacred blood was spilled in the streets of 
Baltimore by the " Old Sixth " on that day; through 
the tribute to that date by making it a holiday in this 
renowned Commonwealth. But who celebrates the 
1 8th of April, except the " First Defenders" ? 


Lexicographers say that triumph is the state of 
being victorious. Victory implies contest. Do the 
" First Defenders" enter the lists under this specifica- 
tion ? If any one triumphed in their procession 
through Baltimore in search of uniforms, arms and 
equipments, was it not their escort ? History does not 
furnish us with any occasion that escort had for con- 
test. So far as appears, it took the usual " rout step 
with arms at will," and on the whole it had a placid 
experience. Other than Judge Brown's claim of the 
triumph of Marshal Kane, when his mob recoiled from 
the sight of his pistol and his threat to shoot, " like 
water from the rock," there appears to be no compet- 
itor for this triumph, if any triumph there was. Judge 
Brown seems to doubt of any triumph worth speaking 
of. Nevertheless, few will question its being a triumph 
for a Regiment unaccustomed to war to force itself to 
the death through a rebellion-ridden city to rescue 


from impending destruction the National Government 
and Capital. The Confederate leaders and their 
Baltimore sympathizers knew too well that to make 
Baltimore impassable to Northern troops was to give 
immediate and immense triumph to the Confederate 

What do contemporaries say of the " Old Sixth " ? 

President Lincoln said to Colonel Jones on your 
arrival at Washington : " Thank God you are here. If 
you had not come we should have been in the hands 
of the rebels before morning. Your brave boys have 
saved the Capital. God bless them." 

Wendell Phillips, in a speech in Boston, April 21, 
1 86 1 (p. 400), said : " The War, then, is not aggressive, 
but in self defense, and Washington has become the 
Thermopylae of Liberty and Justice. Rather than sur- 
render that Capital, cover every square foot of it with a 
living body ; crowd it with millions of men, and empty 
every bank vault at the North to pay the cost. Teach 
the world once for all that North America belongs to the 
Stars and Stripes, and under them no man shall wear a 
chain." * * (p. 403). " Cannon think in the Nine- 
teenth Century ; and you must put the North in the 
right before you can justify her in the face of the world ; 
before you can pour Massachusetts like an avalanche 
through the streets of Baltimore and carry Lexington 
on the 19th of April south of Mason and Dixon's line. 
Let us take an honest pride in the fact that our Sixth 
Regiment made a way for itself through Baltimore and 
was the first to reach the National Capital. In this war 
Massachusetts has a right to be first in the field " (p. 
' ' During this long and weary week we have 


waited to hear the Northern conscience assert its pur- 
pose. It comes at last. Massachusetts blood has con- 
secrated the streets of Baltimore, and those stones are 
now too sacred to be trodden by slaves. You and I owe 
it to those young martyrs, you and I owe it, that their 
blood shall be the seed of no mere empty triumph, but 
that the negro shall teach his child to bless them for 
centuries to come." * * "It was a holy war — that 
for Independence; this is a holier and the last — that 
for Liberty." 

" History of the War in America, by Comte de 
Paris" (Vol. I., p. 134,: "The Stars and Bars were 
adopted March 4th, 1861" * * (Vol. I., p. 134). 
" On March 6th the Montgomery Congress ordered 
a levy of 100,000 men," * * and, "March 11, 
adopted a project of a Constitution." ^* * (p. 
145): "Her (Baltimore's) location on the railway 
line which connects Washington to the great cities 
of the North imparted to her a peculiar import- 
ance. Consequently the accomplices of the South, who 
were numerous in Baltimore, determined to seize the 
first opportunity that might offer to drag that city into 
rebellion. The arrival of the troops which the North 
was sending for the purpose of protecting Washing- 
ton against a coup de main furnished them with an ex- 
cellent pretext. It was determined to oppose their 
passage as the greatest service that could be rendered 
to the Confederate cause. The populace, exasperated 
by the destruction of the Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, 
and stirred up by the Confederates, were to take charge 
of the matter ; the authorities did not interfere. When 
the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, with a Battalion of 
Pennsylvania Volunteers, arrived at the station, an im- 


mense crowd bore down upon them. * * The 
soldiers had to defend themselves, and the first dis- 
charge of musketry, which had considerable effect, 
opened them a passage. But the aggressors being 
armed rally, and a regular battle ensues between the 
small band of Federal troops and the crowd which 
presses them on all sides. At last the Massachusetts 
soldiers rejoin their comrades at the Southern station ; 
and getting on board a train of cars that is waiting for 
them, they slowly proceed towards Washington, fol- 
lowed by the enraged crowd. Baltimore was thence- 
forth in the possession of the Secessionists, who were 
fully determined to take advantage of the situation of 
that city to interrupt all communication between Wash- 
ington and the North. * * Deprived of all sources 
of information from the North, the Capital of the Union 
was soon wrapped in mournful silence." 

" Four years with the Army of the Potomac by Regis 
de Trobriand, Baronet, Major-General U. S. A. (p. 56). 
" Whoever saw New York on this day of patriotic 
infection can never forget the grandeur and the strange- 
ness of the sight : the feverish excitement of the 
people, the busy swarm at the approaches to the militia 
armories, the stream of humanity crowds the streets 
towards the recruiting offices. * * An inspiration 
of fire had passed over the multitude. * * It 
was not, however, the Empire State which, in the 
midst of this universal outburst, had the honor first 
to reply to the call of the threatened Government. 
She was preceded by Massachusetts. * * On the 
1 8th of April the Sixth Massachusetts passed through 
New York, drums beating, fiags flying, in the midst 
of the acclamations of the populace assembled to 


greet its passage through the city, the advance guard 
of the National Army. Mingled with the crowd, I 
admired the fine bearing of the volunteers, studied the 
double character of bravery and intelligence imprinted 
upon their faces, and clapped my hands to the last 
company. * * At Baltimore, a city devoted 
to the Southern cause, the people raised a riot 
to stop the passage of the Yankee Regiment. It went 
through, notwithstanding, but at the cost of a bloody 
combat, in which several lives were lost on both sides. 

* * This was an event of great importance, for the 
reason that it directly menaced the communications 
with the Free States of the Federal Capital enclosed 
within Maryland. 

War Pictures from the South, by B. Estvan, 
Colonel of Cavalry in the Confederate Army." 

(p. 38) " The government at Washington was not 
idle while these movements were occurring at the 
South. * '^" The men who first responded to the 
call of their President were the Volunteer Militia Regi- 
ments of Massachusetts who hurried to Washington for 
the protection of their President and the Republic. 

* * On the news arriving of the approach of these 
troops, the vagabond population of the place (Balti- 
more), always ready for mischief, became highly excited, 
whilst the police, although well acquainted with the in- 
tentions of the mob, offered little or no opposition. 
This passive conduct of the police authorities can only 
be construed as actually favoring the riot. * * The 
rails were torn up and barricades erected in the streets. 

* * At the word "Fire!" a deadly volley was dis- 
charged at the rioters, who, armed with knives and 
revolvers, commenced a struggle against the military. 


The soldiers forced their way, despite repeated attacks, 
to the railway station ; * * there they found await- 
ing them a still more enraged multitude. * * The 
scene at the station became terrific. The soldiers 
having taken their seats in the carriages, the mob con- 
tinued to abuse them, threatening them with their 
knives and revolvers, howling and cursing at them 

''Massachusetts Register and Military Record, 
Serial Number XCIV, 1862." 

(p. 143) " 19th of April in Boston." "The Nine- 
teenth of April, 1 86 1, will not soon be forgotten. It 
became one of the sacred days of American history — 
we may say of the history of Liberty and of the race, 
(p. 144.) But the great feature of the day was the 
reception of the news of the attack upon the Sixth 
Regiment in Baltimore and its successful passage 
through the city. * * Men gathered thick in the 
streets, devouring the bulletin boards with their eyes. 
The crowds grew excited, uneasy, turbulent. They 
felt that they all stood at the door of battle in this 
attack upon their brothers who had left them but a few 
hours before. * * The news came that the glorious 
Sixth had fought their way through, when the shout of 
exultation ran along the streets which told that Massa- 
chusetts honored Massachusetts still. It was the first 
blood shed, the first victory, and she had the honor as 
in the first Revolution. The Stars and Stripes never 
looked more glorious than on that night in the eyes of 
the sons of the Old Bay State. * * (p. 147) May 
I St. The remains of the three brave men who perished 
in the streets of Baltimore, as the first sacrifice of the 
war, arrived in the city. * * They were received by 


the Governor, his Aides and the Independent Corps of 
Cadets and escorted to King's Chapel. * * As the 
bodies passed, all hats were removed, men did not 
speak to each other on the walk ; they were silent, but 
felt war, terrible war. * * These were the first fruits 
of fame plucked from the Rebellion. The historic 
interest attached to the old church and its location in 
the centre of the city gave an unusual solemnity to the 
scene. The neighboring housetops and the windows 
and the streets were filled with spectators. All were 
anxious to see consecrated anew those old walls where 
gathered the Fathers of the Revolution to take sage 
counsel in war." 

(p. 152) "It is an interesting item to see the 
counties which furnished the three months' men who 
first rallied to meet the front of Rebellion. Old Mid- 
dlesex bears off the palm in numbers. She sent 939 
commissioned officers and men — 882 privates and 57 
commissioned officers. Essex stands along close by 
her side, for she sent 71 commissioned officers and 857 
privates, being 928 in all. Norfolk came next, sending 
21 commissioned officers and 391 privates, in all 412." 

