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- Baltimore and the nineteenth of April 1861 : a study of the war
- Baltimore and the nineteenth of April ; a study of the war. (Book, ) [wesatimunogo.cf]
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Lincoln at the former place. If, however, the delay proved to be considerable, when Mr.
Lincoln reached Baltimore the connecting train to Washington might leave without him. Felton was equal to the occasion. He devised a plan which was communicated to only three or four on the road. A messenger was sent to Baltimore by an earlier train to say to the officials of the Washington road that a very important package must be delivered in "Washing- ton early in the morning, and to request them to wait for the night train from Philadelphia.
To give color to this state- ment, a package of old railroad reports, done tip with great care, and with a large seal attached, marked by Mr. The only remarkable incident of the journey was the mysterious behavior of the few officials who were entrusted with the portentous secret. I do not know how others may be affected by this narra- tive, but I confess even now to a feeling of indignation that Mr.
Lincoln, who was no coward, but proved himself on many an occasion to be a brave man, was thus prevented from carrying out his original intention of journeying to Baltimore in the light of day, in company with his wife and children, relying as he always did on the honor and manhood of the American people. Felton, son of Mr. Felton, in an article entitled " The Baltimore Plot," published in Decem- ber, , in the Harvard Monthly, has attempted to revive this absurd story. He repeats the account of whitewashing the bridges, and of the astonishment created among the good people of the neighborhood.
He has faith in " the unknown Baltimorean " who visited the bridgekeeper, but would never give his name, and in the spies employed, who, he tells us, were "the well-known detective Pinker ton and eight assistants," and he leaves his readers to infer that Mr. Lincoln's life was saved by the extraordinary vigilance which had been exercised and the ingenious plan which had been devised by his worthy father, but alas! The Midnight Ride to Washington. After a full examination of all the docu- ments, Colonel Lamon pronounces the conspiracy to be a mere fiction, and adds in confirmation the mature opinion of Mr.
Lincoln soon learned to regret the midnight ride. His friends reproached him, his enemies taunted him. He was convinced that he had com- mitted a grave mistake in yielding to the solicitations of a professional spy and of friends too easily alarmed. He saw that he had fled from a danger purely imaginary, and felt the shame and mortification natural to a brave man under such circumstances. But he was not disposed to take all the responsibility to himself, and frequently upbraided the writer for having aided and assisted him to demean himself at the very moment in all his life when his behavior should have exhibited the utmost dignity and composure.
The account above given has its appropriateness here, for the midnight ride through Baltimore, and the charge that its citizens were plotting the President's assassination, helped to feed the flame of excitement which, in the stirring events of that time, was already burning too high all over the land, and especially iji a border city with divided sympathies.
For a period the broad provisions of the Constitution of the United States, as expounded by the wise and broad decisions of the Supreme Court, had proved to be equal to every emer- gency. The thirteeii feeble colonies had grown to be a great Bepublic, and no external obstacle threatened its majestic progress ; foreign wars had been waged and vast territories had been annexed, but every strain on the Constitution only served to make it stronger. Yet there was a canker in a vital part which nothing could heal, which from day to day became more malignant, ajid which those who looked beneath the sur- face could perceive was surely leading, and at no distant day, to dissolution or war, or perhaps to both.
The canker was the existence of negro slavery. In colonial days, kings, lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, all united in favoring the slave trade. In Massa- chusetts the Puritan minister might be seen on the Sabbath going to meeting in family procession, with his negro slave bringing up the rear. Boston was largely engaged in build- ing ships and manufacturing rum, and a portion of the ships and much of the rum were sent to Africa, the rum to buy slaves, and the ships to bring them to a market in America.
Newport was more largely, and until a more recent time, engaged in the same traffic. In Maryland, even the Friends were sometimes owners of Compromises of the Constitution. In Georgia, the Calvinist Whitefield blessed God for his negro plantation, which was generously given to him to establish his " Bethesda " as a refuge for orphan children.
