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Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Baltimore Riot Trail

Combat on Pratt Street

 

— Baltimore – A House Divided —

 
Combat on Pratt Street Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, July 3, 2006
1. Combat on Pratt Street Marker
Inscription.  
On April 19, 1861, Confederate sympathizers attacked the 6th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment as it changed trains en route to Washington, which the secessionists hoped to isolate. To learn more about the Baltimore Riot, the city’s role in the Civil War, and railroad history, please visit the Baltimore Civil War Museum—President Street Station, at the corner of President and Fleet Streets. Open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

When Capt. Albert S. Follansbee’s four companies of the 6th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment passed here en route to Camden Station to change trains for Washington on April 19, 1861, a pro-Confederate mob attacked with rocks and bullets. As George Wilson Booth, a state militiaman who joined the rioters, later wrote,
A soldier, struck by a stone, fell almost at my feet, and as he fell, dropped his musket, which was immediately seized by Edward W. Beatty a port customs officer, who raised it to his shoulder and fired the first shot into the column.

As he fired he turned to the crowd and asked if anyone had a cartridge. I gave him one or two and showed him how to reload then
Combat on Pratt Street Marker on the waterfront image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, July 3, 2006
2. Combat on Pratt Street Marker on the waterfront
Forth marker on the Baltimore Riot Trail.
Click or scan to see
this page online
betook myself to the protection of the first doorway thus escaping the bullets that were sweeping the street.

The rear files faced about and delivered a volley into the crowd, who responded with pistol shots, stones, clubs, and other missiles. A perfect fusillade for the next few blocks was kept up between the troops and the outraged mob.

The volley killed 20-year-old William Clark, of Company C, 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion, making him the first Confederate casualty of the war. Francis Xavier Ward was wounded as he tried to seize the regimental flag from Sgt. Timothy Crowley. Later, James Ryder Randall, a Marylander teaching in Louisiana, expressed his sympathies in the secessionist poem “My Maryland,” the official state song since 1939.

[Sidebar:]
My Maryland
The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
Maryland!
His torch is at thy temple door,
Maryland!
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!

 
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansWar, US Civil
Baltimore Riot Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, May 16, 2010
3. Baltimore Riot Trail Marker
. In addition, it is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is April 19, 1861.
 
Location. 39° 17.189′ N, 76° 36.558′ W. Marker is in Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is at the intersection of Pratt Street and Commerce Street, on the right when traveling east on Pratt Street. Marker is located at the Baltimore waterfront. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Together we remember the people of Maryland who perished on 9.11.2001 (within shouting distance of this marker); The Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership (within shouting distance of this marker); Lightship Chesapeake (within shouting distance of this marker); Top of the World Observation Level World Trade Center (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); An Active Port for 300 Years (about 300 feet away); Piedmont Plateau (about 300 feet away); Living with Wildlife (about 300 feet away); Historic Ships in Baltimore (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Inner Harbor.
 
More about this marker. The marker features photos of George Wilson Booth and William Clark. There is also a picture in the lower right part of the marker with the caption: The beleaguered 6th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment fires at the attacking mob.
 
Regarding Baltimore Riot Trail. Nicholas Biddle (a Black volunteer with the militia company known as the “Washington Artillerists” from Pottsville, Pennsylvania) was seriously wounded by Confederate sympathizers rioting in Baltimore on
Nicholas "Nick" Biddle, <i>carte de visite</i> image. Click for full size.
circa 1861
4. Nicholas "Nick" Biddle, carte de visite
- a fugitive slave (apparently born in Delaware) who took the name of the well-known Pennsylvania banker, "Nicholas Biddle"
April 18, 1861, and attacking Federal reinforcements bound for Washington, DC by rail to bolster the Capital’s defenses against Rebel attack. The next day, the bandaged Nick Biddle was recognized by President Lincoln as the Union Army’s first combat casualty of African descent during a reception for the “Artillerists” and other “First Defender” units arriving in Washington, D.C.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a tour of the Baltimore Riot Trail.
 
Also see . . .
1. Baltimore riot of 1861. Wikipedia entry (Submitted on February 13, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 

2. The Union's "First Defenders", The Washington Artillerists. The 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry website entry (Submitted on February 25, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.) 

3. Maryland state song, which refers to Lincoln as "tyrant" and urges secession, is repealed. CBS News article dated May 20, 2021 (Submitted on September 15, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.) 
 
Additional commentary.
1. Military unit that did not exist at that time
Marker states: "The volley killed 20-year-old William Clark, of Company C, 15th South Carolina Heavy Artillery Battalion, making him the first Confederate casualty of the war." Battery C was not organized until November 1862. The battalion
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itself was not organized until June 1861, as infantry. He doesn't appear on the rolls of this unit. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted August 25, 2010, by Stewart Sifakis of Washington, District of Columbia.

2. "Maryland, My Maryland"
In the wake of George Floyd's death, the status of "Maryland, My Maryland" as the state song of Maryland was repealed.
    — Submitted September 15, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

 
Additional keywords. Pottsville, Pennsylvania Militia: the "Washington Artillerists" (sic); Nick Biddle: assigned orderly for Captain James Wren, commanding officer of the artillery company; ... "First Defenders" Association; Lost Cause propaganda; White Nationalist propaganda; Neo-Confederate propaganda
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 13, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 14, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 3,287 times since then and 43 times this year. Last updated on February 24, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 14, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.   3. submitted on July 6, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on February 24, 2014, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jul. 3, 2022