(p. 192) "As soon as these cars (those contain- 
ing all of the Regiment except the four marching com- 
panies) passed, the rebels, some 10,000 strong, and 
composed mainly of the roughs, which distinguished 
that city, made preparations more effectually to prevent 
the passage of the remaining troops. They barricaded 
the streets and removed the rails from the track, render- 
ing passage by the cars impossible, and Companies C 
and D of Lowell and I of Lawrence and L of Stoneham 
found that they should be compelled either to force 
their way on foot through the hostile ranks or return. 
The latter alternative never occurred to these gallant 



men, for on to Washington was their inspiring thought. 
* * Leaving the cars they formed and heroically 
breasted the storm which so fearfully raged around 
them. * * But the soldiers heeded not ; they were 
bound on a holy mission, and prepared to execute it 
regardless of attack or insult. Captain Follansbee, 
being the senior officer present, took the post of honor, 
and the companies started at once to rejoin the Regiment. 
The rabble which had followed and assaulted them now 
increased rapidly ; and perceiving the small number of 
troops — less than 300 — they became emboldened and 
increased their violence as the brave soldiers marshalled 
themselves for the contest amidst the thousands who 
had surrounded them, and who were intent on their 
destruction. An eye-witness writes, * * The military 
behaved admirably, and still abstained from firing 
upon their assailants. * * When two of the soldiers had 
been killed, and the wounded had been conveyed to 
places of safety, the troops at last, exasperated and 
maddened by the treatment they had received, com- 
menced returning the fire singly, killing several and 
wounding a large number of the rioters ; but at no one 
time did a single platoon fire in volley. The volunteers, 
after a protracted and severe struggle, at last succeeded 
in reaching the station, bearing with them in triumph 
many of the wounded. The calm courage and heroic 
bearing of the troops spoke volumes for the sons of 
Massachusetts, who, though marching under a fire of 
the most embarrassing description, and opposed to over- 
whelming odds, nevertheless succeeded in accomplishing 
their purpose, and effected a passage, through crowded 
streets, a distance of over a mile and a half — a feat 
not easily accomplished by so small a body of men 
when opposed to such tremendous odds.' " 


'' Parley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the 
National Metropolis," by Ben Perley Poore. 

(Vol. 2, p. 75) " The long expected crisis came at 
last. Seven thousand armed Confederates attacked 
the 70 Union soldiers who garrisoned Fort Sumter, and 
forced them to haul down the Stars and Stripes, on the 
nth of April, 1861." 

" Four days afterwards President Lincoln issued his 
Proclamation, calling for 75,000 militiamen, ' To main- 
tain the honor, the integrity and the existence of our 
National Government.' * * This proclamation was 
flashed over the wires throughout the Northern 
States, like the fiery cross of Rhoderick Dhu, which 
summoned his clans to the rendezvous, and it was 
everywhere received with the beating of drums and 
the ringing notes of the bugle calling the defenders 
of the Capital to their colors * * . (p. 75) "The 
first troops arriving at the National Capital were 
four companies of unarmed and ununiformed Pennsyl- 
vanians, who came from the mining districts, expecting 
to find uniforms, arms and equipments on their arrival 
at Washington * *. With one of the companies was 
the customary colored attendant, whose duty it was on 
parade to carry the target or a pail of ice water. 
He had been struck on the head in Baltimore. * * 
The next day came the ' Old Massachusetts Sixth,' 
which had been shot and stoned on its passage through 
Baltimore, and which returned the fire with fatal effect. 
The Sixth was quartered in the Senate wing of the 
Capitol. Colonel Jones occupied the Vice-President's 
chair in the Senate Chamber, his colors hanging over 
his head from the reporters' gallery. At the Clerk's 
desk before him Adjutant Farr and Paymaster Plais- 
ted were busy with their evening report, while 


Major Watson, with Quartermaster Monroe, were 
seeing that the companies were distributed in the 
various corridors and obtaining their rations. After a 
four-and-twenty hours' fast the men had each a 
ration of bacon, bread and cofTee, which they had to 
prepare at the furnace fires in the basement. The 
moment hunger was appeased the cushioned seats in 
the galleries were occupied by those fortunate enough 
to obtain such luxurious sleeping accommodations, 
while others bunked on the tiled floor, with their knap- 
sacks for pillows, and wrapped in their blankets. 

"A History of Massachusetts in the Civil War, 
by William Schouler, late Adjutant-General." 

(p. 23) ''January 23, 1861. Governor Andrew 
notified the House of the tender of the Sixth Regi- 
ment. * * (p. 54) During the week, and particu- 
larly after the Sixth Regiment had been attacked in 
Baltimore, the enthusiasm and resolution of the people 
were intense. * * (p. 158) The Secretary of War 
telegraphed : ' Send the troops by railroad ; they will 
arrive quicker; the route through Baltimore is now 
open.' In consequence of this dispatch the route was 
changed, and the Sixth Regiment was forwarded by 
rail, although * * steamers were in readiness to take 
the Regiment by sea. Had the route not been changed 
the bloodshed in Baltimore on the ever memorable 19th 
of April would have been avoided. How the Secretary 
of War could have believed the route through Balti- 
more was safe it is difificult to understand. * * 
(p. 58) if, as may have been supposed, he was aware 
of the schemes which had been planned in Baltimore 
to assassinate Mr. Lincoln. * * (p. 65). Such 
was the condition of affairs along the line of that road 


when the Sixth Regiment reached Philadelphia on the 
1 8th of April. ^- * (p. 68) The Sixth Regiment 
was mustered on the i6th at Lowell. * * It arrived 
at Boston at one o'clock, where it met with a cordial 
reception. The crowds followed it to Faneuil Hall and 
from there to Boylston Hall, where its headquarters 
were established, (p. 72) At eleven o'clock in the 
forenoon of the i 7th the Sixth Regiment marched from 
Boylston Hall to the State House, where it received 
the new rifle muskets in exchariofe for smooth bores. 
* * * Colonel Jones received the colors and pledged 
himself and the Regiment that they should never be dis- 
graced. At seven that evening the Sixth marched to the 
depot of the Boston and Worcester Railroad and em- 
barked by the land route to New York. At the depot and 
along the entire line of road, they received one continual 
ovation. The Regiment reached New York at sunrise 
on the 1 8th, having been in the cars all night. The 
march down Broadway * * to the Jersey City Ferry is 
described as one of the grand and effective scenes ever 
witnessed. The wildest enthusiasm inspired all classes ! 
Strong men wept like tenderly nurtured women and 
silently implored the blessing of Heaven upon the 
Regiment and the State which placed it at the extreme 
right of the Union column, (p. J2)) O^ crossing the 
river the troops were met by a dense crowd of Jersey 
men and women. * * The passage across New Jersey 
was marked with similar scenes. * * At Newark they 
were received with a salute of artillery, and also at 
Trenton which was ordered by the Governor of the 
State. The reception at Philadelphia was a fitting 
climax to what had taken place elsewhere. * * I doubt 
if Old Massachusetts ever, before or since, received 
such encomiums. The Regiment reached Philadelphia 


at seven o'clock in the evening, partook of a bountiful 
supper at the Continental Hotel, and was quartered for 
the night at the Girard House. * * (p. 91) The famous 
Sixth Regiment arrived at Philadelphia, as we have 
already said, on the afternoon of the i8th of April. 
This Regiment has the undisputed honor of having 
been the first to reach Baltimore and the first to sacri- 
fice life in the great war. Its passage through Balti- 
more, a city of 200,000 inhabitants, more than half of 
whom were rebels ; the attack upon it by the mob, the 
death of four and the wounding of thirty-six of its 
members, on the memorable 19th of April sent a thrill 
through the hearts of the nation and aroused it like a 
giant to defend its life. This was the anniversary 
of the Battle of Lexington, in which on the soil 
of Massachusetts the first blood was shed in the 
struggle for Independence in 1775. This Regiment 
came from the County of Middlesex in which are 
' Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill ' and some 
of the men who were attacked in Baltimore were the 
direct descendants of the men who breasted the power 
of England in those memorable contests, (p. 95) It 
appears that on arriving at the Susquehanna they took 
on a Pennsylvania Regiment called ' Small's Brigade,' 
having about 1,000 unarmed and ununiformed men on 
their way to Washington. These made the train very 
heavy, and caused a change of the order in which the 
cars containing the Sixth were arranged when the 
Regiment left Philadelphia. This was not known 
until afterwards. It interfered with previous orders, 
and accounts in a degree, for the separation of 
the Regiment in Baltimore. (p. 96) It was the 
expectation that the entire Regiment would march 
through Baltimore to the Washington depot in con- 


formity with previous orders. The companies in the 
forward cars were being drawn across the city while 
those in the rear cars were in the depot waiting for 
orders to file out. A writer and eye witness says : 
' No orders came to file out ; and in a few minutes, all 
of the cars forward of that occupied by Captain Samp- 
son's Company disappeared. We knew nothing of the 
movements of the balance of the Regiment, as no in- 
timation had been transmitted to us of the change in 
the order. In the meanwhile the mob increased in 
numbers about the depot. Soon the car moved on. 
At the first turn of a street it was thrown from the 
track. The men were ordered to remain in the car 
until it was again put on the track. The mob now 
began to throw stones and brickbats, some of which 
entered the car. On Pratt Street the mob surrounded 
it ; the car was made a complete wreck. Shots were 
fired by the mob, which were returned by the Company 
and was kept up, with more or less spirit, until the 
Company reached the Washington station, and joined 
the other companies.' Major Watson was with this 
Company in its perilous passage * * * * * - * 
*******." (p. 97) " The mob howled 
like wolves around the Southern depot, where the 
Regiment now was, and threw stones at the cars after 
the men were seated. Several of the mob were shot 
by our men from the cars while waiting to start. The 
Regiment reached Washington at five in the afternoon, 
and was received by the loyal public who surrounded 
the depot with the wildest enthusiasm. Soon after it 
marched to the Capitol building, and was quartered in 
the Senate Chamber and the rooms connected with it. 
There, under the roof of the Capitol, were sheltered 
the men who first marched to save us, and in whose 


ranks the first blood had been shed and the first Hves 
sacrificed in its defence." 