In the Dred Scott case, Chief Justice Taney truly described the opinion, which he deplored, prevailing at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, as being that the colored man had no rights which the white man was bound to respect. As the difficulty in regard to it arose far more from political than moral grounds, so in the settlement the former were almost exclusively considered. It was, however, the best that could be made at that time.
It is certain that without such a compromise the Constitution would not have been adopted. The existence of slavery in a State was left in the discretion of the State itself. If a slave escaped to another State, he was to be returned to his master. Laws were passed by Congress to carry out this provision, and the Supreme Court decided that they were constitutional. For a long time the best people at the North stood firmly by the compromise. It was a national compact, and must be respected. But ideas, and especially moral ideas, cannot be forever fettered by a compact, no matter how solemn may be its sanctions.
The change of opinion at the North was first slow, then rapid, and then so powerful as to overwhelm all opposition. John Brown, who was executed for raising a 1 Judge Taney J s utterance on this subject has been frequently and grossly misrepresented. It had long been a fixed fact that no fugitive slave could by process of law be returned from the North into slavery. Sooner or later the same hands would capture the citadel. Sooner or later it was plain that slavery was doomed. In the memorable Senatorial campaign in Illinois between Stephen A.
Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, the latter, in his speech before the Republican State Convention at Springfield, June 17, , struck the keynote of his party by the bold declaration on the subject of slavery which he then made and never recalled. This utterance was the more remarkable because on the previous day the convention had passed unanimously a res- olution declaring that Mr.
Lincoln was their first and only choice for United States Senator, to fill the vacancy about to be created by the expiration of Mr. Douglas's term of office, but the convention had done nothing which called for the advanced ground on which Mr. Lincoln planted himself in that speech. It was carefully prepared. The narrative of Colonel Lamon in his biography of Lincoln is intensely -interesting and dramatic. After seating them at the round table, Mr. Lincoln read his entire speech, dwelling slowly on that part which speaks of a divided house, so that every man fully understood it.
All but "William H. Herndon, the law partner of Mr. Lincoln, declared that the whole speech was too far in advance of the times ; and they especially condemned that part which referred to a divided house. Hcrndon sat still while they were giving their respective opinions ; then he sprang to his feet and said: If it is in advance of the times, let us you and I, if no one else lift the people to the level of this speech now, higher hereafter.
The speech is true, wise and politic, and will succeed now, or in the future. Nay, it will aid you, if it will not make you Presi- dent of the United States. Lincoln sat still a short moment, rose from his chair, walked backward arid forward in the hall, stopped and said: Friends, I have thought about this matter a great deal, have weighed the question well from all corners, and am thoroughly convinced the time has come when it should be uttered ; and if it must be that I must go down because of this speech, then let me go down linked to truth die in the advocacy of what is right and just.
This nation cannot live on injustice. A house divided against itself cannot stand, I say again and again. We are now far on into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy that agitation has not only not ceased, but is con- stantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.
The far-seeing suggestion of Mr. Herndon came true to the letter. They had framed a union of States which was part free and part slave, and that union was intended to last forever. Here was an irreconcilable conflict between the Constitution and the future President of the United States. When the Republican Convention assembled at Chicago in May, , in the heat of the contest, which soon became narrowed down to a choice between Mr.
Lincoln, the latter dispatched a friend to Chicago with a message in writing, which was handed either to Judge Davis or Judge Logan, both members of the convention, which runs as follows: Lincoln's " divided house" and Seward's u higher law " placed them really in the same attitude. The seventh resolution in the Chicago platform condemned The Broken Compact. Of the actual votes cast there was a majority against him of , Douglas, who lost the support of the Southern Democrats by his advocacy of the doctrine of " squatter sovereignty," as it was called, which was in effect, although not in form, as hostile to the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case as the seventh resolution of the Chicago Convention itself.
Breckinridge, of Kentucky, the candidate of the Southern Democracy, fell very far, and Mr. Bell, of Tennessee, the candidate of the Union party, as it was called, a short-lived successor of the old "Whig party, fell still farther in the rear of the two Northern candidates. The great crisis had come at last. The Abolition party had become a portion of the victorious Republican party. The South, politically, was overwhelmed. Separated now from its only ally, the Northern Democracy, it stood at last alone.
