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having been made for their being supplied, in this respect, on their arrival at Washington.
On the arrival of the train at the President-street depot, the locomotives were detached, and horses substituted, occasioning much delay, for there was an inadequate supply. A very large crowd had gathered around, and though the reception was not one of courtesy, yet no one would have anticipated serious trouble.
Six cars passed in safety, before the fast-increasing mob (for it conld now be called by no other name), succeeded in obstructing the track, and thus cutting off three companies of the Massachusetts troops from their comrades, besides General Small's command, who had remained at the depot of the Philadelphia road. A hasty consultation was held, and it was determined by the officers to march the Massachusetts companies to their destination; and the detachment, under the command of Captain Follansbee, at once set out.
Then it was that the long-smothered fires burst out openly, and were not to be controlled. In the streets of the Monumental City, in the face of a little band of patriots, and in defiance of the civilized world, a secession flag—a mutilated effigy of the stars and stripes—was flaunted in the face of these Massachusetts men, with taunts and sneers, which they received in grave silence. Hemmed in, surrounded, cut off from assistance, the sons of Massachusetts were forbidden to proceed, and boastfully taunted with their inability to march through the city. Cheer upon cheer rang forth for the South, Jeff. Davis, Secession and South Carolina, and mocking groans for the tried and true triends of the Union.
But the sons of men who fought at Bunker Hill, at Monmouth, and Valley Forge, could not be made to understand the words, "Turn back." The blood of patriots had been transmitted to them, and no shame could fall upon the memories of their revolutionary fathers by their acts. They had started for Washington—started to help form a nation's bulwark around a nation's heart, and were not to be stayed by sneers or threats.
"Forward the Sixth,"—the command given and obeyed in that moment of peril, has rendered the Sixth regiment of Massachusetts immortal! Forward, as at Lexington, with fearless hearts, unblenching lips, and unswerving tread, they marched on boldly, as they would have gone up to the cannon's mouth.
"Forward!" A bridge half destroyed, torn up, difficult of crossing, was passed; then the air was darkened with missiles of every dangerous name and character, showered upon their devoted heads. Stones, brick-backs, clubs, anything savage hands could clutch, were hurled from street and house-top, while the hissing rush of shot and ball played wildly from musket and revolver.
Ah! it was a cruel, cold-blooded murder of innocent men—of brothers. An act of treachery unparalleled in the history of any nation, whether civilized or savage—a rendering of the "Monuments " of Baltimore a mockery for all time. »
Struck down by shot and stones, wounded, surrounded, hopeless of help, these brave men yet stood their ground and even questioned whether it would be right to retaliate. A question without a parallel and proving the pure gold of those brave hearts.
But the time when forbearance ceases to be a virtue, came at last to these heroic men—these tender-hearted, christianized soldiers; when self-preservation, the sternly just primal law of our nature commanded them to defend themselves. With firm front, but with sad hearts they prepared to execute tho command, and many a form that would not have trembled amid the shock of battle, trembled now as his musket rang the death peal.
Unable to stand the charge, to face the deadly music their own cowardly hearts had awakened—afraid to listen to the awful tumult of battle, the mob broke and sought also to arm themselves. Save from private sources, stores, gunshops and the like, they failed in securing any, for the armories had been well protected in anticipation of this
possible event. An incessant storm of stones, however, answered every • musket shot, and while the fearless " Sixth" still pressed on, more than one of their number fell by the way, and was borne off helpless and wounded, by the police.
The fight was a running one, terrific in its results, as it was rapid in its execution, and though the soldiers at length succeeded in reaching the depot, with the loss of only two killed and nine wounded; while their assailants' loss was nine killed and eight severely wounded, yet the streets were stained with American blood, drawn by American hands. The pavement stones were red with the life-tide of brothers. Stained indelibly, for though the marks have long since been effaced by the pure rains of a merciful heaven, and the ceaseless ^ramp of busy feet, yet they are graven on the records of the age with a pen of fire, carving deeper than steel, and more lasting than marble!
The unarmed Pennsylvania troops, taking the alarm, were sent back, though not without injury from the infuriated mob.
The band of the glorious Sixth, consisting of twenty-four persons, together with their musical instruments, occupied a car by themselves from Philadelphia to Baltimore. By some accident the musicians' car got switched off at the Canton depot, so that, instead of being the first, it was left in the rear of all the others, and after the attack had been made by the mob upon the soldiers, they came upon the car in which the band was still sitting, wholly unarmed, and incapable of making any defence. The infuriated demons approached them, howling and yelling, and poured in upon them a shower of stones, broken iron, and other missiles; wounding some severely, and demolishing their instruments. Some of the miscreants jumped upon the roof of the car, and, with a bar of iron, beat a hole through it, while others were calling for powder to blow them all up in a heap.