" Drum-Beat of the Nation, by Charles Carleton 

(p. 4) " The uprising of the people. Since the 
founding of the Nation, men had never looked into 
one another's faces as on Saturday evening, April 13, 
1861. Never had there been such sinking of hearts and 
hopes as at the sunset hour of that day of gloom. 
People wept as they weep when looking down into the 
coffin of a departed friend. The flag that had never 
before been dishonored, the brightest banner that ever 
waved on earth, the emblem of the world's best hope — 
insulted ! Bitter the thought ! Never before such a 
Sunday in the Western Hemisphere or in the history 
of the human race — on which thirty millions of people 
pondered the all absorbing question whether the 
Union and the government of the people was to live or 
die. Monday morning — the answer is on their lips. 
It is to live. * * (p. 49) One State was ready to 
respond to the call of the President. * * Massachu- 
setts had been foremost in the Revolutionary War. 
* * During i860, the Governor, Nathaniel P. Banks, 
looking into the future, and apprehending the coming 
of war, had taken measures to bring the militia to a 
high degree of efficiency. There had been a mus- 
ter of all of the troops of the State on the 
historic field of Concord. His successor, John A. 
Andrew, also looked into the future, and saw 
the necessity of having the troops ready to respond at 
any moment to any call which might be made upon 
them. * * During the month of January Governor 
Andrew ordered the Colonels of Regiments to ascertain 


who of their command would be ready to respond in the 
instant to any call. During the month of February 
2,000 overcoats were made and other equipments 
were provided. ' If you have troops ready forward 
them at once to Washington,' is the message which 
came to him. Out of the State House men hastened 
with orders. Twenty companies are wanted. The 
soldiers are scattered far and wide in more than twenty 
towns, driving teams upon their farms, making shoes, 
pushing the plane ; some are clerks in counting rooms, 
or laborers in mills where spindles are whirling and 
shuttles are flying. * * It is four o'clock in the 
afternoon when a messenger rides up to the house 
of Captain Knott V. Martin. The Captain has killed 
a pig and is ready to dress it when the messenger 
hands him a slip of paper. With knife in hand 
he read it. ' You are ordered to appear with your 
Company on Boston Common at the earliest possible 
period.' He throws down the knife to put on his 
uniform. ' What will you do with the pig ? ' asks Mrs. 

Martin. * the pig.' Not an instant does he wait ; 

the members of his Company must be summoned, 
his knapsack packed. Major B. F. Watson of Law- 
rence is a lawyer. He has important cases in court, 
with interests of clients at stake, but he turns the key 
of his office door. Months will pass before he again 
enters it. The spiders can spin their webs in peace 
across the windows through the coming summer. The 
dust will be thick upon his briefs before he will again 
ponder points of law. General Benjamin F, Butler 
leaves his multitudinous law business to take command 
of the troops hastening to the rendezvous. Morning 
dawns, and in every village there is beating of drums 
and gathering of citizens to see the soldiers take their 


departure. The day is dark and dreary, the wind east, 
the storm clouds flying" in from the sea, but the streets 
are filled with people. There is a steady tramping of 
feet upon the pavement, a swinging of hats and loud 
hurrahs as the companies arrive, marching to Fanueil 
Hall, the building where the nation in its infancy was 
cradled ; the Sixth Regiment is first to leave. A crowd 
assembles to witness its departure and rend the air with 
their cheers. The next morning the troops are in New 
York, marching down Broadway beneath a sea of ban- 
ners. Hundreds of thousands of people to cheer them. 
* * At Philadelphia they sat down to a sumptuous 
entertainment provided by the citizens. In their loy- 
alty they cannot do enough for the men who, at a mo- 
ment's notice, have left everything to save Washington 
from the hands of the Confederates. April 19th. It 
is the anniversary of Lexington and Concord * *. 
They are in Maryland, a slave State, which the seces- 
sionists hope to secure to the Confederacy. * * One 
by one the soldiers drop. Luther Ladd, Sumner H. 
Needham, Charles A. Taylor and Addison O. Whitney 
are killed — the first to give their lives that the Nation 
might live. The ranks close and the troops move on. 
The mob divides before the advancing column as the air 
divides before the arrow shot from the bow. Besides the 
four killed thirty-six are wounded. Of the ruf^ans no 
one will ever know how many went down. The Regi- 
ment reaches the cars and the train moves on to Wash- 
ington. * * While the cars are carrying the Massa- 
chusetts troops to the Capital of the Nation the people 
throughout the country are holding mass meetings. 
* * In every village drums begin to beat. From 
flagstaff and steeple wave the Stars and Stripes. * * 
The feeling becomes intense when they learn what is 


going on in Baltimore. By order of the Mayor of the 
city the bridges on the railroads to Philadelphia and 
Harrisburg were burned so that no more troops could 
reach Baltimore. * * 'I will prophesy ' said L. P. 
Walker, Confederate Secretary War at Montgomery, 
' that the flag of the Confederacy will float over the 
Capitol at Washington before the first day of May.'" 
(p. 463) " When the war began the newspapers of 
the South boastingly set forth the superior qualities 
and bravery of the Confederate soldiers, and had much 
to say about their chivalry, and indulged in many expres- 
sions of contempt for the soldiers of the Union, and 
employed insulting epithets. That period had passed. 
The men marching beneath the Stars and Stripes had 
exhibited bravery in battle, constancy and steadfast- 
ness under defeat, and many qualities which ever win 
admiration. The Union soldiers when the war began 
had little doubt of their ability to brush the Con- 
federates aside, make their way to Richmond, reopen 
the Mississippi and re-establish the authority of the 
United States throughout the South. They did not 
believe that the men who were not accustomed to labor 
would be able to endure the hardships and fatigue of 
military campaigns. With the progress of the war 
egotism, expectations and all illusion passed away. 
Soldiers from the North a?id soldiers front the South 
alike proved their manhood. Respect had taken the 
place of disdain and contempt. There was no personal 
hatred. The men i7i blue and the m.en in gray alike 
were fighting for ideas and principles which to them 
were dearer than life.'' 

Comrades : If after the lapse of forty years your 
achievements are rightly understood, and your title to 


your own is no longer contested, you may at least hope 
to rest from controversy and enjoy, in contemplation, 
the past history of your beloved Country with which 
you have been so honorably connected. It is but little 
you claim, and that claim despoils none of the patriots 
in the great war. They faithfully served according to 
their lights and their opportunity — but you marched. 
You emulated the example of the good wife of the 
minister who had himself received a call. Some of the 
parishioners asked the son if his father intended to 
accept his new call. He said he did not know. 
" Father is up-stairs praying for light — but mother is 
packing." You were packing. The call came, and in 
your judgment it was a call to works rather than 
to prayer. You instantly perceived that Democracy 
was summoned to its trial by fire, and you volunteered 
impetuously to insure her a triumphant verdict for all 
time and for all people. You, Veterans, are one by one 
and rapidly departing, but the fire of patriotism which 
you kindled — kindled — burns brighter than ever before 
on the altar of your Country. Your immortal rally 
and triumphant march irresistably led to the fulfillment 
of that glorious prophecy of Daniel Webster : " Liberty 
and Union, one and inseperable, now and forever;" 
and your alacrity entitled you "to snatch the first 
fruits of fame plucked from the Great Rebellion." 

Survivors of the seven hundred who fous'ht on 
the 19th of April, 1861, and who fondly linger and 
dwell upon the inspiring theme of the greatest of all 
modern wars, you cannot be unaware that you are 
surrounded bv a new and listless oreneration in whom 
your song of national danger, of patriotic devotion, of 
vast sacrifices, of great and triumphant victory, of the 


Union of the United States preserved, and the honor 
of her glorious flag vindicated, awakens only the languid 
interest of a minstrelsy of the past. Nevertheless it 
cannot be denied that you leave to posterity the sub- 
stantial fruits of an inestimable and undying example of 
strenuous patriotism. With a promptitude which must 
always be cited as marvelous, you sprang to the relief 
of your country in its distress, without price or condi- 
tion, but for the love of the Union and of the flag. 
You boldly and bravely opened wide the door of 
battle in the grandest of wars — the war for Liberty — 
which, before it closed, freed millions of slaves, liber- 
ated from disastrous thraldom multitudes of involun- 
tary and helpless slaveholders, cleared the escutcheon 
of the Republic from every stain, and awakened among 
your countrymen a consciousness of manly and respon- 
sible strength, together with a sense that with it comes 
the obligation to use it for the benefit and uplifting of 
weaker mankind, and resulting finally in the emancipa- 
tion from ages of tyranny of the islands of the Eastern 
and the Western seas, who may henceforth look up 
with confidence to the Stars and Stripes for their 
redemption and their freedom among men. 

Have you no claim upon the extraordinary things 
which, in the forty years since you mustered and 
marched, have inevitably come to pass ? Who can 
limit the influence of a good example ? You undeni- 
ably led two millions of loyal men to battle for the Re- 
public. Your blood, first shed in the holy cause, 
thrilled the sluggish blood in Northern veins 
and sent it coursing with such an irresistible 
torrent that Slavery and Rebellion were strangled 
in each other's embrace ; your quick and uncal- 
culating response to the distressed appeal of the 


tottering Union and your sacrificial cry, " All for 
Freedom," eventuated in a united country of whose 
military power the world is taking note and whose 
industrial forces are traversing the globe conquering 
and to conquer in the lead of all the nations. 

Veterans, Minute Men, rest on your laurels, 
camly convinced that ''God's in His Heaven; all's 
right with the world." 

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat ; 
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat ; 
Oh, be swift my soul, to answer him ! be jubilant, my feet ! 
Our God is marching on." 





My slight individual knowledge of Abraham Lincoln was during his 
first term as President, and was comprised in two interviews at the White 
House, one at the request of the ofificers of my regiment and the other at 
Mr. Lincoln's request, and to a brief correspondence of which I still re- 
tain two of his autograph letters, all, interviews and correspondence, 
having some connection with each other, although in dates separated by 
several months. 

I first saw liim on Sunday morning, April 2ist, 1861, near the entrance 
to the Cabinet chamber in the White House. At the urgent request of 
the captains of the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, I called 
upon Maj.-Gen. Winfield Scott, then commanding the United States 
Army. I was unattended. There is no special importance in the facts I 
am about to state unless it be remembered that this Sunday was but six 
days after the firing upon Sumter, and two days after the affair of Balti- 
more, that Washington and the whole country was surging under an 
excitement almost impossible to describe, and that I was the representa- 
tive of a body of men who had been recently making history. 

On the nineteenth of January, 1861, upon my motion, the commanders 
of its companies, Colonel Jones presiding, adopted a resolution tender- 
ing the services of the " Sixth " to the President. This first volunteer- 
ing so impressed the authorities that the Sixth was first called by the 
President on the sixteenth day of April, 1861 ; it rallied from thirty cities 
and towns, fully armed and equipped, and traveled over 500 miles with 
such alacrity that it reached Washington in advance of all other organ- 
ized and armed forces in the afternoon of the nineteenth of April, after a 
conflict in the streets of Baltimore in which it had four men killed, thir- 
ty-six wounded by gunshots, and many otherwise injured, all of its un- 
armed men being driven back. It left many dead and wounded rebels 
behind it. 