It matters not that Mr. Lincoln, after his election, in sin- cerity of heart held out the olive branch to the nation, and that during his term of office the South, so far as his influ- ence could avail, would have been comparatively safe fiom direct aggressions. Lincoln was not known then as he is known now, and, moreover, his term of office would be but four years. 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. These are the rights of self-defense known, approved and acted on by all freemen. And where constitu- tional rights of a people are in jeopardy, a kindred right of self-defense belongs to them. Although revolutionary in its character, it is not the less a right. Wendell Phillips, abolitionist as he was, in a speech made at New Bedford on the 9th of April, , three days before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, fully recognized this right.
They have a right to decide that question without appealing to you or me. A large body of the people, sufficient to make a nation, have come to the conclusion that they will have a government of a certain form. Who denies them the right? Standing with the principles of '76 behind us, who can deny them the right?
What is a matter of a few millions of dollars or a few forts? It is a mere drop in the bucket of the great national question. I maintain, on the principles of ; 76, that Abraham Lincoln has no right to a soldier in Fort Sumter. Wendell Phillips was not wrong in declaring the princi- ples of '76 to be kindred to those of J The men of ; 76 did not fight to get rid of the petty tax of three pence a pound on tea, which was the only tax left to quarrel about.
They were determined to pay no taxes, large or small, then or The Right of Revolution. Whether the tax was lawful or not was a doubtful question, about which there was a wide difference of opinion, but they did not care for that. Nothing would satisfy them but the relinquishment of any claim of right to tax the colonies, and this they could not obtain.
They main- tained that their rights were violated. They were, moreover, embittered by a long series of disputes with the mother country, and they wanted to be independent and to have a country of their own. They thought they were strong enough to maintain that position. Neither were the Southern men of? And they too were deeply embittered, not against a mother country, but against a brother country.
The Northern people had published invectives of the most exasperating character broadcast against the South in their speeches, sermons, newspapers and books. The abolitionists had pro- ceeded from words to deeds and were unwearied in tampering with the slaves and carrying them off.
The Southern people, on their part, were not less violent in denunciation of the North. The slavery question had divided the political parties throughout the nation, and on this question the South was practically a nnit. They could get no security that the provisions of the Constitution would be kept either in letter or in spirit, and this they demanded as their right. The Southern men thought that they also were strong enough to wage successfully a defensive war.
Like the men of '76, they in great part were of British stock ; they lived in a thinly settled country, led simple lives, were accustomed to the use of arms, and knew how to protect themselves. On the contrary, it is prob- able that they were not as much under the influence of leaders as the men of ; 76, and that there were fewer disaffected among them.
At times the scales trembled in the balance. There are always mistakes in war. It is an easy and un- grateful task to point them out afterward. We can now see that grave errors, both financial and military, were made, and that opportunities were thrown away. How far these went to settle the contest, we can never certainly know, but it does not need great boldness to assert that the belief which the Southern people entertained that they were strong enough to defend themselves, was not unreasonable.
The determination of the South to maintain slavery was undoubtedly the main cause of secession, but another deep and underlying cause was the firm belief of the Southern. Devotion to their State first of all, a conviction that paramount obligation in case of any conflict of allegiance was due not to the Union but to the State, had been part of the political creed of very many in the South ever since the adoption of the Constitution, An ignoble love of slavery was not the general and impelling motive.
The slaveholders, who were largely in the minority, acted as a privileged class always does act. They were de- termined to maintain their privileges at all hazards. But they, as well as the great mass of the people who had no personal interest in slavery, fought the battles of the war with the passionate earnestness of men who believed with an undoubting conviction.
The Eight of Revolution. The answer of the Southern man was, " It is not possible. I now come to consider the condition of affairs in Mary- land. As yet the Republican party had obtained a very slight foothold. Only 2, votes had in the whole State been cast for Mr. Her sympathies were divided between the North and the South, with a decided preponderance on the Southern side. For many years her conscience had been neither dead nor asleep on the subject of slavery.