Finding that it would be sure destruction to remain longer in the car, the poor fellows jumped out to meet their fiendish assailants hand to hand. They were saluted with a shower of stones, but took to their heels, fighting their way through the crowd, and running at random, without knowing in what direction to go for assistance or shelter.
As they were hurrying along, a rough-looking man suddenly jumped in front of their leader, and exclaimed: "This way, boys! this way I"
It was the first friendly voice they had heard since entering Baltimore; they stopped to ask no questions, but followed their guide, who took them up a narrow court, where they found an open door, into which they rushed, being met inside by a powerful-looking woman, who grasped each one by the hand, and directed them upstairs. The last of their band was knocked senseless just as he was entering the door, by a stone, which struck him on the head; but the •woman who had welcomed them, immediately caught up their fallen comrade, and carried him in her arms up the stairs.
"You. are perfectly safe here5i hoys," said the brave woman, who directly proceeded to wash and bind up their wounds.
After having done this, she procured thorn food, and then told them to strip off their uniforms and put on the clothes she had brought them, a motley assortment of baize jackets, ragged coats, and old trowsers. Thus equipped, they were enabled to go out in search of their companions, without danger of attack from the mob, which had given them so rough a reception.
They then learned the particulars of the attack upon the soldiers, and of their escape, and saw lying at the station the two men who had been killed, and the others who had been wounded. On going back to the house where they had been so humanely treated, they found that their clothes had been carefully tied up, and with their battered instruments, had been sent to the depot of the Philadelphia railroad, where they were advised to go themselves. They did not long hesitate, but started in the next train, and arrived at Philadelphia just in time to meet the Eighth regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers.
Contrast this generous act with that of an old gray-haired man, aged more than sixty-five years, who saw one of the Massachusetts soldiers in the act of levelling his musket, when he rushed in his shirt sleeves from his shop, disarmed the man by main force, and killed him with the bayonet—and you have some idea of the conflicting elements which composed the Baltimore riot.
Increasing by what it had fed on, the lawless spirit ran still more high; its black waves rolled and surged, and no power could be found strong enough to control them. The demon spirit that ran riot during the days of Robespierre, and the fiendish hours of the "Beign of Terror," appeared in the streets of Baltimore, and foul lips pang rebellious songs. Secession and murder mingling together in rude discord.
The rulers were impotent to check the storm, or control the whirlwind. The people were for the time masters—the authorities helpless.
On this memorable 19th of April, the writer of these pages was on her way from Washington to New York. The train in which she travelled was loaded down with persons going northward, for Washington was not considered a safe place to sojourn in that week, especially for ladies.
About ten miles from Baltimore we met the train which bore the Sixth Massachusetts regiment from the scene of its late encounter. Both t.ains slackened speed, and instantly it flew like wildfire along the cars 'that there had been riot and bloodshed in Baltimore, and the brave fellows we had passed had been attacked in their passage through the town. The news was received with great excitement, that grew more and more intense until our engine thundered into the depot. The fighting was over, but a mob of morose and cruel-looking men, with a few black women and children, still hung around the building, and we passed out throi^h a lane of scowling faces.
The horse railroad had been torn up and so blockaded that there wa* no hopes of reaching the Philadelphia cars by that way. With diffi culty we procured a carriage and were drawn over the scene of conflict. The railroad was almost obliterated; piles of lumber, fifteen feet high, were heaped upon it. Immense anchors lay across it, forming an iron barricade. Every window along the line was crowded with eager, scared faces, mostly black, and those that were white, evidently of the lowest order.
It became impossible to pass along the railroad, for it was completely blocked up. We turned into a side street, and at last took our places in the Philadelphia train. Here two or three men in uniform entered the cars, and after the train started they were seen talking earnestly with the conductor near our seat. It seemed that the Pennsylvania regiment had been scattered, and while a train had returned toward Philadelphia with the larger portion of the men, some twenty-five or thirty were grouped on the wayside, some miles from the city, hoping that our train would take them in.
The conductor was inexorable. His orders were to proceed direct— besides, he had no room, every seat was crowded. This was true; but all the gentlemen, among whom was Senator Wilkinson, of Minnesota, and several ladies that sat within hearing, pleaded that the men should be taken in, and all offered to surrender their own seats. But it was of no avail—the conductor had his orders.
A few minutes after the officers had retreated we passed a platform on the wayside on which these unlucky soldiers were grouped, in anxious expectation that the train would stop, but it went steadily by, leaving the most disappointed and gloomy faces behind that one oft en looks upon.
We afterwards learned that these poor fellows wandered around the country for three days, and many of them came back to Philadelphia on foot.
If they were sad at being left, those in the cars were both sorrowful and indignant that they had not been taken up. It seemed to them an act of wanton cruelty; and one of the company, at least, has not yet been able to change her opinion on the subject.
At Wilmington we passed the town in which were the companions of these deserted men. Their train had paused in the town, which we found one blaze of excitement. As the news spread, cheer after cheer arose for