By unfortunate circumstances which divided the troops into three sep- 
arate detachments, I, then only second in command, was compelled to 
fight my way through Baltimore at the head of about sixty men of Com- 
pany K, of Boston. This detachment both drew and shed the first blood 
in the great Rebellion, although the main conflict of the day took place 
soon after with the detachment following, commanded for the time by 
Captain Follansbee. Baltimore, with its 200,000 inhabitants, its prevail- 

* The Independent of April 4, 1S95, published a notable collection of tributes to 
Abraham Lincoln from those who had known him more or less intimately ; among them 
wasthe following article. The collection was afterwards published in book form, entitled 
" Abraham Lincoln, Tributes from his Associates," etc., etc. 


ing Southern sympathies, and its notorious " Plug Ugly " element, was 
the strategic key by which the disunionists proposed to lock the lojral 
North out of the nation's Capital until its occupation in force from Balti- 
more and the South should compel the recognition of the Confederacy as 
the de-facto Government. A single regiment, untrained in war, exhib- 
iting the pluck to break through this cordon of rebellion, could be hailed 
only with relief by the beleaguered Government and by that fraction of 
the residents of Washington who entertained positive sentiments of loy- 
alty to the Union. Colonel Jones has testified that the President met 
the Sixth at the railroad station and said that if its arrival had been de- 
layed a single dav Washington would have been in the hands of the 
rebels. It will appear later that the commanding general of the army 
entertained similar sentiments. Later on Congress recorded its tribute 
in a resolution tendering its thanks 

"To the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers for the alacrity 
with which they responded to the call of the President, and the patriotism 
and bravery which they displayed on the nineteenth of April last in fight- 
ing their way through the City of Baltimore on their march to the de- 
fense of the Federal Capital." 

The Sixth took possession of the Capital, and intrenched itself therein 
as though it had come to stay. It had not had a square meal since it 
left Philadelphia, the Thursday night before. Its experience had sharp- 
ened its appetite, for Baltimore had tendered no refreshments. Either 
by accident or by the design of some traitorous commissary, the presence 
of the " salt horse," as the boys familiarly called the meat which was 
offered them, could be detected by more of the senses than one. and was 
repulsive to all of them, and the large round crackers usually called 
" Hardtack," the accompanying delicacy, were so adamantine from com- 
position or antiquity as to withstand most assaults and, when conquered, 
to afford no sustenance. They were soon nicknamed " The regulars," 
from their supposed invincibility. Unless the veracity of veterans is to 
be questioned, certain retained specimens of these hard biscuit, have 
since the Rebellion served as wheels to the play carts of two or three 
generations of veteran babies. My mission on that Sunday morning was 
to induce General Scott to order a change in this diet. The situation 
mitigated the presumption of such an application to an officer of such ex- 
alted rank. I found General Scott attending a meeting of the President 
and his Cabinet, convened to listen to the demands of the authorities of 
Maryland, including the Mayor of Baltimore, that no troops should pass 
over the sacred soil of Maryland in reaching Washington, and I thus 
accidentally became a participant in a meeting which has become historic, 
and of which, so far as I know, I am now the only survivor. Being 
summoned to the open door of the room. General Scott received my 
salute and my story. He drew himself up to the most impressive devel- 
opment of his magnificent proportions, and grandly announced: "The 
Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts, sir, shall have anything it wants; we 


depend upon the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts to save the Capital 
of the country, sir." All fear of the " guard tent " for my presumption 

The General's statement was true, certainly upon that Sunday, and for 
four or five days thereafter, and until Gen. B. F. Butler, with the Seventh 
Regiment of New York and the Eighth of Massachusetts, arrived in 
Washington, by way of Annapolis. 

It seems to be the fact that the President and the Commanding General 
placed little reliance upon the semi-military and semi-political clubs, 
adorned with names of prominent politicians such as " Cassius M. Clay 
Invincibles," " Hannibal Hamlin Guards," or upon the three or four un- 
armed and uncombined companies of Pennsylvania militia who in post- 
bellum times, have published themselves as " First Defenders of the 

While General Scott was speaking with me, President Lincoln came 
forward, and, after shaking hands, said he would like to introduce me to 
the Mayor of Baltimore and to learn if I could confirm the statements 
he had been making to the effect that he had personally exerted himself 
to protect the Sixth during its passage through Baltimore, and that he 
had marched much of the way through the city at its head. The Mayor 
and others, in the meantime, had gathered around and within hearing of 
the President's remarks. I fear my manner was not complimentary to- 
ward the Mayor. I am sure my speech was not. So recent had been my 
" baptism of lire " I doubtless bore my testimony with indiscreet zeal. I 
said, in effect, that under the circumstances it was unfortunate for the 
Mayor of Baltimore, as such, to appeal to me for a certificate of charac- 
ter; that we, as citizen soldiers, had endeavored to pass through Balti- 
more, not only in a peaceable and proper manner, but strictly in obedi- 
ence to superior order, that insult and assault should be submitted to, 
and that wounds with firearms alone should justify retaliation; that at 
the beginning of our passage the police had threatened me that not a 
man of us would be allowed to go through the city alive; and that our 
graves had been already dug; that neither the police, nor other officials, 
in any instance to my knowledge, had attempted any protection; that 
prior to that moment I had never seen the Mayor; that I had been in- 
formed by one of the captains of one of the detachments that the Mayor 
did march about one hundred yards beside him, when he left saying that 
the position was too hot for him. So far as I was concerned, the inter- 
view was then ended by my withdrawing, the President having said that 
the rations should be made satisfactory. 

Many times since I have recalled the scene. The Mayor's look of 
intense disgust, the astonishing dignity of the Commanding General, and 
the expression, half sad, half quizzical on the face of the President at the 
evident infelicity of his introduction. If I did not leave that distinguished 
presence with my reputation for integrity unimpaired, the pressure of 
Abraham Lincoln's honest hand, as we parted, deceived me. My mission, 
at all events, was successful and the rations improved. 


While Washington remained isolated from the North, the Sixth, by- 
General Scott's orders, daily marched in the streets and practiced the 
street firing-drill, while the air was vocal with muttered curses; and more 
than one night the Regiment slept upon its arms in the Senate Chamber 
under orders to surround the White House at the first alarm, and defend 
the President from attack. 

When I marched with the Sixth, I was a young lawyer, the owner and 
editor of a Democratic newspaper, and also Postmaster of Lawrence, 
Mass., which position I had held under the Administrations of Presidents 
Pierce and Buchanan. The Postmaster-General was the brother-m-law 
of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, who in Lawrence had been my 
nearest neighbor and my friend. This brought me many kind attentions 
and courtesies, and also unsolicited assurances that my military services 
would insure my retention as Postmaster; but I persistently declined to 
associate officeholding with the simple duty I had rendered to my con- 
victions as an American citizen. I now hold the proofs that even when 
the very existence of the Union was menaced efiforts were being made to 
supplant me as Postmaster and also that, without my knowledge, counter 
efiforts were being made by leading Republicans to have me retained. 
One of the aspirants to the place is now living in honorable old age to 
whom the President gave his assurance that I should be retained in office. 
Early in the month of May, when Washington was filling up with loyal 
troops, the Sixth was ordered to the Relay House, about eight miles 
from Baltimore, to guard the junction of the Washington branch with the 
main line of the railroad which led to Harper's Ferry, where the rebel 
forces under General Joseph Johnston were located and were receiving 
material aid from Baltimore. At this camp the Sixth spent the remain- 
der of its original term of enlistment, and the short additonal term volun- 
teered by it on account of the insecurity felt by the Government after the 
first Bull Run disaster. The regiment elected me Lieutenant-Colonel 
soon after reaching the Relay House, and owing to Colonel Jones' pro- 
motion I thereafter commanded the Sixth. While stationed there I was 
informed that the United States Government would accept from me its 
first independent regiment. This was under a misapprehension of its 
authority as it was afterward defined. Some correspondence took place 
upon the subject, and I abandoned the idea for various reasons, mostly 
personal, and the Government apparently understood my determination. 
I certainly declined an invitation in writing dated July 13th, from one 
having authority, to visit Washington personally and confer with the 
Secretary of War upon the subject, and I dropped the matter out of mind. 

About the first of August, the Sixth returned to Boston; being the 
first regiment to march, its career had excited great attention, and its 
reception along the homeward route was remarkable. Its every move- 
ment was chronicled in the press, and ovations, festivities, triumphal 
arches and oratory greeted it at every point. The famous War Governor, 
John A. Andrew, dismissed the regiment on Boston Common, in an 
Executive Order, saying of the Sixth: 


" It was the first which went forward to the defense of the National 
Capital. It passed through Baltimore, despite the cowardly assault upon 
it, and was the first to reach Washington. Its gallant conduct has re- 
flected new luster upon the Commonwealth, and has given new historic 
interest to the nineteenth of April. It has returned after more than 
three months of active and responsible service. It will be received by 
our people with warm hearts and generous hands." 

Within one week after my return my removal from the office of Post- 
master was published. In reply to a telegraph inquiry if the rumor was 
true, the President, on the eighth day of August, wrote: 

" If I signed a paper, in making a change in the ofifice, it was among 
others, without my being conscious of this particular one." 

He inclosed the Postmaster-General's memorandum, saying that the 
change had been made because the United States Government had tend- 
ered me the command of a regiment, and it was supposed that I was 
raising that regiment for service during the War. The President added: 

" I shall talk fully with the Postmaster-General on the subject when I 
next see him." 