Families had impoverished themselves to free their slaves. In there were 83, free colored people in Maryland and 87, slaves, the white population being , Thus there were nearly as many free as slaves of the colored race. Emancipation, in spite of harsh laws passed to discounte- nance it, had rapidly gone on. In the northern part of the State and in the city of Baltimore there were but few slave- holders, and the slavery was hardly more than nominal. The patriarchal institution, as it has been derisively called, had a real existence in many a household. Not a few excellent people have I known and respected who were born and bred in slavery and had been freed by their masters.
In the State incorporated the Maryland Colonization Society, which founded on the west coast of Africa a successful republican colony of colored people, now known as the State of Maryland Maryland's Desire for Peace. This amount was increased by the contributions of individuals. The board, of which Mr.
Latrobe was for many years president, was composed of our best citizens. A code of laws for the government of the colony was prepared by the excellent and learned lawyer, Hugh Davey Evans.
Baltimore and the nineteenth of April 1861 : a study of the war
It is not surprising that Maryland was in no mood for war, but that her voice was for compromise and peace com- promise and peace at any price consistent with honor. The period immediately following the election of Mr. Lin- coln in November, , was throughout the country one of intense agitation and of important events. A large party t at the North preferred compromise to war, even at the cost of dissolution of the Union.
If dissolution began, no one could tell where it would stop. South Carolina seceded on the 17th of December, Georgia and the five Gulf States soon followed. On the 6th of January, , Fernando "Wood, mayor of the city of New York, sent a message to the common council advising that New York should secede and become a free city. On February the 9th, Jefferson Davis was elected Presi- dent of the Southern Confederacy, a Confederacy to which other States would perhaps soon be added. But the Border States were as yet debatable ground; they might be retained by conciliation and compromise or alienated by hostile measures, whether directed against them or against the seceded States.
In Virginia a convention had been called to consider the momentous question of union or secession, and an overwhelming majority of the delegates chosen were in favor of remaining in the Union. On the 15th of April, President Lincoln issued his celebrated proclama- tion calling out seventy-five thousand militia, and appealing " to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity and existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured.
He hoped that the Union would thus be " reconstructed by the healthy action of the Border States. These proposals, from such different sources as Fernando Wood and John P. Kennedy, tend to show the uncertainty and bewilderment which had taken possession of the minds of men, and in which few did not share to a- greater or less degree. Maryland's quota was four regiments. The proclamation was received with exultation at the North many dissentient voices being silenced in the general acclaim with defiance at the South, and in Maryland with mingled feelings in which astonishment, dismay and dis- approbation were predominant.
On all sides it was agreed that the result must be war, or a dissolution of the Union, and I may safely say that a large majority of our people then preferred the latter. An immediate effect of the proclamation was to intensify the feeling of hostility in the wavering States, and to drive four of them into secession.
On April 17th her convention passed an ordinance of secession subject to ratification by a vote of the people and Virginia became the head and front of the Confederacy. North Caro- lina, Tennessee and Arkansas soon followed her lead. Mean- while, and before the formal acts of secession, the Governors of Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee sent prompt and defiant answers to the requisition, emphatically refusing to furnish troops, as did also the Governors of Kentucky and Missouri.
The position of Maryland was most critical. This State was especially important, because the capital of the natioa lay within her borders, and all the roads from the North 34 Baltimore and the 19th of April, After the Presi- dent's proclamation was issued, no doubt a large majority of her people sympathized with the South; but even had that sentiment been far more preponderating, there was an under- lying feeling that by a sort of geographical necessity her lot was cast with the North, that the larger and stronger half of the nation would not allow its capital to be quietly disin- tegrated away by her secession.
Delaware and Maryland were the only Border States which did not attempt to secede. Kentucky at first took the impossible stand of an armed neutrality. When this failed, a portion of her people passed an ordinance of secession, and a portion of the people of Mis- souri passed a similar ordinance. It is now proper to give some explanation of the condition of affairs in Baltimore, at that time a city of , inhab- itants. The city authorities, consisting of the mayor and city council, had been elected in October, , a few weeks before the Presidential election, not as rep- resentatives of any of the national parties, but as the candi- dates of an independent reform party, and in opposition to the Know-Nothing party.
