Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Two-Faced City

Today's entry is from the writings of a Soldier passing through Baltimore, Maryland, on the way to Washington, June 22, 1861.  It comes from "Maryland was a slave-holding state with many Southern sympathizers. On April 19, 1861, a mob attacked Massachusetts troops as they changed trains in Baltimore, killing four soldiers. Just a few weeks later, on the night of June 22, some companies of Wisconsin's 2nd Infantry arrived in the city far ahead of the others. An unidentified soldier, probably from Racine, describes holding off a crowd of jeering Confederate supporters."

At the point the quote begins, the soldier has gotten off the first train, and is waiting to walk through the city to the train that will take him and his fellow soldiers to Washington, their ultimate destination.

It was rather exciting I can assure you, as well as fatiguing, standing there with our knapsacks on our backs, 40 rounds of ammunition in our cartridge boxes, cap box, bayonet scabbard, two day's rations in our haversacks besides knife, fork, spoon and plate. But there we stood not daring to sit down or be off our guard for a moment, surrounded by thousands of the roughs of Baltimore, who were armed to the teeth with pistols and knives. These rascals would cheer Jeff. Davis and then groan for the Wisconsin volunteers. It looked many times as though we were bound to have a fight, but they dared not commence the cotillion….

As we were passing through the street in which the 7th Mass. Regiment was fired into some six weeks ago, a huge ruffian stepped out on the right flank of our company, with a revolver in his hand, and proposed three cheers for Jeff. Davis and three groans for Col. Coon and the Wisconsin Volunteers, which were repeated by the crowd; …

In many of the streets we were received with great enthusiasm; the side walks were lined and the house tops covered with people. Bouquets were showered upon us by the ladies, and the stars and stripes were waved over us. In other streets we were hissed and insulted. It was 2 ½ miles from one depot to the other, but we finally got seated in the cars ready for our journey to Washington, which place we reached this morning at 5 o'clock.
Source: E.B. Quiner Scrapbooks: "Correspondence of the Wisconsin Volunteers, 1861-1865," Volume 1, page 85.  

Cartoon: "The way to go through Baltimore."  from an envelope as found at


  1. Fascinating account of Union Soldiers in Baltimore. Just a taste of what was to come for both sides. www.

  2. Yasser Maniram6/23/2011

    Very interesting. The tense atmosphere is transcribed in this entry very well although in the quote, "It looked many times as though we were bound to have a fight, but they dared not commence the cotillion", deterrence certainly paid off.