This removal caused intense and widespread excitement. The exercise 
of political proscription under the circumstances, and when the life of 
the nation hung in the balance, and the Government was believed to be 
doomed unless the services of the great body of the Northern Democrats 
could be relied upon, caused apprehension in the minds of friends of the 
Union. Republicans and Democrats alike joined in denouncing the act. 
Letters came to me from men high in political and federal office denounc- 
ing it, and I afterward learned that complaints were poured into the ears 
of the authorities at Washington. The newspapers of both parties in 
many parts of the North vied with each other in condemning the policy, 
and particularly its application to me, and I received more than my meed 
of praise. I heard nothing more from Washington. As the theme be- 
gan to oppress me as too personal and possibly detrimental to the cause 
of the country, I wrote an editorial for my newspaper deprecating the 
agitation, which was widely copied but failed to stop the clamor. To 
show the spirit I quote a few words of it: 

" The opposition to the removal comes perhaps not so much because of 
partiality to the present incumbent and his official conduct as from the 
unfortunate influence it may excite (limited, to be sure) upon the in- 
terests of the national cause at this critical juncture. * * * We have 
little disposition to criminate or rebel, especially when the Government 
needs a hearty support. Place and patronage are sweet, but the dear 
country and the flag have far superior claims. As heretofore, while dif- 
fering in political sentiment on many subjects from the Administration, 
we shall sustain with all our humble abilities all measures tending to 
vindicate the national honor, and shall only sound the alarm when in- 
competency or unfaithfulness are apparent. Thus far we have endeav- 
ored to do the duty due from every citizen for the protection thrown 


around him by a good Government. The performance of that simple 
and natural duty entitles us to no special favors, and none have been 

After this I ceased to pay much attention to the affair, and departed 
for a much-needed vacation. The clamor in the newspapers, it now ap- 
pears, continued.* A letter, dated the thirty-first of August, 1861, from 
a high official, informed me that the President was asking about my new 
regiment, and I was urged to take it to the front. I did not then appreci- 
ate the reason for the writing of that letter, and I did not reply to it, as 
I considered that the writer knew I had abandoned the project. Late in 
the month of September, 1861, while at the seashore, I received a tele- 
gram from the Postmaster-General that the President wanted to see me 
in Washington immediately. I reluctantly took the journey in response, 
and only because I believed the invitation was properly to be considered 
a command. When, on the first day of October, I asked an attendant at 
the White House to take my card to the President, saying that he had 
sent for me, to my amazement I was speedily conducted through the 
waiting throng which filled the corridors, and was introduced into the 
President's private office, the same room where I had formerly been in- 

* As a fair sample of the editorial comments of the Northern press, without distinc- 
tion of party, the following may be quoted from the Boston Daily Courier, August 10, 1861. 


"The removal of Col. B. F. Watson from the Postmastership of the city of I<awrence 
was a shameful act of party proscription, meriting the scorn of every high-minded patriot 
and of every generous man. The action, inconsistent with an honest abnegation of polit- 
ical favoritism, is rendered doubly odious by the peculiar circumstances attending it. 
The decapitated official was entitled to the highest consideration from the Administration, 
if gratitude is a virtue, and if valuable and patriotic service may be deemed a recommen- 
dation to favor. 

President Lincoln and his associates in authority, by universal testimony, would have 
been helpless, or perhaps prisoners in rebel hands, but for the gallant and timely conduct 
of the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts soldiers. Those noble volunteers are public 
benefactors, and the Administration and the country owe them an immeasurable ciebt of 

L,ieut. Col. Watson, without a single day's opportunity for preparation, left an exten- 
sive professional business, and other important matters which urgently claimed his 
attention, to lead that advance column of freemen to the defense of the beleaguered 
Capital and its frightened inmates. In person he commanded the portion of the troops 
that withstood the murderous assault in Baltimore, and the men of Capt. Sampson's im- 
mediate command can testify to the courage, self-possession and ability displayed by him 
on that trying occasion. During the major part of the time while in service he com- 
manded the regiment, securing its warm confidence and esteem, and served both the 
original enlistment of three months and a further term of ten days. He returned home, 
welcomed with cordial greetings by his fellow citizens, just in season to receive intelli- 
gence of his removal from office. While at Washington, in those hours of terrible sus- 
pense, Col. Watson was honored with cordial attentions from gentlemen high in official 
stations, and received from them voluntary assurances that he would be retained, and 
prominent Massachusetts Republicans, unknown to him and without solicitation, urged 
the Administration to continue him in office. The l,awrence Sentinel, owned and con- 
trolled by him, has firmly and zealously supported the war for the preservation of the 
Union, and forborne the discussion of political differences. The head and point of his 
offending consists solely in the fact that he is a Democrat ! 

The citizens of I^awrence, with nearly perfect unanimity, condemn the act and pro- 
nounce it an outrage, and none join more cordially in the general feeling of regret and 
indignation than the great majority of the Republicans. None dispute the fidelity, 
courtesy and success with which Col. Watson has performed his official duties. Honesty 
and capacity in public office, and gallant conduct in the country's defense, when the 
Republic is struggling for its very existence, should not be thus requited 'by an Admin- 
istration that professes to marshal the people regardless of party, to a patriotic warfare 
for I,iberty and Union." 


troduced to President Pierce and President Buchanan. Mr. Lincoln was 
alone. He met me in the most cordial manner, and earnestly entered 
upon the statement of why I had been sent for. If I were at liberty and 
had the ability to do justice to his manner and language upon that occa- 
sion, the narrative could not fail to deepen the reader's conviction that 
Abraham Lincoln was not only patriotic, true and noble, but anxious to 
repair any fault he might have committed, and that his reputation for 
homely and forcible picturesqueness of speech had been fairly earned. 
His manner was kind and familiar. He immediately referred to my 
official decapitation by him, and condemned the act in as severe terms 
as those of any of his newspaper critics. He referred in enthusiastic and 
complimentary terms to the services the Sixth had rendered, and charac- 
terized my removal by him as specially unfortunate, when I had been 
ready to stake my life in his defense. He said he was unaware of what 
he was doing in my removal, as those who had induced it did not at the 
time inform him, and they afterward explained that I had accepted the 
tendered regiment and would not care to retain the post office, particu- 
larly when I knew what efforts politicians were making to succeed me. 
In very forcible language he said he would instantly reinstate me if he 
did not propose to place me in a much better position. I listened until 
he closed with the inquiry as to what position would be agreeable to me. 
I then said I was seeking no office and wanted none. In the most earnest 
manner he said I must accept some appointment, so that it could be pub- 
lished that the Administration had rectified its unintentional wrong; that 
the act was believed to be injuriously affecting enlistments. I said that 
I had not complained of my removal; that my military services had been 
performed from a sense of duty, and office had never in the least in- 
fluenced me; that I recognized the right to appoint his political friends 
to office, and that I saw no occasion for exception in my case. He said 
that the same patriotism which had induced me to make the sacrifices 
I had made must prevail upon me to accept some place, in view of the 
injury to the cause which the clamor at my removal would effect. He 
said in substance that I should be appointed to any office that was agree- 
able to me or that I would accept. I told him that I would do all I could 
to stop the criticism made on my behalf; that in time of war I could not 
accept any offer not connected with the military forces and that I had 
partially promised not to go again to the front. He then, jocosely I 
think, referred to the numerous appointments of brigadiers, and then said 
that a Paymastership of Volunteers was not only one of the most desir- 
able positions in the army but one that might enable me to keep my 
promise. Without yielding my objection to office I admitted that his 
last suggestion offered the most plausible solution of the situation, but 
suggested that such a position in the regular army might more certainly 
insure my location near home. He said he would write to the Secretary 
and fix that. He wrote, read to me and then sealed the following letter, 
which I have never used, and the seal of which I never broke until after 
his assassination: 


" Executive Mansion, October ist, 1861. 
" Honorable Secretary op War: 

" My dear Sir: — The Postmaster-General and myself have special rea- 
sons for wishing to oblige Mr. Benjamin F. Watson, of Lawrence, 
Massachusetts. He has been appointed an Assistant Paymaster, or Pay- 
master of Volunteers, but wishes the same post in the regular army. If 
there is any vacancy, not committed to any other person, let Mr. Watson 
have it. If there be no such vacancy, oblige him, as far as you can, by 
sending him to service at the place which suits him best. 

*' Yours truly, 


He then wrote on the envelope " Hon. Sec. of War," and added a mem- 
orandum most necessary in those days when the Government buildings 
were filled with crowds vainly seeking personal interviews with officials. 
" Please see Mr. Watson." No other justification existed for the state- 
ment in this letter, that I had been appointed, etc., than that I have here- 
in narrated, excepting, probably, his determination to right that which 
he thought was a wrone. his desire to do nothing detrimental to the 
Union cause, his belief that he had hit upon thr.t which I was bound 
patriotically to accept, and his decision that the appointment should be 
tendered whether accepted or not. I was gazetted paymaster all over the 
country the next morning, but I did not for six weeks thereafter finally 
conclude to accept the office. Aftsr the President had read his letter 
and I was about to retire. Gen. B. F. Butler was announced. He was 
then in his zenith and all governmental doors were open to him. In his 
peculiar manner the General scanned me from head to foot and demanded 
what had brought me there. I replied that the Commander-in-Chief had 
sent for me. In reply the General, in his rough way, informed the 
President that we were friends and neighbors, whereupon the President 
narrated to him what had taken place between us and said that he had 
been trying to induce me to accept office. To this General Butler replied 
that he wanted me to be appointed Paymaster of the Gulf, with permission 
to employ all requisite clerks, and he added, " I will go on his bond." 
The President said it should be done accordingly. I said nothing. Gen- 
eral Butler assumed that I was from that moment on his staff and made 
an appointment to call for me that evening at my hotel, and I left the 
President and the General together. That night I went with General 
Butler to visit the members of the Cabinet and heard the proposed ex- 
pedition for the capture of New Orleans discussed in all its details. I 
subsequently accepted the office of Paymaster of Volunteers, and served 
until seriously disabled in the performance of duty, when, declining an 
appointment in the Veteran Reserve Corps, I resigned in October, 1864. 

I never saw Abraham Lincoln again, but I shall carry through life the 
impression of his remarkable personality. It need not be claimed that he 
was a perfect man; at times he may have exhibited weakness on the side 
of amiability; but if he was thereby led into error his determination to be 
the fearless, upright man he was by nature, ultimately snapped asunder 


all of the cords woven by the influence of the strong and ambitious men 
who surrounded him — such men as Sumner, Seward, Chase, Ben Wade, 
Oliver Morton and others. His strength is shown by the fact that while 
bearing the burden of the leadership of a country disrupted by a great and 
bloody conflict, which in the beginning was of doubtful issue, he curbed 
and controlled the extraordinary men who, in a generation of intellectual 
conflict, dethroned King Cotton and destroyed the mighty institution of 
Slavery, before which the fathers of the Revolution were impotent. 