This party, which then received its quietus, had been in power for some years, and had maintained itself by methods which made its rule little better than a reign of terror. The city being thus without representation, it became necessary, when a special session of the Legislature was called in April, , that a new delegation City Authorities of Baltimore.
A large number of the best men of the American party united in the movement, and with their aid it became triumphantly suc- cessful, carrying every ward in the city. The city council was composed of men of unusually high character. Hinks and John W. Davis men of marked ability and worth, had, with the mayor, who was esc offido a member of the board, the appoint- ment and control of the police force. The entire police force consisted of men, and had been raised to a high degree of discipline and efficiency under the command of Marshal Kane.
They were armed with revolvers. Immediately after the call of the President for troops, including four regiments from Maryland, a marked division among the people manifested itself. Two large and excited crowds, eager for news, and nearly touching each other, stood from morning until late at night before two newspaper offices on Baltimore street which advocated contrary views and opin- ions. Strife was in the air. It was difficult for the police to keep the peace. Business was almost suspended.
Was there indeed to be war between the sections, or could it yet, by some from Baltimore should be chosen. This change, a most fortunate one for the city at that crisis, resulted in the immediate establishment of good order, and made possible the reform movement of the next autumn. Would the Border States interfere and demand peace? There was a deep and pervading impression of impending evil.
And now an imme- diate fear was as to the effect on the citizens of the passage of Northern troops through the city. Should they be permitted to cross the soil of Maryland, to make war on sister States of the South, allied to her by so many ties of affection, as well as of kindred institutions? On the other hand, when the capital of the nation was in danger, should not the kindest greeting and welcome be extended to those who were first to come to the rescue? Widely different were the answers given to these questions.
The Palmetto flag had several times been raised by some audacious hands in street and harbor, but it was soon torn down. I cannot flatter myself that this appeal produced much effect. The excitement was too great for any words to allay it. The militia had neither arms nor uniforms. Before the troops arrived at the station, where I was waiting to receive them, I was suddenly called away by a message from Governor Hicks stating that he desired to see me on business of urgent importance, and this prevented my having personal knowledge of what immediately afterward occurred.
Baltimore and the nineteenth of April ; a study of the war. (Book, ) [wesatimunogo.cf]
The facts, however, axe that a large crowd assembled at the station and followed the soldiers in their march to the Wash- ington station with abuse and threats. The regulars were not molested, but the wrath of the mob was directed against the militia, and an attack would certainly have been made but for the vigilance and determination of the police, under the command of Marshal Kane. Scharf, in the third volume of his "History of Maryland," page , "were an earnest of what might be expected on the arrival of other troops, the excitement growing in intensity with every hour.
Numerous outbreaks occurred in the neighborhood of the newspaper offices during the day, and in the evening a meeting of the States Eights Convention was held in Taylor's building, on Fayette street near Calvert, where, it is alleged, very strong ground was taken against the passage of any more troops through Baltimore, and armed resistance to it threatened. On motion of Mr. Ross "Winans, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted: The bold and threatening character of the resolutions did not tend to calm the public mind.
They did not, however, advocate an attack on the troops. In Putnam's "Record of the Rebellion," Volume I, page 29, the following statement is made of a meeting which was held on the morning of the 18th of April: Parkin Scott occupied the chair, and speeches denunciatory of the Administration and the North were made by Wilson C. Carr, lately deceased, a gentleman entirely trustworthy. He did not know, he says, of the existence of such an association, but on his way down town having seen the notice of a town meeting to be held at Taylor's Hall, to take into considera- tion the state of affairs, he went to the meeting.
Scott was in the chair and was speaking. He was not making an excited speech, but, on the contrary, was urging the audience to do nothing rashly, but to be moderate and not to interfere with any troops that might attempt to pass through the city. As soon as he had finished, Mr.