Notwithstanding Abraham Lincoln's humor, his whimsical playfulness 
of expression and his keen appreciation of wit, which were always evi- 
dent, the impression made by him at the time of which I write was of a 
man anxious, weary and heavy laden, earnestly laboring to perform the 
duties laid upon him. This impression was of course deepened and made 
permanent by the time and manner of his tragic death. In my opinion 
he was the instrument chosen by Providence to effect the salvation of 
the Union and the triumph of the Flag. 






The following correspondence effecting the amicable adjustment of the 
dates for the respective reunions of the " Old Sixth " Massachusetts 
Regiment Association and the Massachusetts Minute Men of '6i, is re- 
printed from the " Boston Herald " and the " Grand Army Record " of 

New York, March 25, 1890. 

D. C. SissoN, Secretary of the Old Massachusetts 6th Regiment Associ- 
ation, Boston, Mass. 

My Dear Comrade and Secretary: — Your letter received by me to-day 
gave me the first information that I had been elected vice-president for 
1890 of the Association Massachusetts Three-Months' Volunteers, 1861. 
I duly appreciate the confidence implied by this honor conferred at the 
hands of Massachusetts veterans. I had no part in the origin of this 
new association, and certainly not in selecting the 19th of April as the 
day for its annual meeting. There are many reasons for a reunion of 
the three-months' volunteers, including the old 6th Regiment, but there 
are none that I can imagine for their celebrating, as such, the 19th day 
of April, unless it is intended thereby to do homage to the old 6th, for 
that day, in 1861, was rendered famous before many of these three- 
months' men volunteered at all, and before any of them fought, and solely 
through the achievements on that day, in Baltimore, of the old 6th 
Regiment, in consequence of which Gov. Andrew called the regiment 
" historic," and recorded its thanks. 

The custom of the old 6th to celebrate each anniversary of April 19, 
1861, has become venerable, and it behooves the survivors to maintain 
intact their peculiar institution and not to dilute a glory all their own by 
introducing elements possessing no efficacy tending to increase their 
special fame. On each recurring 19th of April, so long as I live, I intend 
to continue to meet with my comrades of the old 6th as the most appro- 
priate way known to me of commemorating its conflict in the streets of 
Baltimore, and of perpetuating the fame of its dead, the first martyrs to 
the cause of the Union. 

Upon any other day I shall be proud to meet annually with the gallant 
" Massachusetts three-months' volunteers." 

Yours affectionately, 



New York, April 7, 1890. 
Frank A. Brown, Adjutant and Corresponding Secretary of Association 
of Massachusetts Three-Months' Volunteers of '61. 

My Dear Comrade and Secretary: — I am this day in receipt of yours of 
the 3rd inst. notifying me of my election as vice-president, representing 
the old 6th Regiment in your association. Kindly convey to my com- 
rades of the association my thanks for the honor conferred by the selec- 
tion. No one can appreciate more than I do any recognition by the 
veterans of the late war tending to signifying regard for or confidence 
in me. 

It would be unjust to your association, as well as to my comrades of 
the old Massachusetts 6th Regiment Association, if in this connection I 
failed to say that I disfavor your selection of the 19th day of April as the 
day for holding your reunions; and also disfavor the use by you of the 
motto " Lexington, April 19. 1775 — Baltimore, April 19, 1861." for the 
reason, among others, that our 6th Regiment Association has long been 
accustomed to assemble on the 19th of April, being moved thereto by 
reasons which it believed justified the choice of that day. I can see no 
occasion for the other three-months' regiments selecting our day. rather 
than some other of the many days they themselves made famous by their 
bravery and sacrifices. I am confident the distinguished men and soldiers 
whose names appear as the officers of your association will agree with 
me that it will be better to select a day and motto made appropriate by 
the three-months' volunteers as such rather than seem to interfere with 
the choice which others have long since made. 

I inclose herewith a copy of my letter to the secretary of the Sixth 
Regiment Association, which letter he has embodied in a circular to our 
comrades. I expressed similar sentiments last year to one of your mem- 
bers in a correspondence I had with him. I am confident that the Sixth 
Regiment Association will not unite with yours to meet on the 19th of 
April, because, among other reasons, it will tend to interfere with a 
custom we cherish. I am quite as confident that many of our comrades 
will be proud to meet with you upon any other day of the year. I sym- 
pathize with this view, and doing so, it will not, of course, be desirable for 
your association, or for me, that I should continue to be elected an 
officer of your association, while its annual reunions are continued on the 
19th of April. 

I have the honor to be and to remain, your obedient servant, 


" BALTIMORE, APRIL 19, 1861." 

Letter from the Executive Committee of Massachusetts Three-Months' 
Col. B. F. Watson, New York City, N. Y. 

Sir: — We are instructed by the executive committee of the Massachu- 
setts three-months' men of 1861 to state, in reply to your favor of April 


7, 1890, that there was no intention on the part of the executive committee 
to detract from or to appropriate to themselves any part of the record of 
the 6th Massachusetts regiment by the use of the motto, " Baltimore, 
April 19, 1861 "; but that this motto, like that of " Lexington, April 19, 
1/75. " was adopted in recognition of an historic incident in which every 
patriotic American feels an interest and takes a just pride. At the early 
meetings of the little band of survivors who were instrumental in creating 
the organization of the three-months' men the 6th Regiment was more 
largely represented than any other, and it was upon their suggestion that 
these mottoes were adopted. It will be remembered that the proclama- 
tion of the President calling for 75,000 three-months' volunteers was 
issued on the iSth of April, 1861, and before the close of the i6th of April 
every Massachusetts organization called upon had responded with a 
profifer of service, and the 3rd, 4th, 6th and 8th regiments had marched 
from their homes. The holding in reserve of the 5th regiment, 3rd bat- 
talion of rifles and Boston light artillery until it could be determined 
where their services would be most required, was a mere matter of detail, 
and did not affect any material result. They all responded to the call of 
the President, and were sent forward as early as practicable. The ex- 
ecutive committee are of the opinion that the holding of the reunions 
upon the 19th of April is unjust to the Massachusetts three-months' men, 
as it gives color to the claims set up by a great number of organizations 
created in many places on the i6th, 17th and i8th of April, 1861, of 
priority of service to the Massachusetts troops who actually marched 
from their homes on the i6th. or proffered their services on or before 
that date and marched as required. The association has voted to hold 
its reunions in future on April 15 of each year. We are very respectfully, 
your friends and comrades, 


Boston, April 28, 1890. 

To Maj.-Gen. Edward W. Hincks. Col. Henry Walker and Adjt. Francis 
A. Brown, the Executive Committee of Massachusetts Three- 
Months' Men of '61. 

My Dear Friends and Comrades: — I was gratified by the receipt of 
your communication dated 28th ult., in reply to mine of the 7th ult., an- 
nouncing that the association of Massachusetts Three-Months' Men of 
1861 had determined to hold its annual reunion on the 15th instead of 
the 19th of April. 

This decision does not surnrise me, for it needed no gift of prophecy 
to predict the action under the circumstances of brave and considerate 
comrades. The selection of the 15th is most wise because it is appro- 
priate and significant, that being the day upon which each of your organi- 
zations represented in your association, in advance of all others, eagerly 
responded to the President's call for volunteers, and both officers and 


men on the day resolved as patriots to devote to the imperilled Union 
all that they held most precious, than which no higher claim for the 
veneration of their countrymen exists. 

The well intentioned, but thoughtless and unauthorized tender to your 
association of the motto of the Old 6th Regiment, " Lexington, April 
19- 1775 — Baltimore, April 19, 1861," was liable to be misleading until 
reflection was had; then it could not escape attention that the 6th Regi- 
ment was entitled to its exclusive use in consequence of what it had 
done in 1861; and in consequence of what it had done in 1775 by the 
men of Lexington, whose lineal descendants fought at Baltimore. 

The blood relationship between these two initial events in the martial 
history of our country is recognized by contemporary historv. Brave 
men who have themselves justly earned the fame their country is proud 
of will not criticise the tenacity with which the survivors of the " Old 
bixth " defend their title to credit for that devotion and valor which made 
the 19th of April thrice memorable in the calendar of this country. 

I think the Massachusetts Three-Months' Men need not apprehend 
any successful claim that others were earlier than they to volunteer. By 
means of a telegram from Senator Henry Wilson to Gov. Andrew, sent 
unof^cially on the isth of April, Massachusetts was enabled to take pre- 
cedence of her sister States by at least a day, in calling out her troops. 
It was perhaps in consequence of the fact that the 6th Regiment on the 
19th day of January, 1861, through Gen. Butler, volunteered to the 
Government its service, and on the i6th day of April next following 
organized at its headquarters in Lowell, and on the same day reported 
ready for duty at Boston, that it had the honor to be first despatched 
into the opening conflict. 

The happy selection of the 15th of April for the reunion of all Three- 
Months' Men will doubtless meet with unanimous approval from them, 
including the " Old 6th," as it can have no direct tendency to interfere 
with the 6th's accustomed observance of the 19th of April. I should 
certainly esteem it an honor to belong to your association and to be 
permitted to subscribe myself 

Your comrade and friend, 


New York, May 16, 1890. 

(From the Grand Army Record, 1893.J 

The Annual Meeting of the Association of Minute Men of '61 took 
place at Faneuil Hall, Boston, on April 15, 1893. Some three hundred 
plates were laid. Col. B. F. Watson as President spoke substantially as 

Comrades: — It is the pleasant duty of the office with which you have 
honored me to welcome, in your name, the distinguished guests whose 


presence adds dignity and luster to our reunion to-day. I shall not fail 
to express your sense of obligation when I thank them for the honor 
conferred by their attendance, and for the anticipated pleasure of their 
words of friendship and approbation as this feast proceeds. They may 
be assured that you count it not the least among the rewards for duty 
done to your country in its time of need, that men of distinguished deeds 
and station favor you with their countenance and consideration. 

Comrades — It is a subject for congratulation that so many of you have 
been able, and minded to assemble on this 32nd anniversary of the open- 
ing day of a Great War, in which, first and last, you bore such a con- 
spicuous part, for the purpose of refreshing friendships formed in peril- 
ous times and cemented by common sacrifices. If there could exist any 
possible objection to these annual assemblages, those inclined to criticise 
could well afYord, in view of your important services, to add their in- 
dulgence to your $13 a month, without occasion to fear that you will be 
overpaid for doing, quickly and well, that which had to be done by you 
in view of the fact that others neglected sooner to do it. I am persuaded 
that no Veteran Soldier will deny that it is indeed fit and commendable 
that, with every recurring mid-April, so long as life shall last, you should 
relight the camp-fire in Faneuil Hall, to whose consecrated, patriotic 
memories you contributed no mean addition, when you promptly rallied 
within its walls and from thence began the march against the distant 
foes of the Union and the Flag. 

Comrades — It does not detract from the consideration due to you for 
your military services to say. that in a four years' war you were only 
" Three-Months' Men." 

I know your services cannot be thus limited, and that, on the con- 
trary, more than 2,000 out of your 3,800 " Minute Men," re-enlisted for 
the war, contributing toward the efficiency of hundreds of new organi- 
zations, devoting their valor and their blood to the Union cause upon 
hundreds of battlefields, and sacrificing many noble lives upon the altar 
of their country. 

It is, however, as " Minute Men," I contemplate you to-day. I say 
hold fast to that peculiar distinction, and float it on your banners when 
spring-time shall succeed spring-time as long as the years roll on. Single 
out from the calendar the month of April and lavish your affections 
upon it, for you have through inheritance and kinship possessed it as 
your own. April is significant in your country's history. The " Minute 
Men " of Concord and Lexington — grandsires of many of you — on the 
igth of April, 177s, met the British Regulars at Concord Bridge; to close 
the Revolutionary War thus begun, Washington, on the 19th of April, 
1783, proclaimed peace. In response to seceding States and the assault 
upon Sumter, you " Minute Men " on the isth of April, 1861, rallied, 
mustered and marched. To close the Rebellion thus begun, on April 9. 
1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. To complete the ter- 
rible sacrifice of patriotic blood on the altar of freedom, on April 13, 
1865, Abraham Lincoln was foully assassinated. 


Comrades — The fraternity of " Minute Men " must not die out. The 
spirit cultivated by the recollection of their timely deeds is too valuable 
to be lost. In times of sudden peril they stand in the same relation to 
the militia as the militia stands to the regular military forces. It is true 
that '' Minute Men " are born and not made. But this fact in any com- 
munity enhances the value of the traditions virhich perpetuate the memory 
of their deeds as a pervading influence toward heroic action. It is doubt- 
ful whether this proud Commonwealth of ours can point to two events 
in her history which contribute more to her deserved eminence and fame 
among her sister States than two April achievements of her " Minute 
Men," who made her the leader in repelling the attack when the liberties 
of the colonies and the Union of the States were assailed. 

Minute Men, Massachusetts at least should never be reluctant to do 
you honor. 

(From the Grand Army Record of May, 1894.^ 


Delivered before the Massachusetts " Minute Men of '61 " in Faneuil 
Hall, Boston, Mass., April 14, 1894. 

Minute Men of '61 and Comrades: — I thank you for conferring upon 
me the honor of presenting a brief minute, for record in your affection- 
ate memories, to express our deep grief over the death, and our fond 
pride in the life, of our late Comrade, Companion and President, Major- 
General Edward Winslow Hincks. 

While I deprecate your failure to select, for this purpose, one more 
competent to do justice to the subject, I am forced to recognize, as 
influencing your choice, his friendship towards me, which I cannot for- 
get his showing on an occasion like this, in this historic hall, and in your 
presence. I recall with a sense of obligation the fact that you thereupon 
honored me by electing me his immediate successor in office as your 

When General Hincks upon that occasion, with kindly speech and 
accustomed generosity, recalled to you that our introduction to each 
other occurred near Baltimore soon after the memorable march of the 
Old Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers through that city on 
the 19th of April, 1861, he omitted, with characteristic modesty, to men- 
tion the incidents of that midnight meeting, illustrated, as it was, by 
traits which afterwards characterized his glorious record throughout the 
war — that abnegation of self in favor of the cause in which his heart was 
enlisted, that noblest of valor which seeks no language in which to 
portray its own deeds, and which scorns to profit by the detraction of 
others; that readiness for daring action when ordinary men stand 

With your permission. Comrades, in furtherance of my duty upon 


this occasion, I will briefly relate the incident referred to by General 
Hincks, but which he modestly failed to describe. The important part 
he took in it — if any part of it — has never before, to my knowledge, been 

Maryland in 1861 was hostile territory. It had welcomed with bloody 
hands the Union Soldiers. Its representatives demanded from President 
Lincoln, his Cabinet, and Lieutenant-General Scott assembled at the 
White House Sunday morning, April 21, 1861, that no Union troops 
should come within its borders. Of that memorable interview I am the 
sole surviving witness. Maryland was inimical to the Union, and hated 
the " Yankees." Everywhere " Maryland, my Maryland " was sung as 
the slogan of ardent hope for relief from Northern affiliation through the 
triumph of a Southern Confederacy. After the affair of the 19th of April 
in Baltimore, that city, although the thoroughfare from the North to 
Washington, had been closed against all Union troops. Early in the 
following month of May General Butler commenced the occupation of 
the Relay House Heights, situated about eight miles from Baltimore 
and commanding the railroad leading from that city to Washington, 
Harper's Ferry and the West. For that purpose he ordered there the 
Sixth Massachusetts Volunteers, then at the Capitol at Washington; 
and he subsequently strengthened the position with Cook's Battery and 
other troops. On the 13th day of May General Butler with his entire 
force, excepting about 75 men, moved from the Relay House upon Balti- 
more, and, during the night of that day, occupied it and reduced it to 
obedience to the National Government. As he was leaving the Relay 
House upon that occasion he detached me from my regiment with orders 
to assume command of the post and, at the same time, ordered that I 
should proceed that night by rail, with such force as would volunteer to 
accompany me to the city of Frederick, a distance of about 40 miles, 
there to arrest Ross Winans, the well-known and wealthy citizen of Balti- 
more, who had been actively fomenting and assisting rebellion, and to 
send him in custody to Annapolis. Winans was supposed to be attend- 
ing the session of the Maryland Legislature, which had adjourned from 
Annapolis within the Union lines, to Frederick within protecting distance 
of the Confederate forces. Assurance was given me that telegraphic 
communication along the railroad had been destroyed, thus lessening the 
danger to the expedition from General Johnston, who commanded the 
Confederates at Harper's Ferry. At nightfall I started with 50 volun- 
teers but we were so delayed by a severe storm which lasted all night, 
and were so detained by parleying with Maryland Home Guards paraded 
to oppose our progress, that Frederick was reached only just before 
dawn of the 14th, when we were surprised to learn that Winans and 
several of his associates in the Legislature had in fact been warned by 
telegraph, and had sought security within the Confederate lines. Luckily 
we succeeded in cfifecting our return to the Relay House. That night my 
guards were doubled at the junction of the two railroads at the Relay 
House and instructed to arrest Winans should he attempt during the 


night to return to Baltimore, and, in case of resistance, to notify me at 
the Camp about half a mile distant. After midnight I was aroused by 
firing. My little array of about 50 men was hastily formed, and we were 
about to march in response to the alarm when an officer approached and 
introduced himself as Colonel Hincks. With kind allusion to the 19th of 
April, he stated that he and his command, the 8th Regiment of Massa- 
chusetts had arrived in the vicinity during my absence at Frederick; that 
they had been aroused by the alarm and were at hand and ready to pro- 
ceed under my command, waiving all questions of rank and precedence. 
The assistance thus tendered was as welcome as was the prompt and 
gracious manner in which it was proffered. This fortunate acquisition of 
numbers and strength, doubtless, induced the armed and threatening 
friends of Winans to acquiesce, without bloodshed, in the night ride upon 
a locomotive to Annapolis to which we treated him. The friendship 
formed while Colonel Hincks and I together, at the head of the column, 
double quicked that half a mile in darkness, will last forever. 

This eulogy upon the character and services of General Hincks in the 
late War needs, however, no aid from the glowing personal affection 
which I bring to the subject. His valuable services and notable achieve- 
ments are enrolled on the pages of history. The time at my command 
does not permit more than a bare enumeration of the most prominent 
of his conspicuous public services and the honors and rank which they 
challenged and secured from his grateful and admiring countrymen; nor 
need their story again be rehearsed to his comrades who knew him so 
well, nor to this community in which he passed the greater part of his 
honorable and useful career, and which has so recently, upon the occasion 
of his death, witnessed the appreciative testimony of the local press. The 
patriotic ardor which inspired him, and influenced those about him, to 
fly to the rescue of the threatened Flag he loved so well; the quick sur- 
render of all he cherished and all that he had acquired, or hoped for, 
the moment he recognized the nation's peril; the untiring and sleepless 
devotion of his unrivalled energy and his well-equipped mind to the 
preparation for the march to the front; his faultless capacity, as a Soldier, 
to obey without question and to command without arousing controversy; 
his steadfastness of bearing in moments of general excitement; and his 
calm control of himself, and of his command, in the emergency of battle; 
the undaunted moral and physical courage which always fitted him to 
observe with sagacity, to prepare without hesitation, to advance reso- 
lutely, or to withstand unflinchingly, and always by his leadership to 
inspire a valiant following when danger was to be encountered; all these 
are the familiar and cherished themes of many a reminiscent Camp Fire. 

We need not lift the veil from his domestic life and his friendships to 
disclose that social excellence to which those who knew him best 
bear tender witness. The consensus of testimony is that, under all vicis- 
situdes, he was the cultivated, considerate, dignified and upright man; 
the devoted, loving, sympathizing and self-sacrificing friend; the liberal, 
consistent and devoted Christian. 


Character is the concrete result of continued and consistent deeds, and 
the likeness and relationship between the deeds and the character are 
rarely mistaken, 

" For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not 
gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes." 