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Carr was urged to go up to the platform and reply to Mr. I now give Mr. Scott had advised the people to do. I was not there as an advocate of secession, but was anxious to see some way opened for reconciliation between the North and South. I did not make an excited speech nor did I denounce the Administration. I saw that I was disappointing - the crowd. Some expressed their dis- approbation pretty plainly and I cut my speech short. As soon as I finished speaking the meeting adjourned. He was a strong sympathizer with the South, and had the courage of his con- victions, but he had been also an opponent of slavery, and I have it from his own lips -that years before the war, on a Fourth of July, he had persuaded his mother to liberate all her slaves, although she depended largely on their services for her support.
And yet ne lived and died a poor man. 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 on the subject. If it had been, it would have been couched in very different language. Crawford forwarded it to the Presi- dent of the road, who, on the same day, sent it to Simon Cameron, the Secretary of War.
Cameron, on April 18th, wrote to Governor Hicks, giving him notice that there were unlawful combinations of citizens of Maryland to impede the transit of United States troops across Maryland on their way to the defense of the capital, and that the President thought it his duty to make it known to the Governor; so that all loyal and patriotic citizens might be warned in time, and that he might be pre- pared to take immediate and effective measures against it.
On the afternoon of the 18th, Governor Hicks arrived in town. He had prepared a proclamation as Governor of the State, and wished me to issue another as mayor of the city, which I agreed to do. In it he said, among other things, that the unfortunate state of affairs now existing in the country had greatly excited the people of Maryland; that the emergency was great, and that the consequences of a rash step would be fearful.
He therefore counselled the people in all earnestness to withhold their hands from whatever might tend to precipitate us into the gulf of discord and ruin gap- ing to receive us. All powers vested in the Governor of the State would be strenuously exerted to preserve peace and maintain inviolate the honor and integrity of Maryland- He assured the people that no troops would be eent from Maryland, unless it might be for the defense of the national Increasing Excitement. He concluded by saying that the people of this State would in a short time have the opportunity afforded them, in a special election for members of Congress, to express their devotion to the Union, or their desire to see it broken up.
This proclamation is of importance in several respects. It shows the great excitement of the people and the imminent danger of domestic strife. It shows, moreover, that even the Governor of the State had then little idea of the course which he himself was soon about to pursue. If this was the case with the Governor, it could not have been different with thousands of the people. Very soon he became a thorough and uncompromising upholder of the war. Simultaneously with the passage of the first Northern, regiments on their way to Washington, came the news that Virginia had seceded.
Two days were crowded with stirring news a proclamation from the President of the Southern, Confederacy offering to issue commissions or letters of marque to privateers, President Lincoln's proclamation declaring a blockade of Southern ports, the Norfolk Navy Yard aban- doned, Harper's Ferry evacuated and the arsenal in the hands- of Virginia troops. The Sixth Massachusetts Regiment had the honor of being the first to march in obedience to the call of the President, completely equipped and organized.
It had a full band and regimental staff. Mustered at Lowell on the morning of the 16th, the day after the proclamation was issued, four companies from Lowell presented themselves, and to these were added two from Lawrence, one from Groton, one from Acton, and one from Worcester ; and when the regiment reached Boston, at one o'clock, an additional company was added from that city and another from Stoneham, making eleven in all about seven hundred men.
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From Scientism and the study of society. From The poverty of historicism. On the philosophy of the social sciences. Subjectivism and objectivism in the social sciences. Philosophy and social science. Can men change the laws of social science? Along with his dramatic account of the Pratt Street riot, he describes Lincoln's suspicious "secret passage" through the city on the way to his inauguration earlier that same year. He tells of rumors, plots, and increasing tensions and divisions after Southern secessionists fired on Fort Sumter.
Brown also explains his attempts to quell the April riot, protect the federal troops, and prevent further violence even justifying his order to burn the railroad bridges north of the city to halt the arrival of additional troops in Baltimore. A fascinating, eyewitness account of a bloody incident that fueled passions both North and South, this historic volume returns with a new introduction by Kevin Conley Ruffner.
While the title gives Brown was elected Mayor of Baltimore in