It is in compliance with an amiable law of human nature that the friends 
of a departed hero dwell with special fondness upon the conspicuous 
deeds which have crowned his career with earthly fame. But, to the 
larger view, the best legacy of a patriot to his country and to posterity 
is foimd in the consistent life lessons and example he has transmitted to 
those who follow after. In other words, the man who makes a lasting 
impression upon his time, and his kind, is not the product of the common 
attributes of common clay; nor the favored result of circumstance and 
environment, of appearance, apparel, wealth or station, or of hardships 
or obscurity; but it is the vian of character. Character is the consistent 
growth of a lifetime rather than the miraculous creation of fortuitous 
events; a structure bearing the lineaments of self in all stages of its 
progress; an individuality, which never loses its identity; a spirit, which 
unerringly discerns the right and attracts good men to follow it. Such 
characters are the strength of the Republic. The Book of Wisdom says : 

" And even things without life, giving sound, whether pipe or harp, 
except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what 
is piped or harped? 

" For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare him- 
self to the battle?" 

It is the favorite dictum that, " blood will tell." It is equally true that 
more telling than blood is the inspiration which is the offspring of the 
desire and the courage for noble living. 

When Edward Winslow Hincks was born at Bucksport in the State of 
Maine, on the 30th day of May, 1830, he inherited the blood of Chief 
Justice John Hincks of New Hampshire, and the blood of the Winslows 
of the Mayflower. But to him personally the Lord gave the noble 
spirit which vitalized and renewed his heritage. He began his eventful 
life at the tender age of 15 years by setting out alone from under the 
parental roof tree for Bangor, then the center of activity in the State, 
and selecting, as his first venture, employment in a newspaper printing 
office. Thus it is in evidence that ease and wealth were subordinate in 
his youthful mind to the acquisition of intelligence and influence. His 
removal to Boston, after four years, was an advance along the same gen- 
eral line. His wisdom in the choice of his life's work was supplemented 
by good judgment in selecting his associates, and in determining his aims, 
and by exhibiting such capacity for affairs that within six years after he 
reached Boston, at the age of twenty-five, he became one of his towns- 
men's chosen representatives in the councils of the city and of the State. 
Disregarding the then prevailing and unreasonable prejudice against the 
militia, with provident wisdom he resolved to obtain proficiency in a ser- 


vice which he foresaw was likely to become important under a form of 
government which has no tolerance for a standing army. Possessed of 
a fine military instinct and aptitude, he made such progress in the 
mastery of the art of war, that subsequently he was fitted, without dis- 
paragement, to rank in the regular service with officers who had been 
educated at West Point. But, whether engaged in the civil or military 
service of the Commonwealth, he was filled with a patriotic zeal for his 
country's welfare and he kept in the advance upon the questions of public 
policy which in those days excited intense interest among all thoughtful 
people. His course of life during these years of probation had been 
diligently and consistently pursued and he was prepared for important 
duty but not a day too soon. 

When the Nation was distracted with the apprehension of impending 
disaster whose precise nature none were wise enough to determine; when 
credit was prostrated, trade and commerce were paralyzed, and industry 
was without its reward; when the Ship of State drifted helplessly because 
of the impotency caused by divided counsels; when Treason, half dis- 
closed and half concealed, made patriots tremble for the safety of the 
Union and the Flag; when the stoutest and the bravest stood aghast at a 
situation without a precedent, and the leaden skies hung low and threat- 
ening, then and in such a crisis — Comrades, you remember it well, and 
know that the picture is not overdrawn — then it was, on the i8th of De- 
cember, i860, that Adjutant Hincks anticipated all other volunteering 
by tendering his aid to Major Anderson for the defense of Fort Moultrie. 
It pleases me to place side by side with this statement that other fact, 
that the first volunteering of an organized and equipped regiment was 
made one month later, on the 19th day of January, 1861, by the colonel, 
field officers and commanders of companies of the Sixth Regiment of 
Massachusetts Volunteers, the resolution embodying which I had the 
honor to present. It was Lieutenant-Colonel Hincks who led the van 
of the Eighth Regiment of Volunteers when it reached Boston, in re- 
sponse to the first call to arms by President Lincoln! It was he who led 
the Eighth to dare and to do at Perryville and Annapolis, and on its 
march across Maryland to Washington! It was Colonel Hincks who 
gallantly fought at Ball's Bluff in 1861, and upon the battlefields of 
Yorktown, West Point, Fair Oaks, Oak Grove, Peach Orchard, Savage 
Station, White Oak Swamp, Glendale, Chantilly, South Mountain and 
Antietam in 1862; Baylor's Farm and Petersburg in 1864. Thrice 
wounded and once left upon the battlefield as dead, he finally, as Major- 
General Hincks, survived the war for nearly thirty years, during which 
period, notwithstanding extreme suffering from his wounds, he fulfilled 
the duties of positions of trust and responsibility. In his performance 
of the high trusts laid upon him during the four years of Civil War he 
earned the approbation of all who knew him, and no voice of detraction 
has ever been raised against him in the land. In this most notable war 
of modern times, and amongst those whose abilities and valor singled 
them out from among the million of their brave associates, he stood 


conspicuous, and received unsolicited promotion from the rank of First 
Lieutenant to that of Major-General. May we not justly conclude that 
when General Hincks died at Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 14th, 
1894, he left his ancestral blood a bequest of renewed distinction by the 
noble character which he had early planned and consistently builded? 

What fraternal pride must the record awaken in the breast of his only 
remaining near relative, the brother whose honorable wounds are the 
badges of his own faithful service! How holy a heritage is an example 
like this for the young men of the Republic! What abiding faith in the 
perpetuity of the Union is warranted by the character and the life of such 
a citizen! With what glowing pride may we, my Comrades, Minute Men 
of '61, cherish the honor of such a Comrade and leader! 

His memory shall abide in our hearts and in our lives to our latest day. 

But as for him, after labor, struggle, achievement, and suffering, he has 
entered into the peace and blessedness which endure, the rest which we 
feel must be a refreshing and a renewal of the spirit for higher life, holier 
activities, and a brighter day! 

" What would we give to our beloved? 
The hero's heart, to be unmoved; 
The poet's star-tuned harp, to sweep; 
The patriot's voice, to teach and rouse; 
The monarch's crown, to light the brows? 
He giveth His beloved, sleep." 




Extract from a speech to the survivors of the " Old Sixth " at Acton. 
Mass., April 19, 1895, upon the second annual observance of the day as 
Patriots' Day, upon which occasion eloquent addresses were made by 
Governor Greenhalge and the venerable Ex-Governor Boutwell. 

Comrades: — I prize beyond expression the privilege of being with 
you, and again accepting the bountiful hospitality of this ancient and 
patriotic town of Acton, as we commemorate the 34th Anniversary of the 
Fight of the " Old Sixth " in the streets of Baltimore. How this day 
and occasion refresh the story of friendships springing out of severe 
sacrifices and trying situations; how they unfold, in retrospect, the dark 
and desperate days of the Republic, when the skies above were leaden, 
the earth beneath trembled with the tread of calamity and the heart of 
the stoutest was faint: How irresistibly the 19th of April awakens great 
memories, mournful memories, proud memories, of the Minute Men 
of '61, the legitimate descendants of the men of Concord, Lex- 
ington and Bunker Hill. When, as comparative strangers, we first 
met in '61, we were in the pride and vigor of youth. At the call 
of our distressed country we impetuously deserted the cherished 
joys of home and the diverse occupations of the farm, the work-shop, 
the mill, the mart and the professions, and quickly arrayed ourselves in 
the ranks of war. We became subject to one authority, we were ani- 
mated with one common purpose, and, through experiences of fire and 
sacrifice, we were welded into one indissoluble brotherhood in the rank 
and file of the " Old Sixth." Then seven hundred strong, to-day we are 
less than half that number, with our natural force, man for man, greatly 
abated. The annual roll call brings no audible response from our first 
martyrs Charles A. Taylor, Addison Otis Whitney, Sumner Henry Need- 
ham and Luther Crawford Ladd; from Major Josiah A. Sawtell of the 
Field, the bluff and soldierly Adjutant Alpha B. Farr, the skillful and 
versatile Surgeon Norman Smith, of the Staff, from the fearless and 
kindly Captain John H. Dike of Company L. the quiet but intrepid 
Captain Harrison W. Pratt of Company G, the unostentatious 
but firm Captain Eusebius S. Clark of Company B, the genial and 
dauntless Captain A. S. Follansbee of Company C, the reliable and brave 
Captain James W. Hart of Company D, nor from the gallant Ansel D. 
Wass, Timothy A. Crowley, Dexter F. Parker and hosts of other hon- 
ored dead whose names are starred in our affectionate memories and 
upon our Roster. While with wavering and depleted ranks we slowly 
retreat before our invincible foe, with common devotion we close around 
and resist his attempts to sever from us the three patriarchs of our no 


longer youthful band. Chaplain Charles Babbidge of Pepperell, in whose 
culture, kindness and moral as well as soldierly courage we exult, in 
common with the people who have watched the increasing honors of his 
useful life of 89 years; Captain Daniel Tuttle of Company E of the same 
Acton that sent forth Captain Isaac Davis to lead the men of 1775 at 
North Concord Bridge, and there to ofifer up his life as a sacrifice for 
his Country's liberties. Those who know the deeds of the night of the 
15th of April, i86r, in the rally, the march and the report for duty the 
next morning at Lowell of the Davis Guards, will see the patriotic 
parallel between these two devoted Acton Captains up to the point when 
one, dying in the battle front, perpetuated his fame so long as his 
Country's history is read, while the other, our Capt. Tuttle, after a 
faithful and brave campaign, still lives to receive the plaudits of those 
who profit by his sacrifices. May many more years be added to the 81 
to which he has already attained. Our Third patriarch, Luke Smith, is 
also of Company E, and of that Acton which throughout its history has 
been prompt to " furnish the men." In '61 Luke Smith dutifully followed 
the example of his father, who marched and fought with Davis at Con- 
cord Bridge, for he followed Captain Tuttle to the field and through his 
service in the War of the Rebellion. Acton should and Acton will see 
to it that this patriarch of 82 years old shall want nothing which may 
comfort the body and cheer the spirit. And here, notwithstanding the 
wealth of materials, specification must stop, as it will be apparent to all 
considerate and thoughtful people that no history or oration, surely not 
these brief remarks, can record the individual incidents, though notable 
and brave, of such a campaign as that of " the Sixth." They go to make 
up the interest of the Camp Fire when Veterans entertain and are enter- 
tained by familiar rehearsals of personal exploits: Nor is it necessary 
to particularize, for in a brief word it may be demonstrated that the " Old 
Sixth " as an organization stands for notable things in which every 
member has a common heritage. 


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